I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means

Zach Beauchamp has an error-filled post over at Vox claiming that leftist professors are more likely to be fired for political speech than conservatives are. He cites the data an conclusions from a Canadian study showing that between 2015 and 2017 three times as many leftist profs were fired for their speech than conservatives.

When dealing with probability, something is considered more likely if the odds of its occurrence are higher than another event. If there are roughly ten times as many leftists professors as there are conservatives (and that’s close to the Real World average) and only three times as many are being fired, then the odds that any given conservative will be fired are roughly three times greater than that happening to any given leftist. The exact value will depend a bit on the size of the population of profs. Math is hard, but that doesn’t change the meaning of likely.

Beauchamp uses his erroneous conclusion to spin up an attack of the actions some states legislatures have taken to protect free speech on public college campuses. As organs of the State public schools are constrained by the First Amendment.

In Wisconsin, the strictest of these states, rules drafted by the state university’s board of regents allow students to be expelled if they are found to have disrupted the speech of other students three times.

Protecting free speech on campus by expelling students for their political activism: just what the First Amendment’s drafters intended.

Well, yes, that’s exactly what the Founders intended. The right to peaceably assemble implies the right not to have that assembly disrupted. Violence and intimidation are not protected forms of speech.

Beauchamp seems to have trouble with both probability and civics.

4 thoughts on “I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means

  1. Actual conservative professors are about as common as left-handed, Unicorns with NYC concealed carry permits. I don’t suspect many of them get terminated either.
    The left has never much been concerned with reality….

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