Paul Kennedy Series: Battle of the Atlantic and War in the Mediterranean & Denial of Speech on Campus
Today’s topics are on the battle of the Atlantic and war in the Mediterranean & denial of speech on campus. Our Speakers are Paul Kennedy, and Ilya Shapiro.
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Welcome to What Happens Next. My name is Larry Bernstein.
The topics on today’s program will be the World War 2 Battle of the Atlantic and the War in the Mediterranean and the second topic is the growing intolerance of conservatives on campus.
Our first speaker is Yale Historian Paul Kennedy. This is part 2 of our upcoming four-part history on WW2. I want to take you back to 1942 when nobody knew who would win the war. The Nazis had just conquered France after a few weeks of fighting, and the Americans had been humiliated at Pearl Harbor. U-Boats were everywhere in the Atlantic and were torpedoing America’s Merchant Marine. Paul will explain how the Allies successfully beat back the U-Boat threat in the Atlantic and why we fought Germany first.
Our second speaker will be Ilya Shapiro who recently resigned from Georgetown Law School after he was cancelled. Ilya did not support Biden’s decision to limit his Supreme Court nominee to exclusively African American women and he had to go.
I am trying something new on today’s podcast. I decided to raid the What Happens Next archives and replay portions of our best discussions on tolerance for speech on campus. I have included snippets from the six-minute presentations of Alan Charles Kors who co-founded FIRE, Mary Anne Franks at the University of Miami Law School, Michael McConnell at Stanford Law School, and Emory historian Patrick Allitt. This is then followed by a discussion between University of London Professor Eric Kaufmann and David Weil who is a Dean at Brandeis about discrimination against conservative faculty members.
I think you’re going to love hearing our greatest hits.
Let’s begin with our first speaker Yale Historian Paul Kennedy.
Topic: Part 2 of History of WW2 – Battle of the Atlantic and the War for the Mediterranean
Bio: J. Richardson Dilworth Professor of History at Yale
Reading: Victory at Sea is here
Topic: Getting Cancelled at Georgetown Law School
Bio: Senior Fellow, Director of Constitutional Studies at the Manhattan Institute
Reading: Resignation Letter to Georgetown is here
My name is Ilya Shapiro, and I've just lived a surreal experience. It started back in January 26th, when news of Justice Breyer's retirement leaked. My phone was blowing up because I'm a Supreme Court expert, so people wanted my statement. So, throughout the day I was thinking about this particular confirmation and getting more and more upset about President Biden's restricting his pool of candidates by race and sex. He famously repeated his campaign pledge that he would be appointing a Black woman.
Now, there's nothing wrong with appointing a Black woman, but restricting it at the outset rubbed me the wrong way. That night having come back from a friend's celebratory dinner, I was feeling festive and feisty and not a best practice, I was doom scrolling through my Twitter feed, before going to bed in my hotel room. And in this kind of upset mood, and tweeted out my criticism of President Biden's posture. And I said, "You know, if I were a Democratic president I would pick Judge, Sri Srinivasan," who's the chief judge of the DC circuit, he happens to be an Indian American immigrant, very smart, very well reputed, was on the short list for the nomination that ended up going to Merrick Garland.
But, I said, given the current hierarchy of intersectionality, he's out and we'll end up with a “lesser Black woman.” And it's those three words that got me into trouble. I, of course, meant a less qualified Black woman in the sense that if I'm determining that, this particular person, Judge Srinivasan, is the best, then everybody in the entire universe is less qualified or a worse choice. That's what I meant, given Biden's race and sex restrictions. And then I Tweeted that out, went to bed, and all hell broke loose overnight. I woke up, I saw that the Twitter mob, instigated by several of the usual suspects, was going after me. I thought, "This is not good. People are willfully misconstruing what I'm saying to make political points.”
I took it down, I said, "If anyone's offended, I'm sorry, it was inartfully worded. "But that was not the end of the matter. Things quickly moved from online to offline. The Dean of Georgetown Law School, Bill Treanor, where I had just taken a new job after nearly 15 years at the Cato Institute, the nation's foremost libertarian think tank. I was about to start a new job as executive director of the Georgetown Center for the Constitution, but that was February first, and I tweeted a few days before then. I had four days of hell, I thought I'd blown up my career, I thought I'd hurt my family. I mean, the dean came down on me, said I was appalling, and that what I said was antithetical to the work of the law school, et cetera.
Eventually, after a huge national public outcry, pro and against me, the dean determined that I would indeed be onboarded but would immediately be placed on paid administrative leave pending investigation into whether my social media commentary violated the university's policies on harassment and antidiscrimination.
It took them four months to conduct this investigation, which quickly became clear was a farce. They were just waiting for students to get off campus to quietly reinstate me. The dean said that, "we finally looked at a calendar and determined you were not an employee, so these policies didn't apply." But no vindication under the university's vaunted speech and expression policy. Nevertheless, I took the technical victory, I celebrated it in the pages of the Wall Street Journal, as one does, and I thought, "Okay, let's get to work."
But then the report from the Orwellian named Office of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Affirmative Action, their 10-page report hit my email inbox. I spent some time with my lawyer, with my wife, who's a better lawyer than all of us, digesting this. And it became clear that the university was setting me up for a fall. What this report said and what the dean implied, was that had I been an employee I would not have been reinstated or exonerated in any way. And indeed, going forward any similar statement that caused someone offense or caused someone discomfort leading to a complaint would indeed subject me to discipline. And I can't work that way. I could not fulfill the duties I was hired to do. Some comment about a Supreme Court opinion, some analysis of a sensitive case or exercise I was conducting, in class would subject me to punishment.
That was an untenable situation, and I resigned, again, taking to the pages of the Wall Street Journal and releasing a four-page resignation letter. And then the next day I announced my career move on Tucker Carlson, as one does, that I'm moving to the Manhattan Institute, a think tank in New York to head up their Constitutional studies program.
So, in addition to my expertise in Constitutional law and the Supreme Court, has added this lived experience regarding cancel culture. Not exactly the way I planned my career transition, but man plans and God laughs.
From the Archives: Greatest Hits on Speech on Campus
Speaker 1: Alan Charles Kors
Topic: Intolerance for Conservative Speech on Campus
Bio: Co-Founder of FIRE: the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, Retired Professor of History at University of Pennsylvania
Speaker 2: Mary Anne Franks
Topic: The longstanding authority deserves to be questioned, mocked, criticized and challenged.
Bio: Professor of Law and Michael R. Klein Distinguished Scholar Chair at University of Miami School of Law
Speaker 3: Michael McConnell
Topic: Universities need to stand up for political diversity on campus
Bio: Stanford Law Professor
Speaker 4: Patrick Allitt
Topic: Teaching Controversial Topics in Class
Bio: Professor of History at Emory University
Speaker 5: Eric Kaufmann
Topic: Conservative university faculty face punishment and political discrimination
Bio: Professor of Politics at Birbeck College at University of London
Speaker 6: David Weil
Topic: Academia needs to become more inclusive with multiple voices
Bio: Dean of the Heller School at Brandeis University
Free Speech Panel transcript: