Professor Nathan Jun of Midwestern State University in Texas started a battle for free speech in Texas after a series of hateful comments on social media. Jun wears an Antifa t-shirt on social media and has fought against the police, capitalists and politicians. His views are extreme and offensive. They are also fully protected in my opinion. Much like the Louis Farrakhan ban discussed yesterday, Jun is the test of our true commitment to freedom of expression. In supporting this right to speak, we support the right of everyone, including the vast majority, who view Jun's comments as deeply disturbing and disgusting.
I recently testified in the Senate about Antifa and its growing popularity at our locations with both faculty and students, including my own campus. Antifa is an openly violent and vehemently anti-free speech movement – views that should make it an abomination for any intellectual or academic.
However, Jun is the face of Antifa: intolerant, intimidating, and angry. Even among extremists in Antifa, Jun is an outstanding member. He has called for the police to be abolished and inspired supporters to demand the killing of officials. Last month, KFDX noted comments from Jun including, "I want the whole world on fire until the last cop is strangled with the gut of the last capitalist who is strangled with the gut of the last politician."
The line was clearly a paraphrase of Denis Diderot's famous statement that "Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the bowels of the last priest."
Hundreds of people have supported Jun, including a student union who pointed out that resistance to his comments was the result of anti-Semitism and attacks on "otherism":
“(Dr. Jun) is not a terrorist or anything like that. He is of Polish Jewish descent and the grandson of Holocaust survivors. Given Dr. Jun we can't help but see the anti-Semitic overtones of an angry conservative mob in a region that is politically dominated by Protestant Christianity and Dr. Marks Jun as a hostile "other".
Aside from his hatred of police and capitalists, the interesting thing about this statement is Jun's desire to have a system without politicians. He said: “I long to live in a world where we no longer have police officers, no more capitalists and no more politicians. Because these are my political beliefs and I have them and I do not apologize for those beliefs. "
Of course, a system without politicians would mean a country without democratic processes. This seems to be a call for authoritarian rule or for the state to "die out" under Marxism. Friedrich Engels stated in Anti-Dühring:
The interference of state power in social relations becomes superfluous in one sphere after another and then ceases by itself. The government of people is replaced by the management of things and the direction of production processes. The state is not "abolished", it withers.
Again, such views should be fully protected. I see them as welcome on a campus where the diversity of ideas forms the basis for learning. Unfortunately, Jun's obvious hug from Antifa contradicts this variety of thoughts. We discussed the sweeping efforts, from classrooms to newsrooms, to impose a new orthodoxy in public discourse. Antifa encourages this movement by adding a threatening element of violence. It often tries to spark violent confrontations, especially with the police. All of this is part of achieving what Antifa calls "no platform" or denying people with opposing views the ability to be heard.
Dartmouth Professor Mark Bray, the author of a book entitled "Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook," is one of the main culprits for these protesters. Bray speaks favorably of the efforts to replace the traditional views on freedom of speech: “At the center of the anti-fascist view is the rejection of the classic liberal sentence, which says that I disapprove of your statements but will defend your right to death to death Say it. "He defines anti-fascists as" illiberal "who reject the notion that right-wing extremist views deserve to" coexist "with opposing views.
Jun's undisguised crushes come straight from the "Antifa Handbook". While supporting the best-known anti-free speech movement in the United States, Jun has denounced the university for failing to support his right to freedom of expression in finding money for GoFundMe:
“Throughout all of this, my employer has shown an extremely reckless disregard for my safety and well-being and made no effort to defend me (either privately or publicly) or to protect my rights more generally. Instead, the president of the university administration finally broke her long silence on the radio by sending me a terse email claiming that I have "violated the university's guidelines on academic freedom and responsibility" and implicitly threatened me with reprisals. when I continue to express myself publicly on issues of race and racism. "
Jun has objected that people are demanding his own death after demanding the death of every single police officer.
Indeed, aside from his glaring hypocrisy about freedom of speech, Jun is protected by both freedom of speech and academic freedom. The Foundation for Individual Rights to Education (FIRE) helped him and sent a letter to the President of the University of the Midwest, Suzanne Shipley, to defend his right to speak.
This month Shipley called nuns in a Facebook post on October 1, "hideous and disgusting" and "contrary to our institutional values". She added:
Please know this: We have spoken to the Texas Attorney General's office and they are receiving expert advice. We undertake to monitor this situation with their guidelines and will take decisive action if a limit is exceeded beyond the language protected by the first change. In addition, there are no students required to enroll or complete Professor Jun's courses. Alternatives are still made available now when the student requests them. "
As long as Jun speaks as a private person outside of school, I don't see the line being crossed. I just wish Jun showed the same tolerance of opposing views. Instead, he openly supported Antifa, which uses violence against speakers and colleagues as part of its “no platform” agenda. However, we must not let his hateful and hypocritical statements deter us from protecting the values that Antifa seeks to destroy. Ironically, his case could be important in promoting free speech against people like him. He can then continue to spit out his intolerant ideas and inspire followers with his violent ideas. Jun is the price we pay for free speech.