Last week, I was away speaking at Michigan State University. While I was gone, my inbox filled with requests that I write about the recent disruption of Tom Tancredo’s speech at UNC-Chapel Hill. I am pleased to do so. As a professor in the UNC system, I’m also pleased to explain why this embarrassing incident occurred.
If one is to understand the Tancredo incident one must be familiar with ten rules that apply to free speech and to other rights in the UNC system. One must also understand the origin of at least some of these ten rules. Once one is properly educated in these rules, it becomes obvious that Tom Tancredo is not a victim in any sense of the word. In fact, it is Tancredo, not the protestors, who should be embarrassed.
1. Groups, not individuals, possess rights. Many observers are confused into thinking that Tom Tancredo’s constitutional rights were violated last week in Chapel Hill. This is based on the antiquated notion that free speech is an individual right. Because our Founding Fathers owned slaves (read: violated individual rights) those rights have now been transferred from individuals to groups.
2. The rights of any given group are determined by the extent of historical oppression the group has suffered. Obviously, as a group, African-Americans now have rights because of slavery. Illegal aliens also have rights, as a group, because the conditions that caused them to become “illegal” were oppressive.
3. Oppression need not have occurred in this country to produce rights in this country. Some will note that the oppression that produced illegal immigration occurred in another country implying that this does not create any rights here in this country. This criticism assumes the legitimacy of the term “countries,” which like the term “laws” is suspect. It should also be noted that prior to any discussion of how to patrol our border, the term “border” is designated as oppressive. This helps us to think globally.
4. Jews are exempt from rule #3. Jews have suffered a lot throughout history. But most of that suffering occurred in other countries. Since the Jews now control so much of America and probably planned 911 there is no need to grant them unnecessary rights.
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