According to Baer, the "reflexive defenders" of an outdated notion of free speech -- the concept that truth emerges from vigorous debate -- must recognize the "new reality" in which free speech isn't "an unchanging absolute." Baer insists that a cultural shift and new understanding of "free speech" emerged in the 1980s and 1990s, which require "vigilant and continuing examination of its [free speech] parameters" to "legitimate" personal experience -- "especially traumatic experience." Voilà -- without the regulating hand of social justice activists, speech is oppressive. But wait, there's more! Baer writes that:
The idea of freedom of speech does not mean a blanket permission to say anything anybody thinks. It means balancing the inherent value of a given view with the obligation to ensure that other members of a given community can participate in discourse as fully recognized members of that community. Free-speech protections — not only but especially in universities, which aim to educate students in how to belong to various communities — should not mean that someone’s humanity, or their right to participate in political speech as political agents, can be freely attacked, demeaned or questioned.Certain truths, claims Baer, have been silenced as a result of "the asymmetry in discussions between perpetrators and victims of systemic or personal violence." "Certain topics" can "restrict speech as a public good," such as "claims that some human beings are by definition inferior to others, or illegal or unworthy of legal standing." These claims can't be debated, "because such people cannot debate them on the same terms." Therefore, protests to disrupt the speeches of Murray, Milo, and others weren't censorship; they "should be understood as an attempt to ensure the conditions of free speech for a greater group of people." To allow those claims would be to "invalidate the humanity of some people." Besides, those peddling "hate speech" already have a platform -- the internet. Baer suggests that "a more sophisticated understanding" of free speech, "such as the one provided by Lyotard," will require the parameters of "public speech" to be "continually redrawn to accommodate those who previously had no standing."
Baer's ambitions do not stop at the university's gates. His primary examples of asymmetrical silencing include, unsurprisingly, a list of white supremacists -- George C. Wallace, William Shockley, Richard Spencer -- and, of course, POTUS Donald Trump and HUD Secretary Ben Carson. Thus, Carson's claim that transgenders are "men and women in disguise" does not recognize them as "fully human." In like manner, Trump's campaign rhetoric challenges "the rights, both legal and cultural, of minorities to participate in public discourse." Trump's "insults are meant to discredit and delegitimize whole groups as less worthy of participation in the public exchange of ideas."
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Do Lyotard's concepts measure up to cowboy standards? Let's see.
Truth is that which is in accordance with fact or reality. God is the source and arbiter of truth. In contrast, Lyotard does not believe in absolutes. For him, truth does not exist in any objective sense. His "truth" is power. Lyotard's innovation is to treat the traumatized individual's personal narrative as the highest form of truth. To question the subjective perception of the individual is to "invalidate their existence, humanity, etc." Thus, reflective learning, institutional authority, science, history, social norms, etc. are treated as oppressive structures. This is, of course, insane. Psychology journals are filled with discussions of the various ways trauma can negatively effect mental health. Trauma can impair cognitive function and memory formation. Trauma is the root cause of a number of anxiety disorders. In severe cases, trauma can cause dissociation and psychosis.
Only God can legitimate one's existence. Our rights come from the Almighty. Government exists to secure those rights. In contrast, by seeking to "legitimate the existence" of others, Lyotard is claiming that a human being's worth, dignity, value, and rights flow from government. Lyotard's legitimation claim is a dominance strategy to assert power through the false claim of moral authority.
Free speech is a sacred, Constitutionally-enshrined, God-given, individual right (a concept grounded in the nation's founding documents, contested in case law, and clarified by the SCOTUS). By "free speech," Lyotard means a "public good" subject to regulation, such as official statistics, a government report, or a public road. This is the mechanism SJW's are using -- the collectivization of thought and speech -- to attempt to restrict legitimate campus speech. Media pundits are ramping up efforts to push this paradigm beyond the university (see this piece by the editorial board of the Washington Post).
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but speech will never invalidate my existence. By suggesting that speech can "invalidate one's existence," Lyotard is attempting to re-frame and restrict any legitimate challenge to the deranged individual's perception of reality. This is a common mind control tactic used by cults to inoculate members against evidence-based arguments, social norms, laws, and common sense. Also, Leotard's conflation of speech with violence does not meet the SCOTUS's standards of being a clear and present danger or incitement.
This is Marxism turned nihilism, and that is, in a general sense, how the New Left differs from the Old Left. Whereas the Old Left sought to replace the meta-narratives of Western Civilization with a new meta-narrative (dialectical materialism), New Left radicals use nihilistic arguments to destroy the "meta-narratives" (the Enlightenment, Christianity, capitalism), and replace them line-by-line with neo-marxist "micro-narratives" designed to undermine constitutional government, the Judeo-Christian worldview, and market economics. It's civilizational cancer. Like a psychopath, or someone suffering from Antisocial Personality Disorder, they just want to see the world burn.
To be clear -- I do not accept the unconstitutional premise that the individual's freedom of speech can be infringed upon by public, state-funded universities, or by government at any level. Speech is not a public good. Trauma is not truth. The individual does not have the right to overturn constitutional processes and law. Lyotard's hyper-empowerment of deranged individuals is a strategy designed to promote lawlessness and anomie.
Socialism is slavery masquerading as liberation from God and nature.
- The Cowboy Historian