You can say it but I don’t have to like it. More
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In January, I posted about Simon Tam and his band The Slants, which had been denied trademark protection on the grounds that the name is racially insensitive and therefore forbidden in the marketplace. This morning I see that Tam has won his case, the Court unanimously concurring but issuing two opinions, one written by Justice Alito and concurred with by the Chief Justice, Justice Thomas, and Justice Breyer; the other by Justice Kennedy who was joined by Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, and Ginsburg in a separate opinion that affirmed in part and concurred in the judgment.
From Alito’s opinion:More
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Rich McFadden of Radio America feeling optimistic after a recent poll shows that Republican Karen Handel has a slim lead over Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff in the Georgia runoff election. They also praise the Supreme Court which ruled unanimously in favor of protecting trademarks that some parties may consider offensive or disparaging. And they applaud the U.S. military as they down the third pro-Syrian regime aircraft this month, an action which prompted a harsh Russian response.More
The Left’s modern view of tolerance is a lot like that vapid movie quote, “Love is never having to say you’re sorry.” Tolerance is never having to say you’re offended. In the Left’s fantastical view of utopia, a tolerant society is one in which we all get along and all agree (with them, it is […]
I fear it will pass with little notice, but this morning the Supreme Court issued an opinion in Matal v. Tam that should cheer us all.
We live in a world where congress critters of the blue persuasion have proposed amending the First Amendment to permit government “regulation” (read: suppression) of political speech and where the campuses of universities supposedly dedicated to free inquiry have become “speak at your own risk” zones patrolled by baseball bat wielding snowflakes. But in the Supreme Court of the United States, the right to speak is still respected and regarded as central and fundamental to the functioning of our democratic polity and our public debates.More
Do modern campuses actually value ideas and intellectual discourse? Should there be limits on capitalism? Is modern architecture bad? Sir Roger Scruton and Christina Hoff Sommers join ‘Viewpoint’ on the AEI Podcast Channel to discuss each of these topics and more.
This conversation originally aired on the AEI YouTube Channel on March 22, 2017.More
@fredcole‘s Daily Shot Monday morning struck a chord with me. He notes that, in the wake of another sickening and horrific terrorist attack in the UK over the weekend, Prime Minister Theresa May is quoted as saying “we need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremist and terrorism planning. And we need to do everything we can at home to reduce the risks of extremism online.” Other British leaders are understandably, but I believe wrong-headedly, calling for the same.
Let me start by saying that I yield to no one in wishing the atrocities being perpetrated across the globe by violent, fanatical islamists would stop. My own first reaction to this latest assault was to wonder if perhaps loosening our western scruples about cruel and unusual punishment in cases of terrorism might be the best move. We are, after all, dealing with barbarians, and barbarians who don’t fear death, so perhaps treating them barbarically is what is needed to deter them. If a couple of them publicly got the William Wallace treatment in Trafalgar Square, maybe it would cause the next monster to think twice about the cost he was going to pay for his 72 virgins.More
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud British Prime Minister Theresa May for a much tougher statement following the London Bridge terrorism attack, while acknowledging the difficult free speech debate that is sure to follow. They also contemplate terror suspect profiling after one attacker appeared in the documentary “The Jihadis Next Door” and attempted to radicalize children in a local park, yet police let him go after questioning. And they express frustration over President’s Trump’s latest Twitter tirade over his travel ban.More
“Then it was the five-year-old’s turn. You could tell she’d been thinking hard about her answer. She fixed both her brother and sister with a ferocious stare and said: ‘Free speech is that you can say what you want—as long as I like it.’”
This was the lead-in anecdote to Kimberley Strassel’s article in the latest issue of Imprimis from Hillsdale College. She was having a conversation with her children about free speech, and her five-year-old basically mimicked the words of the Left. Fortunately, she has time to grow out of it!More
Best-selling author, columnist and former Breitbart Editor-at-Large Ben Shapiro joins Whiskey Politics to discuss President Trump, Conservatism, his strong feelings about Steve Bannon, the Iran Deal, the Antifa threats against campus free speech and answers some Ricochet Member questions. You can find Ben’s columns at The Daily Wire, musings on Facebook and his #1 ranked conservative podcast on iTunes & Soundcloud.More
In today’s political climate, there are sharp divisions of opinion over a range of issues, from health care and climate change to education and labor law. Ideally, a civil debate undertaken with mutual respect could ease tension and advance knowledge. Politics, however, often takes a very different turn.
One of the landmark decisions of the United States Supreme Court, New York Times v. Sullivan, was decided in 1964 at the height of civil rights movement. Writing for the majority, Justice William Brennan insisted that the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech rested on “a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.” He then concluded that the First Amendment offered extensive protection to the media from defamation suits brought by private individuals—a principle that was later extended to apply to public figures as well. Defamation suits in his view could chill public debate.More
Well, don’t keep it a secret. Please pass it on. OUT OF ORDER More
“Leave Milo Alone!” 😉 But seriously, there’s value in conservatives like Milo going to college campuses and exposing liberals to conservative values. And if you don’t think that’s what Milo has been doing, then I respectfully suggest you’ve never actually watched a Milo speech.More
The Slate DoubleX Gabfest, for those of you who don’t know, is a Slate magazine podcast of, by and for women (of the left). It’s a conversation between three female journalists/commentators, all of whom would probably not object to being called left leaning and feminist: June Thomas, Hanna Rosin, and Noreen Malone. The first topic […]
Unfortunately, it isn’t an easy undertaking deciding which schools belong on FIRE’s “10 worst colleges for free speech” list every year. This year was no exception.
This morning, we at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) published our annual “worst of the worst” list, which can be read with detailed descriptions of each school’s misdeeds at The Huffington Post.More
This is a post I ran across on Facebook. It was written by a ‘friend of a friend of a friend’ and has over 800 “shares.” I’ll let the piece speak for itself and only say that it gives us a revealing window onto how the left justifies destruction and its illiberal ends. I’m keeping it behind the […]
Should Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram be considered as Public Utilities and regulated accordingly? This was the question posed yesterday by Scott Adams, of Dilbert (and election 2016 prognostication) fame. Of course the question itself assumes that the existing regulation of utilities, in their operations and services, is already a good (or least a necessary) activity of government, and that regulation in turn requires us to define what a Public Utility is. Merriam Webster’s definition is, to my mind, unsatisfactorily circular:
a business organization (as an electric company) performing a public service and subject to special governmental regulationhttps://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/public%20utility
Simon Tam founded an all-Asian-American band called The Slants in 2006. When he tried to trademark the band’s name in 2011, the Trademark Office turned it down, saying basically that the name was racist because the band was Asian. Some more about the case can be read here. Yesterday, the case went to the Supreme […]
Bishop Robert Barron had an interesting response to Scorsese’s new movie Silence. The article contains spoilers which I will not recount here. But in it Barron submits a provocative comparison of religious loyalty with national loyalty under extreme circumstances. In the following hypothetical scenarios, consider multiple objects of devotion — loyalty to God, loyalty to nation, […]
At night, Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam’s showroom hosts illusionists, concerto pianists, song and dance acts, and run-of-the-mill cruise entertainment. But it was during the day the real stage action occurred as the “O.N.T.P.’s of the Caribbean” (Original NeverTrump Pirates) sat on panels discussing what historically may have been the craziest election cycle of our lifetimes. The Weekly Standard’s post-election cruise included an impressive collection of conservative writers, editors, pundits, politicos, and a few non-Weekly Standard surprises.More
Today my organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), released our annual “Spotlight on Speech Codes” report, a rundown of the speech policies at 449 of America’s largest and most prestigious colleges and universities. The report contains both good and bad news about the state of free speech on campus.More
On September 27, 2016, Jordan B. Peterson, Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto, posted a video to his popular YouTube channel that set off a firestorm of controversy. The video, entitled “Professor against political correctness. Part 1: Fear and the law,” was a departure from Peterson’s usual content of recorded lectures, debates, and […]
Conservatives everywhere have a new icon. For those who haven’t been following, there’s a fellow up in America’s barren northern tundra (aka Canada) known as Dr. Jordan Peterson, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, who has been making waves with his stand against the ominously named Human Rights Commission’s intention to outlaw […]
In his recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Yale President Peter Salovey tried to explain how colleges can make room for both freedom of speech and a culture of inclusion and diversity. Salovey wants to have his cake and eat it, too. The supposed tension between free speech and inclusion is false, he argues, because it is possible to pursue both ends simultaneously.
Several days later, Yale was again in the news for its sexual harassment tribunals. As Jennifer Braceras explains in her op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, “College Sex Meets the Star Chamber,” Yale’s current policy on sexual harassment has led to a massive expansion of Yale’s control over the life of its faculty, students, and staff. At first, look, Salovey’s defense of free speech and inclusion seems unrelated to Braceras’s argument about the reach of Yale’s sexual harassment directive. But they are part of the same problem.More