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.
5. Rights do not compel responsibility. The notion of responsibility is antithetical to the notion of collectivism. Notions of responsibility help to advance capitalism, which help to advance oppression. In other words, it is irresponsible to advance responsibility because it is responsible for a lot of group oppression.
6. Whites may establish rights temporarily by acting as spokespersons for oppressed groups. The fact that most of the people protesting Tancredo were, like Tancredo, whites in the country legally, is irrelevant. They had free speech rights because they were speaking up for the oppressed. Tancredo did not because he was speaking out against the oppressed and, hence, advancing oppression.
7. Oppressed groups need not give consent to their spokespersons. White liberals always know what is best for minorities who do not always know what is best for them.
8. Vandalism is a permissible form of expression. Jonathan Curtis, a UNC administrator, aided and abetted the theft of the conservative Carolina Review in 1996. He went unpunished. Since then, the administration has been reluctant to suggest that lawlessness is illegal. Lawlessness can be a good way of showing how laws are oppressive. This includes pounding on windows and shattering glass while people are trying to speak.
9. An effect may precede its cause. The protestors claimed that the Tancredo incident was the fault of the police who sprayed pepper spray to disperse the crowd. It should not matter that the disruption happened first. These kids have taken sociology courses where they are taught that labeling someone “delinquent” causes delinquency. They have taken education courses where they are taught that labeling someone as “slow” causes bad grades. These assertions are not backed up by longitudinal studies that can separate cause and effect. That would constitute “evidence” and evidence is oppressive. In fact, the videotape of the protestors smashing a window is oppressive.
10. The law is an instrument of oppression and criminality is a form of expression. Tom Tancredo supports the enforcement of the law. He is an oppressor. The protestors were breaking the law as a form of expression. In the same way, illegal immigration is a form of expression protected by the First Amendment and unaffected by antiquated notions like “citizenship.” Citizenship is oppressive.
Now that you have heard the rules and know something of their origin you may decide to sympathize with the protestors. Or you may decide that I’ve been right about what I’ve been saying in this column for the last six years. And why I often feel like an alien in a strange land speaking a language no one understands.