Tag: Free Speech

The Multi-Front Attack on Free Speech

 

Free speech…free expression generally…is under attack in America and throughout the Western world to a degree not seen in a long time. I think there are specific phenomena and (partially-overlapping) categories of people which are largely driving this attack, to wit:

The Thugs. As I pointed out in my post The United States of Weimar?, illegal actions against political opponents, ranging from theft of newspapers to direct assault and battery, have in recent decades become increasingly common on university campuses, and now are well on track to being normalized as aspects of American politics. Incidents of political thuggery are reported almost daily: just the other day, pro-Trump women at an upscale DC hotel were verbally attacked and apparently physically assaulted by members of a wedding party that was heavy on Democrat attendees; including, reportedly, some top officials from the DNC. A pro-free-speech film was reportedly interrupted by two men wearing masks. Interruption of movies they didn’t like was a tactic used by the Nazis prior to their obtaining official censorship powers. The film “All Quiet on the Western Front” was plagued by Nazi disruptions when released in Germany in 1930. And attempts to shut down dissident speakers on college campuses, such as this, have become so common as to now be almost the default expectation.

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There has been a big story this week about the “Texas Church Shooting”.  In news reports, nearly all the time the so-called press refers to the location of said church as “outside Fort Worth”, or “near Fort Worth”, or some such.  Why might it be that the “press”, and even some of us, have been […]

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Robby Soave, senior editor at Reason magazine, author of 2019’s Panic Attack: Young Radicals in the Age of Trump, and someone who is (just) over 30, (finally) joins Young Americans to discuss whether the political activism of young people today, especially on campus, is uniquely dangerous and poised to spill out into the culture as a whole. (Also, some LOST references sneak in.)

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http://enews.earthlink.net/article/top?guid=20191219/de8a5407-1029-42aa-97c7-4ae37c98c4e9 JK Rowling of “Harry Potter” fame defends a woman who lost her job for saying that trans people haven’t changed biologically. One cannot even say that because it is “absolutist.” Can someone explain how it’s okay for Greta the climate change observer to be “absolutist”? Is science now only what p.c. allows it to […]

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“I’m the gun guy, a loud guitar Dirty Harry with a ponytail.”  Ted Nugent The list of conservative rock-and-rollers is pretty short. But even if you were only going to have just one, Ted Nugent would do the trick. Today is December 13th and it’s also Ted Nugent’s birthday. Preview Open

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Faisal Saeed Al Mutar’s first experience with Americans was during the second Iraq war when a US tank rolled up in front of his house. He shares his incredible story of growing up under Saddam Hussein’s regime, the vaccuum in his neighborhood that was filled by members of Al-Qaeda, blogging against extremism and receiving death threats as a teenager, escaping Iraq, and the ten year journey to becoming an America citizen. He discusses being taken in by a family in Virginia, why he thinks Americans are amazing people, his appreciation of the values America was founded upon – free speech, civil liberties, and freedom of religion – and the importance of the separation of powers. His is the founder of Ideas Beyond Borders, a non-profit that seeks to prevent extremism before it takes root by translating and creating content related to the values that make people less likely to be recruited by extremist organizations. And he shares stories of the heroes he works with across the Middle East who are risking their freedom and lives to help translate content covering controversial or banned ideas, from civil rights, to women’s rights, to evolution, and critical thinking.

Full transcript available here: WiW57-FaisalSaeedAlMutar-Transcript

Is Free Speech Compatible with Free Trade in China?

 

American populists already blame free trade for costing their country jobs and industrial might. Now they blame it for curtailing freedom of speech. The argument: If the US and Chinese economies weren’t so intertwined, then China couldn’t “export” its authoritarian values by using its huge market power to strong–arm American companies.

Populists correctly note that the NBA’s rebuke of a Houston Rockets official’s pro-Hong Kong democracy tweet is hardly the first instance of Beijing trying to use its financial influence on foreign companies to shape global opinion — especially regarding Hong Kong, Taiwan, and its Uighur reeducation camps. As one China expert told The Washington Post, the Chinese communists don’t tolerate dissent on these issues inside China, “and increasingly they are not tolerating dissent on these issues outside China.”

But these populist critiques of Chimerica also invite the search for a counterfactual: Should Nixon have never gone to China? Should America have tried to somehow quarantine a nuclear–armed nation of one billion people even as it tried to open up and decentralize its economy? Should Washington have simply ignored the reality — and somehow persuaded our allies to do likewise — that China was undertaking significant policy reforms in the direction of liberalization?

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With nearly seven in 10 American adults worried about cultural and political threats to free speech, good news may be closer than you think. In fact, a recent court decision provides hope that free speech protections are trending upward, charting the course for future victories for all Americans. Free speech was at the very center […]

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Victory for Christian Filmmakers Is a Win for Everyone

 

With nearly seven in 10 American adults worried about cultural and political threats to free speech, good news may be closer than you think. In fact, a recent court decision provides hope that free speech protections are trending upward, charting the course for future victories for all Americans.

Free speech was at the very center of Telescope Media Group v. Lucero. The case challenged the state’s attempt to force Christian filmmakers—with the threat of fines and jail time—to promote messages that violate their faith. On August 23, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit ruled 2-1 in favor of the filmmakers, overturning a lower court’s decision and giving that court a roadmap for how this case should move forward.

The win isn’t just a major victory for the filmmakers—it’s a game-changer. Last summer, when the US Supreme Court decided Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission on free exercise grounds, it did not even need to reach the free speech issue presented because Colorado’s hostility against cake artist Jack Phillips was so egregious.

Just When We Thought Peter Strzok Was Gone

 

After finally recovering from the smirking, disrespectful and arrogant face of Peter Strzok, and approving of his subsequent firing by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he’s back.

He’s decided to file a lawsuit against the FBI and Justice Department, stating that his firing was “politically motivated and in violation of two constitutional amendments.” Especially amusing is that he seems conveniently confused about whose actions were politically motivated.

I guess, for starters, we’re supposed to feel sorry for him. As the lawsuit says:

What We Can Learn from the Latest Outrages Over Gender Identity

 

Mario Lopez and Carissa Pinkston.

Perhaps this pair of stories could be overlooked as forgettable examples of George Orwell’s “Two Minutes Hate”—the daily, formal pause during which citizens of a fictional utopia spewed outrage at their enemy—but to ignore them would be at our own peril.

Taken alone or together, they’re a frightening 1-2 punch of intolerance, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. One might say that America seems only moments away from having its own “Two Minutes Hate.”

Young Politicos Take On a Compelled-Speech Law That Should Trouble Us All

 

It shouldn’t come as a shock that two conservatives opening a political consulting firm are only interested in promoting conservative ideas, campaigns, and candidates. What’s surprising—even alarming—is that Ann Arbor, MI, could fine the small firm $500 a day for doing so.

That may sound like something from a dystopian novel, but it’s actually at the center of a lawsuit filed by Grant Strobl and Jacob Chludzinski, founders of ThinkRight Strategies. A two-man shop, ThinkRight offers to provide advocacy services like campaign websites, slogans, speech writing, debate coaching, and more.

Yet, a law in Ann Arbor—where ThinkRight recently started—forbids even political consultants from doing what the law deems “discrimination” based on “political beliefs.”

An Antidote to Conservative Gloom on Campus Free Speech

 

FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff is in National Review this week with a rather simple message for conservatives: There are actually a lot of things we can feel good about regarding the state of free expression on college campuses today.

The welfare of campus discourse is not perfect, of course, and its easy to sense that the issue is only getting worse–especially as free speech on campus gets no shortage of media exposure. The playing field has also changed in other fundamental ways. College students today are more aligned against free speech than they were ten or even five years ago, for reasons Greg and Jonathan Haidt expound on at length in their bestselling book The Coddling of the American Mind.

I’ve been at FIRE since 2008, and I can attest to those changes in the culture firsthand. I can also, however, attest to these meaningful changes FIRE has brought about nationally:

How the Nerds Took Revenge

 

We were all once nerds, or cool kids, jocks, bullies, dorks, AV cart-pushers, theater geeks, motorheads, preppies, break dancers, valley girls, wastoids, heshers, skaters, surfers, outcasts, and teacher’s pets. Microchip technology was nascent as we learned the term “hacker” from Matthew Broderick changing his grades via modem, while Anthony Michael Hall demonstrated how hyperactive geeks could end up with the Homecoming Queen.

We delighted in watching nerds take revenge. After all, those narcissistic jocks deserved it, which became an oft-repeated trope in many films of the 1980s. The smartest, but most socially awkward would exact vengeance on anyone who previously shunned them, both men and women. While comedic in tone and extremely satisfying to watch at the time, there’s no doubt that said retribution has since morphed into something darker; the entitled psyche of yesterday’s and today’s disenfranchised.

Many eggheads of our youth now run the world’s most valuable technology platforms. With great power came their real-life payback to manipulate people and greater society. As we debate whether the centralized platforms need to be broken up as the FAANGs openly admit to controlling free speech for political purposes, (see Google’s Plan to Prevent “Trump situation” in 2020), quietly they have been steadily using their clout and muscle to turn us all, including their own colleagues, into chattel. Not to suggest every executive in Silicon Valley behaves this way, but many do. With more wealth than most people can earn in ten lifetimes, the enlightened ones turn coworkers into prostitutes by attending tech orgies; a gateway for those who want to advance their careers. The titans of Silicon Valley, well-known people, use sex for sport all while publicly advocating #MeToo and other woke platitudes to an enabling media salivating at any opportunity to interview tech icons.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America praise Texas Governor Greg Abbott for a series of conservative legislative victories. They also react as YouTube admits it is suppressing what it deems “borderline” content. And in a double crazy martini, they discuss Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (literally) running from Republican competition while reportedly entertaining a future primary challenge to either Sen. Chuck Schumer or Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Christina Hoff Sommers is a former philosophy professor and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. She’s one of the Femsplainers on the podcast Femsplainers and has a series called the Factual Feminist on YouTube in which she corrects feminist myths within women’s and gender studies with truth and solid research. She and Bridget cover the disturbing rise of contempt within contemporary feminism, the appeal of Jordan Peterson, the erosion of Americans’ desire to protect free speech and democratic processes, why lack of gratitude is such a problem in our society, and the perceived sense of persecution and contagion of hysteria that is being taught in liberal educational systems. They discuss the infantalization of college students, going from common humanity (humanism) to common enemy (tribalism), the attack on centrists, and the fact that history is one long lesson in the dangers of dogma mixed with moral zealotry, distortion and bad information – it leads to fanaticism. They also cover the gender debate, the power dynamics between girls and boys, and why Harvard should have known better. It’s a fascinating conversation and definitely one you shouldn’t miss!

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People who care about the free exchange of ideas — of any ideas, not merely the ideas that conform to the popular orthodoxies — are frustrated by a seeming paradox: though we are a free people living in an era of unparalleled connectivity in which the communication monopoly represented by old-fashioned media has effectively been […]

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Andrew Doyle is the man behind satirical Twitter account Titania McGrath – a radical intersectionalist, feminist, and slam poet, who is constantly telling people how oppressed she is – and author of Woke: A Guide to Social Justice. He and Bridget have a fascinating and important conversation about the dangers of taking art and comedy literally, how smart people are becoming stupid because of woke ideology, why self-censorship is a slippery slope, and they wonder when the left became such pearl-clutchers. They discuss winning the culture war by winning people over, rather than locking them up or making certain types of speech illegal, the fact that there’s nothing more likely to help the far right to grow than the way the far left are behaving, the dangers of eroding the distinction between right wing and alt right, and the problems with The Faith of Intersectionality. Should the word “douchebag” be considered ableist? Where did the idea that “speech is violence” come from? What is it like being tribeless in an increasingly tribal world? What is the path forward? Find out on this not-to-be-missed episode.

The Purge Hits Home

 

On Sunday I worked at the American Freedom Alliance conference, a day-long event featuring over 20 speakers, including Charlie Kirk, David Horowitz, Brent Bozell, Michael Walsh, Rebecca Friedrichs, Bill Whittle, and others. The hall overflowed with attendees representing UCLA Republicans to pensioners. It was an outstanding day where we discussed culture, free speech, science, academia, history and politics. On Monday the President of AFA and my dear friend Karen Siegemund was summarily fired from her life-long career of teaching math (both college and high school). The reason provided by the private high school? Her “public views” – that was it. Karen never spoke about politics in the classroom nor did her AFA role crossover into teaching.

Today David Horowitz was banned from Twitter. (*At this moment it seems they have reinstated David.) This follows last weeks widely publicized sweeping ban of other conservative voices from social media, including Paul Joseph Watson (the relatively benign host at InfoWars and other platforms). More incendiary personalities were banned from Facebook and Instagram like Laura Loomer, who, while too emotional for some, raises salient points about the double standard of online free speech (why is the terrorist group Hamas allowed on Twitter, but a Jewish conservative like her is banned?) as well as Milo who is sometimes provocative for the sake of being a provocateur.

You may not like or care about these people, and many don’t, but the battle cry from the Right often branded as ‘slippery slope’ – you may not like Alex Jones, but what happens when they come for you? – is happening now. Karen doesn’t have a provocative bone in her body. She’s a patriot who dedicated her life to educating people, whether her math students or attendees at the organization.