Tag: First Amendment

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Whether one is an ardent supporter of Donald Trump or whether one detests the man with every fiber of their being, as Americans some basic principals must be agreed upon by all. Starting with all must agree that the First Amendment must not be infringed. Freedom of speech must be held sacrosanct in order for […]

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Today is April 22nd. It is also V.I. Lenin’s birthday. It is also, not coincidentally, the day specifically chosen for the grand-daddy holy day of the great state/world religion of Eco-Marxism – Earth Day. It is also the day when I ponder most on when a First Amendment lawsuit will finally be filed which claims (correctly) that […]

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President Trump: Defender of Religious Freedom?

 

At this point, I expect Donald Trump will likely be the nominee, and — if he can overcome his huge negatives and is as good at demolishing Hillary Clinton as he was his Republican competitors — he may well be our next president. My point here is that he might be, counterintuitively, more successful on religious liberty and culture war issues than Senator Ted Cruz would be.

Is Twitter “Shadowbanning” Conservatives?

 

I spoke with OAN host Liz Wheeler about the allegations that Twitter is silencing many of its users. Milo Yiannopoulos, editor of Breitbart Tech and frequent guest of Ricochet’s own Radio Free Delingpole, revealed that the financially troubled social platform is using a technique called “shadowbanning” to limit the reach of accounts that promote a non-PC message:

According to the source, Twitter maintains a ‘whitelist’ of favoured Twitter accounts and a ‘blacklist’ of unfavoured accounts. Accounts on the whitelist are prioritised in search results, even if they’re not the most popular among users. Meanwhile, accounts on the blacklist have their posts hidden from both search results and other users’ timelines.

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The signs of the institutional terminal illness of the American university are increasingly plentiful. The stories out of Missouri and Yale and a half-dozen other places in recent months might be easily dismissed as the grumblings of an entitled generation—and they are that—but something far more insidious is entangled with this “movement.” Preview Open

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Students at Yale and the University of Missouri have been exercising their First Amendment free speech right to protest—well—the right of others to exercise their right to free speech. Textbook irony. Free speech should be enjoyed and exercised by all, not just small groups on campuses trying to insulate themselves from intellectually-challenging ideas. It is […]

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When I got to that point in the Ricochet sign-up I had to stop and think. You see, I know how the Internet works. Every single employer I get from now to forever will google my name and see it associated with right wing ravings. Never mind that I don’t actually rave often; employers are […]

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In modern America, much evil may be committed in the name of “justice” or “equality” or, ironically, “freedom.”   All of us believe in some version of those precepts.  Thus, to oppose a strain of totalitarianism that gallops into town under a banner bearing the name of so noble an ideal would make one a monstrous bigot. […]

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Video: Mizzou Protest Shuts Down First Amendment

 

A young photojournalist tried to do his job today and take pictures of a protest movement roiling the University of Missouri. The protest, named #ConcernedStudent1950, complains of institutionalized racism at the Mizzou campus and society at large. Their disruption has gotten so bad, the university president decided to resign earlier today. Since this is obviously news, sympathetic reporters are there to spread the protesters’ progressive message. Unfortunately for the journalists, Mizzou doesn’t seem to teach its students about the First Amendment.

China: Harbinger of a Brave New World

 

shutterstock_275764925Totalitarianism is a function of technology. Prior to recent times, governments might claim to be absolute, but they did not have the record-keeping, administrative capacity to make good on that claim. Now they can do so far more easily than ever before — without hiring armies of spies. All that they have to do is follow the population on the Internet and use computers to collect and analyze the data. What Google can do, governments can do — and in Xi Jinping’s China that is what they are going to do. As The Weekly Standard reports,

China’s Communist government is rolling out a plan to assign everyone in the country “citizenship scores.” According to the ACLU, “China appears to be leveraging all the tools of the information age—electronic purchasing data, social networks, algorithmic sorting—to construct the ultimate tool of social control. It is, as one commentator put it, ‘authoritarianism, gamified.’ ” In the system, everyone is measured by a score ranging from 350 to 950, and that score is linked to a national ID card. In addition to measuring your financial credit, it will also measure political compliance. Expressing the wrong opinion—or merely having friends who express the wrong opinion—will hurt your score. The higher your score, the more privileges the government will grant you.

To do this, of course, the Chinese government needs help, and that is where private enterprise comes in. Alibaba and Tencent are set to administer the plan; and, if you hold stock in Yahoo, you are party to this as well.

Setting The New Yorker Straight on Freedom of Speech

 

free-speech-flagEarlier this month, The New Yorker ran an article by Kelefa Sanneh called, “The Hell You Say,” which purports to examine “the current free-speech debate.” Unfortunately, the article is chock full of inaccuracies and flawed arguments. We simply could not let this slide, so I, along with other staff members at FIRE, have carefully compiled A Dozen Things ‘The New Yorker’ Gets Wrong about Free Speech (And Why It Matters). Why is criticizing this one magazine article important, you might ask? As I say in our rebuttal:

First of all, in a time when people seem increasingly comfortable with book banning, blasphemy laws, hate speech laws, and amending the Constitution to limit the First Amendment, it’s important to take every opportunity we can to correct common misconceptions and explain some of the basics of the deep and profound philosophy behind free speech and the wisdom inherent in First Amendment law. Second, it’s important to take on the growing tide of critics, including authors and even journalists, who rely on freedom of speech but want to dismiss it as something unsophisticated or even dangerous. Whether from Eric Posner, Gary Trudeau, or Noah Feldman, there is a push to dismiss freedom of speech that seems to lionize the fact that other countries limit it. Every single one of these critics should sit down and read Flemming Rose’s book on international censorship, The Tyranny of Silence, before assuming that “enlightened censorship” is either justified or working out well for anyone.

There are ten more things the intrepid staff of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education believes The New Yorker got wrong about free speech. Here’s the first:

The Silly and Dangerous Things Senators Say

 

Senator Tammy BaldwinReimagining the First Amendment:

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) says the 1st Amendment’s religious liberty protections don’t apply to individuals.

On MSNBC last week, Wisconsin’s junior Senator claimed that the Constitution’s protection of the free exercise of religion extends only to religious institutions, and that individual’s do not have a right to the free exercise of their own religion.

Oregon: Bakers’ Statements to National Media Were “Unlawful”

 

Most of us probably assume that if legal charges are filed against us and we consider them unjust, we have a First Amendment right to raise a ruckus in the press. But last week’s controversial Oregon cake ruling suggests that some public officials are not so sure about that.

Last week, the Commissioner of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, Brad Avakian, ordered Melissa and Aaron Klein of Sweet Cakes by Melissa to pay $135,000 in damages, primarily for emotional distress, to a same-sex couple it had turned down for a wedding cake (earlier). In addition, the ruling ordered the Kleins to

The Great Progressive Rewind: The Left Is in a Word War

 

Note: I should clarify this title, lest I invite confusion: the Left is not so much fighting an intellectual war through words, but one against words. And in this context, words mean spoken words, thoughts, or symbols.

From inane trivialities to proper comedic etiquette to authoritarian speech codes, the Left is deserting an expansive view of free speech that it once nourished during the Progressive Era. Where its forbearers defended with a vigorous voice a more fundamental right to free speech — particularly for those whose opinions were outside the mainstream of American political thought — the modern Left seeks out problematic views and quashes them. Whether inventions of First Amendment exclusions, punishment of climate heresy, or shaming of non-PC humor, the Left finds a new scourge on an almost weekly basis, oftentimes buried in American culture’s most innocuous places.

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Freedom of association is commonly related to the first amendment right to peaceably assemble.  If a union can force non-union workers to either join or pay union dues—or lose one’s job, doesn’t that violate the individual’s rights of freedom of association? To put it another way, if the employees of a business vote to unionize, […]

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