Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Columbia Students Get Off Light

Remember the situation at Columbia where a group of students disrupted a speech by the founder of the Minutemen, jumping up on stage and preventing him from speaking? As I feared, the university has done pretty much nothing in response. Despite lots of lofty rhetoric from Columbia’s president Lee Bollinger, himself a first amendment scholar, the university finally handed down their “punishment” – and I use the term loosely: a letter of “disciplinary warning” will be placed in their filed. For a year and a half. One of the students being “punished” seems to have gotten the point:

“It’s a light punishment, it’s a slap on the wrist,” Monique Dols, GS, who was given a disciplinary warning, said. “It’s a victory for free speech and anti-racism.”


If only that was true. It’s a victory for those who, like Dols, oppose free speech and seek to destroy it for those they disagree with. Your freedom of speech does not include any right to drown out and disrupt someone else’s speech, a lesson that Columbia University has clearly failed to teach through their unwillingness to take these students’ behavior seriously. What does this letter actually do to the students? Nothing:

The resulting warnings, which will be notated on students’ transcripts and remain there until the end of 2008, are the lowest of four possible outcomes for those found to be in violation of the rules. Disciplinary warnings place no financial or academic constraints on the person charged and state “that future violations will be treated more seriously.”

It’s nothing more than a free pass to violate someone else’s right to free speech, at least once. Dols, meanwhile, can’t seem to keep her story straight or make anything like a coherent statement on what free speech means:

“The main point I think is that at the end of the day the University formally apologized to the Minutemen and punished the students who upheld values of free speech and anti-racism, and subjected us to an arbitrary process for doing so,” Dols said.

I’ll tell you what, Monique. Next time you or any other group you support wants to have an event on campus, how about we send a bunch of other students over with bullhorns to jump up on stage and make a bunch of noise to prevent you from being heard. I’d love to hear what you had to say then; my guess is all that talk about “free speech” would be right out the window if the shoe was on the other foot.

Comments

  1. #1 doctorgoo
    March 31, 2007

    “It’s a light punishment, it’s a slap on the wrist,” Monique Dols, GS, who was given a disciplinary warning, said. “It’s a victory for free speech and anti-racism.”

    So let me get this straight… Somebody gets away with disrupting someone else’s free speech, and it’s considered a victory for free speech?

    Ummm…. okay….

  2. #2 Andrew Wyatt
    March 31, 2007

    What a nitwit.

    I wonder what Ms. Dols would say–or do–if I, a liberal, stood between her and those racist, vigilante lunatics… to protect their speech from her thuggery. Would her brain explode?

  3. #3 Orac
    March 31, 2007

    I’ll tell you what, Monique. Next time you or any other group you support wants to have an event on campus, how about we send a bunch of other students over with bullhorns to jump up on stage and make a bunch of noise to prevent you from being heard. I’d love to hear what you had to say then; my guess is all that talk about “free speech” would be right out the window if the shoe was on the other foot.

    My guess is that Dols would be whining to high heaven about how her free speech rights had been violated. But that’s an easy guess.

    Idiots like Dols are hypocrites. They want free speech for themselves but think nothing of trying to stamp out speech they don’t like with tactics such as what they used above. They think themselves entirely justified because they see themselves as being totally in the right.

  4. #4 Stuart Coleman
    March 31, 2007

    Your freedom of speech does not include any right to drown out and disrupt someone else’s speech, a lesson that Columbia University has clearly failed to teach through their unwillingness to take these students’ behavior seriously.

    I couldn’t have said it any better myself. I just can’t believe how stupid these people are. I can’t think of any other way to describe them, because saying that preventing someone else from airing an unpopular opinion is a victory for free speech is just stupid.

    Idiots like Dols are hypocrites. They want free speech for themselves but think nothing of trying to stamp out speech they don’t like with tactics such as what they used above. They think themselves entirely justified because they see themselves as being totally in the right.

    You’re totally right there too. I just wish I could actually use their own tactics against them, because I would in a heartbeat. I don’t care if they’re campaigning for “Homes for Puppies” or “Flags for Orphans”, I’d still do everything I could to make sure those students never aired an opinion until they understood why what they did was wrong. (Yes, I do believe that you can use someone’s horrible tactics against them if the goal is to make them understand why they shouldn’t use those tactics, not actually suppressing their speech.)

  5. #5 Robert
    March 31, 2007

    This makes me really angry, especially how they are portraying the “slap on the wrist” as being a victory for free speech. Its a victory for them, and a blow against fairness and justice and free speech. They disrupted someone elses constitutional right to free speech and even today they are proud of it. They should be expelled (mostly for not seeing why they were wrong, people make mistakes, but when they don’t own up to them… then they need to punished).

  6. #6 dogmeatib
    March 31, 2007

    I believe she sees her actions, and those of her accomplices, as being “free speech,” while at the same time not recognizing that her “free speech” has squelched another’s free speech. While it may be a rather dubious victory for anti-racism, it most certainly isn’t a victory for free speech. I wonder what she would say if students jumped up on stage and halted a speaker for the NAACP … would she speak of that as a victory for free speech and racism???

    What do you think an appropriate punishment would be? I’m not sure if permanent expulsion might not be a bit overboard, but a semester or year long suspension, two year behavioral probation, and permanent notation on their academic record would be in line.

  7. #7 Troy Britain
    March 31, 2007

    Ah yes, once again the casual assumption that anyone and everyone who is concerned about maintaining national sovereignty must be a racist, love it. Coupled of course with no mention of the fact that the pro-illegal immigrant groups are populated by a fair number of racists of their own, not to mention communists.

    Nice.

  8. #8 kehrsam
    March 31, 2007

    For a truly Orwellian look inside the mind of the protesters, see here:

    http://counterpunch.org/judd03272007.html

    As suspected, they are the victims. And yes, Dogmeat, I would have them expelled. The only way to stop this sort of nonsense is to send a clear message that it will not be tolerated.

  9. #9 Sam Lewis
    March 31, 2007

    Troy, what do communists have to do with this?

  10. #10 Lettuce
    March 31, 2007

    Troy:

    The Minutemen are what they are. It may have been a casula assumption, or maybe not.

    It was an accurate one, at least.

    And they’re still tools for shutting off the speech of the racists.

  11. #11 TomMil
    March 31, 2007

    She seems to think her right to free speech is the only one that matters. It’s a shame that the authorities at Columbia would cave to such immature selfishness. I predict Ms. Dols, a college student now, will sway rightward as she gets older and starts thinking of nothing but paying a mortgage and worrying about her children’s’ financial futures. She will become a rabid conservative in the mold of David Horowitz. I’ve seen it hundreds of times. Like the former Stalinist Horowitz, her transition will be an easy. She will find intellectual consistency in the doctrine she seems to have already adopted of “Might makes right.”

    Now I don’t want you to think I am suggesting that we on the left don’t worry about paying our mortgages or our children’s’ futures, we just don’t seem to see them as a rationales for abandoning all of our principles.

  12. #12 Troy Britain
    March 31, 2007

    Lettuce: While it is no doubt true that some of the Minutemen are racists, that is just a guilt by association argument. Not everyone, and I believe most people, who have a problem with uncontrolled illegal immigration, are racists. That and there are also a few on the other side of this issue who are either racists themselves or who cynically use the issue of race for political reasons. Why do so many bemoan the existence of racists on one side but not the other?

    If a racist agrees that the sky is blue does that mean it isn’t? Of course not, so why not stick to arguing the issues and leave the name calling out of it?

    As for your link, wow, one alleged case of battery (IF it is true the guy should go to jail), and some stupid nasty e-mails (the horror!), both reported on a site that labels Minutemen “vigilantes”, bringing to mind visions of a lynch mob, which, racist or not, the Minutemen certainly are not.

    Sam L.: What communists have to do with this is that while many on the left are quick to paint anyone who has a problem with uncontrolled illegal immigration as racists and/or right-wing nut-jobs, they never seem to have a negative thing to say about the fact that many in the pro-illegal immigrant groups are out right communists (a stupid and dangerous political philosophy).

    It is not a coincidence that May 1st (“International Workers’ Day”) was chosen as a day to hold pro-illegal immigrant rallies. And it doesn’t take paying much attention to note the ubiquitous images of Che Guevara at such events either.

  13. #13 dogmeatib
    March 31, 2007

    Kehrsam, personally I can see your point, I’m not certain that a one year suspension with the associated penalties I mentioned earlier doesn’t accomplish the same thing. One could also require that they reapply for admission, accomplishes basically the same thing without the student having the somewhat legitimate claim that the administration wasn’t overreacting. It would also give the admin the ability to reevaluate students as they applied for readmission, IE they could bar readmission for students who did not meet their revised requirements.

    Troy,

    I hate to break this to you, but living within 50 miles of the border, I hear a lot of locals talk about the minutemen. Those who speak in favor of them have a general tendency to speak in primarily racist, not national sovereignty terms.

  14. #14 Troy Britain
    April 1, 2007

    dogmeatib: I can’t speak to your personal experience, and I’m sure that you would agree that what you have heard is hardly an objective measure of things. My equally non-scientific experience (and I live in Southern California) is that it is issues of economics, fairness, rule of law, and national sovereignty not race are the problems. That and from everything I hear many Hispanic U.S. citizens don’t like uncontrolled illegal immigration either!

    Besides “Hispanic” isn’t even a “race” for crying out loud. Someone from Central or South America can be anything from completely European ancestry to completely Native American ancestry.

    Personally I don’t give a shit. I heard the other day that there were tens of thousands (around 50,000) of people from Ireland in the U.S. illegally, and I have just a much problem with them as I would with someone here illegally from Mexico. And I should mention here that my much bigger problem with our government for deliberately not enforcing our laws and borders and with businesses that exploit illegal immigrants for cheep labor.

    However while I can certainly sympathize with people trying to make a better life for themselves and their families I can’t condone their breaking our laws and unfairly cutting in line in front of millions of other people from around the globe who would also like to come here.

    It is an accident of historical geography that it is mostly people from Mexico who come here illegally. If we shared an (for all intents and purposes) open border with, say Russia, then we would be being overrun with illegal Russian immigrants trying to make a better life for themselves.

    What, I wonder, would the pro-illegal immigration people whine about then since “race” wouldn’t be an issue.

  15. #15 Ted
    April 1, 2007

    If we shared an (for all intents and purposes) open border with, say Russia, then we would be being overrun with illegal Russian immigrants trying to make a better life for themselves.

    What, I wonder, would the pro-illegal immigration people whine about then since “race” wouldn’t be an issue.

    They might whine about communism, or at least the inclination towards socialism (…lazy russkies, every one of em…), but that would apply mostly when that straw man comes a-flailing.

    Of, course, we’d be justified in protecting our way of life from a stupid and dangerous political philosophy.

    Where do I vote for the pervasive and dynamic pro-illegal immigration platform? Because, I’d consider moving to southern California just to negate the vote of the anti-illegal immigration vote. :-)

  16. #16 dogmeatib
    April 1, 2007

    Troy,

    The problem is we were talking about (and you were defending) a specific group, the minutemen, not anyone and everyone who opposes illegal immigration. The two are not synonymous, their methods and motivation are not synonymous. Here in southern Arizona, the Minutemen are largely about defending AZ from Spanish speaking [illegal] immigrants who don’t share Anglo-American culture, religion, etc. IE racially or ethnically (if you prefer) motivated. Frankly I doubt half of them could spell sovereignty let alone define it.

    Also regarding other anti-immigrant groups … I hear some of the more advanced Neo-Nazi groups aren’t about racial issues, they’re about advocating for the rights of non-minorities and celebrating European American history and culture … RIIIIIIIIGHT.

    Most of the big push is about Hispanic illegal immigration, they don’t talk about implanting tracking devices in people who overstay their VISAs, they don’t talk about increasing harbor security to stop people who are being smuggled in on container ships. What do they talk about? Building a moronic wall across our southern border. Who is going to build the wall? Contractors. Who are the contractors going to hire? Illegal immigrants.

    Build a wall? Ask the Romans, Chinese, and East Germans how well that worked out…

  17. #17 Trinifar
    April 1, 2007

    I would have them expelled. The only way to stop this sort of nonsense is to send a clear message that it will not be tolerated.

    kehrsam, do you think this sort of behavior is so common on college campuses that we need heavy handed punishment? In the past year Ed’s reported on two case’s (the other one I recall was at MSU). The punishment handed down seems just right to me.

  18. #18 Ed Brayton
    April 1, 2007

    This sort of thing is quite routine on campuses. I would not have expelled the students, but I would have given them a one semester suspension.

  19. #19 Trinifar
    April 1, 2007

    A semester suspension I could see. I’m not sure about the “quite routine” bit — I’ve got no data.

  20. #20 Troy Britain
    April 1, 2007

    They might whine about communism, or at least the inclination towards socialism (…lazy russkies, every one of em…), but that would apply mostly when that straw man comes a-flailing.

    ??? I said what would the PRO-illegal immigrant groups whine about. Clearly the vast majority of immigrants, legal and illegal are far from lazy, and I know of no such stereotype regarding Russians. I guess you were trying to be funny but I’d say you failed.

    Of, course, we’d be justified in protecting our way of life from a stupid and dangerous political philosophy.

    You wouldn’t be thinking about defending the merits of communism would you? Next you will no doubt attempt to mock my distaste for fascism as well.

    Where do I vote for the pervasive and dynamic pro-illegal immigration platform? Because, I’d consider moving to southern California just to negate the vote of the anti-illegal immigration vote. :-)

    That would be for about 80-90% of the Democratic Party and at least 30% of the Republican Party (including President Shrub and Pres. candidate MaCain).

  21. #21 Dr X
    April 1, 2007

    Dols is a compromised idiot. May her stupid statement linger in the internet for an eternity.

  22. #22 Troy Britain
    April 1, 2007

    The problem is we were talking about (and you were defending) a specific group, the minutemen, not anyone and everyone who opposes illegal immigration. The two are not synonymous, their methods and motivation are not synonymous.

    That’s true but I haven’t seen any evidence that all or even most of people associated with the Minutemen are motivated primarily by racism either. Pointing to one or two examples out of many hundreds or even thousands doesn’t prove anything. One can find idiots in any large group of people. And frankly some of the accusations I’ve seen against certain individuals seem to have relied on more innuendo than good solid evidence.

    Your mileage may vary.

    Here in southern Arizona, the Minutemen are largely about defending AZ from Spanish speaking [illegal] immigrants who don’t share Anglo-American culture, religion, etc.

    Might that have something to do with the fact that AZ is a border state with Mexico and 80% of illegal immigrants are from that country? Maybe just a little bit? Do ya think?

    IE racially or ethnically (if you prefer) motivated. Frankly I doubt half of them could spell sovereignty let alone define it.

    Again, I can’t really speak to your personal experience, but beware of the possibility that your own views might be colored by certain prejudices, i.e. that those against illegal immigration are mostly redneck racists.

    Let me ask you this since you are in Arizona, if this is really all about race then why did 40 to 50% of Hispanic voters vote for the anti-illegal immigrant initiatives in AZ during the last election? Are these self hating Hispanics or something?

    Also regarding other anti-immigrant groups … I hear some of the more advanced Neo-Nazi groups aren’t about racial issues, they’re about advocating for the rights of non-minorities and celebrating European American history and culture … RIIIIIIIIGHT.

    Yeah I don’t buy that bull-crap either. Though one does wonder why the same line goes unquestioned coming from some minority groups.

    Most of the big push is about Hispanic illegal immigration, they don’t talk about implanting tracking devices in people who overstay their VISAs, they don’t talk about increasing harbor security to stop people who are being smuggled in on container ships.

    The idea of implanted tracking devices is insane. I am all for reforming all sorts of security programs, but mainly we really need to enforce existing laws (especially against businesses owners that employ illegal immigrants). If we just did that most of the problems would be curtailed.

    What do they talk about? Building a moronic wall across our southern border. Who is going to build the wall? Contractors. Who are the contractors going to hire? Illegal immigrants.

    There are those prejudices I was thinking about. A) It is a fence more than a wall (though that is just a quibble), B) Fences do help (why the hell do you think the Mexican govt. is so against it?) and, C) your too late with the joke it already happened.

    Build a wall? Ask the Romans, Chinese, and East Germans how well that worked out…

    You have several very different things here. The Great Wall of China and Hadrian’s Wall were defensive military fortifications and both worked (not 100% of course) as long as they were properly maintained and garrisoned. The fact that defensive structures are not 100% effective is not a rational argument against them, and as far as I know no one suggests that a border fence would completely solve the problem or that all that need be done is to build a fence.

    The Berlin Wall was in effect a prison wall and it also very effective at restricting people from leaving East Germany. I love how pro-illegal immigrant types like to bring up the Berlin Wall as if protecting our borders from illegal crossings by foreigners is somehow morally equivalent to the communist imprisoning of their own people. That is what is really moronic.

    Physical barriers work (more so in a non-military situation), no they aren’t perfect and no, they won’t work by themselves in a vacuum, but they do work in combination with other measures to drastically curtail unwanted entries. To claim otherwise is frankly irrational. Or do you not bother with locking the door to your house? I mean if someone wants in they’ll get in…

  23. #23 CU Alum
    April 1, 2007

    Columbia has disciplinary rules and procedures in place and it followed those rules and procedures when dealing with the offending students. Critics seem to think Columbia should have improvised different procedures in order to get a result they would have liked better, so that it could suspend or expel students whose conduct did not rise to a level at which the rules would have permitted such punishment. But such ex post facto revisions would run counter to the very notion of due process. Free speech isn’t the only critically important value at stake here, even if it is the only one critics want to think about.

    Readers who see my comment may dismiss me as an apologist for the Columbia administration. If the protestors had been Minuteman supporters interrupting a Minuteman opponent, though, I’m sure they would agree with what I’ve written.

  24. #24 Ed Brayton
    April 1, 2007

    CU alum wrote:

    Columbia has disciplinary rules and procedures in place and it followed those rules and procedures when dealing with the offending students. Critics seem to think Columbia should have improvised different procedures in order to get a result they would have liked better, so that it could suspend or expel students whose conduct did not rise to a level at which the rules would have permitted such punishment. But such ex post facto revisions would run counter to the very notion of due process. Free speech isn’t the only critically important value at stake here, even if it is the only one critics want to think about.

    No one has suggested any such thing. But in this case, the offenders received the lowest of 4 possible punishments and it was, for all practical purposes, no punishment at all, less than a slap on the wrist. They didn’t need to improvise a new punishment, they just needed to do more than what they did, which was nothing.

    Readers who see my comment may dismiss me as an apologist for the Columbia administration. If the protestors had been Minuteman supporters interrupting a Minuteman opponent, though, I’m sure they would agree with what I’ve written.

    You couldn’t be more wrong. I’m not a supporter of the Minutemen. In fact, I find the man who was drowned out rather execrable and loathsome. The hypocrites here are the students I quoted above, who claim that it’s a matter of their freedom of speech to exercise a heckler’s veto on someone else’s speech, but if the tables were turned and someone who opposed their views showed up to drown them out and prevent them from speaking, they would be screaming bloody murder about how their rights were violated. I believe in free speech even for those I disagree with; they believe that free speech is irrelevant if they disagree with the message. And the Columbia administration sent them a very strong message that it’s okay to think that way and act on it.

  25. #25 Ted
    April 1, 2007

    That would be for about 80-90% of the Democratic Party and at least 30% of the Republican Party (including President Shrub and Pres. candidate MaCain).

    I guess that would make a majority of Americans pro-illegal immigration. Whodathunk it.

    One of these days they’ll probably pass some pro-illegal immigration laws.

  26. #26 Leni
    April 1, 2007

    Troy Britian wrote:

    The Berlin Wall was in effect a prison wall and it also very effective at restricting people from leaving East Germany.

    I doubt you were seriously suggesting this, but in the interest of entertaining the idea….

    I think part of the reason people find it so distasteful is that the wall in and of itself is virtually useless. It is only one part of a multi-faceted strategy. It simply has to be, by virtue of the ladder.

    In the case of the Berlin wall (at least in it’s final and most beastly incarnation) it was much more than just a pesky wall. If I remember right, it was two walls seperated something like 100 yards of barbed wire, trenches, Stalin’s grass, and armed guards with dogs, spotlights and booby-traps. Coupled with the threat of imprisonment and god knows what else. And even that wasn’t enough.

    What will they be using in Arizona? A chain link fence and a redneck with a walkie talkie and a dictionario? LOL.

    It’s not that a wall wouldn’t be %100 effective, but in order to have it be worth having at all it’s going to need to be considerably beefy and manned 24 hours a day by (probably) armed guards.

    That strikes a lot of people as overkill. And distasteful. And a kinda creepy.

    I personally am not %100 opposed to the idea, I just think it’s probably unworkable given the length of the border and the persistance and need of the people trying to get across. And then Canada would get jealous, so we’d have to build another one, etc etc.

  27. #27 kehrsam
    April 1, 2007

    CU Alum: I suggest you see the link I posted above. Mr. Judd certainly does not believe that Columbia afforded him Due Process, and I have to agree with him on that point. The entire disciplinary process was conducted in secrecy without input from the persons involved. Mr. Judd’s claim is that he did not even know what charges were filed against him until recently. If the school has disciplinary rules in place, it needs to be a bit more open about the fact; alternately, if this is a training ground for Gitmo, they need to ramp up the torture.

    Where I disagree with Mr. Judd is that because he believes his cause is just, any speech in favor of that cause must be good and any opposed must be bad. And his speech was good, if it had stayed away from the Minuteman speech: The time and place, however, were a problem, and he doesn’t seem to get that.

    I agree I was intermperate in suggesting expulsion. Still, the proposed punishment is ridiculous to the other extreme. I imagine I had several disciplinary letters in my file when I was in school.

  28. #28 CU Alum
    April 1, 2007

    kehrsam:

    Has it occurred to you that Judd’s account may not be accurate?

    When you posted the link you called it “a truly Orwellian look inside the mind of the protesters”, adding that “As suspected, they are the victims.” Why do you take Judd at his word when he describes the procedures used against him if you otherwise deem him such an unreliable witness? Does his credibility in your eyes depend upon whether what he says supports your position?

  29. #29 dogmeatib
    April 1, 2007

    Actually troy, I happen to teach government and civics (with a bit of politics) down here in “redneck land.” My take on the Minutemen and illegal immigration is just a smidge more than “what I’ve heard,” or “one or two examples.” It is a rather interesting situation since some of our students have parents who are Minutemen, others have parents who are likely illegal immigrants.

    Hadrian’s wall and the Great Wall of China both ultimately failed. You and I both know the point of my statement was the ultimate futility of the effort. I agree with your stance that employers who hire illegals need to be punished far more, but I also agree with the stance that a major effort must be made to foster economic growth in Latin America to remove, or at least reduce, the incentive to come here. Unless you’re willing to gun people down, the wall wont work (whether it is a fence or a collection of happy thoughts). And I’m more than a little annoyed that my joke was stolen, I’ve been telling it for years.

    As for Berlin, it was far more than a prison. It was an ideological barrier. And again, ultimately it failed. What you fail to see is that, regardless of the intentions of those who were defending their frontier, whether it was a year, ten years, a hundred, a thousand, the walls failed. You have two choices, remove the people who are trying to enter, or remove the incentive. You have to be willing to spend the money to remove th incentive, you have to be willing to spend the blood to remove the people.

    Finally, your stance regarding illegal immigrants was quite telling. While you accuse me of prejudices, you seem to be incapable of seeing your own. Your stance is very anti Latino/Hispanic illegals, but you seem to ignore the majority of illegals in this country, those who arrive with visas, travel, work, education, etc., and simply stay when they expire. Chinese immigrants are brought in regularly through are ports, veritable slaves, but the wall will stop them, eh?

    I oppose illegal immigration, for one thing it is dangerous as hell with the war on terror, but the emphasis on racist agendas within organizations like the Minutemen are loathsome. I’d rather we opened up the border and let everyone come in, than be a country like the one they want.

  30. #30 Troy Britain
    April 2, 2007

    I guess that would make a majority of Americans pro-illegal immigration. Whodathunk it.

    One of these days they’ll probably pass some pro-illegal immigration laws.

    I was referring to politicians not the people. Poll after poll says that the people want the border secured. Corporate America doesn’t, and they have the money bribe (yes I said it) bribe the politicians.

  31. #31 Troy Britain
    April 2, 2007

    dogmeatib: Actually troy, I happen to teach government and civics (with a bit of politics) down here in “redneck land.” My take on the Minutemen and illegal immigration is just a smidge more than “what I’ve heard,” or “one or two examples.” It is a rather interesting situation since some of our students have parents who are Minutemen, others have parents who are likely illegal immigrants.

    And yet you gave no response to the fact that 40-50% of Hispanics in AZ apparently agree with me and the evil racist Minutemen.

    Hadrian’s wall and the Great Wall of China both ultimately failed.

    There was no one Great Wall, there were several built over many centuries (I wonder why they kept building them if they were so worthless). Hadrian’s Wall didn’t fail it became obsolete because the soldiers who garrisoned it slowly became the locals it was meant to control, and the Empire didn’t bother supporting it anymore.

    You and I both know the point of my statement was the ultimate futility of the effort.

    I know that is what you were arguing I think you are mistaken.

    I agree with your stance that employers who hire illegals need to be punished far more, but I also agree with the stance that a major effort must be made to foster economic growth in Latin America to remove, or at least reduce, the incentive to come here.

    You’re right, but I think part of that is not allowing Mexico to use us as a pressure valve. As long as they can dump their poor and uneducated on us the elites down there have little incentive to change and the people will tend to choose to immigrate rather than “fight” harder for reform or fight literally to change things there.

    Unless you’re willing to gun people down, the wall wont work (whether it is a fence or a collection of happy thoughts).

    Of course I don’t want anyone gunned down (though I suspect that you wish I did). But again I think your claim that fences won’t work is nonsensical, especially when they are combined with increased border guards and electronic surveillance, interior enforcement (against illegal immigrants but more importantly against those who exploit them), and a more rational foreign policy with regards to Mexico etc.. It is just part of the solution as I said before.

    Ye gods people drive around any city or town anywhere on the planet and you’ll see all kinds of wall and fences. They are ubiquitous. That is because they work. No they don’t keep a determined thief or enemy out all by themselves but they slow things down and allow defenders to do their jobs more easily, and they deter the less determined from trying at all.

    Again do you have a front door to your house or apartment? Do you lock it when you leave and at night when you sleep? Why? According to it is useless.

    Do prisons have fences? Why? According to you they are useless. Prisoners are certainly highly motivated to get out.

    Where I work we have tall fence with a lock on it, should I tell my boss that I won’t bother to lock it on my way out because according to you fences are useless?

    Why do people everywhere put so much energy into building walls and fences if they are so useless?

    Why does the Mexican govt. freak out at the very mention of us building it if it won’t have any affect?

    Why? Why? Why? And simply repeating your assertion that they are useless won’t do as a response.

    The fence in the San Diego area from everything I’ve heard has cut down illegal border crossings there significantly is that not true? And if you say it isn’t please provide documentation to support your claim. Saying “is not” doesn’t cut it.

    And I’m more than a little annoyed that my joke was stolen, I’ve been telling it for years.

    There is almost nothing so ridiculous that you can think of that our govt. (and those they hire) haven’t done or are trying to do.

    As for Berlin, it was far more than a prison. It was an ideological barrier. And again, ultimately it failed.

    It didn’t fail, the system it was trying to enforce failed (that was the stupid and dangerous communism thing, I believe I mentioned that before).

    What you fail to see is that, regardless of the intentions of those who were defending their frontier, whether it was a year, ten years, a hundred, a thousand, the walls failed.

    Gee, I’ll take a thousand years of effectiveness, combined as I said with many other things. You apparently fail to see that I am not arguing that a fence alone is the answer.

    You have two choices, remove the people who are trying to enter, or remove the incentive.

    Bullshit. We don’t have to remove anyone. We actually have to work to secure our borders (we haven’t for decades), we actually have to enforce existing laws (we haven’t for decades), and we actually have to develop some sort of rational foreign policies (we haven’t done much of that ever).

    Will doing all that end illegal immigration, of course not, there will always be people coming here illegally, but it won’t be in the tens of millions as it is now.

    You have to be willing to spend the money to remove th incentive, you have to be willing to spend the blood to remove the people.

    Again, I call bullshit. However I am willing to spend some money to remove incentives, but there are limits. It is not the U.S.’s responsibility to fix all the problems of the world or else allow everyone with a problem to come here. People have to take responsibility for their own futures as well.

    Finally, your stance regarding illegal immigrants was quite telling.

    [Done doing my best Jon Stewart impression] Oh? Do tell.

    While you accuse me of prejudices, you seem to be incapable of seeing your own.

    Really?

    Your stance is very anti Latino/Hispanic illegals, but you seem to ignore the majority of illegals in this country, those who arrive with visas, travel, work, education, etc., and simply stay when they expire.

    First of all, sir, as you well know about 80% of all those here illegally are from one country, Mexico, whether they ran across the border at night or overstayed their visas. This is not a product of me being anti anything, it is simply a fact.

    Second if you had been paying even a little attention you would have remembered that I said in one of my earlier posts (addressed to you btw) that I feel the same about the 50,000 Irish people in this country illegally (I’m pretty sure they didn’t walk here). Go ahead, scroll up and read it again, and maybe consider apologizing for insinuating that I have some special dislike for Hispanics. And never mind that I have family who are from South America, I am sure that you know my mind better than I as to how I feel about them.

    Hmmm, I wonder why I would ever doubt what you say about the beliefs and motivations of others.

    Chinese immigrants are brought in regularly through are ports, veritable slaves, but the wall will stop them, eh?

    Boy you’re really beating the shit out of that straw-man that claims that a fence on the U.S./Mexican border would be 100% effective and solve all illegal immigration problems. I’m sure glad that I am not defending such a silly position.

    I oppose illegal immigration, for one thing it is dangerous as hell with the war on terror, but the emphasis on racist agendas within organizations like the Minutemen are loathsome.

    As are the racist and radical agendas groups like MEChA and La Raza (what does that translate too again?).

    I’d rather we opened up the border and let everyone come in, than be a country like the one they want.

    Fortunately those are not the only alternatives.

  32. #32 Brian
    April 2, 2007

    I really fail to see why some people behave in this manner. You go to college to learn. How can it not be useful to understand why the Minutemen believe what they do, especially if you disagree? You think that you’re really going to change things in southern Texas/Arizona by drowning somebody out at Columbia? Every time speech is suppressed, that speech becomes more important to those people that were on the fence about the message to begin with.

    I think that a lot of people here read freerepublic and uncommondescent just as much as they read Ted Rall/DU and scienceblogs (one of the things I disagree with PZ on is his inability to link to uncommondescent – who cares when DaveScot points to ‘record traffic’?). It’s incredibly useful to challenge your beliefs. I would still be a Republican instead of one of the most liberal people I know if that weren’t the case.

  33. #33 Greg
    April 2, 2007

    It seems pretty clear to me that students, and college adminstrators, pay attention to and learn from the news.

    Dols et al did only what we trained them to do. We should be proud of how quickly she learned that laws are only to control other people.

  34. #34 Raging Bee
    April 2, 2007

    It’s not that a wall wouldn’t be %100 effective, but in order to have it be worth having at all it’s going to need to be considerably beefy and manned 24 hours a day by (probably) armed guards.

    That strikes a lot of people as overkill. And distasteful. And a kinda creepy.

    It strikes a lot of other people as a perfectly necessary and appropriate border-control action. I’ve flown to Europe regularly, and I never fail to see some form of armed police and/or military presence. To someone regularly exposed to the real world, there’s nothing “creepy” about it.

    No one has any inherent right to enter a country of which he/she is not a citizen or national. I certainly don’t hear anyone saying I have a right to sneak into Syria and get a job there.

    Hadrian’s wall and the Great Wall of China both ultimately failed.

    They didn’t fail when the political entities that built them existed and were garrisoning the walls. Self-righteously moralizing about their “ultimate” failures is about as silly as droning on about the “uselessness” of a car I used for sixteen years before it finally died. “Ultimately,” EVERYTHING “fails.”

  35. #35 PhysioProf
    April 3, 2007

    In comments on previous posts about this matter, I counseled patience to those who thought that Columbia’s failure to impose immediate harsh punishment signified appeasement, asserting that it was likely that Columbia would ultimately hand out appropriately harsh punishments to these “protestors”. It appears that I was wrong.

    As a Columbia alumnus, I take personally its failure to decisively indicate that that sort of behavior is intolerable.

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