I am both honored and delighted to be guest posting on Ricochet this week to talk about my new book Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate. I am a First Amendment lawyer and president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, most commonly referred to as FIRE. (Note: all royalties from the sale of Unlearning Liberty go to FIRE).
Unlearning Liberty is the product of my more than a decade of experience fighting speech codes, absurd incidents of campus censorship, invasions of the right of private conscience and freedom of religion, and abuses by the ever-growing ranks of campus administrators that are flatly unconstitutional at public colleges and, frankly, immoral at private universities that claim to believe in freedom of speech.
This video does a good job of summing up the major themes of the book, which I'll be talking about all week. In the book, I start by demonstrating that it’s shockingly easy to get in trouble for your opinion on the modern college campus, before digging deeper to reveal how censorship on campus has a harmful effect on our entire society. I believe censorship fosters group polarization, teaches the college-educated cheap and easy dodges to meaningful debate and discussion, and, perhaps most worryingly, makes students distressingly comfortable with grossly unconstitutional restrictions on their freedom of speech, and far too trusting in the power and wisdom of authorities.
If you want to learn more about the cases discussed in the video, I’ve copied links below to each case’s respective case page on the FIRE website, where you can find in-depth analyses from FIRE staff and all supporting documents:
- University of Georgia: Police Investigate and Censor "Intolerance" in Residence Halls
- Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis: Student Employee Found Guilty of 'Racial Harassment' for Reading a Book
- University of Delaware: Students Required to Undergo Ideological Reeducation