Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute recently made himself the target of the cancel mob by tweets that he admitted were not his best work ever. Shapiro deleted the tweets, but as we know, they live forever on the internet and in leftists’ hearts. Because the subject matter directly involved race, the reaction from his new employer was immediate. Georgetown Law School placed Shapiro on non-punitive administrative leave.
There is a saying in jurisprudence that when arguing your case, your facts are weakly focused on the law, and when the law is a soft focus on the facts. Shapiro smartly focused more on the freedom of expression policies at the university rather than getting in the weeds about what he said.
There is a high probability that Shapiro will lose his job over the tweets, partially because, on their face, they were awkwardly bad and because of the fragility of everyone in the public square today. It is valid from the people in places of authority, all the way down to the law students.
The Dean of Georgetown, William Treanor, prostrated the students by apologizing for betraying their trust. There has not been a hint of racism in Mr. Shapiro’s career. We know this because Georgetown would never have hired him in the first place. It is not a case where some skeleton from the past suddenly arrived, like a yearbook with pictures of him in culturally insensitive garb. It is a situation where he forgot to think before he hit the ‘tweet’ button. Everyone has said things they wish they had phrased differently.
Dean Treanor should be apologizing to the students for saddling them with enormous student debt due to the inflation of graduate-level education. He should also apologize for allowing the students to act like infants.
Free food I get. Students are always on a budget. But a place to cry? The legal world is filled with sharks who will eat these children as a snack before breakfast. Mr. Treanor is doing them no favors by indulging them with the idea that words are so dangerous. If you disagree with an idea, debate it. Do not silence it. They are about to enter a profession where words are weapons and shields. To fear the tools of your profession is to ensure your failure.