“We Are Tired”: Duke Law Students Demand George Mason Professor Be Barred From Virtual Panel

“We are tired.” Those three words sum up a great deal of the anti-free speech movement growing on our campuses. Students and faculty have grown tired of free speech. Opposing views are now treated as threats and intolerable for students. A case in point is the effort by half of the law students at Duke to ban Helen Alvaré, a George Mason University law professor, from appearing on a virtual panel discussion about family law. The letter is both well-written and chilling in its call for censorship on campus. It dismisses any notion of free speech protection in allowing dissenting views to be heard on campus. Indeed, it does not even consider such values worthy of discussion. Instead, the students insist that the mere ability of an academic to speak on a panel is an endorsement of her views and a threat to current and future Duke law students.The panel is on “putting children first in family law”, which is the focus of Alvaré’s 2017 book.  She has been controversial due to her writings on same sex marriage and LGBTQ rights. Her 2012 friend-of-the-court brief in U.S. v. Windsor that argued for the state’s “legitimate” interest in “singling out” opposite-sex marriage for protection and that the expansion of marriage to include same-sex couples “ignores children and society.”As someone who supported same-sex marriage for decades, I strongly disagree with those views. However, many hold such views as did most of our elected officials at one time from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama. These are questions that are tied to deeply-held religious, social, and legal views.  Alvaré has written extensively on those issues and is widely cited in the debate over same-sex marriage. They are the type of issues that universities once valued as subjects for debate and discussion.

The letter from a sizable percentage of the Duke law student population demands that Dean Kerry Abrams “remove” Alvaré from the event or “cancel the event entirely.”

They cite her “unapologetic anti-LGBTQ+-rights views,” including opposing same-sex marriage and what they claim is her support for conversion therapy. I have not been able to confirm all of these views and the letter does not cite sources on the conversion claim. The letter refers to Alvaré as “a speaker who, in the least, entertains conversations of conversation therapy.” However, it does not matter to the free speech question. Alvaré is an intellectual who holds controversial views for many at Duke. The solution is to engage her in substantive exchanges, not try to silence her so others cannot hear her views.

The students insist that even allowing dissenting ideas to be voiced on campus is an effective endorsement of those views:

When we ask a speaker to come to Duke, we are giving that person space and license to express their views on a particular subject—and by so doing, we are implicitly signaling our willingness to tolerate or our approval of those views. By hosting a speaker who, in the least, entertains conversations of conversation therapy for LGBTQ+ persons and who views same-sex couples as less capable of raising children, Duke is signaling at least a willingness to engage in those discussions and at worst, a tacit endorsement of those opinions. By not condemning injustice, you condone it. And that is the signal Duke will be sending to not only our current LGBTQ+ student body, but to all future potential students applying to Duke as well.

The students insist that allowing Alvaré to speak is a rejection of “diversity, equality and tolerance” and “undermines those professed values” of the school.  What the students conspicuously omit is tolerance for other views and free speech as values. Indeed, in seeking to shutdown a speaker, the students do not even mention free speech, let alone address the implications of their actions for intellectual freedom and discourse. Instead, they insist that barring a speaker with opposing views would show that “our diversity was not just tolerated, but celebrated.” (Yet, not intellectual diversity) That, with free speech, would be eviscerated by students who want to prevent others from hearing opposing views.

The controversy is ironic for Duke which was founded by religious groups and given the motto Eruditio et Religio (Knowledge and Faith). Many alumni and current faculty and students hold opposing moral and legal views on these views. A true celebration of intellectual diversity is to allow such views to be voiced and debated. The greatest danger to Duke is not hearing the views of Professor Alvaré but silencing such views.  Being “tired” of free speech is no license to deny it.


315 thoughts on ““We Are Tired”: Duke Law Students Demand George Mason Professor Be Barred From Virtual Panel”

  1. I don’t know if free speech is the answer to eliminating intolerance … but it is my answer, our answer, our country’s answer, and I believe in it as much as I believe in anything including my religion. Thanks you again for your contributions to this topic.

    1. Intolerance is the biggest threat to freedom and the threat is from within. Russia and China are petty issues in comparison.

  2. ‘If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence. Only an emergency can justify repression.’ ~Justice Brandeis circa 100 years ago

  3. EVERY leftist (past, present and future) the world over has a criminal mind, believing they are entitled to deprive one or more rights of people (e.g., life, personal property, real property, speech, religion, keeping and bearing arms) and states (e.g., to define and recognize legal entities, such as corporation, partnerships, heterosexual social relationships, homosexual social relationships). Why? Because leftists are self-entitled (e.g., equate what they want with their right) and disrespectful of the rights of others (the core principles of criminals), which is why leftists commit nearly all crime.

  4. Has Joe Biden denied the computer belonged to Hunter?

    Has Joe Biden stated that any of the released material is not true?

    Has Joe Biden stated that anything CEO Tony Bobulinski said was false?

    Think whatever you wish about the reputations of everyone else. They don’t count. What counts is what we have seen and heard. All of it is true unless denied and explained by Joe Biden.

  5. Do you know that almost every Democrat that I know denies that bias and harassment of conservative professors, students, and invited speakers occurs at universities across America? They deny the general trend in anti-free-speech sentiment among Democrats.

    The moderates in the Democrat Party are still in the denial stage. We could be well into the next Leftist dictatorship or oligarchy before the moderates say, hey, wait a minute, maybe we should start objecting. It will be too late.


    Will the communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) release a novel coronavirus (perfected with supplemental funding from Obama in the Wuhan Institute of Virology) every time a republican runs for president (the Trump/Steele Dossier, Mueller, Ukraine phone call, impeachment, etc., didn’t work – it took a while, but commie oppo research finally found the final solution)?


    No. There will never BE another republican running for president. There will never BE another contested election in America. America is now officially a one-party, communist state.


    Will elections ever be serious, solemn and held on the actual, legal election day, polling actual, certified Americans?


    No. The communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) can not possibly loose if they have a ballots mailed to every parasite in America – the parasites far outnumber the mature, vested and actual Americans, which the Founders intended to vote.

  7. Professor…add a SHARE THIS LINK for the social media site that will be seeing a surge of people after election day. Parler.

    You have Twitter who is removing non-Democrats every day….Twitter is going to go under as they are killing Free Speech. Id sell my facebook stock too btw

    1. For twitter it is not about making money, but rather pushing a particular ideology. Their banker friends will give them whatever they need to stay afloat. They’ll make their money once they’ve heaved their people into power.

    1. They’ll always have a soft spot in my heart though with the courageous boys from the Lacrosse team beating down, and stomping on the Grievance Industry Liars. Epic.

  8. Love the site, articles and comments…maybe multiple comments by the same user within the same article can be “collapsed” with the option to be fully viewed with a click because as it stands it’s very much like a denial of service attack.

    Maybe an option to jump to next comment is an equitable workaround.

    Thanks for the content, it has been wonderfully useful.

    1. “because as it stands it’s very much like a denial of service attack”


      It’s not even close.

  9. Defund Duke of any government money. Immediately. As well as any other marxist nest posing as “higher education”. And make it illegal for the CCP, or any foreign interest from buying off these nests of sedition and revolution.

  10. Please correct the second occurrance of “conversation” to “conversion” in:

    “entertains conversations of conversation therapy.”

  11. Anonymous has done something I thought was impossible to do: Comment so often and so belligerently as to actually make me stop reading the Comments section of the site.
    I love Comments Sections, I love the back and forth and I love the exchange of ideas, but this one person is acting like a guy in a symposium talking and talking and talking until everyone else just packs up and leaves.
    I AM NOT CALLING FOR THE GUY (we all know it is a guy) TO BE BANNED, I am just offering my opinion that people like this guy bring ruination to Comment Sections and ruin it for everyone else.

    So Anonymous, feel free to regale us with all of your long winded, boring, one sided, pedantic, presumptuous and arrogant rantings as long as you want because just like with CNN…I will opt out. The left loves to call for boycotts of Tucker Carlson or Laura Ingraham because they don’t agree with them but as for me…I just never watch CNN or MSNBC or NBC or ABC or CBS. I don’t read the Guardian or the New Yorker and I don’t subscribe to the Boston Globe as I did for 20 years. I still read opposing views on various sites, I still read and observe as much HONEST differing opinions as possible but I will not support media that lies and only gives one side.

    1. Sorry Mr. Anonymous, I was probably a little to hard on you, but I was just tired of needing to scroll past so many comments in order to get to read other thoughts. You have every right to comment ad infinitum if that is what you want to do and I guess I will just be glad that you keep the site active and engaged. Carry on.

      On another note, I want to say that I love Jonathan’s site and I hope it continues to grow and spread wider and wider. We need more “liberal” voices that speak the truth and not just party orthodoxy.

          1. Yes, it’s hard for Allan to wrap his little head around the fact that there are multiple anonymous commenters. He has difficulty with complexity.

          2. Allan, you refer to some anonymous commenters as “he” and some as “she”. Do you think we’re all hermaphrodites?

      1. Hullbobby, no..!! Don’t let Anonymous stomp your precious dreams. You’ve been the pillar of this blog. An inspiration to us all.

        People look at what’s happening here, ‘Hullbobby’s feelings are hurt’. It’s an ugly sight! The one man we all admired is leaving dejected.

        The shabbiness of this moment makes me want to vomit. A God-fearing Christian laid -ow by a gut punch. If they can do this to Bobby, none of us are safe! Bobby was the glue the bonded us as brothers.

        Wait, wait– Wait a goddamn minute! ..Who the hell is Bobby..?? Come to think of it, we’ve never seen his name before. But Bobby sounds like that troll we’re completely sick of. That nerdy loser with sociopathic tendencies. That creepy dirty trickster who sits on these threads 16 hours per day. We can only dream he’d leave with feelings hurt. If only it was real.

        1. JT has been a Democrat most of his adult life, and now he has clearly stated that he wants to see an end to the 2 Party system. Which I assume, makes him an independent.

          Of course compared to you he’s not a liberal. But you make Chairman Mao look like Pat Buchanan.

      2. Hullbobby,
        This particular poster does exactly what you said, but he is paper-thin on intellect. If he’s challenged to do any critical thinking, he exposes the vacuum that exists in the left half of his head. Stick around and you will discover some very engaging discussions.

      1. So your answer to my saying I am tired of a poster commenting 100 times a day is to tell me to go away? Seems like your “cure” is worse than my “disease”. I say I am tired of a person I thought was one poster and you want me gone??

        1. It’s not one person. Anyone who wants can comment anonymously, and it’s clear that a variety of people use that option. Some are conservative and others are liberal, some are rude and others aren’t, some post articles or detailed comments and some only troll.

          1. But there is one anonymous that posts more than all the others combined. He pretended to be more than one but his postings proved otherwise. Many of the other posters from his side of the aisle are his pretend friends who even talk to one another and agree with him when he gets into a dispute. He needs reassurance from the Anonymous pretend friends. He also posts as anonymous under at least one icon though he stopped his usage of that icon after being called out. Some of the random icons are likely his as well. In the past he demonstrated on more than one occasion a fear that others would note how much he posts and how long he is on the blog. That is one reason he might use alternative ways of writing and alternative random icons along with at least one steady icon named anonymous. One has to wonder how many of the suddenly appearing named icons that come and disappear are his.

            1. I don’t think you can tell a lot of people apart, Allan, and John Say probably posts more than any other single person, though you’re pretty high up there too.

        2. There are some DNC shills here who constantly post DNC talking points. I seldom engage with them because they are not amenable to facts. I have described it previously as trying to have a public conversation with Joseph Goebbels. No matter what the reality is, Goebbels will tell you that Germany is going to win the war. Your conversation will go nowhere.
          Same with the shills. They will ignore all facts and just keep on spewing spin and talking points. So why waste your time on them? Just scroll past them. Let them earn their George Soros paycheck, or scratch whatever OCD itch it is that they have, but our time is too precious to waste on conversations that are going nowhere.

          Squeeky Fromm
          Girl Reporter

          1. Miss Frommster is one of the shills whereof she speaks. A conservative shill. Does she get an Adelson or Murdoch paycheck?

    2. “people like this guy bring ruination to Comment Sections and ruin it for everyone else”


      scroll, ignore, leave…

      your choice, hullbobby

    3. Actually I agree completely.Is it the same person who used to call himself Commit to Honest Discussion? Same style. It’s really an interesting metaphor for what is happening in the country and it’s interesting that this post is about students who say they are “tired” because I’m tired too. They’re tired of all the “little people” having rights and I’m so tired of my country and my rights being run roughshod over by whoever is screaming the loudest while I move politely aside in the mistaken belief that their tantrum will eventually finish. Like you, I’m not asking for censorship, I’m not asking for anything at all. A little civility would be nice but I’m sure it won’t be forthcoming. It reminds me of a quote I read a long time ago: “Forget karma. Try good manners.”



    For years, it was the subject of countless Fox News segments, talk radio rants, and viral right-wing tweets and Facebook posts. It spawned congressional hearings, Justice Department investigations, and investigations of those investigations. President Trump called it “the biggest political crime in the history of our country,” and suggested that its perpetrators deserved 50-year prison sentences.

    Now, weeks before the election, “Spygate” — a labyrinthine conspiracy theory involving unproven allegations about a clandestine Democratic plot to spy on Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign — appears to be losing steam.

    The theory still commands plenty of attention inside the right-wing media sphere. But Mr. Trump’s quest to turn Spygate into a major mainstream issue in this year’s campaign may be coming up short. Data from NewsWhip, a firm that tracks social media performance, shows that stories about Spygate and two related keywords — “Obamagate” and “unmask/unmasked/unmasking”— received 1.5 million interactions on Facebook and from influential Twitter accounts last month, down from about 20 million interactions in May.

    Part of Spygate’s fizzle may be related to the fact that three years on, none of Mr. Trump’s political enemies have been charged with crimes. Last year, a highly anticipated Justice Department inspector general’s report found no evidence of a politicized plot to spy on the Trump campaign — angering believers who thought the report would vindicate their belief in a criminal “deep state” plot against the president.

    And this fall, the Spygate faithful got insult added to injury when a Justice Department investigation into one of their core concerns — whether Obama-era officials had acted improperly by “unmasking” the identities of certain people named in intelligence documents — came up empty-handed.

    Few right-wing narratives have been as durable as Spygate, which has morphed over time into a kind of catchall theory encompassing various allegations of Democratic malfeasance. Fox News hosts including Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson went all in on it, as did Republicans in Congress, including Representative Devin Nunes of California and former Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina. But nobody embraced the theory like Mr. Trump, who has returned to it frequently to deflect attention from his own troubles, whether it was the Mueller investigation or his administration’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    As the election approaches, it’s worth looking back on Spygate’s evolution, both because it illustrates the way that partisan misinformation bubbles up through the right-wing media ecosystem, and, ultimately, because it shows how Mr. Trump’s obsession with a confusing, hard-to-follow narrative may have backfired as a campaign strategy.

    Edited From: “How Spygate Attacks Fizzled”

    The New York Times, 10/20/20

    1. Well written but I wouldn’t get to comfortable just yet. Not that I think the DOJ ( Barr) will do anything but cover up, as is the case of most DOJ investigations. Look at the circus surrounding the ex-FBI lawyer who pleaded guilty to changing an official document and now an added charge of lying to the court, no action yet. I’m not certain anymore that the DOJ/FBI are there to prosecute or investigate but more to bury any controversial subjects. If Trump wins they’ll have to do something if Biden wins it all dies in-place. Yes I know its a criminal investigation but they can drop the case at anytime. So next time a republican gets busted and nothing is done just remember these four years and you’ll be ok.

    2. The Editors of the NYTimes are fully aware that the longer John Durham takes the worse it will be when he’s ready to drop the hammer.

      What I find really entertaining is the fact that the Biden’s have been joined at the hip with the Bulger’s for years.

      You may want to run a search on “John Durham Whitey Bulger FBI”. FYI, you won’t like what you find.

      1. Joe Hidin’ Biden: the candidate of Wall Street, Billionaires, Big Tech, Media/Political Establishment

        Donald Trump: the candidate of the Working Class.

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