Pornography Hurts Women And Girls

by Silence*

Content warning: Every link.

A couple weeks ago, the Huffington Post was gushing about a new “feminist” pornography magazine, as if such a thing could exist.

It’s as if they all forgot about the time “feminist” porn performer and sex advice columnist James Deen raped his co-star, Stoya, and then several other women stepped forward with similar stories about Deen after she spoke out. It’s as if Pornhub — one of the largest porn sites in the world — hadn’t profited for two years from a video of a sexual assault, which they only took down after getting negative media coverage.

The concept of “feminist pornography” makes as much sense as feathers on a rabbit. It has nothing to do with dignity or freedom.

A few days after this marketing gimmick was announced, Elizabeth Smart — who was raped for nine months as the 14-year old abductee of a sex-crazed porn addict — spoke publicly for the first time about how pornography had made the living hell of abduction and sexual torture even worse. It would be five minutes well spent to click over and watch the video.

The Industry is Growing as it Becomes More Perverse

Pornography is now a $13 billion industry that thrives on sex traffickers filming and collecting royalties from acts of prostitution, often using naive, young women who burn out quickly from the abuse. But this is one big business that the men on the left — who are such great feminists, they insist — can’t stand to see criticized. They only want to hear from “sex positive” women.

Why is an industry whose most popular products are saturated with violence against women something that the left won’t speak against? Why is violence against us so sexy to them?

Let me ask a more pointed question: what is positive about videos with titles like, “Teen Destroyed by Dad’s Friends”? That’s the least bad title I turned up on the first page of a related Google search where the more common, incest-themed titles were even more horrifying. Why is incest seen as sexy, instead of violent and unacceptable? This is an awful thing to discuss, but it’s a serious public health issue when scenes like that are eagerly consumed by millions of viewers, including children.

If you know any survivors of childhood sexual abuse, you’re more likely to find that “destroyed” isn’t simply a metaphor for the women this happens to in real life.  

Presently, “teen” pornography is the most popular genre on the internet. The actors, costuming, and scenarios chosen go as far as possible to depict what looks like the rape of minor children. Much of it even contains lessons on how to groom and blackmail a child for sexual abuse.

“All the sites discussed so far… depict scenarios where the men do not use overt force to get the girl to comply with their sexual demands but rather seduce, manipulate, and cajole the girl into submission. … For perpetrators, this is a safer way than overt force since it does not leave visible scars, and because it is an act of breaking the child’s will, the victim is more likely to keep the abuse hidden for fear of appearing disloyal to the perpetrator. … Pornographers are well aware of the seasoning process since they do an excellent job of depicting it in their movies by showing a whole range of techniques …” Pornland, 2010, by Gail Dines

In Australia, this has led to an organized ring of pornographers recruiting male students to post nude photos of girls (often minors) and young women they attend school with after another site member nominates the unlucky girl or woman by name. As reported in the News Limited story, comments like these are typical on the sites: “I know this is a longshot, but who has nudes of [female name]? If anyone wants to go on the hunt, her t**s are mint and it’s worth it!”

Is [female name] supposed to be empowered by this? Does anyone think that she, or any of her other female classmates, will be treated with more respect by these male peers?  

What’s sexy, or positive, about minor girls being coerced into painful sex acts by male peers raised on a steady diet of pornography?

What’s sexy, or positive, about children being trained to think violence is a normal part of sex?

Pornography is the business of making the world a living hell for women and girls. Lots of us know that Elizabeth Smart is right about that.

This is part one of a two-part series on the pornography industry.  Look for Part II on Thursday, September 1.


*Note from the Author:

“For reasons of personal safety and livelihood, I cannot disclose my real identity. But I can tell you this much: I’m a progressive feminist who has spent years working on the front lines of the left. I have opposed conservatism my entire political life in the most strident of terms; under other circumstances, I wouldn’t admit to even reading this site.”

What Makes You, You?

 

What makes you, you? And what does it mean to be true to yourself?  On a personal level, we all wrestle with these questions. But the way we answer these questions has cultural consequences as well.

One view of “self” claims that “living authentically” means being true to your desires. “If it feels good do it.” Or, in more modern parlance, “You do you, man.”  The corollary, of course, is that to deny myself my desires (or to expect someone else to do so) is essentially denying yourself the chance to be who you really are.

You find this view of “self” in the arguments in favor of redefining marriage.  “If you have the right to marry the person you want to marry, I should have the right to marry the person I want to marry too.”

Justice Kennedy echoed this sentiment in the Obergefell decision that redefined what marriage is as a legal matter. “The opportunity to marry is integral to human dignity.”

The unspoken premise underlying this argument is that there is no objective reality that should prevent me from being able to be who I want to be and do what I want to do.

My feelings define what is true.

It is clear, however, that that this does not extend just to marriage.  Only minutes after marriage was redefined, we were told that the ability to self-select ones gender was the next crisis of human dignity.

The sentiment is identical.

“If you have the right to be the gender you feel you are, I should have the right to be the gender I feel I am.”  The arguments appeal to the libertarian in us all because, “Hey, if you can do what makes you feel whole, it’s only fair that I get to do what makes me feel whole, right?”

The challenge with these arguments is that they require us to affirm a person’s worth by affirming their desires before pausing to ask whether it’s objectively true or good.

“Hey, if believing 2 + 2 = 4 makes you happy, I should be able to believe that 2 + 2 = 137 because that makes me happy.”

“Right on, Bro.”

The idea that each of us is the sum of our feelings will inevitably lead to irrational outcomes (more of which can be seen here).

But it does something more—and worse—as well.

While we all have impulses and desires, we all understand that many of our impulses and desires are not helpful because we have something else as well: the ability to reason.  That ability to reason allows us to consider what qualities make for an honorable and upright life, which, necessarily allows us to make judgments about what habits, behaviors, or choices are inconsistent with what we know to be virtuous.

However, in a culture which believes people live authentically solely by fulfilling their desires, the use of our reason to conclude that some feelings should be suppressed is judgmental and denies others human dignity.

And who wants to be guilty of that?

We can all understand the appeal in believing that the purpose of my existence is fulfill my desires. I mean, who doesn’t think that sounds good?

Still, despite the insistence of modern progressives that the path to personal fulfillment is being true to our desires, we live in a world in which our desires are trying to destroy us.  We know this because those of us who are indulging our desires most intentionally and consistently are also the most miserable.

So I ask again, what makes you, you? Are you a rational being capable of making choices despite how you feel, or you are defined by your desires?

By viewing ourselves as the sum of our desires, we deny ourselves the chance to be something better.  And, at some point, we’ll discover that we are now convinced that feeling female actually makes it so.

Making Homeless Women Pay for the Left’s Self-Righteous ‘Values’

by Silence*

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is preparing to impose a mandate next month that will require homeless shelters to provide admittance based only on gender identity.

As reported by The Hill, this effort is being made in favor of ending protections for sex-segregated group shelters for the homeless:

“Transgender women are women regardless of whether they were born male … We, obviously, need to protect women who have been sexually abused,” David Stacy, government affairs director at the Human Rights Campaign said. “But if we don’t treat people consistently with their gender identity, then a woman who was abused by her boyfriend could be housed with a transgender man who looks like a man and has a beard.”

Here are several extreme assumptions you must accept for this statement to make sense:

  • That transgender people usually “pass” as the opposite sex.
  • That there exist no biological women with facial hair or “masculine” appearances except for women (trans men) who’ve been on hormone therapy.
  • That housing transgender women with biological females is somehow safe for women.
  • That housing transgender men with biological males is somehow safer for transgender men, who are biologically female.

These assumptions, however, are generally invalid. Here’s why.

First, most people who transition as adults don’t pass. Even if your friends are being nice to you. If you have time to kill, you can read about “passing privilege,” which is a supposed privilege a transgender person gets when they are assumed by others to be the opposite biological sex. For a trans woman, this means no one realizes they’re male. Not only don’t most transgender people pass as the opposite sex, it’s considered transphobic and bigoted to assume that they should.

Whatever you may have been told, transgender advocates don’t believe that transgender people should have to try and look like the opposite sex in order to be accepted as that sex in every way. In the words of their supporters, they want women and girls to get over the discomfort of seeing male genitalia in our locker rooms, so much so that they’ve reclassified our complaints about their presence as hate speech. They want us to accept the nudity of a “range of bodies that might not fit the cisgender ideal” wherever same-sex nudity is accepted.

In other words, what the transgender movement really wants is for males not to have to bother imitating women when they want to walk into a women’s facility.

Second, there are a lot of women who don’t look stereotypically feminine. Maybe they’re tall, don’t wear makeup, wear heavy farm or work clothes, have short hair, or have a medical condition that causes excess facial hair. It didn’t used to be a public policy issue when they got hassled, though they did. Transgender activists bring them up as if the point of these policies was concern for women. Unfortunately, the relentless focus on expanding male access to women has only raised suspicions against women who don’t look stereotypically feminine.

Third, all transgender women are biologically male. It’s as safe to force women into shared housing with them as it is to force women into shared housing with any other male. Resistance to this isn’t an overblown fear of transgender people. It’s a sensible fear of common male violence and voyeurism. Every parent who’s sent their daughter to prom, every woman or girl who’s had a man stare down her shirt in public, understands.

A gender identity shelter policy in Canada already allowed a male sex predator, Christopher Hambrook, to sexually assault women at two different shelters after two prior convictions for sexually assaulting a woman and a girl. Canada’s policies allowed 53-year-old Stefonknee Wolscht (formerly Paul), to take his sick age-play fetish (Warning: offensive content) into a women’s homeless shelter after he fell on hard times (after leaving and threatening his former wife and seven children).

The transgender activism community is well aware of all of it. They have stacked the political and media deck by labeling negative examples like this as hate speech against trans people, not an accurate report of male violence against women that was a foreseeable consequence of their policies.

But you don’t have to cross the border for worrying stories.

Just this July, in Oregon, Isabel Rosa Araujo claims to have gotten a “transmisogynist” homeless woman “banhammered” from a women’s shelter for objecting to Araujo’s presence. Araujo, name aside, is neither a woman nor Latino. A white man, formerly known as Phillip Vincent Haskins-Delici, Araujo has previously admitted to hitting his own mother while living with her and has recently written on Facebook about assaulting two different homeless men in recent months.

Araujo has posted recent photos of himself wearing a dog collar with long, metal spikes, posing with guns and knives, and sporting a “Die Cis Scum” tattoo. This June, he posted a rant about “cis gay scumbags,” talking about gay male politicians, and a line drawing of a girl reading a book titled, “HOW TO KILL TRANS-PHOBIC F***ERS.”

“Izzy Hell Araujo,” formerly Ahuviya Harel (Warning: offensive content), formerly Phillip Vincent Haskins-Delici, is a “woman,” as far as the Obama administration is concerned. Araujo has the legal right to get women kicked out of women’s shelters if they complain that he makes them uncomfortable because he’s obviously a man. Look at some of what else I found posted on his social media profile and tell me how little you’d have to care about homeless women to make them share a shower with him.

Grouped Photos

Araujo

What will it take before liberals prioritize women’s safety? I wonder.

Fourth, transgender men are female and it’s as safe to put them into shared housing with lots of men as it is to put any other women into shared housing with men.

The transgender rights movement has known that women who live as men are in danger in all-male homeless shelters since at least 2003, as shared in the report, “Transitioning Our Shelters,” by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute:

“Although a female-to-male trans person (trans man) might identify themselves as a man… the reality for many is that surgery and hormones are expensive, passing is out of reach, and men’s services are not safe for a trans man who may not pass. If an FtM (female-to-male) has not been approved for testosterone, or had a mastectomy, (and even if he has…) then he is at risk for physical, verbal, and sexual assault in men’s dorms/ bathrooms/ and showers. There have been incidents of gang rape toward FtM’s in men’s shelters. Some FtM’s may choose to face these risks in a shelter that validates their identity… but they should not have to. … FtM’s need women’s services to open their doors and their policies.”

Yet the transgender policy community continues to tell transitioning women that they are protected by “male privilege” from being treated like any other woman.

That’s not true. Transitioned women won’t be in danger because of transphobia in men’s shelters, but rather misogyny. They’ll be in danger because men will see them as sexual objects in ways that they won’t see other males. Hormone treatments can’t fix that and the transgender movement doesn’t care enough about their safety to be honest with them.

The transgender activists’ response to this problem so far has been that women’s shelters should let in everyone who says they should be there. Now they’re talking as if transgender men, who are female, should be required to stay in men’s shelters. Either way, homeless women’s safety and privacy are at risk.

All the cost and burden of this policy is shouldered by destitute women who need a safe place to sleep, and women’s charities that rarely have enough resources to meet the need.

All the rewards go to Democrats who support these policies, along with liberal advocates like the ACLU or the Human Rights Campaign. They get praise for standing at the leading edge of social justice policy. Big business uses this banner to cheaply and hypocritically blunt public criticism from the left. Fading celebrities use boycotts over transgender inclusion to gain popularity. They can be celebrated for pushing to end single-sex facilities without having to donate to improve or expand shelter for the homeless, or making men’s shelters safer for males who don’t conform to sex stereotypes.

How did this happen? Why do so many news stories claim that these policies have been in place for years with no problems, when it they were hardly discussed before the last two years? If I’m telling the truth, why aren’t the women’s shelters up in arms about this? Why aren’t the women’s organizations speaking out?

The answers are related. It seems to be about money.

The 2013 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) contained a little-discussed provision requiring all organizations and local governments accepting some of its hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to offer access to services based on gender identity. Policies were very quietly put in place across the nation — and at organizations that take VAWA money, like the YMCA — requiring access to sex-segregated facilities to be based on gender identity.

After seeing the Obama administration threaten school districts and state governments with losses of federal funding, witnessing the silencing that goes on, women’s secular anti-violence and shelter networks fully surrendered. Now they can sign as many letters as they want to saying yes to these policies, but they can’t say no to them, either.

If the women’s shelters have to pick between helping some women and occasionally letting in a violent man like Phillip Vincent Haskins-Delici, or having to close their doors and help no one, who can blame them? They’re acting under duress. As are the women’s nonprofits, who now face a philanthropic community fully committed to spending big money on transgender politics.

Think on this: When a person can’t say no, she can’t mean yes.

Homeless women can’t say no to this. The shelters that serve them can’t say no to it. The women’s groups who usually advocate for them can’t say no to their funders and political allies.

Please, stop making us say yes.


Note from the Author:

“For reasons of personal safety and livelihood, I cannot disclose my real identity. But I can tell you this much: I’m a progressive feminist who has spent years working on the front lines of the left. I have opposed conservatism my entire political life in the most strident of terms; under other circumstances, I wouldn’t admit to even reading this site.”

There Was a Certain Rape: A Look Inside the Transgender Movement

by Silence

For reasons of personal safety and livelihood, I can’t tell you who I am. But I can tell you this much: I’m a progressive feminist who has spent years working on the front lines of the left. I have opposed conservatism my entire political life in the most strident of terms; under other circumstances, I wouldn’t admit to even reading this site.

Yet, I’ve known for a while that questioning the official narrative of transgender activism (a cause championed wholeheartedly and without question by nearly everyone on the left) can get you blacklisted from media and political work.

People I thought of as friends and colleagues have turned into thought police, and anyone who dares to question the official line is intimidated into capitulation and silence — or forced to find another line of work. So I’m writing you like this, here, to ask you to think carefully about the public safety impacts of the story you’re about to read.

On March 26th, 2016, there was a certain rape. Let me be more specific: a prominent transgender (born male) activist raped another transgender (born female) person and bragged about it on the Internet.

Both the details of the event and the larger circumstances matter, because the truth matters.

Transgender activist and admitted rapist Cherno Biko is still making appearances on behalf of the transgender movement.

Cherno Biko is a transgender woman. As Co-Chair of the Young Women’s Advisory Council for New York City, Biko is deeply embedded in a movement that strongly invests in forcing all public speech to contort itself around the idea that transgender women, who are biologically male, are instead biologically female and always have been.

In New York City, where Biko lives, it is a crime, punishable by a fine of up to $250,000, to intentionally refer to a transgender person in a way that causes offense.

Transgender ideology itself hinges on the assumption that a person is transitioning to live under gender roles normally prescribed to the opposite sex. The public has been led to believe that ‘transgender’ is another word for ‘transsexual’, someone who has an overwhelming compulsion to have a full surgical transition. But this is false.

Here’s what happened:

During what started as consensual intercourse, Biko told the victim – whom we’ll call “J” – that he wanted to get “J” pregnant with his children. Biko then removed his condom, and continued the act over the victim’s objection. (“J” is a transgender man, but otherwise biologically and anatomically female.)

“To be honest, I’m relieved that I can now speak directly to these issues, from the perspective of both a victim and abuser,” Biko wrote afterwards. This expressed relief was short-lived. That sentence was removed, and, as of July 28, read as follows:

“As I began to learn more about consent I discovered that under [New York State] law it is impossible for a person who is mentally unstable to give consent. I struggled with this idea because it leaves no space for varying degrees of mental illness or for people who experience mental illness but have never been diagnosed like myself.”

In a space of days, Biko moved from admitting culpability for a serious crime to playing the victim.

Here’s Why It’s Rape

In this case, a biologically male person raped a biologically female person, for the purpose of forcible impregnation. Even Chase Strangio of the ACLU, notorious for stating that there’s no such a thing as a male or female body, knows what kind of bodies I’m talking about when I say that someone with a penis pulled off a condom and tried to get someone else pregnant during heterosexual intercourse. What types of bodies get pregnant? Everyone knows.

Transgender dogma is such that Biko’s victim, “J,” has been conditioned to believe that, although they were born female, they have acquired male privilege over biologically and anatomically male individuals like Cherno Biko, and are therefore expected to protect them in cases such as this.

But even if “J” pressed charges, knowing the nature of laws regarding transgender speech in New York City, how could a prosecutor clearly describe what happened to a judge and jury? Transgender individuals often strongly object to using either medically accurate terms for their body parts or even veiled references such as “male genitalia.”

Even in the event of a conviction, presuming that Biko’s official documents inaccurately list his sex as female, New York State laws would likely require housing Biko in a female correctional facility.

According to the Correctional Association of New York, of the women in prison in the state, “three-quarters have histories of severe physical abuse by an intimate partner during adulthood, and 82% suffered serious physical or sexual abuse as children.” Is a person with intact penis and testes and a penchant for forcible impregnation really a suitable cell or shower mate for the already-abused women held in New York State facilities?

In the likely event that nothing changes and Biko continues to roam free, what will this mean practically? The victim of Biko’s crime admitted that Biko was unable to pay $80 for potential HIV exposure. What if Biko were to lose his housing and require the services of a homeless shelter? The Obama administration has declared that all formerly single-sex crisis shelters must accept individuals on the basis of gender identity, and has made clear that questioning such claims opens shelters to civil rights complaints.

Is a person with intact male genitalia and a penchant for forcible impregnation a suitable women’s dormitory resident, when the other women there have nowhere to go?

Men can be raped, too. Yet, a male body cannot be subject to impregnation.

These simple, commonly-understood facts have been wholly uncontroversial until recently. When and why did it become taboo to look at a situation like this and accurately describe it?

When transgender woman Dana McCallum raped his wife after being served with divorce papers, everyone seemed most interested in making sure the word “male” was never attached to the perpetrator. Former colleagues issued no statements and McCallum’s writing was scrubbed from the feminist media site where it had previously appeared.

Will Biko’s name and work disappear just as quietly? Is that even possible, given his status as a media darling?

On March 31, 2016, Biko spoke at the White House for Trans Day Of Visibility. On June 14, 2016, Biko attended The United State of Women, hosted by President Obama, and First Lady Michelle Obama. That is, Biko attended two White House appearances, and not his first, since remorselessly raping “J.”

Maybe “J” is worried about Biko’s well being. Though maybe “J” also knows, like I do, that speaking out against prominent transgender activists often brings an avalanche of death threats, rape threats, and threats of economic retribution.

Will the transgender movement ever wake up to the consequences of the stifling silence they’ve created, now that a self-described rapist has represented them twice this year at the White House?

To date, the transgender community doesn’t seem to want accountability. They want problems to go away as quickly and quietly as possible. When Allison Woolbert was outed as a former child rapist under Woolbert’s birth name, Dennis, the transgender community acted largely as if it had never happened. Woolbert’s prominence in anti-violence initiatives prompted very little soul-searching.

When Chad Sevearance-Turner, the lead organizer of the Charlotte, North Carolina, effort to end sex-segregated private spaces in the city, was revealed to be a registered sex offender, he, too, was simply quietly retired from that campaign, as reported in the Charlotte Observer.

According to the transgender movement, the State of New York, and the Obama administration, Biko is a woman, who can be in a state of undress anywhere that any biological female can be in a state of undress. According to gender identity laws ending sex-segregated private spaces, even Sevearance-Turner has only to declare himself a woman to be allowed to undress in female-only spaces.

In New York City, where Biko lives, it’s a potential violation of the human rights laws to publicly mention a transgender person’s former name. Will Biko be able to change his name again and claim this protection?

Gender identity policy changes that go beyond issues of preventing housing and employment discrimination aren’t mainly (and never were) about bathrooms. Bathrooms are simply where the legal definition of “same-sex” collides most often with the paths of the general public.

But promoters of the transgender policy agenda insist that it’s wrong to discuss the possibility that predators could misuse its proposals. They’ve done this so effectively within the policy and media elite that the only questions now come from the right.

They’re the same people who will read this article about a brutal rape, and complain that the real violence is that Biko has been “misgendered” by being referred to as male, just so the facts could be clearly communicated.

This doesn’t have to be a partisan issue. Let’s just promote common sense.

Opinion: NARAL Should Pay for My Guns

NARAL should pay for my guns.  And ammunition, regardless of its members’ moral or ethical objections.

Every person now has an unalienable constitutional right to an affordable health insurance plan, which means that, pursuant to leftist logic, society has a moral obligation to provide this right to everyone at no cost.  Quality healthcare, they say, includes access to contraception free of cost to the patients, which must be provided by the employer.

The tradition of abortion rights is loosely found in the right to habeas corpus, which originates with the idea that one has the right to one’s own body. Of course, according to leftists, this right to habeas corpus includes any entity within the body, living or nonliving, attached or unattached.  We knew that this is Roe v. Wade’s interpretation because Planned Parenthood v. Casey confirmed as much a decade later.

This new “right” to affordable health insurance – derived indirectly from such fluid concepts like “body,” “person,” and “pursuit of happiness” – has been now deemed as “unalienable.”  The ability to utilize this sacred, “unalienable right” to obtain contraceptives and abortion is seen by many as paramount, superseding the rights of others to conscientiously object from participating in such programs. And because it’s an unalienable right, according to leftist reasoning, society has an obligation to provide it to everyone, free of cost.

Let’s be consistent with our logic.

The U.S. Constitution directly and explicitly guarantees every person the right to “keep and bear arms” – in fact, it was once interpreted as a mandate unto itself! By extending the logic of requiring employers to provide abortions or birth control in the interest of health and wellness, regardless of their objections to abortions and birth control, we should also mandate the distribution of personal firearms to ensure “the security of a free state.”

Any common man knows that enabling an armed citizen to shoot a madman before his work is finished can effectively prevent loss of life or limb, and resulting depression for hundreds of others.  The founders who guaranteed that right with specificity had the foresight to see what might happen if citizens were left unarmed.

Yet, because it doesn’t match the inviolability of the right to an abortion, the right to keep and bear arms is often ratcheted down by leftists in the aftermath of crimes.

The government has mandated coverage of ever-increasing abortion and contraceptive rights while suppressing the right to keep and bear arms.  Why must my tax dollars be used to provide health care, abortion, and contraception, but NARAL is not compelled to pay for my guns?

Christopher Fossedal is a guest columnist at FPIW.  

Conzatti: Free Speech Being Squelched in Europe, Headed Our Way Next?

On May 31, the European Commission announced a partnership with tech moguls like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Microsoft to combat “racism, xenophobia and all forms of intolerance” on tech platforms by reviewing and removing hate speech within 24 hours.

Conservatives like myself voiced concerns about the agreement, which has been roundly denounced by digital rights groups and government watchdog organizations. Members of European Parliament have gone so far as calling the initiative “Orwellian.”

In my June 1 blog for FPIW, I voiced some of my concerns:

“As private corporations, technology companies certainly have the right to issue guidelines for the use of their platforms and censor speech that does not conform to their guidelines. What is concerning, however, is the collusion between private companies and a governmental body.

“Though officials from the European Commission and the tech companies involved insist that the purpose of the partnership is to restrict the ability of terrorists to disseminate their message through social media, many fear that speech deemed politically incorrect may also be censored.”

Imagine my lack of surprise when it was reported today that German police had raided the homes of 60 people who had allegedly propagated hate speech on social media, confiscating laptops, phones, and notebooks.

The suspects had posted “xenophobic, anti-Semitic, and other right-wing extremist content,” which German authorities claimed amounted to verbal and linguistic “violence” that “poison the social climate.”

Neo-Nazi hate speech is certainly deplorable. But should it be illegal? And what about criticism of the government’s handling of the refugee crisis? Should the homes of those who oppose increased numbers of refugees be raided? Should their families be interrogated? Should they be prosecuted?

Germany, like most other European nations, does not have strong free speech protections. Politically incorrect speech is more or less illegal. This is why it is so worrying that American tech companies, which profess to value open debate and a free exchange of ideas, are now working to help European governments silence and prosecute those who do nothing more than say that which is deemed politically incorrect.

Because the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, even protecting hate speech so long as it does not contain actual threats of illegal conduct, it may be hard for Americans to understand the German approach to speech. In R.A.V. v. St. Paul (1992), the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that ordinances which prohibit certain types of unfavorable and distasteful speech about race, creed, or gender are unconstitutional.

But the United States is not immune to the tidal wave of disregard for free speech rights spreading across the world.

Attorneys General United for Clean Power, a coalition of attorneys general from fifteen states, recently made news for threatening to prosecute public policy think tanks and private corporations that publish politically incorrect research about climate change (the attorneys general have since retreated, at least for now).

Free speech zones and trigger warnings are sweeping college campuses. Defending traditional marriage and biblical sexuality, or speaking against the prevailing theory of white cisgender privilege, is considered by many to be unprotected hate speech.

Americans needs to decide whether they will go the way of Europe or maintain their venerated tradition of free speech. Not only do we need to ask ourselves whether it is advisable for tech companies to assist countries in violating the free speech rights of their citizens, but do we, as Americans, want to preserve the rights of free speech for all – even for those who say offensive things?

Blaine Conzatti is a columnist and 2016 Research Fellow at the Family Policy Institute of Washington. He can be reached at Blaine@FPIW.org.

Stand with FPIW as we fight to preserve free speech for all.

Opinion: Distracted colleges fail to equip workforce, hurt families

Seattle University students are occupying the lobby of the school’s college of humanities, demanding the resignation of its dean.

The offense? According to the students’ petition, the college’s faculty and curriculum “traumatize,” “tokenize,” and “pathologize” students, resulting in a “profoundly damaging” student experience that has “lasting effects on [their] mental and emotional well-being.”

The students contend that the problems they are facing will only be corrected once the Seattle University humanities curriculum is replaced with a “non-Eurocentric interdisciplinary curriculum,” taught by staff from “marginalized backgrounds,” and “especially professors of color and queer professors.”  They want the college to “radically reinterpret what it means [for the college] to educate teachers and leaders for a just and humane world.”

In their minds, this can only be achieved by “centering dialogue about racism, gentrification, sexism, colonialism, imperialism, global white supremacy, and other ethical questions about systems of power.”  In other words, they want education to be rooted in the victim theories popular in the leftist culture of the modern academy.

FPIW’s most recent video, filmed at Seattle University, illustrates perfectly what happens when proper education takes a backseat to leftist social justice causes.

Higher education’s undue emphasis on elevating social justice, diversity, and tolerance diverts attention and resources away from the traditional purpose of education, namely, to prepare students with the skills and knowledge necessary to become productive citizens in a dynamic economy and society.

The recent events and video filmed at Seattle University are manifestations of the prevailing trend in higher education that seeks to indoctrinate students with a perspective that leaves them wholly unprepared for the workforce, and thus harming families in the long run.

Students of today and employees of tomorrow suffer when education is disproportionately devoted to topics arising from postmodern academic thought.  The University of Washington, for example, offers an undergraduate major in “Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies,” which features course offerings such as “Queer Desires,” “Feminist International Political Economy,” and “Lesbian Lives and Culture.”  It goes without saying that most students who devote their academic studies to classes like these will likely be unprepared for the modern workplace.

There is little doubt among employers that colleges and universities are failing to properly prepare students for the workforce. A Braun Research survey of 500 senior executives indicates that nearly 60% of them believe that higher education is inadequately preparing students for today’s workforce.

Where is the skills gap most apparent? The senior executives who participated in the Braun Research survey mentioned soft skills (44%), including communication, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration, as well as a lack of technical skills (22%). A robust study of humanities in core curricula would address the former while additional STEM programs and technology integration in the classroom would alleviate the latter.

Simply put, students whose education focuses primarily on gender and race studies, cultural and moral relativism, and anti-colonialist, anti-American, and anti-Western sentiments are far less prepared to make a living for themselves, let alone provide for a family.

Even students who don’t major in gender or race studies experience a lower quality education when taught by liberal academic institutions.  The National Association of Scholars publishes a list of the books most commonly assigned by universities as required reading for incoming freshman.  Their study found that the majority of assigned books are recently published and politically progressive, with topics focusing on victimization and oppression.

It appears that instead of encouraging their incoming students to familiarize themselves with enduring literature or books that will prepare them for academic and professional success, schools have been using texts to advocate progressive causes.

In recent years, universities began hiring diversity officers and other administrators to ensure compliance with prevailing conceptions of political correctness. Nonacademic administrative employment at U.S. colleges increased by 60% from 1993 to 2009, according to data from the Department of Education. This administrative bloat drives up tuition costs, increases student loan debt, and crowds out valuable resources that could otherwise be used for instruction and research.

With total national student loan debt nearing $1.25 trillion and graduating students facing an average debt of $37,172, colleges and universities have an obligation to provide students with a quality education that prepares them to enter the workforce. Without these skills and knowledge, both individuals and families suffer.

This ballooning burden of student loan debt increases financial insecurity.  Quality education leads to sustainable employment, providing the economic foundation without which many millennials will not enter into marriage.

Improving the quality of education will increase economic opportunity and strengthen families. To accomplish this task, colleges and universities must refocus their efforts on providing students with the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in the modern workplace, without the added distractions of diversity and social justice advocacy.


Blaine Conzatti is a columnist and 2016 Research Fellow at the Family Policy Institute of Washington.  He can be reached at Blaine@FPIW.org.