A Forum for Vigorous Debate, Cornerstone of Democracy

[For the journal (guidelines, focus, etc.), go to www.theamericandissident.org ]. If you have questions, please contact me at todslone@hotmail.com.
Encouraged censorship and self-censorship seem to have become popular in America today. Those who censor others, not just self, tend to favor the term "moderate," as opposed to "censor" and "moderation" to "censorship." But that doesn't change what they do. They still act as Little Caesars or Big Brother protectors of the thin-skinned. Democracy, however, demands a tough populace, not so easily offended. On this blog, and to buck the trend of censorship, banning, and ostracizing, comments are NEVER "moderated." Rarely (almost NEVER) do the targets of these blog entries respond in an effort to defend themselves with cogent counter-argumentation. This blog is testimony to how little academics, poets, critics, newspaper editors, cartoonists, political hacks, cultural council apparatchiks, librarians et al appreciate VIGOROUS DEBATE, cornerstone of democracy. Clearly, far too many of them could likely prosper just fine in places like communist China and Cuba or Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Russia, not to mention Sweden, England, and Austria.

More P. Maudit cartoons (and essays) at Global Free Press: http://www.globalfreepress.org

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Charles Blow

The Press… Not So Free… Thanks to the Press
“The Enemy of the People Is Ignorance” was the title presented on the front page of the New York Times and without mention of the author.  So, I clicked on it.  The title became “Defending the Free Press” with the subtitle:  “Expression, and the right to publish it, is a human right. And yet, President Trump continues to disregard this.”  Likely, I would not have clicked on the article if I’d known propagandist (i.e., opinion columnist) Charles Blow was the author, and it was yet another anti-Trump screed.
Blow’s article begins with “The media is not the enemy of the people. The enemy of the people is ignorance — obliviousness to truth, ignoring it or having incredulity about it.  There is no way to have a functioning democracy without a thriving press.”  Well, that sounds fine, BUT until the press takes a long hard look into the mirror, its credibility will continue to shrivel.  Perhaps the “enemy of the people” has also become egregious press bias and all the news that fits the press anti-Trump narrative.  Well, Pravda, the press, certainly thrived in the former Soviet Union.  Thus a “thriving press” certainly does not guarantee a “functioning democracy” at all.  
Egregious bias has certainly killed Blow’s credibility as an objective journalist… and shouldn’t journalists be objective, opinion columnists or whatever?  Does Blow present anything new in his article or simply more of the same ole Pravda-like propaganda?  And by congratulating the press, Blow of course congratulates himself, arguing that “One of the great missions of the press is to hold power accountable by revealing what those in power would rather hide. Corruption depends on concealment. Accountability hinges on disclosure.”  One might ask whether or not the press, Blow included, did that regarding Obama and Hillary, during their reign of power, and also now regarding Spy Gate.   Why not hold press power accountable by revealing what stories editors and journalists in power would rather hide and do not report?  
Blow continues his encomium:  “A free and fearless press is the greatest ally to a free and prosperous people. And, the kind of dogged, unrelenting pressure that reporting requires demands a professional press. People who can make a living and feed a family as they labor away ferreting out the truth.  And, I speak here liberally about the profession, from cable news to YouTube, from a big city daily to a blog.”  He cites statistics, as if somehow they were decisive and inevitably reflected reality.   
The problem of course is whether or not the press is really free or can be free when it is so egregiously biased.  And how can such bias reflect well on a so-called “professional press”?  And what about journalists like Blow, who become millionaires by pushing NOT the rude (career-damaging) truth, but rather the press party-line as in victim and without fault?  And how do we have democracy when only elite privileged journalists like Blow get to express their opinions week after week, whereas plebes like I do not?  And why does Blow not even mention the trend of YouTube, FaceBook and Twitter censorship, as if it weren’t even occurring?  Instead, he states in full willful ignorance, “He [Trump] has threatened Facebook, Google and Twitter, saying they’re ‘treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful,’ whatever that means.”  Yes, whatever that means…
Then Blow gets down to the real purpose of his column:  “No one loves a catchphrase more than Trump.  He loves labeling. He loves to yoke his enemies with silly, derisive monikers, to reduce perceived weakness to bumper sticker legibility.”  Now, if only we could get Blow and his press colleagues to look in the mirror at their own “silly, derisive monikers,” from nazi, racist, anti-semite, islamophobe, white supremacist, and “beastly base.”  What flaming hypocrites!  
Blow argues, “The weaker the media, the strong [sic] the demagogue. The road to authoritarianism winds its way through darkness.”  Well, one could also easily argue that the stronger the media (think Pravda or the BBC), the stronger the authoritarian ideology (think multiculti-diversity-identity politics) it supports and the road to that winds its way through the media itself and state education.
Blow argues, “He [Trump] wants to so blur the line between truth and lies that he’s exhausted our stamina for discernment.”  It seems again that the media, Blow included, is unable to focus on its own blurring of the line between truth and lies, as in Covington, Russian collusion, and islamophiliac delusion.  Surprisingly, Blow in his conclusion argues that the media is not perfect, though in a far too general, thus not really damning, way, failing to inculpate himself with any particulars at all.  

I understand all the issues people have with media.  I understand how damaging it is to the public faith and to the institutional — and professional — reputation when a media outlet or even multiple outlets in concert get it wrong. I understand the issues around the appearance and presence of bias. I understand how disconcerting it is that mainstream media is a public trust, but mainstream media companies are also corporate entities.  I understand all of that, but I also know that we will cease to be truly free if ever the day comes when the free press is cowed.

Well, that day, the one Blow seems to fear, usually comes periodically whenever Democrats are in power and the so-called free press having endorsed them, becomes perhaps not cowed, but rather fully kowtowed and ever laudatory.  Moreover, to “understand,” as Blow says he does, is by no means an effort to address let alone work to solve those festering problems, which inevitably results in a not-so free press.  The enemy of the people is ignorance.  But then ignorance is bliss.  And the press seems to want to keep the people—well, half of the people—blissful with its continuous flow of propaganda.  So, the enemy of the people, well the other half of the people, is the press.  In other words, it’s a wee bit more complicated than the left-wing’s Trump bad/press good press mantra…

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Jennifer Bardi

Notes on the Religion of Humanism—
An Inhumanist Critique of The Humanist
Wikipedia defines “humanism” as “a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence over acceptance of dogma or superstition.”  The Humanist, “a magazine of critical inquiry and social concern,” adds to that definition “hip and high-brow humanism for the modern freethinker,” which inevitably results in a highly-subjective, thus self-protective, definition.  And so, what might happen when a freethinker dares to actually criticize the magazine and its editor?  Perhaps that would  automatically render him or her insufficiently hip, insufficiently high-brow, and insufficiently modern.  And, of course, quite unsurprisingly, the editor in full disdain for democracy, will NOT respond. 
After leafing through three issues of The Humanist, which I’d picked up in a library free magazine box, I inevitably concluded that humanism had been coopted and oddly become a sort of PC-religion for those who purportedly rejected religion.  Humanism, at least that espoused by the magazine, which was an organ of the American Humanist Association, had clearly become an echo of Democrat-Party ideology—black good/white bad identity politics, white-privilege BS, prisoners good/cops bad, global warming fact/not theory, hate Trump ranting, cultural appropriation, transgender bathroom issues, and of course racism, racism, racism ad nauseam.  
The Humanist would have at least been honest if it had instead called itself The DNC, “a magazine of critical ideology and socialist leaning.”  Alas, how can ideologues possibly be honest?  And so, we have members and followers—not real individuals—, conferences, and of course Humanists of the Year, Humanist Arts Award and Feminist Humanist Award recipients.  Ijeoma Oluo was the black-privilege recipient of the latest FHA, who, according to the white Editor-in-Chief of the magazine and Deputy Director of the American Humanist Association, Jennifer Bardi, “challenges white humanists to do the hard work of addressing privilege in order to change the system that so benefits us…”  Original statement… or rather just more PC, where privileged people of one color yack about privileged people of another color?  How exciting!  
“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Turns Seventy” is the one article that really grabbed my attention.  It appeared in the December issue and was written by Duane Paul Murphy (Fall 2018 editorial intern at the American Humanist Association).  Its egregious omission of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) mind-boggling decision in October against Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff and Article 19 of the UDHR is shameful, to say the least!  How could Murphy possibly have ignored that horrendous decision, especially since he quoted Article 19?  

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression:  this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Why did The Humanist remain silent regarding that egregious omission?  Well, perhaps ISLAM is the reason.  “The Court found [in conclusion that in the instant case] the domestic courts carefully balanced the applicant's right to freedom of expression with the rights of others to have their religious feelings protected […],” noted the ECtHR, which determined that “religious feelings” of Muslims trumped freedom of speech.  Sabaditsch-Wolff rightly argued with that regard: 

In other words, my right to speak freely is less important than protecting the religious feelings of others.  This should ring warning bells for my fellow citizens across the continent. We should all be extremely concerned that the rights of Muslims in Europe NOT to be offended are greater than my own rights, as a native European Christian woman, to speak freely.  I am proud to be the woman who has raised this alarm.  

Sadly, the ECtHR decision did not ring warning bells at all to DNC, uh, humanist ideologues.  Murphy, hypocritically, concluded his article:  “Humanists must show solidarity in acting to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and continually define and protect human rights and civil liberties for all people.”  Yeah, sure, but what about Sabaditsch-Wolff’s rights and liberties?   And why precisely did my poem, “A Post-Mortem Poem for Maren Ueland and Louisa Vesterager Jespersen,” not suit the “editorial needs” of The Humanist?  Both Ueland and Jespersen were tortured, raped, and beheaded by Islamist haters of Article 19 in Morocco.  What about their rights and liberties?  Silence!  BTW, that poem was rejected less than one hour after I’d sent a satirical cartoon to Bardi, depicting her swearing allegiance to the DNC.  Thin skin?  Perhaps The Humanist ought to add that to its definition of humanism, as in Gen-X thin skin. 
Perhaps also it is time that religion be defined as ANY ideology, including humanism, where fact and reason are rejected whenever they might challenge the doctrine in question, as well as the doctrine’s partisans.  In conclusion, so much unoriginal PC-echoing vibrates intrinsically throughout The Humanist.    Will the editor-in-chief respond to this critique, that is, with something more substantial than “doesn't suit our editorial needs” and “We wish you the best in placing it elsewhere and thank you again for thinking of us”?  Ideologues hate debate.  Ideologues hate freedom of speech.  As a life-time atheist, who rejects ideology, including that of the DNC, what might I be?  Well, I can’t be a humanist because humanists embrace that ideology.  Perhaps I am therefore an inhumanist?     

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Gaston Bellemare

I sketched this cartoon in 2001 or thereabouts.  In Quebec, Bellemare is the King of Poetry... and doesn't even write poetry.  Criticize the thin-skinned fucker as I did--the only poet out of 150 invited poets to dare do that, and be banned for life from his Festival international de la poesie de Trois-Rivieres.  No matter.  Rather be banned for life, than be a common poet sellout... in line with the herd of Quebecois poet sellouts...

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Dwight Garner and Chelsey Minnis

Both Garner and Minnis surround themselves with the buffered walls of elitists.  Their email addresses are not available to the common public, so I could not send the following to them.  And one day, perhaps sooner than later, the following will not be available on the Internet.  And the great cleavage between the elite and the plebes will be complete.  


Gibberish on a Silver Platter—
Clarity, the Great Taboo in Poetry
(My Wake-up Gift to National Poetry Month)
If a Pulitzer Prize* for gibberish were to be awarded, it ought to go to Dwight Garner of the New York Times for his gibberish encomium of gibberish poetry.  “In ‘Baby I Don’t Care,’ Drole and Fierce Poems Influenced by Film Noir,” Garner praises ad nauseam poet Chelsey Minnis.  One ought to wonder what provokes those like Garner to select the books/authors they select.  What are their biases?  One might suspect high-brow inanity to constitute one of Garner’s.  (BTW, in 2015, I wrote "Review of an Unusually Lame Review," unpublishable of course, regarding a different laudatory review written by Garner on establishment poet Charles Simic.)  
Fluff flurry of words to the point of gibberish characterizes Garner’s style, which certainly must be well appreciated by readers of the New York Times, as well as publishers, of course.  An interesting caveat, though not mentioned as a caveat, appears after the title of the review:  “Buy Book.  When you purchase an independently reviewed book through our site, we earn an affiliate commission.”  “Independently reviewed”?  Well, one would have to follow the money to make that determination!  Indeed, how much is the Times paying Garner for his review and how much “affiliate commission” is it getting?  How can that possibly be deemed “independent”?  And how can a review be negative?  Wouldn’t such a review inevitably lower the Times’ “affiliate commission”?  Why don’t/can’t other poets and readers question and challenge, as I do here?  Why have such citizens become a mass of open-wide-and-swallow robotons of thought, or rather non-thought?  That is the question.  Well, I digress… or sort of.
As a caveat, I did not read Chelsey Minnis’ book of so-called poetry and thanks to Garner’s so-called review, I will NOT be reading that book.  So, this is not a review of that book, but rather a review of Garner’s review of that book.  Are reviews of reviews even permitted in establishment poetry and writing circles?  Likely not!  After all, I have yet to see any such reviews published or mentioned in establishment literary journals and the media.  In any case, Garner begins his “review” with—surprise!—gibberish:  

Some poets are cutters, others are curers, showing up to every occasion like a condolence-wisher with a casserole.  Chelsey Minnis is firmly in the first category.  Her verse arrives well chilled. It is served with misanthropic aplomb.  

So, what does that even mean?  Minnis is a “cutter” of “well-chilled” verse.  Hmm.  Brilliant use of vocabulary?  But shouldn’t a “cutter” instead be a poet who cuts those like Garner and other such hacks of the poetry establishment?  If not, then what is being cut?  After all, to cut nonsense with nonsense is not really cutting at all!  Or is it?  And so, Garner quotes Minnis’ cutting verse, praising that  “Minnis is endlessly quotable, so one has to work hard not to quote her endlessly.”

I love to go to bed sober, 
which means I have to start drinking early.
I like it when two men take off their dinner jackets and fight
Next time you see me, I’ll be crashing Rolls-Royces.

Who, in reality, except the well-paid Garners, would ever quote such a verse?  And one must ask why poets like Minnis spend so much time writing meaningless crap.  Why don’t they instead, at least now and then, risk something by writing a poem or two highly critical of the academic/poetry establishment, Garner included?  Well, the reason is that Minnis was hatched from the establishment itself (University of Colorado in Boulder and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop).  And so, Garner lauds (and more readers “Buy Book”):  “one of the most unusual and persuasive books of poems I’ve read in some time […]” and “she’s a provocative thinker about gender and poetry and the erotics of dislike.”  
Yes, the “erotics of dislike,” unless of course dislike of the poetry establishment, Garner included.   To support his statement, Garner quotes the poet:  “Sometimes I try to please someone that I hate … / So that I can enjoy a range of satisfactions.”  Provocative?  How is any of that even remotely “provocative”?  “Her poems marinate in the sort of feelings you don’t like to admit you have,” states Garner.  But how does elite reviewer Garner know what kind of “feelings” we don’t like to admit we have?  Mind-numbing!  Does he really think everyone thinks like he does?    
And Garner eulogizes ad vacuitas, of course:  “In much of her early work, the poems comprise clusters of words that float in fields of ellipses, to intense if slippery effect. These ellipses function like cosmic versions of Emily Dickinson’s dashes.  At times, in ways both comic and deadly earnest, Minnis can seem like Dickinson broadcasting from hell.”  Hell in the fields of ellipses!  Oh, my!  I’m shaking in my boots!   Then somehow Minnis, hatched from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, is a dissident!  Garner supports this odd thought by quoting from “Bad Bad,” which “reads like a dissident manifesto”:  

People say “nothing new” or “the death of the author” but, I am new and I am not dead.
If anyone thinks they need to write reviews, teach classes, edit magazines, or translate books in order to write good poetry … then maybe they should just take a rest from it.
Poetry is for crap since there’s no money or fast cars in it … 
But, in the thighs … I feel it.
You should not fall in love with your mentor, but you should try to punish him with your poems.
I fell in love with my mentor like a novice … 
I was a nude girl on a fire truck ringing a bell.
I cannot write poems to honor other poets … 
I do not think of them at all.
I am only sentimental about my drinks …
I will tell you what is poetry … 
It is a remote electronic claw picking up a stuffed bunny rabbit …
It is like bleeding from your anus in the snow.

Some dissident, eh?!  Solzhenitsyn ought to be rolling in his grave!  “Even better, Minnis may not be glad of this review,” argues Garner, as if Minnis didn’t want to sell any books at all.  To support his affirmation, he cites Minnis.  

I want to write a poem because I don’t feel very boring!
But I will feel like a stuffed leopard because of the praise.

Let me give you my feedback.
My feedback is arf arf arf.

Well, at least, that’s better feedback than the general silence of the lambs, or rather poet academics, that I usually receive.  Garner concludes his so-called review with a final desperate publisher pitch:  “Let’s say you haven’t bought a book of poetry in some time. ‘Baby, I Don’t Care’ and the reissues from Fence Books could make you come back. You could start here.”  Yes, “Buy Book,”  “Buy Book”!!!  

*It is truly amazing how the elite intellectual-establishment ream-fillers never—never, never, never!—wonder what the biases of the judge anointer-selectors might be.  Indeed, just state “Pulitzer” and the indoctrinated intellectuals open wide and swallow.  BTW, I’d send this to Garner, but he surrounds himself with a well-buffered wall like all elites.  Email address not available… 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Maren Ueland and Louisa Vesterager Jespersen

The following poem was rejected by The Humanist magazine because it did not meet editor-in-chief Jennifer Barda's "editorial needs."  How odd for a purported human rights advocate!   Where to send such a poem?  Well, I published it in the current issue of The American Dissident, #37.  So, that's where.

A Post-Mortem Poem 
For Maren Ueland and Louisa Vesterager Jespersen
Their naivete is nothing less than breathtaking.
               —Bruce Bawer

The silence of the journalists astounds
—the free press is a bullshit slogan,
bellowed by enchained ideologues,
blind to the horrors hollered into their ears…
While hunting again in vain for news on the story,
not an iota to be found in the New York Times 
or Washington Post or Boston Globe or or or,
just the echo of Khashoggi ad nauseam and of course
more Hogg news—the high school kid
with the loudmouth soon to be at Harvard.
And this morning, I read another account of the horror, but
only in the alt-press, while the Times published Jen Gunter’s
dopey vagina crap:  “One year ago I wrote about my vagina 
and men’s opinions of it.  Things have not improved.”  Wow.
Offended I am… by the hypocrites and fluff writers of the press!
Offended I am… by the purposeful cecity of poets and artists!
Offended I am… by the CAIR muslims infiltrating in sheep’s clothing!
Offended I am… by the money that easily turns eyes so goddamn blind!
“You need to see that woman lying on her stomach,” wrote
an unmoderated voice, “after having been gang raped, 
not moving or speaking presumably too terrified and emotionally 
ruined to even whimper and then crying out in pure agony 
as they rip her throat out with a knife.”
But I have not yet watched; I’m not ready to have that in my skull.
“You need to see them turn her over on her back and put a foot 
on her head to keep her still as they saw her head off while 
her hand weakly tries to grasp for help…”
The journalists have not yet watched either, but they’re journalists!
And the journalists have decided to erase the event, for it might
soil and tarnish the “religion of peace,” to quote dear ex-leader.
For those innocent and fragile young women, butchered by Islamists,
we must watch, all of us must watch, we must witness the last breath
and not let it be hidden from the public eye by the overseers of society.
And so, I watch; and so, I watch, and so, will you watch?  Will college students 
like Hogg watch?  Will the politicians like Obama watch? Will the professors watch?
Will the journalists finally watch?  And if not, then they are not really journalists, 
but rather lowly propagandists pushing Pravda platitudes.

The silence of the journalists astounds
—the free press is a bullshit slogan
                                 bellowed by enchained ideologues
                                                               blind to the horrors hollered into their ears…
NB:  Humans devoid of compassion, devoid of soul, do exist.  They are here:  

Friday, April 12, 2019

Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman, Inside Higer Ed

To Censor or Not to Censor—Notes from the Censored
An Examination of Inside Higher Education’s Comment Policy
…the thing that I come to—I used this phrase on TV the other day—the rise of the “but brigade.” I got so sick of the goddamn but brigade.  And now the moment somebody says ‘Yes I believe in free speech, but,” I stop listening.  “I believe in free speech, but people should behave themselves.” “I believe in free speech, but we shouldn’t upset anybody.” “I believe in free speech, but let’s not go too far.”  The point about it is, the moment you limit free speech, it’s not free speech.
          —Salman Rushdie, post Charlie Hebo massacre

Higher education should, more than anything else, be a bulwark for freedom of speech and vigorous debate, cornerstones of democracy.  Instead, it’s become a bulwark for moderated speech and limited debate.  Censorship is bad.  Authoritarians thrive on censorship.  The more censorship they can get away with, the more power they’ll have.  Authoritarians know the term is bad, so have developed a euphemism for it:  moderate or moderation.  Far too many websites (the sign of the times), educational or other, contain a warning that comments will be “moderated” prior to being posted.  Is “moderated” speech free speech?  Certainly not!  It is controlled speech.  Period.  

Today, the warning of moderation has become a plague on freedom of speech and vigorous debate.  It encourages self-censorship and discourages the courage to express ones opinions and ideas.  It is shameful that the bulk of academics either are proponents of it or dare not question and challenge it.  The rules of moderation are normally quite vague, thus allotting more power to authoritarians who choose to censor.  Inside Higher Ed is itself a euphemism for Inside Moderated Ed.  Sadly, Inside Higher Ed, an online journal of news and “moderated” opinions pertinent to higher education, is, after all, part of what Salman Rushdie decried as the anti-free-speech “BUT brigade” (see quote above).  Editors Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman note in their “Comment Policy”:

By its very design and nature as a freely accessible source of news and information about higher education, Inside Higher Ed embraces the small-d democracy of open access (with the occasional messiness that comes with it). But [my emphasis] the conversation into which we invite our readers has its limits—our editors moderate it, using their judgment—and participation in it carries with it some responsibility.

“Their judgement” constitutes a euphemism for “their ideological limitations.”  The “but” is, of course, quite vague.  In fact, vagueness is the key, for it allows fully subjective determinations by authoritarians, often faceless apparatchiks employed by authoritarians.  Normally, as in the case of IHE, their determinations cannot be challenged.  There is simply no mechanism in place to challenge them.  Jaschik and Lederman conclude their “comment policy” by stating  

"Due to the volume of comments on the site, we are not able to respond to individual inquiries regarding comments that were not approved. Inside Higher Ed reserves the right to bar commenters for uncivil behavior or repeated violations of these guidelines."

Thus, and in my particular case of having comments censored, one is left wondering what precisely in a posted comment turned it into a censored comment.  And that is bad because it is a debate killer.  Any errors in the comment will simply not be pointed out and any errors in the criticized op-ed or article will simply be ignored.  So, there is no chance of intellectual development on either side.  Note Jaschik and Lederman’s remark that 

"If a reader submits a paragraph-long comment and the last sentence contains an attack on
a person or group, Inside Higher Ed will not publish that comment."

What might constitute an “attack” is unsurprisingly not examined at all.  No examples are provided. In today’s aberrant, ideologically-driven world, some “attacks” are good, while others are bad.  An “attack” can even constitute an uncomfortable fact that angers “a person or group.”  If someone states, for example, that Islam is a religion of peace, a comment could be censored if it cited the Quran, “And fight with them until there is no more fitna (unbelief) and religion should be only for Allah.”  If an author evokes slavery as a horrible American white phenomenon, for example, a comment could be censored, if it evoked the facts that slaveholders and slavetraders included blacks and Muslims.  Censorship could thus be justified because likely some blacks and some Muslims would be offended and feel “attacked.”  Thus, Jaschik and Lederman act not only as censors, but also as protectors of the easily offended and/or ideologically protected.  

BTW, note that part of the IHE team includes two directors of corporate sales, a chief revenue officer, a director of institutional branding, a client services specialist, four marketing directors, a chief financial officer, and other such business—BUSINESS positions.  Evidently, behind the veil of higher education, IHE is in reality probably more a business than an arm of higher education.  In fact, that could certainly be said about the bulk of the nations colleges and universities.  Perhaps it is the business aspect (the bottomline) that prevents IHE from being an enthusiastic supporter of freedom of speech and vigorous debate.  

No less than nine points apt to provoke censorship are listed in the “comment policy.”  The first point is clear, though again highly subjective:  

1.  Commenters must not engage in libel.

Libel of course has a legal definition.  In fact, to win a libel lawsuit, one must prove that a statement is not only false, but that it damaged (usually monetarily) a person's reputation.  That is why such lawsuits are extremely difficult to win.  Sadly, Jaschik and Lederman replace the judge and jury with that regard to the extent that anything could constitute libel if it might be apt to upset the author of an op-ed or article, including fact and reason that might make the author’s statements seem absurd.  How can that be higher education?  
The second point is quite interesting because the author I criticized in my comment violated it herself, by attacking Trump and young white men… or are those somehow an exception to the rule?  

2.  Commenters must not engage in an attack on a specific person or group.  

Point #5, “Commenters must stick to the subject (or subjects) discussed…,” is equally interesting because the two examples provided can easily be proven to be poor examples of the point made:  

"A news article about a financial aid proposal put forward by congressional Republicans
does not clear the way for a derogatory comment about the GOP’s presidential candidate; a
blog post about cultural studies does not invite a comment blasting affirmative action."

In essence, if the GOP’s candidate clearly presents an opposite proposal to that of congressional Republicans, why can’t that be mentioned?  “Derogatory” is a highly subjective term.  Thus, simply pointing out the conflict could be viewed as “derogatory.”  As for the second example, what if in fact affirmative action might be partially responsible for the increase in cultural studies programs because of the possible resultant increase in the numbers of deans of diversity and inclusion?  Why should a comment be censored for evoking that possibility? 

Point #6 can clearly conflict with Jaschik and Lederman’s statement that “Inside Higher Ed strongly encourages comments to include real names and job titles. Many readers want to know who is making a certain point.”  

6.  Commenters must not post comments containing spam, commercially promotional material or self-promotional links.

Are not job titles inevitably self-promotional?  Point #8 seems also to contradict the statement:  

8.  Commenters may post comments containing links to articles that back up their points.  

In my latest censored comment, I noted the URLs for The American Dissident blog and website, while also including URLs to back and or illustrate points made in the comment.  Was the comment thus censored for that reason, despite point #8 because of point #6?  Well, I’ll never know because authoritarians never have to explain their decisions.  Point #7 is of interest because the censors, uh, moderators imply there is limited space for comments, when in fact essentially the space for comments is enormous.  

7.  If a commenter makes a point that has been made several times previously in the thread on that article, we may reject it.

Why might a little repetition from commenters be so terrible?  In fact, it might serve as emphasis and indicate that the idea put forth is not simply held by one solitary person.  Finally, the last point, #9, is also contradictory.  

9.  Commenters should be concise. We suggest keeping comments to 150-300 words or fewer.  Brevity is the soul of wit, after all.

If indeed, brevity were the soul of wit, then why provide so much more space to the author of an op-ed or article, than to criticism of it?  If a comment is longer than the maximum permitted, perhaps it should still be allowed if it takes the author to task, point by point.  This whole concern of seemingly highly limited space for alt-opinions is fabricated.  Long comments can easily be shortened by a “read more” link, for example.  

Finally, Inside Higher Ed has been censoring my comments for over a decade now.  It shamefully behaves in the same darkness as Google and other ideologically-bound business corporations like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.  Higher education needs to open up, not censor and ban in accord with some dubious model of ideologically-driven “comment policy.”  My latest censored comment, the one that really instigated this essay was emailed to the author of the criticized op-ed.  Surprisingly, she responded, though very briefly and only with epithets. For the censored comment and that email response, see http://wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2017/08/doug-lederman-and-scott-jaschik.html.  Rather than follow in the dubious footsteps of Trinity Washington University president Patricia McGuire, who chose to regress with a flurry of ad hominem-like adjectives, including “not publishable,” “incoherent,” and “vituperation,” why not progress into a point-by-point counterargument, including precise examples to back statements made?  The crux of Inside Higher Ed’s problem is not only that it will not publish criticism like mine, but even more seriously that it will not publish any criticism of itself…