Free Speech: Go Vols!

A new year means new free speech protections on Tennessee college campuses. As of today, the “Campus Free Speech Protection Act” is law in the Volunteer State. That’s great news for any parent sending their kid to college.

This new law, signed last year by Governor Haslam, addresses many concerns those of us outside academia watched unfold over the last few years. Passing with overwhelming support, institutions of higher learning will send kids back to class with a new set of rules.

Here’s a look at a few of the goodies in SB 723:

*Schools must adopt policies consistent with the University Of Chicago’s Statement on Principles of Free Speech and Free Expression.

*All open, outdoor spaces of universities are to be considered “public forums” for free speech and expression.

*Goodbye and good riddance to “free speech zones.” Colleges may no longer designate an area in which students may freely express their views.

*No school gets to deny student groups activity fees because the school might disagree with the group’s viewpoint.

*Goodbye to the imposition of “security fees” for speakers invited to campus. The same goes to the tactic of “disinviting” a speaker a college may disagree with or find upsetting.

*Teachers are protected for speaking in class, unless the speech is “not reasonably germane to the subject matter of the class as broadly construed, and comprises a substantial portion of classroom instruction.”

*With regards to the issue of “student-on-student harassment,” schools must adopt policies consistent with the decision in Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education. 

This is a massive win for free speech in the Volunteer State. It’s a step forward in reaffirming a bedrock principle of our country: the right to say, be, and do as you please. No longer will outrage culture or offense be considered when someone speaks on a Tennessee campus.

I’ve often joked when I see something pop up about an incident in Tennessee that “my people don’t always get it right.” This time my people didn’t just get it right, they knocked one out of the park. A strong commitment to free speech is important in higher education, and Tennessee just took a big set towards making sure students are educated instead of indoctrinated.

Statement of Principles for the AotAA

Miss me yet?

That’s right, folks, I’m not going anywhere. Despite my antics on Medium and the ability to post on Simple Justice, consider this the start of the Fourth Wave of Blawging. I’m going to go where no lawyer has gone before and make this a method of delivering new ideas to the masses.

Now people have accused me of all sorts of thought crimes. I’ve been labeled far right. Alt Right, and worse. So in the spirit of CRTV’s Gavin McInness, I’m going to list my ten point principles on why I see conservatism as the new counterculture. In this list you will find things you agree with and things you don’t care for.

I don’t give a fuck either way.

1. I AM  A FREE SPEECH ABSOLUTIST. The right to say, act, and believe as you wish is a cornerstone of American life, regardless of what the gender studies majors at Oberlin tell you.  If you censor those you “hate,” you censor free speech as a whole.

2. IDENTITY POLITICS FOR ALL, OR IDENTITY POLITICS FOR NONE. This comes from my favorite militant atheist, David Smalley of “Dogma Debates.” Get rid of your “patents of oppression” where you show how oppressed you are is an indicator of your argument. Present your damn point and let it stand.

3. VENERATE THE PATRIARCHY. You know what gets shafted most in society? Dads. The people who hold a family together. Feminists hold the “patriarchy” as evil when it’s shown families with dads are more successful and raise better kids. Let’s make dads more welcome in the public.

4. THE WEST IS BEST. No, I’m not subscribing to Proud Boys dogma. I’m simply asserting Western Civilization brought us the best advancements life had to offer. There’s a reason people want to come to America and never go back.

5. STOP APOLOGIZING FOR BEING A STRAIGHT WHITE GUY. This idea of cisheteronormative guilt is amazing and foreign to me. No one should be ashamed of who they are.

6. LIFE IS NOT ABOUT YOU. Get over yourself. Life isn’t about your struggles. You are a cog in a machine. Govern yourself accordingly.

7. REJECT HEDONISM: EMBRACE THE SUCK.  Our society is hedonistic by nature. We would rather have comfort and leisure than pain. If you experience pain, learn to love it. Like the Marines say, “embrace the suck.” Only after the pain will you know true freedom.

8. LEARN TO ADAPT. You will grow over time. You will change your views. This is expected. Don’t let an asshat troll you with an old twit saying you were different. Just admit you’re evolved and move on.

9. ACCEPT EVOLUTION AS PART OF GROWING UP. You are a new person if you’re an adult. You are responsible for making your views a reality and defending them. Show some spine.

10. FAMILY FIRST. You know what makes people successful? Having families and keeping them. No substitute will do. This is the big one.

So ten principles to live life on.  I call it “Conservatism is the new Counterculture.”  I hope you get something out of this. Otherwise the Age of the American Asshole is starting soon.

Wil Wheaton Makes People Dumber On The Internet

Wil Wheaton has an audience and a platform far beyond the little niche corner of the internet reserved for unmentionable types like me. He’s got Star Trek cred, Big Bang Theory fans, and even his own show for board games. When he writes, he usually does so on Medium, the Twitter owned “platisher.” Usually I can forgive his navel gazing, but with a recent post called “FBI Agents Are Attempting to Sway a Presidential Election. That’s Horrifying,” I’ve no recourse but to call him out.

I will begin by saying Wil Wheaton is a smart guy. He’s articulate enough to get to speak at MENSA. He knows a lot about several different subjects, and passionate enough to pass as a “geek” for those who care for labels. One thing he is not, however, is a law “geek.” Wheaton isn’t a lawyer, nor does he have a law degree. He does have an audience passionate enough to take his words seriously, and with a post on a platform called “Bullshitlist,” Wheaton commits the sin of making people dumber on the Internet.

Citing to a Spencer Ackerman story listing “unnamed sources” within the FBI who were either unwilling or uncleared to speak on the record, Wheaton paints a picture of the FBI as “Trumpland,” an organization where “deep antipathy” exists for the Democratic Presidential Candidate. Proceeding on to discuss how the FBI is to serve “all Americans,” Wheaton whips up a climate of fear by asking what the average American can expect if this can happen to Hillary Clinton.

None of this would surprise me. Wheaton has no obligation to his readers to cite credible sources, dig deeper, ask questions, or do anything actual journalists do. He just gets to bullshit on a site called Bullshitlist, and spread, well, bullshit. The moment he starts talking law is when his bullshit becomes absolutely intolerable, and people like me call him out on it.

James Comey has either lost control of his bureau, or he’s implicitly approving these politically motivated leaks that are likely violations of the Hatch Act. In either case, he is unfit for his position, and should resign immediately.

If there is any hope of restoring faith and confidence in the FBI, an independent investigation must happen as soon as possible. Every agent at the FBI who was involved in this effort to influence our election should be fired, and perhaps prosecuted for violations of the Hatch Act.

Wil? Allow me to introduce you to a real prosecutor. One who wasn’t afraid to call bullshit on a Senator, and damned sure isn’t afraid to call bullshit on you. His name is Andrew King, and he’s the type of person who actually prosecutes people for crimes. This is what he recently said about the “Hatch Act” nonsense being tossed about.

And just stop it with the Hatch Act nonsense—looking at you Senator Reid. When political people commit crimes, it’s going to be political. Ignoring these crimes would simply encourage more corruption and wrongdoing. Under this theory, mafia dons should get a get-out-of-jail-free card by seeking political office. The same people that worry about Russia influencing the election are often the same ones advocating the Russian way of governance. But as long as their preferred candidate wins, what difference does it make?

Which leads us to the present day. Wil has yet to step forward and laud Director Comey for his tireless work in service of our republic, since Secretary Clinton has been cleared of wrongdoing once again by the good Director. Maybe he’s busy getting ready for a new season of Tabletop. Or maybe Wil’s finally realized despite playing the really smart kid or guy on a television series doesn’t give him a single iota of credibility when it comes to speaking about the law. Hopefully, someone on his team finally told him he fucked up the First Rule Of Being A Geek, and he actually behaved more the fool than the scholar on this occasion.

Or maybe there’s another motive to it. Maybe because he went from BernieBro to “With Her,” now it’s time to just sweep the entire legal misstatement under the rug.
Wil, your gaffe is forgiven. Just leave the lawyering to those of us who do this on a regular basis. You want to find out where the best, unbiased legal analysis is on the web, I’m happy to point you in that direction. And the best part is you’ll have your mind exposed to all sorts of new, uncomfortable opinions that will make you think.

That’s what us lawyers who don’t believe in confirmation bias do. You’re welcome.