Scroll down to read this post.


Please consider supporting my work, as I take no advertisements nor accept any sponsors in order to keep the website clean, easy to read, and to avoid any accusations of conflict of interest. Your support leaves me entirely independent, able to say whatever I think while being free from censorship or reprisals.


You can support me either by giving a one-time contribution or a regular subscription. There are five ways of doing so:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


2. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

3. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:

5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

The sad state of free speech in America illustrated by three top universities

Cancelling the Bill of Rights

Events in the last two weeks at three of America’s top universities, Stanford, Cornell, and Yale, have illustrated starkly how many young Americans and their teachers now either support censorship and violence against dissenters, or are too cowardly to defend the rights of Americans when their free speech rights are attacked.

At the Stanford Law School a 5th Circuit Judge, Stuart Kyle Duncan, was shouted down and then lectured by a dean at the school for daring to have opinions she disagreed with. Stanford officials have issued a weak apology, but have done nothing concrete to discipline anyone for enforcing a heckler’s veto at the school.

At Cornell, the promise of university officials to punish students who participated in a protest that shouted down Ann Coulter has apparently been put aside once the heat died down.

Cornell University’s media team has not responded to multiple inquiries in the past months on possible punishments for the student activists. The College Fix also emailed communications director Rebecca Valli on March 6 and asked for an update on investigations into the students involved and what Cornell planned to do in the future to prevent similar problems.

The silence comes despite an initial strong statement from university leadership that criticized the Nov. 9 disruption.

Finally, officials at Yale Law School have attempted to fix things after being badly embarrassed by a similar violent protest in March 2022, when students shouted down Kristen Waggoner, the president of the non-profit law firm the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). As a result of that protest and the strong support of it by the faculty and student body, high level judges nationwide began a boycott of Yale’s graduates, stating publicly that they would not hire them because it was clear they did not understand fundamental American law.

Almost a year after Waggoner was silenced by Yale’s students and faculty, Waggoner was able to return to the university in January 2023 and successfully give a speech.

To do it however the university limited attendance and used “photo ID to control who entered the event,” actions that not only limited who could hear Waggoner’s speech but also indicated strongly that Yale still does not trust its student body to behavior like civilized adults who understand the law and the First Amendment. Instead, it knows that a very large percentage of the school’s population still supports censorship, as proven by the 400 students (a majority) who signed a petition following the protest in 2022 endorsing the protesters.

If you wish to be optimistic you could interpret these events as a positive trend. Cornell felt compelled to say it would punish the hecklers. Yale made sure a second appearance by Waggoner was not silenced. And Stanford officials immediately issued an apology, recognizing the inappropriateness of what happened.

I am not so sanguine. To me these actions appear to be desperate defensive holding actions against an aggressive opponent who has the initiative and is gaining ground at all points. We must remember that these schools are still doing nothing to teach their students that their actions to silence dissent is wrong. Bad behavior remains unpunished. The students will thus graduate and go into the workforce, some as lawyers and judges, still believing that censorship and violence against dissent is proper and justified.

If you believe in free speech be warned. The future continues to look grim.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Milt

    One robin may not make a spring, but Naomi Wolf’s mea culpa suggests that the cancel culture’s icy grip on America’s erstwhile liberal establishment finally may be cracking.

    In her heartfelt apology to conservatives, she describes the egregious harm that “the narrative” about January 6 has done to countless Americans and her own complicity in this effort to hide evidence, distort reality, and silence dissent.

    “It’s tempting to sweep this confrontation with my own gullibility under the rug — to “move on” without ever acknowledging that I was duped, and that as a result I made mistakes in judgement, and that these mistakes, multiplied by the tens of thousands and millions on the part of people just like me, hurt millions of other people like you all, in existential ways.

    But that erasure of personal and public history would be wrong.

    I owe you a full-throated apology.

    I believed a farrago of lies. And, as a result of these lies, and my credulity — and the credulity of people similarly situated to me – many conservatives’ reputations are being tarnished, on false bases.”

    Moreover — and at the heart of her confession — she identifies the pernicious effects that this kind of attempted recasting of reality has on the ability of a free society to conduct its necessary business:

    “Because of lies such as these in legacy media — lies which I and millions of others believed — half of our nation’s electorate was smeared and delegitimized, and I myself was misled.

    It damages our nation when legacy media put words in the mouths of Presidents and former Presidents, and call them traitors or criminals without evidence.

    It damages our country when we cannot tell truth from lies. This is exactly what tyrants seek — an electorate that cannot know what is truth and what is falsehood.

    Through lies, half of the electorate was denied a fair run for its preferred candidate. ”

    As Dr. Wolf observes, “it damages our country when we cannot tell truth form lies,” yet pushing an ideological narrative whose sole purpose is to obscure the truth has become the entire “point” of most of the media (including, especially, social media) in this country. For the presstitutes that she writes about, promoting the progressive “narrative” has become their raison d’être, the touchstone of their professional practice*, and there is no longer the slightest nod in these circles toward discerning objective truth or honestly reporting it.

    *Witness the astonishing contortions of Karine Jean-Pierre — a buffoonish poster child for everything that is false, craven, and disreputable in our media — as she struggles to keep up with the daily, if not hourly, revisions to “official truth.”

    Yet, as dark as things appear to be in this country, I think that the tide may be turning, and people like Dr. Wolf are finally beginning to sober up, as she describes, from all of the woke Kool-Aid that they have been drinking. And how many more, following in the footsteps of Arthur Koestler** and other principled people on the left who belatedly spoke out against the Stalinist horrors of the 1930s and 40s, will join her?

    **Cf., his essay in The God That Failed, his novel Darkness at Noon, and in his other writing.

    Sadly, acknowledging Robert’s pessimism, many will not. Among them are both the truly evil — “The People of the Lie,” as M. Scott Peck has called them — and the “invincibly ignorant,” those lost souls who have long since given up any desire to discern the truth or to act accordingly in its light. Neither cohort is likely to renounce their woke faith, even less their burning hatred for non-believers, and we will have to continue to contend with them. But perhaps a goodly number of left-leaning people who still have something like an open mind and a functioning moral compass will make the transition.

    How can we reach out and help them in this process?

  • ClayMD

    The instrument of dissent and criticism is the individual faculty member or the individual student. The university is the home and sponsor of critics; it is not itself the critic. To perform its mission in the society, a university must maintain an extraordinary environment of freedom of inquiry and maintain an independence from political fashions, passions, and pressures. A university, if it is to be true to its faith in intellectual inquiry, must embrace, be hospitable to, and encourage the widest diversity of views within its own community. It is a community, but only for the limited, albeit great, purposes of teaching and research. It is not a club, it is not a trade association, it is not a lobby.

    Since the university is a community only for these limited and distinctive purposes, it is a community which cannot take collective action on the issues of the day without endangering the conditions for its existence and effectiveness. There is no mechanism by which it can reach a collective position without inhibiting the full freedom of dissent on which it thrives. It cannot insist that all members favor a given view on social policy; if it takes collective action, therefore, it does so at the price of censuring any minority who do not agree with the view adopted. In brief, it is a community which cannot resort to majority vote to reach positions on public issues. – The Kalven Report

  • Milt

    Ding! Ding! Ding! As Art Bell used to say when one of his guests got precisely the right answer.

    “To perform its mission in the society, a university must maintain an extraordinary environment of freedom of inquiry and maintain an independence from political fashions, passions, and pressures. A university, if it is to be true to its faith in intellectual inquiry, must embrace, be hospitable to, and encourage the widest diversity of views within its own community. It is a community, but only for the limited, albeit great, purposes of teaching and research. It is not a club, it is not a trade association, it is not a lobby.”


    ClayMD cites the conventional understanding of what the university was *supposed* to be about and how it should function as an institution, but this model is antithetical to the way that the progressive Powers That Be have completely reformulated its purpose and deployed it as a change agency in our society.

    The astonishing thing is that almost no one*, aside from a few people like CalyMD, seems to have *noticed* this discrepancy, let alone acted in any way to sound the alarm — including putting our elected officials on notice — about what has happened. As in so many other areas of our lives, the “model” of the university has been radically altered by a small group of determined ideologues, and we are left to deal with the unhappy results. Lacking such understanding, like so many contented cows, we literally do not know what keeps hitting us.

    *Aside from Robert, Dennis Prager may be one of the few broadcasters who talks explicitly about this transformation. Likewise Jordan Peterson, who is now probably one of the most hated and reviled people on this planet for his efforts. How DARE he assert that a university ought to function as ClayMD suggests!

    Here in Florida, at least, Governor DeSanis and the Florida Legislature have taken action to try to reestablish something more like the original idea of the university — at least in the case of the New College of Florida — to the horror of the woke jihadists who understand perfectly well what is being done to them. (Recalling the line in the old Bob Dylan song When the Ship Comes In, “they’ll pinch themselves and squeal, and they’ll know that it’s for real.” Yes, and about darned time.)

    But, again, if people fail to have any understanding about the original “mission” of the university in or society, then how on earth can they (and their elected representatives) defend it from the barbarians within our gates?

    PS — So, too, the corruption of the concept of public broadcasting, and its radical departure from its original mission. As Mr. Prager is wont to say, the left destroys everything that it touches, and PBS / NPR — along with most of our colleges and universities — are a living testament to that. Indeed, until such time as people — and our legislators — “get” that it is the left’s mission to radically change EVERY institution in this country into an instrument of radical social change, it will be impossible to make much headway against them.

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *