Tag: Free Speech

Kurt Schlichter, Senior Columnist at Townhall.com and conservative commentator, joins Carol Roth to discuss the current state of free speech, corporatism and deplatforming vis-à-vis America’s political divide. Kurt pulls no punches as he shares the newly named “Schlichter principle” and how it applies to freedom and how things could possibly change- for better or worse.

Plus, a “Now You Know” on how to make the best steak ever.

Silicon Valley vs. Free Speech


Suddenly, free speech is in serious trouble.

Six years ago, CEO Jack Dorsey could proclaim “Twitter stands for freedom of expression. We stand for speaking truth to power.“ Last week, Dorsey and other big tech titans unleashed a massive speech suppression initiative, based on the notion that not only President Trump, but also anyone who supported him, including conservatives and Republicans en masse, must be silenced in the interest of public safety.

The silencing was comprehensive and ruthless. Recently increased censorship in social media had all been directed to the right. Then Facebook and Twitter joined in a permanent ban of the president. It was necessary to silence the President of the United States, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, because his claims of voter fraud were false and it would be dangerous to allow him to keep making them.

Our Political Moment, in Summary


I feel compelled to say something about President Trump and recent events, but realize that I would merely be repeating things I’ve said in my few most recent posts. So I will briefly summarize, and then move on to other things in 2021.

1. The President did not meet any legal definition of incitement.

Parler, Web Hosts, and Masterpiece Cakes


Parler lost its rented server space with Amazon Web Services.  Parler also found its phone apps booted off the Apple and Google app stores.  This is not the “destruction” of Parler – not unless Parler was on such shaky ground that it cannot be rebuilt.  This is certainly hamstringing it, but if this is a “death sentence”, then it is one that is easily overcome with cold hard cash (would that the Reaper were so easily fended off on more fleshly concerns).  We need perspective here, and an honest reckoning of what happened, how, and why.  We also need to yet again yank the plank from our own eye, for it was just a short while ago that we were adamantly defending another business for refusing paying clientele: I speak of none other than Masterpiece Cakes.

First, let’s get the technical stuff out of the way – understanding how Parler was built, and how it planned to make money for its creators (let’s not fool ourselves into thinking it was all charity work) is key to understanding its demise.  Web sites have to be located on computers.  You can make a website on your laptop and share it with the rest of the internet if you want.  Users just would need to know the numerical address in either IPV4 or IPV6 to find it.  If you want to make it easier to find then you would have to register a domain name, and then map that domain name to your server address.  Now suppose your little website got really popular because its topic was fun and lovable – let’s say, for the sake of argument, that your website was all about your pet bird.  If you had just a residential internet connection, after a point your neighbors would start to complain that traffic to your laptop was killing their own connections.  Plus, your laptop has limited processing power to keep serving page views out – and your addition of a little bird forum doubled traffic to the point where your laptop’s cooling fan failed from overuse.  How do you fix these issues?

Bigger Than Trump


Having now reviewed everything I can find on what the President actually said at the protest in D.C., I can state with confidence that he did not cross a line into legally actionable speech. The bar set for classifying speech as criminal is pretty high, and the President did not even come close to meeting it.

Try to set aside what you think about President Trump. That’s a stretch goal for a lot of us, but let’s stretch: consider, for just a moment, that there might be an issue here that’s bigger than the President himself, and that could have repercussions that go far beyond January of 2021.

Incitement to Violence?


I want to respond to something that I’m encountering in various forums, this idea that the President incited the mob to violence.

I can find nothing in the President’s various comments that can plausibly be interpreted as a call to violence. Impassioned speech, unsubstantiated claims of fraud and victory, and an enthusiastic rallying of his supporters, I can find all of those things. But at no point does he call upon the people assembled to commit criminal acts.

Speak Out in 2021


As the train wreck of 2020 steams full speed into what we have every reason to expect will be the train wreck of 2021, I’ve been thinking about how I want to apply my limited time and energy in the new year. There are certainly plenty of issues that warrant attention. After all, no problems that dogged us last year have been solved; none has even grown smaller, and a brand new set of problems is scheduled to take office in just a couple of weeks, promising a tsunami of bad judgment and its inevitable consequences.

I’ve resolved to do my best to focus most of my attention on one issue, something I consider to be of paramount importance; more important even than our foolish panic over COVID, or the frankly idiotic trans movement, or the viciousness of Antifa and hateful dishonesty of BLM, or the barely concealed self-loathing of climate catastrophism.

Ep. 270 – Jeff Brain, CEO & Founder at CloutHub discusses how social media Tech Titans Facebook and Twitter used censorship to impact the Presidential Election. What is the future for the platforms, will Trump achieve changes for Section 230, and what does the future for Social Media look like with new platforms like CloutHub coming on strong.

James has something he needs to get off his chest and opens the show by taking Toby, as the Americans would say, to the woodshed. As far as James is concerned journalistic curiosity is dead.

Then it’s on to the major news of the day, the UK has become the first nation to give regulatory approval for one of the new Covid-19 vaccinations. Because of fast tracking, this vaccination has seen limited clinical trials. If it all goes wrong who will be held liable?

On this episode of The Federalist Radio Hour, Real Clear Education’s Nathan Harden joins Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to break down how the newly released College Free Speech Rankings can provide more insight into the problems in higher education and current campus culture.

Member Post


I’d be interested to hear anyone’s thoughts about this. By virtue of their market dominance and the competitive advantages of large networks, the tech giants are able to manage the flow of news and information, censoring, throttling, and editorializing as they wish. They can do this transparently or invisibly, using increasingly sophisticated algorithms coupled with […]

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Free Expression in an Age of Hysteria


Over 400 years ago, nineteen people were hanged and one pressed to death because the Massachusetts Bay Colony got it into its collective head that witches were attacking the community. This was not an idea pushed by the people at the top, though their response strengthened and prolonged the delusion. It began, rather, in the homes and meeting-houses of small communities, when teenage girls started acting out in strange and dangerous ways. This behavior spread, appearing, to the confused and alarmed citizens of the colony, as if their bodies had been taken over by evil spirits or demons.

This was a community of Christians – God-fearing, pious Puritans who had carved a way of life for themselves out of an unfriendly wilderness. So naturally, they turned to the explanation that had developed in their culture: it was witches. Since the years of the Black Plague, only some three hundred years prior to this sudden plague of possessed girls, witches had been blamed for the evils that suddenly overtook communities. And those accused of witchcraft were the people who either did not fit into their communities or were seen as a burden to their families or others: Jews, the non-pious, elderly widows, impoverished women, Gypsies.

The Heroine and the Pissant


The heroine is Ayaan Hirsi Ali, whom Peter Robinson featured along with Peter Berkowitz on his latest Uncommon Knowledge program. It was a pleasure listening to these three thoughtful, serious people discussing timeless ideas of overwhelming and immediate importance. It was also a stark reminder that in this hyper-political moment, but also in our general age of facile discourse and ceaseless sensationalism, not everyone is obsessed with the shallow hyperbole of contrived identitarianism and manufactured grievance: there remain enduring and worthy ideas, and people of substance continue to engage them.

I have followed the career of Ayaan Hirsi Ali since the English-language publication of Infidel, her autobiography, in 2007. This is a woman who has experienced the oppressive and crushing ideology of political Islam; lived it, escaped it, and then risked her life to expose it. As people are murdered in France this week for the crime of insulting the barbaric doctrines of an intolerant faith, Ms. Ali and a handful of people like her accept the very real risks of being prominent and outspoken critics of sharia law and Islamic supremacism.

What’s at Stake


There’s a vast difference between the visions of America offered by the two parties in the upcoming election.

On the right is a vision of optimism, of competition in a free market, of growth and prosperity, and a reined-in government that has a relatively light touch on our lives and our earnings. The right sees America as a generally decent place, as the product of a long painful journey from its founding in a less enlightened time to a nation of freedom and equality today. If asked, people on the right will readily say that America is fundamentally a good and exceptional country.

An Open Letter from ‘Liberty And Justice For All’


Liberty And Justice For All is an academic and intellectual enterprise focused on making sure that what has happened in the American academy—and which has now spilled out into American streets—does not take over and destroy our free and decent polity.

By now, the American academy is in some respects a lost cause. Tenured radicals who got their toehold by appealing to demands for diversity have largely taken over and discarded any pretense of intellectual diversity. They deny the legitimacy—and sometimes the humanity—of those who disagree with them. They have built a left-wing intellectual monoculture that increasingly persecutes conservatives and is now threatening liberals and any others who resist what George Orwell prophetically called “smelly little orthodoxies.”

Those who have signed the Open Letter below—a mix of conservatives, liberals, and unclassifiable academics and writers—are putting their names to a statement that both articulates what is under attack and offers an intellectual defense of those necessary ideals and institutions on which a free society depends. We do so in the hope that a silent majority of the American people remains committed to our inheritance, and that others can be persuaded to renew that commitment in this new time of troubles.

Frederick Douglass and the Answer to Cancel Culture


“Liberty is meaningless,” Frederick Douglass once said, “where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist.”

Born a slave in the Antebellum South, Douglass knew a thing or two about freedom and bondage. As a child, Douglass learned to read and write by challenging white schoolboys his age to spelling contests. He lost every time at first, but in time, Douglass leveraged his hard-earned mastery of the English language to not only secure his own freedom, but play a crucial role in the eventual liberation of millions of American slaves.

Fast-forward to 2020. Not only are monuments to Douglass’ likeness in jeopardy from the mob, but so are the characteristics that led to his freedom. Competition, hard work, and rugged individualism—qualities that Douglass personified and which led to his own liberation—are all derided as racially exclusive values of “whiteness.”

Member Post


According to a poll conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Cato Institute, almost 2/3 of Americans are afraid of sharing their political views. And with some reason, it seems: among strong ‘liberals’, 50% would support firing a business executive who had privately donated to the Trump campaign. Among strong conservatives, 36% would support firing […]

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Yascha Mounk is the founder of Persuasion, an online community and publication for people who believe in the importance of the social practice of persuasion, and are determined to defend free speech and free inquiry against all its enemies. They seek to persuade people who disagree with them, rather than to mock or troll them. He and Bridget discuss the rise of the populism, why status anxiety is the strongest predictor of populist movement in society, the idea of white fragility, and why exhorting whites in the US to take on a strong collective racial identity is not the way to build a fair, multi-ethnic democracy in this country. They look at how many authoritarian leaders have come to power in the last 20 years, share their hope for the future, and examine the idea that many Americans don’t want to win the culture war, they want the culture war to go away.