Tag: Freedom of Speech

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.

Guest:

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.

Member Post

 

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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Member Post

 

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

Jews: The Canary in the Coal Mine for the Democratic Party?

 

A number of posts have been written about Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib and their anti-Semitic remarks, including my own. Many of us have speculated on the reasons for Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s silence regarding those comments, or their apologies on behalf of these two representatives. I’ve looked into the reasons for their not condemning their behavior, and the results were even more disturbing than I anticipated. (For the record, I don’t separate attitudes about Israel and the Jewish community.)

Member Post

 

While reading one book, another book was mentioned within its pages called “The Judgement of the Nations” by Christopher Dawson, copyright, 1942. I’d never heard of him. Here’s an excerpt: “A hundred years is a relatively short period. Yet the last hundred years have changed human life more completely than any period in the history […]

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QOTD: Saving Liberty

 

Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no Constitution, no law, no court, can save it; no Constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it. And what is this liberty, which must lie in the hearts of men and women? It is not the ruthless, the unbridled will; it is not freedom to do as one likes.

That is the denial of liberty and leads straight to its overthrow. A society in which men recognize no check upon their freedom soon becomes a society where freedom is the possession of only a savage few; as we have learned to our sorrow.

Formidable to Tyrants Only

 

The title comes from the Declaration of Independence. Third on the list of grievances, Ol’ Tommy J. has this to say:

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

Open Letter to Anonymous

 

An Open Letter to Anonymous, the Author of, “I Am Part of the Resistance inside the Trump Administration.” printed in the New York Times:

Mr. or Ms. Anonymous,

I just finished reading your opinion piece in the New York Times. I first take issue with the title. You are part of a resistance – where? Inside the Executive Branch, Congress, all over? You are not specific, but let me be specific. The people went to the polls in November 2016 and did not elect you President.