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Is Ward Churchill too dumb to teach our kids?

By J.J. Jackson
web posted July 30, 2007

Last week Ward Churchill was fired by the University of Colorado.  The university apparently decided that they should finally look into the man that they have allowed to run rampant around their campus and found that this was a man who stole the work of others (plagiarized), concocted events which he later passed off as "history", and committed other dubious acts of while within the world of academia.

Aside from what you think of his off the wall theories about how those that died in the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001, were nothing more than "little Eichmans", there is a more important question that needs to be asked.  That question is, is Ward Churchill too stupid to be teaching our children?

It's one thing to have ideas.  It's one thing to postulate and form thoughts.  But it is another to just be so disjointed from reality that you turn reality on its head.  As an example of this, Ward Churchill's attorney (who is also probably too stupid to be practicing law as well) rushed to the microphones after the verdict and decried the firing as a violation of Mr. Churchill's "First Amendment" rights.  He ignored his client's actions, some of which are actual crimes, and scurried off to the courts to file suit.

Now I know that as a college professor Ward Churchill is probably not very rooted in reality and he has apparently found good company in his lawyer.  It takes a person truly so far out in left field that they are sitting in the last row of bleachers to even come up with such a cockamamie idea.  It's not like the First Amendment is that hard to understand after all and I wonder if Mr. Churchill and his lawyer have been consulting Noam Chomsky on how to twist words.

Seriously, if one cannot understand the First Amendment should they be anywhere near the minds of our children, teaching them and being paid for it?

The First Amendment says, with regards to the freedom of speech, that "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech".  The Constitution further prohibits the states from doing this as well through the 14th Amendment which says, "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States".  Ok, so since the "freedom of speech" is a privilege granted in the Constitution that means the states cannot a law infringing on it either.

The University of Colorado is certainly an arm of the state.  It is state funded.  So the question must be asked; did the university infringed on Mr. Churchill's "free speech" rights by firing him?

Hmm.  Well it doesn't appear that they are preventing him from speaking.  I do not see anything in their firing that "abridges" his "freedom of speech".  Mr. Churchill can still speak.  He hasn't been whisked away to a gulag.  He just will no longer be allowed to "speak" on the taxpayer's dime.

Teachers are supposed to be mentors.  They are supposed to impart wisdom.  They are supposed to know more than their students.  But it appears that Ward Churchill cannot even read.  Now, considering the sorry state of our public education system in America these days, the fact that he seems to not have even a second grade knowledge of the English language might actually mean that he is more educated than many of his students.

The First Amendment does not say that the government must pay you for your opinion.  It does not say that it must supply you with a job in order to impart that opinion to others.  It does not even say that they must provide you with a platform at the expense of other taxpayers to tell people what your opinion is.  All it says is that the government cannot prevent you from speaking you opinion.  So if you are not smart enough to understand this how is it that you are smart enough to be influencing young skulls full of oatmeal?

And while we are on the subject of "rights" wouldn't Ward Churchill's argument, which basically boils down to that that the state must provide him with a platform from which to speak, violate the right of the people to associate freely?  If the people in charge of the University decide that they don't want Ward Churchill around, at what is supposed to be an institute of higher learning, shouldn't they be allowed that right?  Or is it Mr. Churchill's contention that rights exist only for him and not others?

Beyond the farce that someone has trampled on Mr. Churchill's "free speech" rights, we still have to remember that just because you are "free" to speak your mind does not mean you are "free" from the consequences of your actions.  There are long standing examples of this.  Even the Constitution makes a notable exception to "free speech" when it says that the government can punish you for what you say if it provides "aid and comfort" to the enemy.  It's called "treason".  Look it up.  Sure you can say it.  But you might not like the results.

And then there are the legal exceptions based on long standing precedent and libertarian values that if what you say does real and measurable harm you can also be held accountable by the law.  Oh, you can still say them, but you might not like the consequences.  Examples of this are slander, yelling "fire" in a crowded theater and lying under oath in a court of law.

The important thing to remember is that your "right" to your "freedom of speech" doesn't give you the right to be free from the repercussions of what you say.  If people want to shun you and not pay you because they find your opinions repugnant then that is their right as well.

And if you believe otherwise I fully expect that you will begin to immediately petitioning the government to provide me with a federally funded position and stipend to help spread the words I write and would love to speak before many more people.  About a million dollars should do it I think.  Please put the check in the mail tomorrow. ESR

J.J. Jackson is a libertarian conservative author who has been writing and promoting individual liberty since 1993 and is President of Land of the Free Studios, Inc. He is the lead editor of Conservative News & Opinion – The Land of the Free and also the owner of The Right Things – Conservative T-shirts & Gifts. His weekly commentary along with exclusives not available anywhere else can be found at http://www.libertyreborn.com


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