Philosophy Professor Faces Calls For His Firing After He Attended Trump Rally

There is a campaign to fire Professor Joshua Hochschild who teaches philosophy at Mount St. Mary’s University.  We have seen a number of these campaigns against faculty but the effort against Hochschild is striking because he is denounced for attending the protest in Washington on January 6th even though he is not accused of participating in the riot at the Capitol. The effort is part of a building narrative that anyone protesting the election was an insurrectionist even though the vast majority was peaceful and did not enter the Capitol. Hochschild denounced the riot in a column “Once Upon a Presidency” for the The American Mind. However, his acknowledgment of being present at the protest was enough to launch an effort to fire him.  The only thing missing is a claim that he is “corrupting the youth” with his dissenting views. In this case, it is not hemlock but discharge that is being sought for the teacher.

I opposed the challenge to the electoral votes, but such challenges have occurred before by democrats. In his column, Hochschild offered a first-hand account of the protest and said that he was unaware until later of the violence at the Capitol:

Scores of thousands of people attend, from all over the country. They are cheerful and patriotic, generous and civic-minded, orderly and polite. Responsible, proud citizens. They love their country and respect its lawful processes. They know that, even if the rally does not actually help Trump politically, it promises to draw attention to problems with our electoral system, and to testify to the importance of peaceful democratic protests. Maybe there will be a resolved will to reform the system, and to ensure that people can trust elections next time. The country can’t keeping having its winners suspected of “stealing” elections. …

It was a protest, and some people apparently took it too far. On the way home, you hear about violence and arrests, vandalism and thievery in the Capitol building. You hear about a woman, apparently unarmed, shot and killed. It is a sobering, gut-wrenching end to the day. Out of a massive crowd, it seems that a fraction was stupid, shameful, and lawless…hardly representative of the kinds of people who were there, or the purpose for which they gathered. A small fraction of a large civil rights event turned into a lawless mob. You are disheartened that a respectable event should be so stained.

But you wake up the next morning to something far worse. Slanderous headlines. By your very presence in DC, you are accused of being a traitor, part of a dangerous movement. Every outlet is calling it an “insurrection.” The lawlessness was “incited” by Trump. There was a violent attempted “coup.” Obviously they have pushed too far. They will have dial this back. Won’t they? The words are wildly disproportionate: nobody had a strategy or opportunity for seizing power. Oh, and it was a racist insurrection, a manifestation of white nationalism. Despite the sea of American flags, news stories seem to always run a picture of a Confederate flag.

According to the conservative site College Fix, the article led to a petition by MSMU graduate Brea Purdie, states:

I find it repulsive that Hochschild calls for respectability and humanity when the actions of Trump supporters on January 6 proved to be less than that. I find it telling that he asks for decency when there are prominent white supremacists rubbing elbows at the same event as he, and proudly boasting racial symbolism along with the American flag.

There is a fair basis to criticize the basis for the protest and to question whether violence should have been foreseen.Many of us have denounced Trump’s speech as reckless and wrong. Indeed, I was tweeting my objections to the speech as it was being given. Moreover, I opposed the congressional challenges to the electoral votes from the outset, rejected Trump’s claim that the electoral votes could be “sent back,” and praised Vice President Pence for defying Trump. I called for Trump to be censured over the speech. However, the effort to fire a professor for his political views is a rejection of core free speech values.

What is striking is that this narrative is in sharp contrast to the response to violence during protests this summer. When conservatives sought to label Black Lives Matter and other groups as violent, many correctly noted that the vast majority of people at these protests were peaceful and seeking to voice political and social viewpoints.

To its credit, the university recognized the anti-free speech campaign for what it is.  Provost Boyd Creasman did not mention the controversy, but said everyone has the right to “express their views respectfully without fear of sanction” in a statement tweeted out Feb. 24.

That is a far better response than an earlier controversy at the school.

According to media reports, that statement enraged figures like Purdie on Instagram who called it “ridiculous.”

I do not know Professor Hochschild but I have no reason to believe that he would hesitate in supporting the free speech rights of students or alumni like Purdie in expressing their opposing viewpoints. That is the essence of free speech. Yet, we have been discussing efforts to fire professors who voice dissenting views of the basis or demands of recent protests including an effort to oust a leading economist from the University of Chicago as well as a leading linguistics professor at Harvard and a literature professor at Penn. The silence of many faculty in the face of crackdowns on free speech has been chilling in the last few years. Even academics like like Colorado law professor Paul Campos who call for the firing of those with opposing views (including myself).

It is reassuring to see the university supporting free speech, but there is also a growing anti-free speech movement on our campuses and in our public discourse, as discussed in my recent House testimony.  Once again, the silence of many faculty in the face for such campaigns is deeply concerning. There is a palpable fear of many faculty that they cannot speak freely on such subjects without being targeted or tagged themselves. That can lead to being treated as a pariah by colleagues and have a direct impact on your ability to get published or move between universities. The cost is just too great for many professors. However, that silence is creating a vacuum for such anti-free speech campaigns to thrive. Hundreds signed this petition to fire a professor who attended a political rally but also denounced the latter rioting at the Capitol.  That is the most chilling aspect to this controversy.

70 thoughts on “Philosophy Professor Faces Calls For His Firing After He Attended Trump Rally”

  1. It amazes me, but at this time America is more intolerant than it was in the McCarthy period, tho not (yet?) as bad as the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

  2. On the one hand, conservatives learned that there can, indeed, be a mostly peaceful protest where a few miscreants wreck property and commit crimes.

    On the other hand, the same people who ignored Democrats burning cities, assaulting federal buildings, storming the Capitol and Senate offices during the Kavanaugh hearings, destroying police cars, seizing city blocks in Seattle, assaulting dozens of police officers, and leading to the defunding of police and skyrocketing murder rates as “mostly peaceful”, “riots are the language of unheard”, it’s “fighting the good fight”, “they can and should continue”, etc, now claim that the peaceful millions protesters all across the nation are now responsible, and as reprehensible as the handful of people who broke into the Capitol.

    BLM protests tended to get violent and led to robberies, vandalism, and arson. It’s absolutely true that a lot of people peacefully protested. But the risk for damage and injury were high. Lawlessness, anti-police rhetoric, and sedition was the albatross hanging around the Democrat Party’s neck which they angrily told everyone to pretend didn’t exist. They not only excused the violence, but prominent Democrats including Biden’s and Harris’s teams bailed out looters.

    There was one single time that Trump supporters mixed with Antifa and broke into the Capitol. Republicans across the board condemned the violence, and called for the perpetrators to face the law, in direct contrast to how Democrats reacted.

    Were Democrats calling for a manhunt on those who created CHOP? On those who burned the police station? On those who threw fire bombs at federal buildings? Why, no. They were too busy bailing out rioters as “freedom fighters.”

    The problem is the double standard. Either the law applies equally to all or there is a ruling class.

    Conservatives who believe in law and order also believe it applies to themselves, just the same as others. The way Democrats reacted to BLM and Antifa violence, even excusing the latter as an ideology not an organization, implies that they can find excuses for the law not to apply to them as opposed to conservatives.

    Unless you are in extreme denial or frankly dishonest, you must acknowledge that Democrats treated BLM and Antifa violence far differently than the one Trump rally incident, nor do they acknowledge that most Trump rallies across the country were actually family friendly events.

  3. A totalitarian movement would punish you, impoverish you, ruin you, and blacklist you so you can’t work again, for the sin of dissenting.

    Why is there such denial that this is a documentable trend for Democrats? It will never get better if they don’t demand it change.

  4. Attorney Scott Johnson at Powerline blog has a good preview of the coming Chauvin trial for the drug-overdose death of George Floyd.

    He does not rate Chauvin’s chances of a having a fair trial very high. Nor do I. When this first broke I posted here that from the available evidence I could not see a clear path to conviction. Nor did I see it likely he would get a fair trial. Both tentative conclusions have been considerably buttressed by subsequent revelations.

    What seems to me to be one likely basis for a successful appeal [assuming any appellate courts have vertebrate justices] is that the trial court did not grant a change of venue.

    The city has been ransacked by mobs. The court is surrounded by guards and fences. That looks pretty, but it isn’t good enough. Lawyers for the defendants have already been threatened by the mob.

    Is it likely that jurors will also be intimidated?

    The Attorney General is a radical who has taken over the case from local prosecutors. The AG and Governor have apparently already declared that the policemen are guilty. I wonder if information about the jurors will somehow find its way to the mobs despite the judge’s admonitions to protect their identity. Governments don’t seem to follow the law much these days.

    I should be concerned if I were called to be a juror on this explosive trial. There could be tangible threats during the trial. There could be retaliation after an acquittal. The government has already shown it will not protect even cities from mobs, never mind lowly citizens. The protections of law have collapsed. You are alone with your conscience. Is it worth having your family attacked and your home destroyed to acquit an innocent man? . This should not be a question in America, but in some cities it seems that it might be.

    1. I’ll wager that unless the prosecutor hits the jackpot, there will be a critical mass on the jury sufficient to prevent a conviction. The attorney representing Chauvin was admitted to the bar in 2001 and practices with a firm that does criminal defense law and nothing else.

      1. He is bringing on a lot more attorneys to beef up the prosecution team. Even that would not be enough if the defense lawyer is competent. For sure he is courageous. The problem is the mob and how much it frightens the jurors. Years ago a cop of Columbian descent killed a black criminal in Miami and the black population took that as a signal to loot and destroy.

        The cop was prosecuted and convicted but it was learned the jury convicted only because they feared another riot. The conviction was overturned and a new trial was held in Orlando. The cop was acquitted.

        There could have been another riot in Miami but the police were ready and stepped down on every trouble spot. The next day the Miami paper said the lack of riot after the acquittal showed Miami [black] had matured. Lie. It was because the police were ready and did their job.

        The Chauvin trial should probably never been filed and once filed moved to a venue away from the battle zone.

        This appears to be another racist persecution of an innocent like the Zimmerman trial and the Duke Lacrosse trial.

        1. The Zimmerman trial featured a skeevy prosecutor (Bernardo de la Rionda – see Jerilyn Merritt’s critique of his conduct) willing to try every dirty trick in the book working for a skeevy state’s attorney whose shtick would appear to be hounding people who defend themselves with guns. One of the three judges was bounced from the case for gross bias, which included an obscene perjury citation issued the defendant’s wife. The Duke case consisted of a skeevy district attorney who was losing a primary campaign. So he whips up a racial frenzy and carries the day in the primary while concealing exculpatory evidence that not only called his case into question, but proved the defendants innocent. He’d been appointed DA when his predecessor resigned to accept a judgeship. He’d been recommended for the position and accepted the position with the understanding that he would not run for the office the next election. The first thing he does is fire a rival, who then announces her candidacy. He knew he’d be fired if she won and he needed a couple more year’s on the public payroll to top off his pension, so he runs for the job. It was all about his bloody pension.

          1. True enough, but the fact that the prosecutors and judges were wretched people seeking their own advantages does not alter the fact that promoting a race-based jihad was the motive force in each case.

            In Duke the media and ‘studies ‘ departments in the university piled on in grotesque ways under the guise of attacking racism.

            In Zimmerman the Obama administration and the media tried to tip the scales in grotesque ways to combat racism.

            I suspect that without the racial element neither case would ever have been charged.

            Come to think of it, given the same facts if Floyd had been a big, white thug instead of a big, black thug we would never have heard of him. And the cops wouldn’t be facing charges.

            1. The race hustling in the Zimmerman case was the work of Benjamin Crump and Ryan Julison, aided and abetted by the media, especially the local NBC affiliate. Obama should have shut his mouth, but he was tangential to the whole business. The Duke case also featured vicious behavior by the media in the first instance (and by The New York Times and the local Durham paper throughout). The race hustling had multiple sources, including a large bloc of faculty at Trinity College (Richard Brodhead the President and Robert Steel the President of the board were complicit) and Wm. Barber of the local NAACP. One person who did not get on board was the president of the local black college, who kept his own counsel. Richard Burr and Elizabeth Dole pretended it wasn’t happening.

              1. ” Obama should have shut his mouth, but he was tangential to the whole business”

                Not really. When it appeared that the local prosecutor was going to take the case to a grand jury [and dump it that way] Obama’s wingman, Eric Holder, allegedly had some sort of special community relations group in the DOJ excite and agitate college students from an out-of-town college and then saw them bused to Sanford where they surrounded public buildings and chanted and raised hell demanding Zimmerman be prosecuted. Some of that agitation led to the local prosecutor being replaced by the ambitious nut from Duval County who was worried about her next election. She publicly said she was representing or seeking justice for the Martin family. That is an ethical violation. Trayvon’s family was not her client. Her duty as a prosecutor is to seek justice for the people of the State of Florida, including Zimmerman.

                Holder wasn’t done. The FBI went through Zimmerman’s life in minute detail looking for something they could nail him with in federal court. Nothing there.

                In fact, Zimmerman was an Obama supporter and voter and had rallied people in black churches to protest police misconduct against black people in Sanford. He helped repair the door on the home of a black lady who had been burgled and she testified in his defense. And, as it turned out, Zimmerman was part black himself, from his great-grandfather if I recall correctly.

                That was the man that Obama and Holder and the media hyenas wanted to feed into the meat grinder for racial justice: an Obama supporter who is part black and who volunteered to help black people in his community.

                But I bet Zimmerman doesn’t support Obama now.

              2. “The Duke case also featured vicious behavior . . .”

                Add to that rogues’ gallery:

                The execrable Nancy Grace: “I’m so glad they didn’t miss a lacrosse game over a little thing like gang rape!” She didn’t even have the decency to apologize.

                The guilt-presuming sportswriter John Feinstein

                Coach Mike Krzyzewski: He was a coward. A simple “wait a minute” from him, in public, could have slowed down that train wreck.

                DNA Security of Burlington: The private lab hired by Nifong. It violated protocol to hide exculpatory evidence.

                All of the Duke faculty and deans who remained silent. As one high-level dean told me: “I could have said something publicly. But then I would have been run out of town on the next train.”

                Two of the heroes were KC Johnson, a history professor at Brooklyn College (and a democrat), whose blog was a constant source of light. And Stuart Taylor, Jr., a journalist who focuses on legal issues. The two of them wrote the definitive book on that hoax:

                _Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case_, by Stuart Taylor, Jr., and KC Johnson

  5. The Professor’s account of January 6th is consistent with the experience of 3 relatives –all about 50, 2 from CO and 1 from CA, 2 women and 1 man. All day long, they saw thousands and thousands of people talking, praying, walking, visiting, standing, etc.; they witnessed not one bit of trashing the area, unruly behavior, arson, looting, threatening words or actions, any kind of weapons, dressed for confrontation or combat, etc. After many peaceful, but cold, hours, they were so cold, they began to walk back to their hotel; as they neared it, they heard sirens and only later learned what a FEW had done. The FEW who entered the Capitol when their entrance was not deterred cannot and should not tarnish the intentions of all those who gathered peacefully to exercise their guaranteed rights of speech and assembly – and SHAME on them who would punish the many peacefully gathered.

    1. It’s amusing how Trump followers who spent an entire summer making sarcastic comments about “mostly peaceful protesters” are suddenly very discerning about who did what when their own loonies act up. That might not be you, but there are a host of them on this site.

      1. There’s considerable discussion over who all was involved with this, but, the facts remain the numbers were nowhere near those riots orchestrated by the left, and this was ONE occasion compared with months and months of violence. Get a grip on reality, Brad.

          1. Brad….Let’s take this a whole slower so you can follow along.

            There was no arson at the Capitol.

            No one threw explosive devices at the Officers.

            The percentage of Rioters to Protesters at the Capitol was diametrically opposite to Portland, Seattle, Kenosha, and DC itself.

            No private businesses or homes got destroyed during the Capitol thing.

            Can you begin to see what you missed when you posted about Loonies…..the Loons that are asking for fair and honest elections, the Loons that are asking for equal Justice, the Loons that are asking the Courts to examine the evidence, the Loons that want the Supreme Court to consider the Constitutional issues……as compared to Antifa and BLM Loons who want anything but those things.

            That is why you are being taken to task.

        1. Um, what’s your point? That you sympathize with the peaceful BLM demonstrators who were also smeared because of the actions of provocateurs?

          1. Brad, the peaceful protesters of the summer had months to figure out that their leadership was composed of kick them in the head kind of people. Night after night they returned. They continued to follow these leaders after they learned who they were. You continue to want us to think that they were only wonderful people looting for a cause. Just because you’ve bought in we don’t have to.

      2. “when their own loonies act up”

        Oh yes, quite the “siege”!

        Now, how many Trump supporters set fire to buildings in major cities all over the country last Spring and Summer, and then blocked the exits to prevent the occupants from escaping the fire?

        I have no doubt that your answer will be akin to the crickets chirping inside of your vacant cranium.

      3. @Brad: It’s more amusing to watch leftists suddenly be enraged by mob violence. What’s telling about the hypocrisy is the left’s projection that the right will simply close ranks and defend the indefensible. Leftists have worked hard to perfect that ability, and so assume others employ the same tactic. The right is calling for trail and conviction of the guilty; and have consistently done so since March 2020., Compare that to leftists attempts to deny reality, make up idiotic phrases (Fiery, but mostly peaceful protests), and blame anybody but “self” as the reason folks were entitled to smash windows and complete their early Christmas shopping at Macy’s (or any of the thousands of other retailers).

        The right was explicit that protesters have the absolute right to protest. They were also just as explicit that a mob is a mob, and unlawful acts demand a lawful response.

        The left grotesquely contorted an alternate version of reality to justify their patently obscene behavior. They also hide behind the mask of situational ethics, and can seamlessly switch from logical fallacy to hypocrisy with breathtaking speed and ease. They not only deny that, “For [they] are the children of [their] father the devil and [they] love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning and a hater of truth—there is not an iota of truth in him. When he lies, it is perfectly normal; for he is the father of liars. (John 8:44, TLB)” but the very Christ who said it, because they recognize no external truth or fixed standard.

        Of course, that might not be you, but there are a host of them in the world.

    2. “what a FEW had done. The FEW who entered the Capitol when their entrance was not deterred …”

      It wasn’t a few. It was hundreds. Over 200 have already been arrested –

      Many people’s entrance WAS deterred by police. Do you deny it because you’re ignorant of it, or because you’re instead lying?

      1. It wasn’t a few. It was hundreds. Over 200 have already been arrested –

        About 14 of the 200 have been accused of having weapons. If we had a serious court system, they might be charged with trespassing or vandalism or disorderly conduct.

  6. Not quite 4% of the signers added a bit of commentary to their signature. A great many of the comments are frankly brainless (“The blatant racism that this school doesn’t stop”). Colleges require revenue to meet their fixed costs, so there are definite constraints on screening for intelligence, apart from the problem that many notionally intelligent people are driven by social signaling and parrot talking points. Intelligence and good character conjoined are atypical among youth.

    If this subset commenting is representative, about 80% of the signatories are female. I seem to recall that the vicious dimwits who gave Heather Mac Donald such a rude reception at Colgate were a predominantly female collection as well. I tend to wonder if the repellent political culture of bourgeois youth is seeded by psychological impulses particularly prevalent among women.

  7. The right to peaceably assemble to petition for redress of grievances is under attack. Primarily, peaceable assembly is being gamed by violent types bent on “intensifying” the message, or false-flag theatrical infowarriors who are using violence at a rally to intensify opposition.

    It should be a crime to conspire to inflitrate and commit violence at a peaceful assembly. One of our most cherished rights is under attack by radical groups. Is the deterrence strong enough? Are the consequences of gaming a Constitutional right strong enough? To me, this crime goes well beyond definitions of arson or vandalism or assault, and veers into the definition of terrorism, which is the attempt to shape political opinion through acts of violence and property damage, or threats thereof.

  8. It seems on far too many campuses it is always winter but never Christmas.

  9. Saint Mary:. Did she really have sex with a dog like some students at the school say?

  10. “It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.”
    Edmund Burke

  11. Biden at a presser: “WHAT AM I DOING HERE?”

    The whole world is wondering that, Joe.

  12. Would it be free speech for professors like Hochschild to call for a policy of expulsion of riotous or disruptive students who think they can slander professors and levy mobs against them or disrupt classes or block speakers who don’t share their views? Too long have universities submitted a neck to these student barbarians.

    1. The students in question are agents of the administration and the worst elements on the faculty. Hence, no punishment. Campus security in most cases could likely deal with those attempting the heckler’s veto, but they’ve been told to stand down. (Sometimes campus security is undermanned for the task, however).

      These youths didn’t do anything but sign a petition. The problem is that the petition and the commentary on it are indicators of a diseased political culture. (Well, in some cases, they’re pointers to the roll of youths Dr. Hocschild awarded C’s and D’s).

  13. “Oh, and it was a racist insurrection, a manifestation of white nationalism. Despite the sea of American flags, news stories seem to always run a picture of a Confederate flag.”

    You’re actually running this quote in one of your blog posts, Jon. Living the dream over at Fox.


  14. The article that JT linked is absolutely full of R talking points, supports the Big Lie, and despite what JT wrote, does not denounce” the riot at all. In fact he minimizes it and spreads false narratives about it. A professor at a college is expected to be honest, and one could argue that honesty is the most important trait of a professor. If a professor is caught publishing false information, then that is academic misconduct. Had the article just had political opinions, then he has the freedom to say unpopular stuff, but once he moves to publishing false information, that is very different. He does need to be fired for academic misconduct.

    1. I cannot figure out what’s worse, that you only recycle manufactured opinions you get from talking point mills, or that you’d dream this bilge up yourself.

      1. Try refuting my statement instead of personal attacks. Do you think that is acceptable for professors to write false information?

        1. A statement like “The article that JT linked is absolutely full of R talking points, supports the Big Lie, ” is not one with sufficient factual content to refute. Do better.

    2. I read the entirety of the opinion piece. I found not a single bit, that lacked factual basis.
      What you call R talking points, are facts.

    1. I do not like these politically motivated calls for firing/disciplining, but in a country of upwards of 310M, we can expect to have voices supporting almost anything. Professor Turley has been documenting some of these voices on college campuses, but there are some 5,000 US colleges, and so, we are going to find handfuls of these kind of voices. Professor Turley laments the absence of opposing voices from the academy. Perhaps it is because of those voices, out of the public view, why this sort or cancel culture is not more widespread.

      1. Steve this is not random. The universities are penetrated with agitators who are always looking to project themselves higher into false-social-[in]justice circles by some stunt. The payoffs? Fame, and of course, a crack at leading some bogus NGO chapter funded by some cunning billionaire. They want to disrupt everything, keep us all divided, so that we do not rally against them. The group of billionaires that is; our enemy. Sal Sar

        1. They are. However, if I’m not mistaken, Brea Purdie has graduated.

      2. It’s a perfectly ordinary private college of species quondam Catholic. The number of signatures they’ve received to date would fill up three graduating classes. They’re calling for the dismissal of someone for attending a political rally within commuting distance of his home, a rally composed of people who have quite unremarkable political views.

        The anxiety is as follows:

        1. It’s a blah college, not some place like Oberlin which has been filled with woke-tards for a generation.

        2. It’s another indication that liberals have emotional problems and cannot process opposing viewpoints in any opposing way, and fancy they own the country and the other people living here are just squatters on their suffrance.

      3. Not widespread? Are you serious? This is slowly infecting every aspect of our culture. Where on earth do you live? And as Sal pointed out, it is not by any stretch of the imagination, random.

      4. but there are some 5,000 US colleges, and so, we are going to find handfuls of these kind of voices

        The most egregious get cited,but it is happening multiple times a year in almost all colleges, the local media refuses to give them any airing. That’s what makes it so insidious.

  15. College students are not adults.

    This is how you indoctrinate children at a very young age to become older college aged children like Brea Purdie, who actually believe that they are righteous defenders of truths, that are actually nothing more than propaganda.

    1. It is true that the young are behind the curve compared to my mother’s contemporaries. However, most youths at age 22 (Brea Purdie’s age) are working full time, even if they’re 4-5 years away from starting a family.

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