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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/3423/dont-sacrifice-hoppe-to-silence-churchill/

Don’t Sacrifice Hoppe to Silence Churchill

April 4, 2005 by

William and Mary’s student newspaper on academic freedom, with a major blast against conservative attempts to silence dissenting faculty:

At the latest Conservative Political Action Conference, Ann Coulter proposed her own strategy to take back the universities by holding professors accountable with what she termed a “new McCarthyism.” It received an enthusiastic reaction among the mostly student crowd. Ignoring the term she used (mostly to bait any undercover progressives who noticed), essentially her argument is to make “treason as unutterable on college campuses as racism.” Presumably, Americans will become “a protected group.”

The problem with this strategy is it simply expands the boundaries of political correctness and doesn’t directly confront the philosophy of multiculturalism that pervades campus Leftism. The emotional satisfaction of getting a few commie scalps does not justify ceding the Left the moral high ground of free speech or academic freedom. Conservatives should focus on de-politicizing universities as much as possible, not emulate liberals and terrify professors. Right wingers must end the symbiotic relationship between activists of Left and Right. We cannot play on the progressives’ terms and engage in a battle we can not win.

Let professors teach, be they Reds or Republicans. Let protestors protest, and let multiculturalists actually believe the crap they spew. Conservatives should identify themselves as the party of free speech on campus. We should combat serious ideas with serious ideas and treat speech codes or attempted guilt trips with contempt and defiance. We should never sacrifice someone like Professor Hoppe to silence someone like Professor Churchill. If we can’t beat some ethnic studies punk in the realm of ideas and have to resort to censorship, then we don’t deserve to win.


Dennis Sperduto April 4, 2005 at 2:45 pm

Just another glaring example that Conservatives at least of the Coulter variety, like Liberals have little if anything in common with Classical Liberals/Libertarians. Free speech apparently means nothing to them. Maybe the two groups can get together and propose the 21st century’s version of the Sedition Act. However, given the comments in the student newspaper, there does appear to be hope at least among the conservative students at William and Mary.

sidereal April 4, 2005 at 4:37 pm

How can a woman who wrote a treatise defending McCarthy deride anything as ‘McCarthyism’? How does the human mind absorb that kind of cognitive dissonance without total collapse?

sidereal April 4, 2005 at 4:41 pm

Whoops. . I see I was misconstruing the comments. . she was defending McCarthyism, not deriding it. At least she’s consistent.

David Heinrich April 4, 2005 at 5:46 pm

I don’t see any compelling reason why Churchill should be silenced. I don’t even see the big deal about his comments. He wasn’t saying that no woman can be successful at the highest levels of any given field; he was simply noting averages and distributions.

If anyone should be silenced, it’s all of the communists and socialists in universities; but, even then, private property is sacrosanct, and the contract professors have with their universities typically guarantees academic freedom. However, if one of my professors started presenting socialist junk as fact (like how capitalists exploit their workers), I’d want my money back.

Pete Canning April 4, 2005 at 5:57 pm

David, it seems you are confusing Harvard president Lawrence Summers with Ward Churchill. Here is frontpage mag article excerpt:

Last month, Churchill briefly became the most famous, and most reviled, academic in the US. Shortly after September11, 2001, he wrote an essay saying those who died in New York’s World Trade Centre deserved their fate. They were “a technocratic corps at the very heart of America’s global financial empire” who were at the time “busy braying incessantly into their cell phones, arranging power lunches and stock transactions”. Churchill added: “If there was a better, more effective or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I’d really be interested in hearing about it.

Dennis Sperduto April 4, 2005 at 7:24 pm

Peter, thanks for the reminder regarding Churchill’s comments. I personally saw the first World Trade Center tower collapse from just across the Hudson River in New Jersey, and my six-month pregnant wife was stranded in mid-town Mahnhattan for several hours that day, so there are certain things regarding the tradegy I would like to forget. Regarding Churchill, I do not know whether I should revile or feel sorry for him, since he is obviously a sick, deranged, and pathetic individual. His ravings remind me of some of the disgusting garbage that the die-hard Nazis and Bolsheviks spued out many years ago. But still, academic freedom and contracts need to be protected.

David Heinrich April 4, 2005 at 7:57 pm


thanks for the correction. With that in mind, were in that nutcase’ class, I would have demanded my money back. The guy doesn’t even have a pHD.

Pete Canning April 4, 2005 at 9:02 pm

Come on David, an MA in Communications isn’t close enough?

Aaron Dewar April 4, 2005 at 9:08 pm

Churchill’s recent notoriety has exposed his political views to a wider and more critical audience than that to which he is accustomed. He has falsely claimed American Indian ancestry both personally and professionally, to the disapprobation of the Native American communtity. The bright light of free speech has flushed out another cockroach-as it should.

Ken Smith April 5, 2005 at 9:13 am

Does Churchill’s ethnicity have to do with anything he said?

Your right to free speech on this blog has flushed out yet another poster with no arguments, just red herrings and personal attacks. Almost all the posts on here give no indication as to why Churchill’s statements are so threatening or disagreed with.

However, I have gotten a feeling for how important truth about ethnicity is….(?)

Andy D April 5, 2005 at 9:20 am

I believe the glorification of the deaths in innocents is wrong and threataning because the free market cannot survive with acts of terrorism committed upon its members.

Dennis Sperduto April 5, 2005 at 10:54 am

Mr. Smith,
I have no idea what Churchill’s ethnicity or race is. All I know about him is that he taught at a college and his above remarks regarding 9/11. My comments about him were based entirely on his remarks, especially that they glorified the deliberate murder of several thousand unarmed civilians. I thought this was apparent from my comment. Again, I know virtually nothing about Churchill personally or his background. In addition, my remarks strongly condemned the Nazis and Bolsheviks, whom, if I am getting the point of your posting, are “white” Europeans.

Marcus Epstein April 5, 2005 at 2:03 pm

Churchill claims to be a native american, but he looks white and there is some doubt that he actually is one, and some people are talking about firing him for fraud as he got his job through affirmative action. He also, of course, does not have a PhD, and I think, while he shouldn’t be fired, it is worth asking why he was hired in the first place.

Regarding his comments, while I find them reprehensible, the American government certainly has done some reprehensible things abroad, but our, say bombing of a pharmecutical factory in Sudan in no way justifies the murder of American Citizens. However, at the same time many neocons argue that the crimes of the Japanese/German etc. government justifies the mass murder of Japenese/German civillians, so in that sense, I think David Horowitz and Ward Churchill are closer than they think.

Pete Canning April 5, 2005 at 2:30 pm

The guy is a lunatic Mr. Smith, not to mention under qualified. His comments were devoid of logic and plain stupid. His “right to free speech” has nothing to do with it. I don’t find him threatening at all and he can go on saying them all he would like. I will go on thinking he is a lunatic.

Ken Smith April 5, 2005 at 9:46 pm

M. Upstein wrote,
“many neocons argue that the crimes of the Japanese/German etc. government justifies the mass murder of Japenese/German civillians”

“I think David Horowitz and Ward Churchill are closer than they think”

I’ve heard many on the right express that sentiment and if you’ll read Churchill’s writing in it’s entirety, you’ll see that you’ve got it all backwards. He makes the statement about Little Eichmanns and people in New York deserving to die, all in a specific context. A context that commentators on the right leave out…conveniently. Churchill explicitly states that he doesn’t agree with the killing. He says this. His comments serve to illustrate the insanity, brutality and barbaric policy of the US govt by logically applying it to American civilians in the same way that the US political and military leaders deem an appropriate application to civilians of Iraq, Afghanistan and dozens of other countries.

That is his point.

He says outright that he doesn’t agree with the policy. And it’s ironic how conservatives and libertarians, and most everyone on the right, got so up in arms about it all.

Ironic because the furvor over his comments completely validate everything he’s said and proves him RIGHT. The inhumane standard and categorization of “collateral damage”, that the White House and Pentagon give TENS OF THOUSANDS of Iraqi civilians doesn’t stand for a second if one even suggests the same standard be applied to Americans.

That is Ward Churchill’s point. And every post criticizing his suggestion only serves to bolster the point he attempts to make. It’s wrong to kill. It’s certainly wrong to kill civilians. That is Churchill’s point. And he is right.

Macus Epstein April 6, 2005 at 12:20 am

Where exactly did Churchill comdemn the attacks in his essay. Here is the little eichmans comment in context, and It seems like he feels they are justified.

“As to those in the World Trade Center . . .

Well, really. Let’s get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America’s global financial empire – the “mighty engine of profit” to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved – and they did so both willingly and knowingly. Recourse to “ignorance” – a derivative, after all, of the word “ignore” – counts as less than an excuse among this relatively well-educated elite. To the extent that any of them were unaware of the costs and consequences to others of what they were involved in – and in many cases excelling at – it was because of their absolute refusal to see. More likely, it was because they were too busy braying, incessantly and self-importantly, into their cell phones, arranging power lunches and stock transactions, each of which translated, conveniently out of sight, mind and smelling distance, into the starved and rotting flesh of infants. If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I’d really be interested in hearing about it. “

Dennis Sperduto April 6, 2005 at 7:36 am

Mr. Smith,

As a Classical Liberal/Libertarian, I am extremely critical of American foreign policy and our military adventurism. And I’ll admit that our military is too cavalier with the notion of “collateral damage.” Still, this is not the same as the deliberate targeting of civilians for mass murder. Given the weaponry the U.S. and for that matter many other countries have it is extremely depressing to think about the hundreds of millions of civilians that could be killed if the U.S. and others adopted the mentality of those who attacked the World Trade Center.

In addition, virtually anyone who lives in any country and who is not attempting to overthrow their government can be said to be supportive, at least implicitly, of that government. By Churchill’s logic, as quoted above by Mr. Epstein, this would mean almost any civilian worldwide could be targeted for murder if someone doesn’t agree with their political rulers or what their government does or stands for.

Paul D April 6, 2005 at 4:43 pm

“Still, this is not the same as the deliberate targeting of civilians for mass murder.”

Absolutely it is. The Americans knew full well they would kill many thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians. What does it matter if their motive was not precisely to kill Iraqis? Their hypocrisy of calling human mass murder “collateral damage” merely adds insult to injury, something even the 9/11 hijackers did not stoop to.

Do not confuse motive and action. The US knowingly acted to murder 20,000+ people. Motive does not make evil actions less bad.

Aaron Dewar April 6, 2005 at 10:16 pm

Mr. Churchill’s ethnicity is at issue in his writings because he used it as a credential not only to apply to his postion, but to take certain positions that, in hindsight, lose a bit in the current light.

Mr. Churchill has every right to say what he wishes, in fact he has started a much needed dialogue in this country about our adventurist foreign policy, and certain passages from one essay have been used out of context, but please-in that very essay he calls for the hanging of Madeline Albright, among others, and in at least one of his books published a “hit list” of those people he felt should be murdered. That’s why I called him a cockroach.

Peter April 7, 2005 at 8:29 am

What’s wrong with hanging Madeline Albright? She’s a statist, criminal, responsible for several murders. All state agents well and truly deserve to be hanged! Churchill is a moron, but if he wants to hang a few murdering thieving statists, I’m all for it!

David Heinrich April 7, 2005 at 9:06 am


What’s wrong with hanging Madeline Albright? She’s a statist, criminal, responsible for several murders. All state agents well and truly deserve to be hanged!

This is completely unproportional. The libertarian punishment for the tax-collector is not death; he is a robber, not a murderer. Death would be justified for those responsible for murder. Also, not every agent of the State is deserving of punishment. There are many fields which the State has completely monopolized, and in which people must work for the State if they wish to pursue that (otherwise-legitimate) career. For example, the policeman.

David J. Heinrich

Mark D. Fulwiler April 7, 2005 at 2:58 pm

A case could be made for life imprisonment for Albright, Clinton and Bush for war crimes under current international law. However, tax collectors are violating no law (besides the moral law) and the Constitution prohibits ex post facto law, so I’m afraid there is nothing to be done to them besides shunning until we make tax collection illegal.

Pete Canning April 7, 2005 at 3:59 pm

What on earth does the Constitution have to do with anything?

Mark D. Fulwiler April 7, 2005 at 6:32 pm

The Constitution prohibits ex post facto laws. Even anarchists should agree with that prohibition.

Pete Canning April 7, 2005 at 6:43 pm

There is no logic your assertion. Taxation was theft, ex-ante. The Constitution has no relevence to any logical conception of justice.

Your argument is the same one as that made by those who chant, “It’s the law.” I say, “so what?”

Peter April 7, 2005 at 10:05 pm

Tax collectors are responsible for murder. They collect taxes knowing full well what the state is going to do with them, and that often is murder, therefore they’re responsible. They do deserve death. I don’t think it’s “unproportional” at all.

Peter April 7, 2005 at 10:09 pm

And policemen who do the job required of them by the state are also responsible — they arrest and imprison people for tax avoidance, trading and driving without state licenses, etc. A police officer is, ipso facto, a criminal.

Pete Canning April 7, 2005 at 10:11 pm

“A police officer is, ipso facto, a criminal.”

I agree entirely.

David Heinrich April 7, 2005 at 10:23 pm

There are legitimate activities that police-officers do (such as pursuing rapists and murderers) and illegitimate activities that they may do (such as arresting a drug-user or prostitute). Furthermore, not all police officers may engage in “all” police-activities. Work may be divided up by the nature of the crime (e.g., violent crimes, drug-use, sexual-crimes, white-collar crimes, etc). In short, I think you are painting with a very broad brush.

Furthermore, even accepting that it is criminal for a police-officer to arrest a drug-user, this does not justify murdering him. Punishment (and
restitution) has to be proportional to the crime committed (see Kinsella, Punishment and Proportionality: The Estoppel Approach from the
Journal of Libertarina Studies). Killing is not proportional to a temporary imprisonment.

Now, it is possible that it could come about to be justified in killing a police-officer for attempting to arrest a drug-user or prostitute.
Normally, these people do not resist vigorously when arrested. Thus, aside from the actual imprisonment, no further aggression is committed
against them. However, if they defend themselves (as they have every right to do), then any escalation the officer may take (e.g., beating,
shooting, killing) adds to that level of initiation of aggression. However, in that case, one wouldn’t be punishing the officer just for wrongful-imprisonment, but also for *murder*.

Furthermore, when the State eventually collapses, we cannot simply pass judgement on whole classes of people, unless their specific profession *and* position (e.g., being a tax-collector) necessarily implied some initiation of aggression. And even then, I would argue that a specific provable claim still has to be made against them.

Simply saying, “well, he was a police officer, so he must have initiated aggression” will not do. Do you honestly think, had had John W. Perry survived, and had the State been abolished, that he should be considered a criminal?

Finally, regarding the claim that death is proportional punishment for tax-collectors, while I have much contempt for these people, I cannot agree here. What other people do with the money they collect once collected is not their responsibility. Individuals are only responsible for their own actions, not the actions of those around them.

David J. Heinrich

Mike D. April 7, 2005 at 11:39 pm


Can’t we just compromise and settle for “Tarring and Feathering”, the traditional punishment for tax collectors in the New England Colonies?

Alex April 8, 2005 at 1:14 am

Hehe, “Tarring and Feathering”. I’m all for that one! Best suggestion I’ve heard on here in a while.

Mr. Heinrich, I agree totally with your comments. I have much distaste over the State, but I cannot justify murdering policemen. It seems monstrous.

Just my two cents..

Paul D April 8, 2005 at 3:10 am

David, I respectfully disagree. You said:

“This is completely unproportional. The libertarian punishment for the tax-collector is not death; he is a robber, not a murderer.”

The tax collector is not merely a robber. He is an armed robber, and his demands for payment are accompanied with the threat of violence, up to and including death, if the money is not paid.

That the taxman sends the police to do the violence on his behalf, and the behalf of those who have hired him, does not absolve him of complicity.

Theft by trickery or stealth is merely theft. Theft by threat of violence, on the other hand, deserves death, because the coercive threat of violence is as serious a crime as violence itself.

“Individuals are only responsible for their own actions, not the actions of those around them.”

This is not entirely true. As I’m sure you know, human action involves both intent and means. The means may well include the actions of other human beings. If I hire a hitman to kill someone, you cannot reasonably suggest that I am not responsible for his actions.

The taxman, knowing that the funds he collects for the state are stolen, and also knowing that they will be used for violence, could (in my opinion) share culpability for that violence.

Alex: “I cannot justify murdering policemen. It seems monstrous.” Unfortunately, most policemen will not consider it monstrous to murder you if you oppose the state, oppose taxation, and defend yourself when they come to get you.

Paul D April 8, 2005 at 3:18 am


“However, if they defend themselves (as they have every right to do), then any escalation the officer may take (e.g., beating,
shooting, killing) adds to that level of initiation of aggression.”

Is there a moral difference between saying “come with me or I’ll kill you” and killing a person? I don’t see one, but maybe I haven’t looked hard enough.

David Heinrich April 8, 2005 at 8:24 am

Dear Paul,

I think there’s an obvious moral difference: in one case, you actually kill a person, in another you don’t. Granted, the mere threat of violence is a terrible thing to the normal, civilized person. As Kinsella notes in his paper, the punishment for robbery at gunpoint (even if no physical harm was done) may have to be physical harm. Perhaps even death. However, it isn’t pre-determined.

You’ve also skipped over what I said about policemen. There are some legitimate things that policemen do, like pursuing violent criminals. Given that there is often specialization within a police-force (e.g., a homocide, or sexual victims unit), I do not see how we can paint all policemen with the same brush.

David J. Heinrich

PS: Also, are you saying that those presiding over inflation are somehow less immoral than those presiding over tax-collection?

Peter April 8, 2005 at 9:22 am

Specialization within the police seems to be a fairly uniquely American (US) thing, AFAICT.

Yes, there are certainly police functions that are legitimate, but a real policeman cannot limit himself to only those functions and keep his job. In fact, if a policeman attempted to limit himself to only those legitimate functions (i.e., if he made a habit of “looking the other way” as government-made “crimes” occured), he’d most likely end up in jail himself! But if he doesn’t limit himself in that way, he becomes a criminal. If he goes into the job knowing that he won’t limit himself, then he takes the job intending to be a criminal. And since he can’t limit himself, he must go into it knowing that (or he’s extremely stupid, but then he won’t make it out of training anyway).

If there is sufficient specialization within some police force that officers can limit themselves to legitimate functions, and officers can choose their assignments, and accept only those positions which enable them to limit themselves accordingly, then those specific officers can avoid criminality, yes.

Doug April 8, 2005 at 12:22 pm

There is a very odd and disturbing trend: the police are increasingly militarized, and the military is increasingly “police-ized.”

The tactical teams in most municipal police departments have equipment that would be the envy of an infantry squad. Simultaneously, the Pentagon spends millions on “urban warfare” and “non-lethal” gizmos.

Basically, the military is being retooled as an expeditionary police force, and and the police are being retooled for domestic martial law.

Mark D. Fulwiler April 8, 2005 at 12:51 pm

Yes, taxation is sometimes theft (not always, as most of my relatives and friends just love taxes and the state) and is unjust, but I don’t agree with anarchist mobs killing anyone associated with the state after the fact. Not a good start for anarcho-capitalism.

Paul D April 8, 2005 at 4:54 pm

“I do not see how we can paint all policemen with the same brush.”

I certainly am not trying to paint them all with the same brush; a policeman who has spent his career doing good things and not oppressing anyone should have nothing to fear. People must be judged by their individual actions.

Many do oppress their fellow citizens, however. And I still can’t see the different between threatening violence towards someone (extortion) and actually committing it. You have just as much right to defend yourself in the first instance, because the perpetrator is just as guilty. Otherwise, the right to self-defence would not exist. You know what estoppel is, right? An aggressor cannot claim both the right to protect himself and the right to violate another person.

“I don’t agree with anarchist mobs killing anyone associated with the state after the fact.”

I’m sure everyone here would agree with that. Mere association is not a crime.

J D April 9, 2005 at 2:33 am
Rolf April 10, 2005 at 4:56 pm

David Heinrich

Wrote: Death would be justified for those responsible for murder.

Does it require a PHD to have that additude, or perhaps just a masters degree?

I refere you to a place of knowledge on the subject. murder stoppers

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