By now LewRockwell.com readers are aware of how Google ended the site’s ability to generate advertising revenue to support its functions. They are hoping that this will kill of LewRockwell.com once and for all. One of the accusations by the anonymous Google totalitarians was that the site spreads “misinformation” about COVID, vaccine mandates, etc. This is a familiar Leninist censorship tactic to those of us who have experienced or observed the smears, lies, and libel campaigns of the campus Left over the past several decades. The following is a brief example from my own experience.
About twelve years ago Walter Block gave a fabulous speech, at my invitation, to a group of students at Loyola University Maryland. His topic was the economics of discrimination, and he presented a state-of-the-art rendition of a topic that is in all the economics textbooks. Two Nobel laureates in economics – Gary Becker and Kenneth Arrow — wrote books with the title, “The Economics of Discrimination.”
Walter provided voluminous examples, statistics, and studies explaining how, if an employer discriminated by race or gender (paying equally-qualified minorities and women less than whites), then competition would punish them for it by creating a profit opportunity for their competitors. For example, a woman who can produce say, $100,000/year in sales but is paid $50,000 as opposed to her equally productive male counterpart who is paid $80,000 will gladly accept a job offer from a rival who offers to pay her $70,000 (and still make $30,000 on the deal). Then another competitor may offer her $80,000, etc., because there’s money to be made in doing so.
Walter Block did not say that discrimination does not exist, only the very mainstream argument, first articulated by his old Columbia University dissertation chairman Gary Becker, that free-market competition tends to diminish it. The same logic applies to racial discrimination in wages.
Walter committed two “sins” in the eyes of the campus Left: 1) He insinuated that all black people are not in a hopeless situation that can only be solved by more quotas, set-asides, and treatment of them like helpless infants under the protection of their white saviors, the campus and political Left. And 2) The free market, or capitalism, can solve the problem.
The “social justice” mob on campus (aka, the Marxist, lunatic Left) had their heads explode. The university president, one Brian Linnane, sent an email to all faculty, staff, students, alumni, janitors, and everyone else, essentially calling Walter Block a racist and apologizing for his “insensitive” speech. He never said what it was that was “insensitive,” cowardly refusing to even respond to an inquiry from the Baltimore Sun about it.
Then when I met with the academic vice president to discuss his boss’s act of libel, one Timothy Law Snyder told me that in addition to these “sins,” Walter had spread “misinformation.” Over the years I have learned that his is an essential part of the Marxist Left’s censorship playbook. They can’t just come out and say that they are totalitarians who want to abolish the First Amendment and academic freedom, which of course they do. Instead, the first smear, libel, and character assassinate those with whom they disagree, and then the accuse them of “spreading misinformation” to make it appear that they are only pursing the truth.
I told Snyder at that meeting that, first of all, I disagreed that anything Walter said was “misinformation,” and second, even if it was, so what? I said to him that there would be no such thing as intellectual debate if nothing that was said on college campuses was ever incorrect. He looked at me with a confused look on his face and asked me to repeat what I had just said. I had apparently caught in off guard and painted him into a corner in front of his lapdog flunky business school dean who was also in the room.
The “social justice” communists at Loyola University Maryland had also organized the usual group of lower-I.Q. undergraduates to go online and pile on the smear campaign against Walter Block. I asked Snyder, “Who around here is teaching our students that it is appropriate to respond to someone with whom they disagree with libel, slander, and character assassination?” He did not answer because the answer is obvious: He and his boss, the university president, were responsible for it.
All of this was conducted from the perspective of the popular campus Leftist theory of “oppressive tolerance,” associated with the Marxist professor Herbert Marcuse. In the 1860s Marcuse wrote that only the “oppressed” deserve freedom of speech because free speech is a tool of the “oppressor class.” The “oppressor class” is white heterosexual non-Leftist males; the “oppressed class” is essentially everyone else. This is the cornerstone ideology of “cultural Marxism.”
Students at Loyola University and just about everywhere else have been taught that, because of this Marxist superstition, when they engage in acts of censorship, libel, slander, character assassination, and even violence, they are taking the moral high road. This idea is now pervasive in American society thanks to the university Leftists.
A number of cowardly and immoral members of the Loyola University economics department, apparently desperate to curry favor with the administration, collaborated with the libelous smear of Walter Block by pretending to add some intellectual credence to the “misinformation” accusation. Even though only two of them were actually at the lecture, the administration bullied a dozen or so of them into writing a letter in the school newspaper apologizing for Walter’s appearance on campus and his allegedly “misinformative” lecture. (They dishonestly signed the letter “The Economics Department” even though I certainly did not sign it and neither did the department chairman, Father Hank Hilton, S.J.). To make their case they cited a passage in a textbook by James Gwartney and Richard Stroup on the economics of discrimination that makes an egregious error in its use of statistics and econometrics. The passage said if the independent variables in an econometric model of black/white wage differences explained say, 70 percent of the differences, it is legitimate to assert that the other 30 percent is all explained by discrimination. Now, in the language of econometrics that 30 percent is called “unexplained variance.” It is call that because it is, well unexplained by the model. To simply pluck from thin air one thing and assert that it explains all of the unexplained variance is intellectual fraud. Moreover, this had nothing to do with what Walter Block actually said. Professor Stephen
Walters was the only faculty member who used that textbook, so it is likely that this was his doing. I mentioned this to Snyder, who holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton and is probably familiar with the field of statistics, but got no reaction. And it’s a sure be that he saw and may have even personally edited the letter before it was published in the school newspaper. (He is now the president of Loyola Marymount University).
The point of this whole story is that the attacks on free speech that get more outrageous every day, including the attack on LewRockwell.com by Google, come from an evil brew of cultural Marxism that has been simmering in the academic world since at least the 1980s. Generations of college students have been indoctrinated in it, presumably below their parents’ radars. Millions of American parents have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars per child in university room, board and tuition to have them turned into uneducated, opinionated, sanctimonious little communists – in the image of the professors and university administrators who filled their heads with such totalitarian tripe. They are now off working at Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc., armed with their “prestigious” gender studies degrees. (If a college major has the word “studies” in it, you know it is fraudulent).
This is also why the Hillary Clinton campaign initiated “Factcheck.org” and other similar Left-wing online “fact checkers” – to discredit (and smear) their political opponents. How bizarre that in America people could be led to believe that some guy who works for Hillary Clinton and the Demo-Bolshevik party could be thought of as the sole source of all human truth and knowledge just because he calls himself “factcheck.org.” Who will fact check the fact checkers?
America has reached the road to serfdom. In his famous book by that title F.A. Hayek warned, in a chapter entitled “The End of Truth,” that “The moral consequences of totalitarian propaganda . . .are . . . of an even more profound kind. They are destructive of all morals because they undermine one of the foundations of all morals: the sense of and the respect for truth” (p. 155).
In 1944 Hayek wrote that in totalitarian societies “the whole apparatus for spreading knowledge – the schools and the press, radio and motion picture – will be used exclusively to spread those views which, whether true or false, will strengthen the belief in the rightness of the decisions taken by the authority; and all information that might cause doubt or hesitation will be withheld” (emphasis added, p. 160). We are now increasingly in that position.
Hayek also warned that in the academic disciplines of history, law, and economics, “the disinterested search for truth cannot be allowed in a totalitarian system” and noted that in the totalitarian countries of his day these disciplines had become “the most fertile factories of the official myths which the rulers use to guide the minds and wills of their subjects” (p 161). Official myths like the notion that competitive capitalism cannot reduce the degree of racial discrimination in hiring and pay policies).
And, “The word ‘truth’ itself in totalitarian societies “ceases to have its old meaning. It describes no longer something to be found, with the individual conscience as the sole arbiter of whether in any particular instance the evidence (or the standing of those proclaiming it) warrants a belief; it becomes something to be laid down by authority” (emphasis added, p. 163).
“Intolerance, too, is openly extolled” in totalitarian societies, Hayek wrote on page 164, a perfect description of today’s universities (with very few exceptions) and certainly at corporations like Google. Even “science writers,” Hayek wrote, will defend the craziest, false ideas “when it protects a rising class.” Anthony Fauci would be Exhibit A of this phenomenon in today’s America. It is views like this that “led the Nazis to the persecution of men of science, the burning of scientific books, and the systematic eradication of the intelligentsia of the subjected people.” All of the censorship by Google, Facebook, other “Tech” communists, and above all, by so many of the universities, makes the Nazi book burning look absolutely trivial by comparison.