Tag: Free Speech

A theater professor refused to express anger at something that wasn’t meant to cause anger. Coastal Carolina University wants to fire him for it.

 

If you haven’t heard of Coastal Carolina University’s absurd punishment of theater professor Steven Earnest (and you made it through that headline without frying too many brain cells), you might take a couple of more minutes to read through this week’s press release from FIRE:

On Sept. 16, a visiting artist was working with two students of color after class, and one student expressed that she felt isolated and would like to get to know other non-white students in the department. The visiting artist asked about whether it might be helpful for non-white students to connect as a group, and she and the students wrote out the names of other non-white students on the classroom whiteboard while brainstorming ideas. 

On this episode of “The Federalist Radio Hour,” Andrew Langer, president of the Institute for Liberty, joins Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to discuss the tension between the First Amendment right to free speech and what is often labeled “dark money.”

Bari Weiss Interview: Courage in the Face of Book Burners

 

I’m once again recommending a podcast from Bari Weiss. This one is an interview with Abigail Shrier, author of Irreversible Damage: Teenage Girls and the Transgender Craze, her piece of investigative journalism (remember when that used to happen?) on the topic of the exploding “trans” movement afflicting young girls.

I have purchased the book but not yet read it. I’ll undoubtedly write about it after I do.

FIRE’s 2021 College Free Speech Rankings Find Increased Student Support for Censorship

 

Last week, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), working alongside College Pulse and RealClearEducation, published the second rendition of our College Free Speech Rankings. Among the takeaways? Prospective college students who want a college with a strong culture of free expression should consider Claremont McKenna College or the University of Chicago, which come first and second (with CMC taking the top spot held by UChicago last year). By that same token, they might want to think twice about DePauw University, which finishes last for the second consecutive year.

When we published our first edition of the rankings last year, the nearly 20,000 students at 55 institutions made it the largest survey of college student attitudes on free speech ever conducted. Nowhere to go from there but down? Nonsense. This year, we surveyed nearly triple the number of schools (159) and nearly double the number of students (over 37,000). The report takes into account the varied dimensions of free expression on campus, including the ability to discuss challenging topics like race, gender dynamics, and geopolitical conflicts; whether students hold back from openly sharing their views; and official campus speech policies.

The rankings found that more than 80% of students report self-censoring their viewpoints at their colleges at least some of the time, with 21% saying they censor themselves often. Only a third of students say that their college administration makes it either very or extremely clear that it will protect free speech on campus. What’s more, some illiberal streaks among the student population seem to be trending in the wrong direction. For instance, 66% reported some level of acceptance for speaker shout-downs (up 4 percentage points from FIRE’s 2020 report), and 23% agreed that it’s acceptable for people to use violence to stop certain speech (up 5 percentage points). Additionally, students generally showed much greater intolerance for campus speakers with conservative positions.

3 in 4 Campaigns Targeting Faculty Expression Result in Punishment (but FIRE’s New Legal Defense Fund Can Help)

 

For more than 20 years, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has defended collegiate scholars from attacks by would-be censors who dislike what they say or discover in the course of their research, teaching, or personal expression. Distressingly, a new report from FIRE shows the scope of this task finding that efforts at such censorship are frequently successful and increasingly common.

The report—“Scholars Under Fire”— documents attempts to penalize scholars for speech and expression that, although often controversial, is protected by their First Amendment and academic freedom rights. FIRE found that such incidents have quadrupled since 2015 and reached a new record in 2020 at 113 incidents, with 2021 on track to match or exceed 2020’s tally. Making matters worse, an alarming 74% of scholars receive some sort of punishment from their schools when they’re targeted by campaigns against their constitutionally protected speech. This problem spans ideologies, with most campaigns in the database (62%) coming from the political “left” of the scholar and 34% coming from the scholar’s “right.”

These findings demonstrate increased risks to faculty expression, but FIRE has added a new resource for fighting back. On the same day we released our report, FIRE also officially launched the Faculty Legal Defense Fund (FLDF), which will provide free legal assistance to faculty at public colleges and universities across the country. The fund provides no-cost legal help by connecting faculty with experienced counsel from FLDF’s network of attorneys around the country and using FIRE’s resources as an experienced defender of campus rights to leverage faculty members’ ability to defend their rights.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Kristina Arriaga, president of Intrinsic, a strategic communications firm, and former vice chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Kristina shares her family’s experiences fleeing Castro’s communist regime in Cuba and other hardships, and how her background has shaped her commitment to religious liberty. They discuss the current political situation in Cuba, and the lessons American citizens, teachers, and students should learn about communism’s impact on human rights. She shares her work to advance religious freedom as former executive director of The Becket Fund, where she honored courageous Cuban political prisoner Armando Valladares and so many other human rights activists, and through her service on several noted international commissions. Finally, they discuss parallels Kristina highlighted in an October 2020 USA Today op-ed, between cancel culture in America and some of the features of communist Cuba, such as speech codes, political correctness, and social shaming. They delve into why cancel culture is so dangerous to the free exchange of ideas and a healthy civic life, and how parents, teachers, and professors can combat it.

Stories of the Week: The Biden administration is extending the moratorium on federal student loan payments and interest – originally scheduled to expire next month – through early 2022. But exactly who is eligible? The New York Times reports that 340,000 of the one million children who did not report for school during the pandemic were in kindergarten, with the sharpest declines in low-income neighborhoods.

The Apple Daily Is No More

 

Today’s edition will be the last for Hong Kong’s Apple Daily. Police raids, the arrest of top executives, and the harassment of many other employees have brought the paper to the point where, for the safety of hundreds of employees, they felt they could no longer continue. The pressure to toe the Xi line or fold has been ratcheting since China imposed a draconian security law on Hong Kong, abrogating Beijing’s treaty with London when London ceded sovereignty of the island. The fragility of Xi’s rule is underscored by his terror of an honest and free press. More from the Epoch Time.

Bless the management and staff of the Apple Daily, and their leader Jimmy Lai. Their paper is gone, but the fight continues.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard Robinson and guest co-host Kerry McDonald talk with Naomi Schaefer Riley, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of several books, including Be the Parent, Please. They discuss findings from her book on how excessive technology use negatively impacts children’s intellectual, social, and moral development – which was even more of a challenge with the wide usage of remote learning during COVID-19. The conversation turns to Riley’s extensive commentary on the relationship between religion and education in American society, and lessons K-12 education policymakers should learn from higher education’s handling of faith on campus. She delves into why religion and church-state issues remain such a stark fault line across American K-12 education. They also talk about the development of anti-intellectual efforts on college campuses, and in the larger society, to use speech codes, political correctness, wokeness, and now cancel culture to shut down the free exchange of ideas, and why such campaigns to undermine the fundamentals of democracy persist.

Stories of the Week: EducationWeek reports that over 1.3 million American students did not return to school this year due to the pandemic-related closures. School districts are scrambling to lure them back, but will it work? Juneteenth, which honors the 1865 ending of slavery in this country, has officially become a U.S. federal holiday.

Learning From Experience, Not

 

A high-school friend had a father who worked in a factory. He had a story…it seems there was this guy who got his left arm caught in one of the machines and horribly mangled. He was out for months, and when he came back, the other workers crowded around him, asking “How did it happen?”

“Like this,” he said, demonstrating with the other arm.

Member Post

 

At a school where 70% of students belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the President of the Church’s wife, Wendy Watson Nelson, is a controversial speaker to some outspoken faculty. It is the usual story, but in a different setting. “Sister Nelson’s own remarks…invited students to drop their contentions, open space […]

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Hubwonk Host Joe Selvaggi talks with constitutional scholar and CATO Institute Research Fellow Thomas Berry about the recently heard U.S. Supreme Court case, Mahanoy Public School District v. B.L., and its implications for free speech, school control, and the integration of social media into the rubric of first amendment protections.

Guest:

QoTD: Liberals Need to Defend Free Speech—says a Liberal. Should We Care?

 

The problem is that people will inevitably differ about which speech qualifies as racist. The term has become our own scarlet letter, an all-purpose way to prohibit ideas you dislike. So we need to defend the free-speech rights of everyone, even avowed racists. The best response to hateful speech is to raise your own voice against it, not ban it.

–Jonathan Zimmerman, in the WSJ

Ayaan speaks with Dave Rubin about the future of liberalism. Can it be saved and if so, how? They discuss faith, religion, and the pseudo-religion of wokeism. Plus, they explore whether or not we still have a free press.

Dave Rubin is an author, comedian, and TV personality best known for his political commentary. He is the host of The Rubin Report, a top-ranking talk show recognized as one of the most influential spaces for candid conversations about complex issues and current events. Dave is known for his iconoclastic and honest approach to big ideas and his unwavering support for free speech.

Wanted: More Safe Spaces

 

We need more safe spaces. No, not the sterile little cubbies that the snowflakes need to avoid being “triggered,” to avoid facing an unpleasant idea or a challenging thought; we have enough of those already. We call those spaces “universities,” and the country is littered with them. No, we need more places where normal Americans can hear and say what they believe without fear of being fired, of their children being ostracized, of their grades being ruined, and of their families being torn apart.

I’ve lived in a lot of America: Kansas City, Denver, Albuquerque, Memphis, Sarasota, Cleveland, Austin, Tucson, rural Missouri, and rural New York. I’ve lived in urban high-rise apartments and on rolling farms, owned homes in lush Florida suburbs and dusty New Mexico river valleys. I’ve met a few people who think America is a racist hellhole full of injustice and oppression, but vastly more who go to church and go to work and make sense and raise their kids and maybe believe too much of what they see on the evening news. Americans aren’t by and large a “woke” people. We’re a gloriously apolitical bunch, a nation of sensible and pragmatic and decent citizens busy making ends meet in an often challenging economy.

Nick Gillespie is the host of The Reason Interview podcast and editor-at-large at Reason Magazine. He and Bridget discuss the need to create meaning in our lives and why this has driven a lot of American culture insane, how he became a libertarian, Burning Man, his time working for a teen magazine, and why we need a government that does fewer things, but does them well. He shares how attending high school graduations and zoning board meetings radicalized him, the difference between liberals and progressives, how we can build a robust culture by having more arguments, and how he learned almost anything is possible. He and Bridget cover their hope for the future, why Walter Kronkite sucked, the consequences of growing up comfortable, and the truth behind our political parties’ ideologies.

Black Lives Matter

 

It is true that young black men are being killed disproportionately — killed brutally, ruthlessly, and unjustly. And we need to talk about it if we hope to put an end to it.

We have data, and that data has been studied carefully. We know, based on that, that police are not the ones doing the killing. We know, based on that data, that police do not disproportionately kill young black men.

A Machine for Preventing Civil War

 

Scott Alexander, in a 2017 post at Slate Star Codex:

People talk about “liberalism” as if it’s just another word for capitalism, or libertarianism, or vague center-left-Democratic Clintonism. Liberalism is none of these things. Liberalism is a technology for preventing civil war. It was forged in the fires of Hell – the horrors of the endless seventeenth century religious wars. For a hundred years, Europe tore itself apart in some of the most brutal ways imaginable – until finally, from the burning wreckage, we drew forth this amazing piece of alien machinery. A machine that, when tuned just right, let people live together peacefully without doing the “kill people for being Protestant” thing. Popular historical strategies for dealing with differences have included: brutally enforced conformity, brutally efficient genocide, and making sure to keep the alien machine tuned really really carefully.

A Letter to My Woke Friends

 

I don’t buy your narrative that America is a racist country. I think you are ignorant: you have a cramped and impoverished understanding of history, and no sense of proportion. I reject your “white privilege” palaver. I don’t slice and dice my fellow man into little groups based on superficial characteristics, and I won’t claim to know any more about a man based on his skin color than you know about me based on mine.

Diversity and inclusion? You can keep it. Diversity of views is lovely. Diversity of race, sexual orientation, color, and other trivial details of anatomy and preference is a crock. Every man is an identity group of one, so keep your woke bigotry. You obsess about it all you like, but I’m not interested.