“Their Smug Civility was Infuriating”: Yale Editorial Denounces the Politeness of Pro-Life Students; Questions Right to Speak on Campus

On occasion, we will discuss student editorials as an insight into the view of free speech on our campuses. This week, one such editorial has attracted attention from Yale Daily News due to its chilling statements about free speech. The editorial by Hyerim Bianca Nam is striking in its rejection of the core values of free speech and its expression of anger over the civility and logical arguments of pro-life students.
Bianca Nam unloads on fellow students who set up a table to discuss abortion issues. She describes the students as  “inviting passersby to engage in logical debates about fetal personhood and abortion ethics.” She notes with frustration that “they were polite” and “they held their voices low and spoke slowly and calmly. They had relaxed, open smiles.”
Nam takes offense not just to their civility and politeness but also to the fact that they were allowed to speak at all on campus:

“Their smug civility was infuriating; their invitations for debate, inflammatory. I could barely seethe out my opinion about the misogyny of holding such a debate at all…

The discussion never should have been entertained, because simply opening space for this ‘logical, respectful’ debate itself is a threat to human rights that should never be up for debate…

Some arguments aren’t worth engaging with, and quite frankly are dangerous for even existing.”

She added that “Yale should be more cognizant about the environment it fosters for women. We don’t need perfunctory celebrations of the anniversary of Yale’s women that accompany endorsements of misogynist dialogue.”

The editorial perfectly captures the rising intolerance and orthodoxy on our campuses.  Nam insists that even allowing such debates is “an insult to our personhood, experience and rights.”

This is consistent with other editorials that we have previously discussed. A Berkeley columnist denounced civility and called for violent resistance. Dartmouth faculty and students demanded that the university shutdown a conservative newspaper. Wellesley editors endorsed shutting down conservative speakers and said that “violence may be warranted.”  We have also documented repeated incidents where university newspapers have fired writers and editors for questioning Covid masks, challenging systemic racism claims, or holding other opposing views.

There has also been a repeated attack on civility as racist or reactionary. Even reporters at National Public Radio (NPR) have denounced civility as a “weapon wielded by the powerful.” Hillary Clinton has called for the end of civility toward any Republicans.

This tirade at Yale against free speech captures many of these elements from the attack on civility to the view of opposing speech as harmful. Given the increasingly anti-free speech culture in our elementary through high schools, it is not surprising to see this rising generation of censors. These students have been constantly told that free speech is harmful and that they should not have to be harmed by the exposure to opposing views.

The irony is that it is important to hear Nam’s views, which can be the basis for productive discourse — the type of civil discourse that she rejects. I would oppose any effort to silence her. This is precisely the type of open discussion that is valuable on our campuses. However, it should occur in an environment of civility and tolerance — values that Nam clearly rejects.

The Yale editorial gives an insight into what educators have created in this speech-phobic, viewpoint-intolerant generation.


231 thoughts on ““Their Smug Civility was Infuriating”: Yale Editorial Denounces the Politeness of Pro-Life Students; Questions Right to Speak on Campus”

  1. As we bid farewell to the Dominion-Fox lawsuit, recall how Tucker Carlson’s producer described their viewers: as “dumb” “cousin-f—ing” “terrorists.”

  2. The louder the shrill in one’s opposition to another’s argument, the more obvious that person’s argument is weak and void of substance. The Prolife argument is winning which is why there is a strong demand from leftists to censor them.

    1. “Generally, if one side is begging for a debate while the other side avoids it at all costs and even tries to censor opposing views, that should tell you a lot about which side is likely closer to the truth.” —Scott Morefield

    2. As you can see from my long exchange with oldmanfromkansas — https://jonathanturley.org/2023/04/14/their-smug-civility-was-infuriating-yale-editorial-denounces-the-politeness-of-pro-life-students-questions-right-to-speak-on-campus/comment-page-3/#comment-2279876 — I am able to make strong pro-choice arguments with no attempt to censor anyone.

      Care to join in a substantive civil debate instead of just carping about those of us on the left?

  3. nothing can be ‘discussed’ with the left because all they know is spouting the nonsensical cliches barren of any facts. we are divided. divorce should be undertaken. let them have their ‘utopia’ and us our freedom from those creatures.

    1. A divorce is only succeeds when both parties honor it and move on. With the left in the role of psycho spouse, it’s clear that isn’t possible. The lefts psycho spouse take is, “if I can’t have the b!&c#, NOBODY CAN.”
      The only way out of that kind of danger, the kind of serious, probably deadly danger The United States is in, is for The People of America to speak truth about and fully reject and defend themselves from every aspect of leftism that has systematically infiltrated the US at every level and is out to infect and kill The Republic.
      People in power, government and otherwise, are no longer agents or advocates of a Constitutionally functioning United States.
      They are no longer stewards of Freedom nor are they preserving, protecting and defending the core values and Rights that makes The United States what it was Constitutionally founded, established, ordered and mandated to be.
      These occupying enemy forces forfeited the right to govern when they started abolishing Peoples Constitutional Rights Rights, appointed themselves extraconstitutional, absolute governmental and civilian rulers, and began systematically dismantling and replacing The Constitution with their own form of government run by a bunch of totalitarian nihilists.
      There is no other choice if the Constitutional Republic is to live.
      It’s either defend or die because death of America is the only option the attacking enemy is offering The People of America.
      And there can be no divorce style compromise either.
      This Country cannot co-exist with the caliber of evil that is coming after The People in full force to satiate their lust for absolute control and absolute power.
      By their past and current actions, they have already proven 100% that they will NEVER honor any oaths, pledges, rules, guarantees, promises, laws or anything else they say or commit to. Abolition of The Constitution is on their table. Anything else is just lies  used to placate and pull one over on their tools and targets to accomplish this goal, and they consider people who believe and trust them enemies and gullible inferior stooges deserving of whatever they get.
      Knowing this, it is practically a psychotic delusion to expect them to live respectfully and peacefully side by side with those they hate with their entire being and not try to continue their hate filled agenda of extremination of those they openly, violently hate and want to see dead. They will consider their half of the divorce settlement a haven and use the respite from pushback and restraints and the havens proximity to their enemies, to plan, prepare and launch attacks because,
      the b!&c# is still alive and still loves someone else.
      If The People of America lose this war they are, like or not, already actively in, lose This Country, THEIR Country to the foreign and domestic enemies and the puppeteers that animate them, there IS, no place else to go.
      For no other place exists on this planet, for the kind of Freedom and Life that exists here in The Constitutional Republic.
      And that Life and level of Freedom exists because of only one thing, The United States Constitution.
      No other place offers the kind of Freedom and Rights that give Us the chance to freely become fully Ourselves that Our Constitution makes possible.
      And if We choose to surrender, not fight back or lose this fight, not only in all likelihood, no such place like The United States will ever exist again, our children and future generations who would also love and thrive on Freedom, and whose Free lives could evolve and elevate the human condition, will have no place to go.

  4. Laugh at them and they go ballistic. They are still children, they were never allowed or taught coping skills. They threw hissy fits and won. The parents/teachers taught them that words are physical violence, the parents and their teachers indoctrinated them into good little “useful Idiots”.

    The cult of little MAO’s will be a scourge on humanity until they die of “suicide by cop” during a mass shooting so they can get gun control passed. We are seeing the new strategy to get guns banned. The more they are violent with guns, the more children they murder with AR’s, the sooner they think they will get guns banned. The violence coming will be unprecedented, especially if Trump over comes the voter fraud and wins again.

  5. Astonishing that the most intolerant schools in the country were once considered to be the top schools. Now you don’t even need to take entrance exams to get into these schools and they restrict enrollment to non-whites unless you’re parents are legacy donors. That’s right. White students with 4.2 gpa’s are not getting admitted to universities in California or the Ivy leagues because they’re white unless their parents are exes and major donors.

    1. Plagerism from Lenin, Marx, Stalin, Moa, maybe Pol Pot? May GOD in Heaven let her taste & swallow her own medicine of violent revolution from whitey or a multicultural plagued street thug.

  6. Wait, wait! the editorial writer must be a future Stanford Law grad, and this is the essay that clinched it!

  7. Civility should be frowned upon at Yale in favor of flinging poo and starting fires. The audacity of the pro-life folks to calmly make cohesive arguments without overturning a table. What is this world coming to?

  8. If those pro-lifers used the tactics of these college elite, they’d be in a J6-like cell in a New York (or Connecticut) minute. Then, of course, charged with a hate crime and federally applied as well. The DOJ through the FBI would round them up and crack their souls with criminal litigation, that, of course, while valid if any violence rhetoric (or assault) was used, would be amplified to the max by the propagandists. There would be calls for all political rights to be stripped from anyone associated with pro-life or dare say here: pro-MAGA.

    We are at an impasse not seen since the US Civil War. Joe Biden is more authoritarian than Lincoln and that’s going a bit. But Lincoln was a far sight better man than Joe can even conceive of – forget being it. For all of Lincoln’s destruction, he did manage to achieve the goal: keep the Republic.

    This time IS DIFFERENT.

    Enjoy your “freedom” while you can. Because DC and all the problems we know of, are going tear this country apart.
    That is sad to say – because it happened on our watch. Good men did stay by and do nothing. Evil never takes a day off.

  9. It must be difficult going through life knowing there are people who disagree with you. It must be doubly difficult not being able to effectively use the language to express your angst.

    Just how exactly, Ms. Nam “seethe out” an opinion? What does that even mean? How could it be that A) a student at a so-called premier university could write so poorly (and idiotically, but that’s a resume builder for leftists), and B) a newspaper “editor” released the article without asking the writer to reconsider their proofreading standard?

    Glad I’m too poor and disconnected from the elites I never have to worry about my kids receiving Yale’s brand of “education.”

    1. Leftists encroachment in universities have turned the places of enlightenment into defacto totalitarian enclaves without political diversity.

      Political diversity is not only a needed condition for democracy but for the key institutions in a democratic system.

      This is what happens when the GOP has allowed for decades widespread political discrimination and abuse against its base, and this is happening everywhere not only in universities, not by chance Dems/Leftists have over majority in Universities, Big Tech companies, media companies, government agencies and public institutions.

  10. Would Nam have had a different reaction if the Pro-Life students mirrored her preferred ‘debate’ methods over and above the ‘message’? (Am I allowed to call Nam a her here?) 🤨

  11. Pro-life voices can and sometimes do observe civility and respect for differing viewpoints. But invariably their arguments descend into emotionally inflammatory, accusatory words like “killing your baby” and “murdering your child”.

    Civility requires finding a neutral language that both sides accept as having the same meaning.

    1. Just curious is Antifa burning cities down and killing people the left’s answer to civility? It seems so.

    2. What is the phrase or words most appropriate to describe the fundamental issue of the abortion debate? Is it the taking of a life or not? This is most appropriately called homicide.

    3. their arguments descend into emotionally inflammatory, accusatory words

      Occasionally that does happen, and when it does it’s regrettable. But in my experience that has been the exception, and so using that as an excuse not to engage in discussion is ultimately a cop-out. Moreover, again in my experience, the pro-legalized-abortion side descends into that kind of overheated rhetoric far more often – and so the pro-life students are to be commended for still seeking civil debate in spite of the antics of their ideological opponents.

    4. What is the appropriate word(s) to use to describe the taking of a life during an abortion? Homicide? Taking a life? Ending a life? Ending a pregnancy? This description is the crux of the debate. One side believes it is the taking of a life while the other side does not (or in some cases does not care). On a side note, the Left is so quick to change the language or the definition of words is becomes increasingly difficult to even recognize commonalities.

      1. Ed, they can’t even find common ground on when a new life should be called ‘life’ before the kid takes his/her first breath ‘outside’.

  12. Sounds more like a college student who tried to string every 50-cent word they’d ever heard into one letter to the editor. What a waste of his/her/its parents’ $200,000

  13. One more example of why it is futile for conservative judges to speak on Ivy League campuses. Hyerim Bianca Nam, the perfect name for a comic strip, will be present, ready to roar down any speech that offends her. Only a fool—or someone collecting a big speaking fee—would try to speak and be persuasive. Everyone else recognizes the futility of such an attempt.

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