Sunday, December 16, 2007

Worth knowing: it's OK to beat up conservative students at Princeton
Tom Smith

BUT SEE . . . the incident discussed below has turned out to be a hoax.

Not a hate crime, just some affirmative reeducation.  But of course, as is usual when minority students are assaulted for their views, the reaction of the Princeton administration has been . . . oh, wait.  There seems not to have been much of a reaction by the Princeton University authorities.  Because?  Oh yes, of course.  The student beaten into unconsciousness was a Mormon, and a vocal member of a student society named after G.E.M. Anscombe, distinguished British Catholic philosopher and abortion opponent.  Thus Mr. Nava was very much a minority on the Princeton campus, but not the right sort of minority, and one who contributed an unwelcome sort of diversity.

Let me offer a compromise proposal.  Perhaps Princeton could offer their students, administrators, and faculty some workshops in which they explain how conservatives can be intimidated without actually beating them unconscious.  That sort of thing can cause permanent brain damage (and I'm not kidding; it really can) not to mention leave troubling physical evidence.  But waterboarding, properly administered, is terrifying, but causes no permanent physical damage.  On the other hand, historically speaking, Catholics can be very stubborn about this sort of thing, and I'm guessing Mormons are as well.  Well, then, why not just have an oath students have to take in which they have to eschew Catholic , Mormon and any similarly morally conservative views?  They used that in jolly old England for a while and it seemed to work.  It could be integrated into the usual freshman sensitivity training.

Among others threatened by email are the distinguished Catholic legal scholar and abortion opponent Robert George and recently- elected Rhodes Scholar Sherif Girgis.  Imagine, a scholar as distinguished as George being discriminated against for being a Catholic.  Well, at least we know something like that could never happen at a Catholic university. ;)

More here.

Via Instapundit.

THIS is good, from a column in the Princetonian:

Now, with the explicit death threats against Nava, Girgis, George and the others we see the escalation. Whoever is responsible seems to have gotten the message that it is open season on people who defend morally traditional views on our campus. It's time for the administration to send them a new message: the season is closed.

But the Princeton Administration did not act apparently, and then a student got beaten. (Any plaintiff's lawyers out there?) Allow me to say something serious here:  One student has been seriously beaten.  Others, including an internationally famous scholar, have been threatened.  Now would be a really good time, Oh Princeton Tiger, to do something:  to signal unambiguously that the open season on conservatives is officially closed.

I might also suggest that a nice letter from some high officials in the LDS church to the president of Princeton, or better yet, a phone call, might be a good idea.  Or even better, a call from Senator Hatch.  They like Senators at Princeton.

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Tom Smith


I'm opposed to violence and the use of it for nearly all political ends. This is obviously wrong and tragic. But I would note that I'm about 95% sure that Robbie George agrees with his mentor John Finnis that the _only_ reason why just war theory doesn't call for the murdering of abortion providers and others working at clinics is that the "likelihood of success" criterion isn't met, and that if it was then it would be justified, even perhaps required, to murder them. Perhaps this group has tried the same calculation and found it to their liking?

Posted by: Matt | Dec 16, 2007 7:40:34 AM

Wow, Matt, that's quite a feat of psychological analysis on Mr. George. Tell me, how many hours of face-to-face sessions with Mr. George were required for you to be able to state so unequivocally that he is itching to openly support murder and is held in check only by the notion it might not be effective. I mean, that's just an astounding bit of mind reading on your part! You should be working for the CIA!

Posted by: John | Dec 16, 2007 7:52:18 AM

So, the conservatives are just getting what they deserved, eh Matt?

Posted by: Joel Mackey | Dec 16, 2007 7:57:09 AM

No no no, clearly, this upstanding fellow is just making a pre-emptive strike. Any minute now, these darn conservatives are going to show their true colors and go on the offensive, stealing our civil rights and foisting a theocracy on us. They're dangerous!

Yessirree, any minute now.

Liberals are just doing it to conservatives before conservatives do it to them (kinda like how democrats are just "using the same dirty tricks republicans have been using for years, but nobody knew about them because all that right-winged media refused to report it.)

Posted by: Vadept | Dec 16, 2007 8:35:27 AM

Have those replying to my remark read George or Finnis? I rather doubt it. I have- quite a bit. Finnis is not shy about holding this view- it was stated in a seminar, in particular. George's views are very similar to Finnis's and what I've read of him on this subject strongly suggests he holds a similar view. It's a view I find pretty repulsive- that abortion workers deserve to be murdered and it's only prudential reasons that tell against it. I find it repulsive in part because I think that violence against one's political enemies is almost always wrong. The case discussed above is clearly a case that was wrong, as should have been clear from my remark above. (The idea that 'they deserved it' is pure projection on the part of Joel, quite clearly.) The point of my remark was only that advocacy of violence for political ends is not a particular liberal or left vice, though you'd not know that, nor know that many leading conservative intellectuals (let alone media figures) regularly advocate it by reading accounts like this one.

Posted by: Matt | Dec 16, 2007 12:31:32 PM


I've found George's satirical 1994 remarks (google for "Killing Abortionists: A Symposium"). Do you have more references?

Posted by: Tom | Dec 16, 2007 4:42:03 PM


If you ever seriously studied the work of Finnis or R. George, you would know how silly your assertion is. Your attempt to create an equivalence of sorts is dreadfully misguided.

Posted by: humblelawstudent | Dec 16, 2007 6:41:01 PM

Your headline is really misleading and disingenuous. Nobody implied that it's "OK" to beat up conservatives here at Princeton. Liberal students as well as conservative students are equally outraged that such a thing would happen. Besides, there are so many conservatives at Princeton that a liberal mob trying to beat up the conservatives wouldn't get very far...

I think the only difference in reaction between liberal and conservative students in that while everyone thinks what happened is terrible, the conservatives are readily using it as an excuse to play their perennial persecuted martyr card, while the liberals are hoping that its a hoax to expose how that the conservatives actually are crazy. Both responses are inappropriate.

Posted by: Bryan | Dec 16, 2007 9:55:14 PM

"It's time for the administration to send them a new message: the season is closed."

I've got a better message - "you're going to jail"

Posted by: bandit | Dec 17, 2007 5:29:45 AM

I think the whole thing has now been shown to be a hoax, but I'd still like to see a citation for Matt's claim - on either Finnis or George. I mean, I'm sure it will be easy, since he's read lots of Finnis and read "of George" as well.

Posted by: Michael Simpson | Dec 17, 2007 11:21:54 AM

I just saw this on the Daily Princetonian website with the headline "Nava '09 admits to fabricating assault, threatening e-mails":

Posted by: Adam Kolber | Dec 17, 2007 11:25:47 AM

The Daily Princetonian website article that debunks this story is dated two days earlier than this blog entry. Some fact checking prior to posting this stuff might be in order.

Posted by: Sol Rosenberg | Dec 17, 2007 12:32:02 PM

Don't hold your breath, Sol. Conservatives have too much invested in their victimhood.

The Daily Princetonian reports:

Francisco Nava '09 has admitted to fabricating an alleged assault on him that he said occurred Friday evening and also to sending threatening emails to himself, other members of the Anscombe Society and prominent conservative politics professor Robert George, Princeton Township Police said today.

"He fabricated the story," Det. Sgt. Ernie Silagyi said.

Nava was released to Public Safety and charges "have not been filed pending further investigation," according to a statement from Township Police.

Posted by: rolly | Dec 17, 2007 12:47:03 PM

The update is a pathetic attempt to sidestep the absurdity of Tom Smith's original post. The sheer self-pity on the Right, when you pair it to the amount of power the Right wields, is astonishing.

Posted by: tomjproudamerican | Dec 17, 2007 6:41:21 PM

Commentors Sol and rolly are wrong about the timing of the story.
The time stamps on the Princetonian story are incorrect. The hoax story did not break Friday night. Instapundit corrected his story as soon as he got the news, and so did I.

Posted by: Tom Smith | Dec 18, 2007 3:18:44 PM