No line captures the academics supporting this age of rage better than “when the mob is right, some (but not all!) more aggressive tactics are justified. When not, not.” Presumably, Chafetz will tell us when aggressive protests are warranted and when they are not. It is the same license supporting the censorship of social media.
We have seen similar claims of license for what Nancy Pelosi called this week “righteous anger” and Mayor Lori Lightfoot called a “call to arms.”
Rage can rationalize any means of response. Elie Mystal, who writes for Above the Law and is The Nation’s justice correspondent, for example, Mystal declared on MSNBC, without any contradiction from the host, that “You don’t communicate to [Trump supporters], you beat them. You do not negotiate with these people, you destroy them.”
Many have noted that Professor Ilya Shapiro remains suspended for a poorly worded tweet that he posted objecting to President Biden pledging to only consider Black female candidates for the next vacancy on the Court. However, Chafetz mocked the very thought that he could be punished for tweet supporting liberal mob action. He tweeted out:
“Folks can snitch tag @GeorgetownLaw all they want (I’m so sorry, public affairs folks!), they’re not going to fire me over a tweet you don’t like.”
(According to news reports, Chafetz limited access to his account after that tweet).
That is very likely correct under the very logic explained by Chafetz. Reckless and even violent rhetoric is tolerated when the targets are conservatives or Republicans in academia. A conservative, libertarian, or even moderate faculty member would make no such assumption today. The common view is that any controversy involving conservative or libertarian or contrarian viewpoints will result in calls for suspension and termination. With comparably few such faculty members teaching on most faculties, the chilling effect is glacial.