Tag: Freedom of Speech

Is a Judge Using Cancel Culture to Boycott Cancel Culture?


When I first heard that Judge James Ho publicly criticized Yale Law School for its practice of cancel culture, I was delighted. Not only did he criticize the school, but he said he would no longer hire clerks who graduated from Yale. I called out a raucous cheer, so delighted was I to hear that someone of note was finally attacking the cancel culture disease:

The judge, who sits on the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, cited a number of incidents at schools in which prominent figures had faced ‘campus vitriol.’

He singled out Yale – consistently ranked as the top law school in the US – for particular criticism, saying the institution ‘not only tolerates the cancellation of views, it actively practices it.’

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“We seek no treasure, we seek no territorial gains, we seek only the right of man to be free; we seek his right to worship his God, to lead his life in his own way, secure from persecution. As the humble laborer returns from his work when the day is done, and sees the smoke […]

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Another Attack on Free Speech


Apparently, things have been too quiet for Rep. Ilhan Omar. And we’ve been free of Islamist attacks for a long time. So, it’s time to stir things up on behalf of Muslims. Omar has decided to stand up for Muslims by creating a position in the Department of State (without consulting the department) to protect beleaguered Muslims everywhere. She submitted a bill that passed in the House to establish the Office to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia. According to CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, there have been 500 documented complaints of “anti-Muslim hate and bias” this past year in the U.S. Given that CAIR is an outgrowth of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, I tend to be skeptical of this data. The bill passed in the House on a party-line vote on Dec. 14.

So why do I care? This bill isn’t intended to protect Muslims worldwide from acts of violence. Instead, I believe Omar plans to further destroy our already debilitated commitment to freedom of speech.

The incentive for this bill was probably a response to the “rude and ill-advised” reference to the “jihad squad” made by Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado. But the implications of this bill are much more far-reaching. Essentially, the bill targets those people who use “hate speech”; these statements are elevated into the category of “hate crimes”:



The meeting that man is addressing had better not be a school board meeting, or he will be in danger of being investigated as a potential terrorist for failing in unquestioning obedience to the educational establishment.

The adjacent image is, of course, Norman Rockwell’s famous painting commemorating Freedom of Speech, and it was one of the first things I thought about after reading about Merrick Garland’s now-infamous letter.  This letter is just one small part of the massive campaign against free speech now being conducted by the ‘Biden’ administration, its private-sector partners, and its media allies.

The painting is one of four that were created by Rockwell to represent Roosevelt’s ‘Four Freedoms’.  It strikes me that all of these freedoms are under attack by the current administration and by the Democratic Party in general.

Will They Back Down?


Remember the good ol’ days when people would shake their heads at alarmists and conspiracy theorists and remind them that it’s all happened before? That we’ve always survived the chaotic situations? That the foundations of the country are sturdy enough to overcome the worst?

I remember those comments made by people who are bright, knowledgeable, and practical people, and I know they believed what they said. I wanted to believe them, too, and usually acquiesced to their wisdom. Now I’m not so sure, because it isn’t one single thing that is unraveling, but many situations, pretty much at the same time. What does that picture look like?–

Follow Wisdom First — Then Science


Fellow Ricochet member @flicker recently shared a video on COVID-19 in one of our groups. I was so impressed by it, I had to post it here. It’s lengthy, but take the time. I say that because it involves your health, well-being, and our collective future. It was encouraging, if that word can ever coincide with this nasty pandemic. It features Dr. Robert Malone, a creator of the mRNA technology, a delivery system of medicine that has and will continue to revolutionize treating many diseases with a targeted approach.

The other person is someone called Dr. Geert Vanden Bossche. While his field is veterinary medicine, he is so full of wisdom in the study of this virus and contributes tremendous amounts of insight into its evolution and treatment options at this point, and what to expect going forward.

I Am Not Safe


If I am not free to speak my mind, that is one thing (and not a good thing). But if I am not free to point to an objective standard, if my belief in words like “fact” or “truth” are questioned, now I have become unacceptable for saying some things are “fictions,” some things are “false,” and I am not safe. Now when I question a top-down mandate or authoritarian decisions which are based on one point of view, others denounced out-of-hand, I am not safe. What is more damning is when leaders can say one thing one day, another thing on another day, and those given the responsibility to question and report leave that role to me because they are silent, I am not safe. When my field of inquiry ignores then dismisses another point of view after which authorities attack their work eliminating their voice, and I stand up for them, I am not safe. When creators who create content whose position runs contrary to the cultural narrative of the day, their videos taken down, their words no longer accepted, and I point this out, I am not safe.

The slow slide toward dictatorship that some warn about which is then pooh-poohed by the intelligentsia because checkers of facts declare it so, and I point out the hypocrisy of choosing some facts but not all facts, I am not safe. When autocrats demean the very people they have sworn to protect, and I point out the psychology of refusal after the population is demeaned, I am not safe. When a person of color is egregiously attacked by both untruths and physical violence – but the individual does not subscribe to mainstream accepted views – that attack attracts little attention in the mainstream news outlets, and I point this out, I am not safe. The assaults on freedom of speech (or the active suppression of speech) depend not just on freedom “from” censorship but freedom “to” ground truth-telling in certainty.

Read historical accounts of the people who lived through dictatorships. Each story revolves around Hannah Arendt’s thesis in “The Origins of Totalitarianism.” Hannah Arendt, who understood discrimination as a Jew, and was a critic of Hitler and Stalin during and after WWII, wrote,

Am I an Enemy of the State?


Katie Benner has gained a certain level of notoriety in these parts. She’s the New York Times reporter who informed the nation through her tweets that Trump supporters were a threat to national security; eight hours later she must have had second thoughts and deleted the tweets. But I couldn’t help thinking about all the people who genuinely believed that her perceptions were legitimate; that she was telling a truth that others agreed with, just because she was a “journalist with the New York Times.” Then I began to wonder what it would be like if I were considered to be a threat to this country. At first blush, that accusation seems ludicrous; for one, I’m only a marginal supporter of Donald Trump. But given the direction this country is headed, should I contemplate the reasons a person might contrive a persona for me that makes me an enemy of the state?

I decided to work my way through this exercise and to see where it might lead me. At the end of the process, I have to admit that I felt just a bit uneasy.

Ayaan talks with Flemming Rose about publishing the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad in the Danish publication, Jyllands-Posten, in 2005. Flemming and Ayaan cover the series of events, including a debate over self-censorship and freedom of speech in Denmark that later exploded into international protests, demonstrations, and hysteria abroad.

Flemming Rose is a Danish journalist, author and editor-in-chief of the The Freedom Letter, a new Danish media.

Political Persecution in the United States


Joseph Bolanos, a New Yorker, met a friend who had flown in from California to watch the Trump speech on January 6, but Bolanos had nothing to do with the Capitol incursion…he has video proving that he was elsewhere. Read this article to see what the FBI did to him…and how his neighbors have responded.

Plenty to be concerned about here: the arrest without apparent evidence, the excessive use of force (TEN police, one pointing his rifle at Bolanos’ head), and the attitude of many of his neighbors after they discovered that he had unapproved political ideas and affiliations. (“I hope Antifa gets you,” said one woman who had previously been a friend.)

Too Little Too Late, or Turning Tide?


Peter Robinson called British actor Laurence Fox to our attention in a recent episode of “Uncommon Knowledge,” prompting a bit of research. I was encouraged to find a Telegraph interview from last fall that was quite fair, not a BBC/CNN-style harangue. This all started with Laurence Fox recording an original protest song “The Distance.” That got him an appearance on BBCs Question Time where he dared push back on a woman of color‘s smear of “racism.” Fox’s defiance unleashed the wokist mob and attempted cancellation of his career. The heart of the outrage was his daring to push back on an assertion that Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, was the victim of racism. He dared insist “We are the most lovely, tolerant country in Europe.” Is Laurence Fox an outlier, destined for erasure, or is he a harbinger of change?

Poking a little further, the Telegraph now has a permanent cancel culture section on its website. The Reclaim Party has a functioning website, including the complete results of the freedom of expression poll of 2,119 UK adults aged 18+ online from 5-7 February 2021. Searching for that information unearthed results of two U.S. polls, a Harvard CAPS / Harris Poll of the general public, finding a majority of Americans say they believe cancel culture is a threat to their freedom, and a Zogby Poll of 500 business leaders that found “Most business leaders think certain progressive ideas about society and the ”cancel culture” are a threat to the country and are unnecessary.”

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Melvin Urofsky, Professor of Law & Public Policy and Professor Emeritus of History at Virginia Commonwealth University, and the author of several books, including Louis D. Brandeis: A Life and Dissent and the Supreme Court. Professor Urofsky shares insights on Justice Brandeis’s jurisprudence, and why he consistently ranks among the three most influential Supreme Court justices in American history. They discuss his understanding of American constitutionalism, and how he interpreted the law to diminish consolidated financial and federal power, what he called the “curse of bigness” – big banks and business monopolies, as well as big government. They also explore Brandeis’s dissenting opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court case New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, perhaps the best-known 20th-century articulation of the role of the states as “laboratories of democracy” under our federal constitutional system. They delve into some of the most influential dissenting opinions in U.S. Supreme Court history. For example, Justice John Marshall Harlan, the lone dissenter in the Court’s infamous 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case, offered legal views that would later lead to the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision overturning “separate but equal.” Professor Urofsky also offers thoughts from his 2020 book, The Affirmative Action Puzzle: A Living History from Reconstruction to Today, on one of the thorniest political and legal topics of our era. He concludes the interview with a reading from Justice Brandeis’s concurring opinion in defense of free speech in Whitney v. California.

Stories of the Week: Cara and Gerard discuss National Charter Schools Week, and this education sector’s success in improving opportunity for underserved students. In Florida, nearly 95 percent of seniors enrolled in the state’s Tax Credit Scholarship program graduated from high school during the 2019-20 school year, the second highest graduation rate since they began tracking it in 2015. A new study of admissions at 99 colleges shows that despite adopting test-optional policies to increase diversity, the share of low-income students or students of color at these colleges has risen by only a percentage point.

Hubwonk Host Joe Selvaggi talks with constitutional scholar and CATO Institute Research Fellow Thomas Berry about the recently heard U.S. Supreme Court case, Mahanoy Public School District v. B.L., and its implications for free speech, school control, and the integration of social media into the rubric of first amendment protections.


What is iCOP? Not What You Think


I almost choked on my beverage in the car when I heard an ad from cyber-security guru Kim Commando, warning that the government has enlisted the United States Post Office to spy on our social media content and report it back to certain agencies. Then the same story was being discussed on two different radio stations. From Business Insider:

According to a Yahoo News report, the law-enforcement arm of the US Postal Service is running a “covert” program that monitors Americans’ social media posts for “inflammatory” content and then passes those posts along to other government agencies.

The surveillance effort, which falls under the agency’s Postal Inspection Service, is known as the Internet Covert Operations Program, or iCop, the outlet reported. Prior to the Yahoo News Wednesday report, details of the program had not been made public.

Quote of the Day: Freedom of Speech


“Freedom of speech and thought matters, especially when it is speech and thought with which we disagree. The moment the majority decides to destroy people for engaging in thought it dislikes, thought crime becomes a reality.” – Ben Shapiro

Are we there yet? Has thought crime become a reality? It seems that way. Our freedoms are now under siege as they never have been before. An NFL quarterback is made to apologize for issuing a patriotic thought. A distinguished legal scholar at a New York University is fighting to keep his job because he expresses doubts about the BLM movement. And people everywhere are made to deny what they are seeing before their eyes — that they are witnessing rioting and looting, not peaceful protests.

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Trump has now issued an Executive Order that will promulgate a fairer situation for the users of social media such that the heavy hand of censorship by the companies will become a thing of the past. Meanwhile, the attorney for Candace Owens is also advising a lawsuit against twitter, as she has had one of […]

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photo of Jakub Baryla of Poland I wonder at the courage, convictions and impact of a single individual against a torrent of opposition, politically, socially, religiously, and morally. Consider the courage of the following individuals, and their reasons for standing up to the on-coming tide of socialism and secularism across the world: “We need tangible […]

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Coach Tea is a DJ, producer, podcast personality, and sound engineer for Comedy Central’s Roast Battle. He is also a counselor focusing on the rehabilitation and treatment of young men who have committed crimes. He and Bridget have a fascinating conversation about anarchy, “wokeism,” how unpopular a message of personal responsibility is in 2019, why happiness doesn’t exist without accountability, and how careful you need to be about creating the values systems by which you structure your life. They cover how religion has been hijacked, why trying to impose your moral authority on someone never works, living in a culture that rewards being a victim, how sometimes of “acts of service” are actually self-serving, and have an honest conversation about race, the criminal justice system, interactions with police, and freedom of speech.

Full transcript available here: WiW60-CoachTea-Transcript