By Bill Korach www.thereportcard.org
Ipse dixit is a tidy and articulate Latin legal phrase literally meaning “He himself says.” Put another way it could easily mean “The Truth is whatever I say it is whenever I say it.” Justice Potter Stewart employed the phrase in his majestic dissent in the 1962 Supreme Court decision “Engel v. Vitale” that ended public school prayer. Justice Stewart, a Constitutional Originalist argued:
“With all respect, I think the Court has misapplied a great constitutional principle. I cannot see how an “official religion” is established by letting those who want to say a prayer say it. On the contrary, I think that to deny the wish of these school children to join in reciting this prayer is to deny them the opportunity of sharing in the spiritual heritage of our Nation.”
Justice Stewart cited case after case where prayer was allowed in school and in government. Justice Stewart, a product of the old Patrician class of Hotchkiss, and Yale, believed in America’s heritage and America’s institutions. He inherited the time-tested approach that American law is the product of previous legal decisions or settled law (Stare Decisis). He closed his dissent saying:
“ I am at a loss to understand the Court’s unsupported ipse dixit that these official expressions of religious faith in and reliance upon a Supreme Being “bear no true resemblance to the unquestioned religious exercise that the State of New York has sponsored in this instance.”
In other words, Justice Stewart believed that the majority decision was based on nothing more than its own feeling that school prayer was wrong.
Since Engel v. Vitale countless cased have been decided by judges who do nothing but legislate from the bench. Law schools and liberal arts colleges are chock a block with administrators, teachers and students who believe in one opinion: their opinion. And anyone who disagrees must be silenced. Why? Because the Left has pronounced it so. Ipse Dixit!
Doubt this fact? Here are a few examples of Ipse Dixit in action on today’s campuses courtesy of Walter Williams:
During a campus debate, Purdue University professor David Sanders argued that a logical extension of pro-lifers’ belief that fetuses are human beings is that pictures of “a butt-naked body of a child” are child pornography. Clemson University’s chief diversity officer, Lee Gill, who’s paid $185,000 a year to promote inclusion, provided a lesson claiming that to expect certain people to be on time is racist.
To reduce angst among snowflakes in its student body, the University of California, Hastings College of the Law has added a “Chill Zone.” The Chill Zone, located in its library, has, just as most nursery schools have, mats for naps and beanbag chairs. Before or after a snooze, students can also use the space to do a bit of yoga or meditate. The University of Michigan Law School helped its students weather their Trump derangement syndrome — a condition resulting from Donald Trump’s election — by enlisting the services of an “embedded psychologist” in a room full of bubbles and play dough. To reduce pressure on law students, Joshua M. Silverstein, a law professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, thinks that “every American law school ought to substantially eliminate C grades and set its good academic standing grade point average at the B- level.”
Today’s academic climate might be described as a mixture of infantilism, kindergarten and totalitarianism. The radicals, draft dodgers and hippies of the 1960s who are now college administrators and professors are responsible for today’s academic climate. The infantilism should not be tolerated, but more important for the future of our nation are the totalitarianism and the hate-America lessons being taught at many of the nation’s colleges. For example, led by its student government leader, the University of California, Irvine’s student body voted for a motion, which the faculty approved, directing that the American flag not be on display because it makes some students uncomfortable and creates an unsafe, hostile environment. The flag is a symbol of hate speech, according to the student government leader. He said that the U.S. flag is just as offensive as Nazi and Islamic State flags and that the U.S. is the world’s most evil nation (http://tinyurl.com/kjoax3j).
In a recent New York Times op-ed, New York University provost Ulrich Baer argued: “The idea of freedom of speech does not mean a blanket permission to say anything anybody thinks. It means balancing the inherent value of a given view with the obligation to ensure that other members of a given community can participate in discourse as fully recognized members of that community.” That’s a vision that is increasingly being adopted on college campuses, and it’s leaking down to our primary and secondary levels of education. Baer apparently believes that the test for one’s commitment to free speech comes when he balances his views with those of others. His vision justifies the violent disruptions of speeches by Heather Mac Donald at Claremont McKenna College, Milo Yiannopoulos at UC Berkeley and Charles Murray at Middlebury College. Baer’s vision is totalitarian nonsense. The true test of one’s commitment to free speech comes when he permits people to be free to say and write those things he finds deeply offensive.
In the legal arena, judges said President Trump’s travel ban was illegal because of Trump’s campaign remarks on violent Islamic radicals. President Trump was well within the law as President, but the judges just didn’t like him, so they ruled against him Ipse Dixit.
Beware the doctrine Ipse Dixit, that is the doctrine of totalitarianism.