Daily Nous recently reported on a controversy surrounding philosopher Dan Demetriou (University of Minnesota, Morris). Demetriou, who describes himself as “ideologically right,” published a Facebook post (whose privacy status was set to “friends only”) that someone decided to share publicly. Comments from his post were then widely circulated at the University of Minnesota in an effort to shame him. The chancellor issued a typical virtue-signalling statement about how she found Demetriou’s comments “both personally and professionally distressing,” and reassured students of the university’s commitment to the leftist summum bonum of “diversity.”
So, what exactly did Demetriou say that was so uncouth? The “controversial” comments were pulled from this Facebook post, which we include in full here for context (something both Daily Nous and Inside Higher Ed felt unnecessary to do):
We’d like to make two points here. The first concerns the actual content of Demetriou’s remarks, which we regard as demonstrably true. This website, for instance, thoroughly documents their truth, and there is no need to repeat them here. Besides, Demetriou is defending himself quite capably elsewhere. But a simpler observation does bear repeating: it is a fact that the US has immigration laws. It is also a fact that those who violate said immigration laws are criminals; they have broken the law. Furthermore, when a society allows persons who are in violation of the law to persist in breaking those laws with impunity, that society is actively undermining its citizens’ confidence in the rule of law.
Now, we understand that leftists are deeply confused about this. Not long ago, Nancy Pelosi perfectly displayed such confusion when she was questioned by a mother whose son was tortured by an illegal alien. This illegal alien beat up Laura Wilkerson’s son, tied him up, and set him on fire. In her condescending response to Wilkerson, Pelosi stated that illegals living in sanctuary cities are not disobeying the law, and described them instead as law-abiding citizens. To reiterate, if someone breaks immigration laws and remains here in violation of said laws, that person is disobeying the law. Therefore, it is plainly false to state that such a person, if living in a sanctuary city, is not disobeying the law. Furthermore—and it is incredible that this even needs to be said—illegal aliens are not citizens, much less law-abiding ones.
The second point we want to make concerns what is both an unfortunate failure of reasoning on the part of Justin Weinberg at Daily Nous, and his absolute shameless hypocrisy. He prominently objects to publicly broadcasting Facebook posts not intended for the general public. For this reason, he placed a ban on linking to this blog because of our use of screenshots in exposing leftist bigotry during the Swinburne controversy. Not only will he not link to our blog, he deleted comments if they included links to our posts with screenshots. In Jon Cogburn’s plea for us to stop using screenshots, Weinberg writes, “Since those comments were not written for the broader profession to see, I do not want to contribute to their visibility.” Yet, in the case of Demetriou, he includes in his own post (not merely in comments) a link to a post on Inside Higher Ed, and that very link goes to a post that contains Demetriou’s screenshot. Apparently, Weinberg has no problems abandoning his moral convictions when he thinks doing so will bring shame on conservatives.
Now, in the comments of his post, he tries to justify himself:
Except in some special cases, I am not interested in participating directly in publicly exposing remarks not intended for public consumption…I knew my refraining from posting it (or about it) would not do much to limit its publicity, given that it had already appeared on IHE (which has a larger audience than DN) and a local news website, and that a screenshot or link would soon be appearing on at least one other well-known philosophy blog.
But if the broadcasting is what is problematic, then why is contributing even just a little bit to that broadcasting acceptable? And, given his own justification for posting the Demetriou comments—that they have been made public elsewhere—one wonders at how high his high horse is, since what we reported was made public by The Washington Times, The American Conservative, The Federalist, and other websites and blogs, including the well-known fauxlosophy blog Leiter Reports. It would appear that Weinberg’s standard only applies when, conveniently for hypocrites like him, it is leftist philosophers who are under fire. But the case of Demetriou is oh-so-different, because, you see, publicly drawing attention to his comments helps promote leftist shaming of conservatives. You know what’s really different in the two cases? We’ll tell you: the bigotry of leftists Jason Stanley and Rebecca Kukla that we reported was actual hate speech that included calls for sexual violence against Christians, whereas Demetriou’s comments were merely unpopular. See how that works?
Interestingly, further down on the Cogburn comment thread, Weinberg says that he thinks it’s wrong to post such screenshots without permission. Well, did he have the moral fiber to follow his own standard and ask for Demetriou’s permission before linking to the IHE piece? It doesn’t look like it, since he doesn’t mention that in his post.
Weinberg should drop the pretense; he discriminates against certain blogs on the basis of political affiliation. End of story.
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