Tag: Freedom of Expression

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The freedom of artistic expression is one of the most taken-for-granted freedoms we have. It allows society to benchmark its pain or its pleasure throughout time. Therefore, one of the hallmarks of a great society is its art. But art is a dangerous, passionate expression. Throughout history art has defied regimes, begun revolutions, and changed […]

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India Meets the Internet; Wedded Bliss or Marital Strife to Follow?


When I was growing up in India we lived in a semi-socialist, planned economy. “Semi-socialist” because India always had a private sector, and essentially unshaken patterns of inherited privilege and oppression. “Planned” because we had five-year plans and the Government controlled “the commanding heights of the economy.” One such height being telecommunications.

So, Indian telecommunications were awful when I grew up. We only had landlines. Landlines were scarce (there could be a ten-year waiting period), expensive, and frequently functioned badly (wrong numbers = incorrect connections) when they functioned at all (often not). This reflected a broader media space where the only television station was run by the government, and where print media was an oligopoly.

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Swedish friends of mine have lived in the US for decades now. They are well traveled and speak to associates throughout Europe. One recently remarked that the problem of people disassociating from each other after debating politics at dinner is a uniquely American phenomenon. He said it is a tale one hears often from Europeans […]

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FIRE Launches New Free Speech Podcast


So To SpeakI’m proud to announce that FIRE has launched So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast. New episodes will be posted every other Thursday morning. The first of our bi-weekly episodes features interviews with me and with Brookings Institution Senior Fellow and Kindly Inquisitors author (as well as a personal hero of mine) Jonathan Rauch. As FIRE says over at The Torch:

In 1993, a young Rauch published Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought. It was his response to what he saw as the West’s lackluster and apologetic defense of the novelist Salman Rushdie’s free speech rights. In this inaugural episode, Rauch talks about his book and its impassioned moral (not legal!) defense of liberal inquiry and criticism. You’ll also hear the inside scoop from Greg on his and Rauch’s first meeting. (Hint: It involved comic book superheroes.)

You can listen to the episode here, and read more about the podcast over at The Torch.

Justice for Freedom


shutterstock_121239673It’s sometimes difficult to adjudicate the the outer boundaries of freedom of expression — for what it’s worth, I prefer to stake as wide a claim as possible — but there shouldn’t be any disagreement over the protection’s core function: to ensure that citizens’ natural right to publicly and freely comment on public affairs goes unmolested. But in a recent and egregious case covered by the Cato Daily Podcast, Colorado resident Tammy Holland was hauled into civil court not once but twice for taking out a series of newspaper ads regarding Common Core and encouraging her neighbors to educate themselves on the matter and the upcoming school board election.

According to the Institute for Justice — which is representing Holland and has a full summary of her case — almost any allegation of campaign finance impropriety in Colorado automatically results in a court case without any discretion from law enforcement. As IJ puts it, this system effectively gives would-be censors the benefit of the doubt, while putting the burden of proof on speakers. It’s a monstrous and shameful inversion of how our political system is supposed to work.

In By the People, Charles Murray described the Institute for Justice as one of the models for his proposed “Madison Fund.” If you can spare a few dollars, there are few worthier recipients of your money. I just made a small donation myself.

FIRE’s Worst for Free Speech Spotlight: Brandeis University


And now for the final installment of my Ricochet-exclusive spotlight on FIRE’s “worst” list for campus free speech in 2014. For my third and final spotlight, I want to introduce readers to the single college that has made the worst list more than any other college (finally edging out Syracuse University, which is a twotime recipient of this dubious honor). Here’s the entry for Brandeis:

Brandeis University