Tag: Free Speech

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Last night FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) hosted an event here in Silicon Valley.  President and CEO Greg Lukianoff appeared and as usual shared humorous remarks.  He was joined by Antonio García Martínez, a well known tech executive with deep insights into the industry and target of cancellation at Apple who similarly shared […]

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State Governments Delivering on College Students’ Free Speech, Due Process Rights

 

There’s been no shortage of unconstitutional legislation affecting speech on campus for my employer, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), to cover of late. It’s a breath of fresh air, then, to commend Kentucky, Indiana, and Georgia for passing new new bills protecting student free speech and due process rights. 

The most transformative of these measures is the Kentucky Campus Due Process Protection Act, which Gov. Andy Beshear signed into law on April 8. Under the law, students facing suspension or expulsion at public institutions of higher education are ensured vital due process protections, including:

TechFreedom Internet policy counsel Corbin K. Barthold joins Brian Anderson to discuss Elon Musk’s successful bid for Twitter and its implications for free speech, tech regulation, and the Internet.

Find the transcript of this conversation and more at City Journal.

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Congratulations to the nation’s richest and perhaps its most interesting man, Elon Musk, for his $44 billion purchase of the social media site, Twitter. Launched around 2008 (when I joined) along with Facebook and other “big tech” initiatives, it has transmogrified from a “town hall” to that church scene in the first Kingsman movie, where […]

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My Dear Friends on the Left: What Happened to You?

 

Half a century ago, when I was a young man, you were the ones celebrating individuality and anything-goes self-expression.

Back then, you were the ones burning the draft cards and defying authority. Today you’re a masked lump sitting on an airport bench, scolding with narrowed eyes anyone who delights in the air touching her face. What happened to you?

Back then, you were the ones demanding to be heard, saying the things the establishment didn’t want to hear, speaking truth to power. Today the phrase “free speech” terrifies you, and you offer a dozen excuses why we’re better off muzzled and restrained by those in power, like some kind of pet.

Free Speech and Elon Musk

 

I have long argued that we should focus more on ideas than on the people who endorse them. I still believe that. Ideas are enduring; people too often are not. But when a man or woman makes a significant stand for an idea that’s praiseworthy, that in itself is praiseworthy. Without losing sight of what matters — of the idea — it’s appropriate to praise those who champion it.

Elon Musk claims to be championing an idea that I hold dear, one that is, as I’ve written many times, of paramount importance today, the idea of free and unfettered speech. Indeed, I think it is the single most important challenge faced by those of us who would preserve our country and its values.

‘Would I Lie to You?’

 

Pay attention to the names of the individuals, publications, companies, and networks that are expressing panic right now at the prospect of a proponent of “radical free speech” buying Twitter. And remember, the next time one of them purports to tell you “the news,” that they jealously defended their collective right to filter what you are allowed to know.

Then assume that you’re hearing only the news that fits.

An Unwelcome Campus Renaissance for the Heckler’s Veto

 

If you’d seen the multiple reports of campus speakers being shouted down (or very nearly so) on university campuses and thought, “there sure seems to be a lot of this going around,” I’m here to tell you: You’re not wrong. I’ve been on the staff of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for 14 years now, and even by our standards the “heckler’s veto” seems to be having a heck of a run

Consider these cases from recent weeks:

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The United States has a long and storied history of creating protected classes, going back to 1866 following the Civil War. The goal was to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their color, would enjoy the same rights as white citizens. A second bill was passed in 1870 and was intended to back up the […]

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Free Speech and Power in the Time of Ukraine

 

Russians are being cut off just as Canadians were cut off, and just as Americans were cut off.  This is not to equate the three causes — the cut-off Americans were pro-Trump, the Canadians were anti-mandate, and the Russian government is currently killing its way through Ukraine.  Different cases, right?  Yet the same tools are being used to silence individuals who have opinions contrary to the “dominant paradigm”.  That similarity is the real danger.  In the middle to long term, this is worse even than the horrors currently inflicted on Ukraine – globally homogenized censorship is a recipe for unending invasion and suppression.  It is the boot poised above the human face.

Conventional wisdom has nothing to do with it.  A paradigm is not wisdom, and convention has folded before dominance.  I recall a bumper sticker artfully pinned to the door of some facultron in the English Department at my university, “Subvert the Dominant Paradigm”.  This was an explicit, if cheeky admission of Brando’s defiant answer “Whaddya got?” when asked in The Wild Ones, “Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?”.  But now we simply Meet the New Boss.  They rebel against nothing; they carry out their instructions, and curry favor with The System.  They decide and the shotgun sings the song.  The radicals are now the establishment, and they have mortgages.

The Great Liquidation

 

America is hanging by a thread.  A great liquidation is underway, with many of the structures that support American society..or, in some cases, any viable society…being kicked away, sold off piecemeal, or just wantonly destroyed.  I’m talking about physical structures, legal structures, and social structures.

I do not think it is too late to turn this trend around, but the situation is very serious, and I’m going to ask you to gaze into the abyss with me before I discuss some reasons for hope.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Bari Weiss, former New York Times op-ed editor and writer, and author of How to Fight Anti-Semitism. Bari shares what motivated her to write this book, its reception, and key lessons for teachers and students alike.

She also explains why we’re now seeing a rise in anti-Semitism, how educators can best combat it, and the connection she observes between the current upsurge in anti-Semitism and cancel culture. Bari discusses her experiences on the editorial boards of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and her courageous decision to resign from the Times, as well as the public praise and criticism she’s encountered since her resignation.

FIRE’s Greg Lukianoff: ‘We’ve fully entered the Second Great Age of Political Correctness.’

 

In his new feature for the January 2022 edition of Reason magazine, Greg Lukianoff, President and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, where I also work, puts to readers: 

We’ve fully entered the Second Great Age of Political Correctness. If we are to find a way out, we must understand how we got here and admit the true depths of the problem. 

Elite Universities’ Fall of Failure on Free Expression

 

It probably doesn’t come as much of a shock to Ricochet readers that America’s most elite colleges and universities are often far from elite where their performance on free speech is concerned. Even so, as we’ve been writing at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) over the last couple of weeks, their cultures of free expression have been showing some signs of seriously ill health. A quick rundown:

  • Yale University attracted nationwide scorn this fall for its treatment of a law student, whom it pressured to issue a public apology over an email promoting a social event that made a joking reference to a “trap house.” But as my colleague Adam Goldstein and I wrote recently, another, less ballyhooed incident likewise raises serious concern. Psychiatrist and author Sally Satel delivered a lecture to the psychiatry department at the Yale School of Medicine (where she is a visiting lecturer) discussing the year she spent working in rural Ohio treating people struggling with opioid addiction. Following her lecture, a group of “Concerned Yale Psychiatry Residents” demanded that Satel be stripped of her lecturer title for her “dehumanizing, demeaning, and classist” remarks, seizing upon, of all things, a reference to an “artisanal coffee shop.”
  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology came in for heavy criticism after its department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences rescinded its invitation for University of Chicago geophysicist Dorian Abbot to deliver its annual John Carlson Lecture. The reason for Abbot’s disinvitation had nothing whatsoever to do with the scientific nature of his planned lecture; it was because he’d previously published a column criticizing university diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and proposing what he believed to be a fairer alternative. As my colleague Komi German documents, that’s only the most prominent in a string of free expression challenges that has seen MIT stumble.
  • Most recently, the Stanford University Undergraduate Senate denied funding to the Stanford College Republicans, who sought to bring former Vice President Mike Pence to campus for a lecture. Audio recordings of the senate’s vote make clear that viewpoint discrimination played a role in the decision. ​​One student senator is recorded saying that “if you’re against the individual speaker, then I think it’s fine to vote in that way.” Or, put differently, it’s perfectly fine to let your personal politics and morality supersede your duty to treat funding requests in a viewpoint-neutral manner.

Are You a Target?…or Maybe Just Collateral Damage?

 

There are multiple categories of Americans toward whose interests the Democrats…quite clearly… intend harm.  Are you a member of any of the following  (overlapping) groups of people?

Do you value free speech?…the ability for yourself (and other people) to be able to express your/their views without fear of censorship, mob violence,  job loss, cancellation of financial services, threats of government prosecution?

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.”