Opinion

What The Ilya Shapiro Cancel Culture Story is Really About

You should never bother to defend stupidity, but it is always worth your time to defend freedom of speech. – Me
Ilya Shapiro is/was the new executive director of the Georgetown Center for the Constitution, who couldn’t even start his first day on the job without getting put on administrative leave. His crime? Acting stupid. Another goofy scandal surrounding a series of tweets some decided was racist.
Now the media is baying for a firing, especially the Washington Post, and the students at one of the most prestigious law schools in the nation have lost their minds. According to the social justice activists, Shapiro’s supposed sin was putting out an inarticulate tweet—but what he’s really guilty of is just being a dirty rotten right-winger.
What Happened:
After all, was this tweet even of significant error? Shapiro commenting on Twitter regarding potential Biden Supreme Court nominees, wrote: “Objectively best pick for Biden is Sri Srinivasan, who is solid prog & v smart. Even has identify politics benefit of being first Asian (Indian) American, But Srinivasan “doesn’t fit into latest intersectional hierarchy so we’ll get [a] lesser black woman,” he wrote.
Immediately came the furor. The tweet thread stayed up for less than a minute, Shapiro apologized, but it was too late by then. At the encouragement from the media, student groups like the Georgetown Black Law Student Association put out a petition calling for Shapiro’s firing. Many lamentations from the activist class were made, asserting that Shapiro undermined the accomplishments of black women, made school unsafe, and put black bodies in danger. You know, the usual.
Being the March:
On Monday, the announcement came down from the Georgetown administration that Shapiro had been put on administrative leave while the school investigated.
However, that wasn’t good enough—nothing ever is—and, thus, students staged a sit-in.
Nate Hochman of National Review covered the event, and it is a trip.
Dean William Treanor showed up with the equity and diversity administrators to give a groveling, over-an-hour long speech, begging and contorting himself into whatever pretzel shapes he thought the mob of rich kids wanted to hear.
But the Georgetown Mao-Maos were cynical. While they had emphasized how traumatic Shapiro’s tweet had been for them in social media and press releases, they were more interested in asserting a list of demands.
Free Lunch Please:
Those demands include Georgetown providing a reparation package for black students. This plan would consist of free lunch and a designated place on campus to cry. Yes, really. They demanded the dean put out a formal email rebutting critics and emphasizing that criticism of the effort to cancel Shapiro was tantamount to supporting historical slavery. “That our classmates are explicitly reminded: Do not attack the people who were sold for you to have this opportunity.”
Moral blackmail. These weren’t hurt law students acting in good faith— these were progressive crusaders on a holy mission to destroy the impurity within. But in this last trick, the students gave away the game.
“You can do as much diversity training as you want with staff,” a student is quoted as saying, “But I feel like that Center has a certain ideology . . . so I really want you to defend why we really need it, beyond, like, you know, free speech, and beyond diversity of opinion. I really want us to think critically about why we still need it.”
And there it is. These theatrics weren’t about anything Shapiro had said or done. Instead, this was about destroying Georgetown’s barely decade-old Center for the Constitution. A pro-constitution libertarian-leaning organization, emphasizing top legal analysis and constitutional scholarship, the conservative branch of Georgetown law had long been seen as offensive to the left. Far from being alone, other students made suggestions during the meeting to similar effect, including another student who suggested that the Center be defunded entirely.
Poor Sod:
Racism is a very bad thing that should always be taken seriously and responsibly. Which is why it didn’t happen here.
Now, if you are one of those poor sods that believe activists care about the things they say they care about. Hopefully, this story will dissuade you of that sorry notion. Cancel culture is —nine times out of 10 times about aggrandizing power and providing benefits for the comfortable. And in this case, stopping anyone on the political right of Rep. Ilhan Omar from working at Georgetown.
That is just unrealistic. After all, Shapiro’s mere existence reminds us that sometimes people who emerge from law school might be more conservative than the average woke, brainwashed grad we assume it produces.
But if they were to allow that, it would imply that there is more than one correct way to look at any issue. And they surely could not tolerate such diversity of thought.
Georgetown is one of the most important law schools in the country, which is why so many right-wing publications and free speech organizations are fighting back against this nonsense.
As they should. We have taught a whole generation to put context and record aside when making judgment calls of their fellow human beings. That’s a scary thought because these folks will become lawyers and leaders at our most prestigious institutions. They will help decide who goes to prison, who gets disability aid, and what happens when kids’ parents’ divorce. That’s a lot of power and authority for even the most evenhanded, and I, for one, wouldn’t trust these clowns with an Easy-Bake oven.
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