Posted: July 15, 2017 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: Barack Obama, Democratic Party (United States), Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Donald Trump presidential campaign, EUROPE, First Amendment, Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Expression, Freedom of speech, Hillary Clinton, Israel, Peter Beinart, Radical Left, Steve Scalise, To the End of the Land, United States, Warsaw
Turn Left and Go Over the Top
Stefan Kanfer writes: Pity the poor members of the Resistance. They decried violence on the right—only to have GOP congressman Steve Scalise shot by rifle-wielding left-winger James T. Hodgkinson. Then, a group of theater professinals decried any attempt to quash a staging of Julius Caesar with the title character, caparisoned as Donald Trump, assassinated with shouts of revenge and gouts of blood. But soon afterward, yet another assemblage of theater professionals decided that censorship was a good thing after all.
The Lincoln Center Festival is staging a four-night production this month of To the End of the Land, a dramatization of the acclaimed novel by Israeli author David Grossman. The play is underwritten by a cultural-outreach arm of the Israeli government. The Jewish State is anathema to the radical Left, and angry members of an organization identifying itself as “Adalah-NY, the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel,” are demanding that the production be taken off the boards before the Center dares to raise its curtain. Signatories to the demand include playwrights Tracy Letts, Lynn Nottage, and Annie Baker, as well as director Sam Gold, rock star Roger Waters, indie-film darling Greta Gerwig, and reliably anti-Israel playwright/actor Wallace Shawn.
[Read the full story here, at City Journal]
Adalah-NY says that production of To the End of the Land will aid the Isralie government in its “Brand Israel” campaign, which aims to use arts and culture to beguile audiences into thinking that Israel is a modern, civilized nation—while the wicked Hebrews continue their “violent colonization, brutal military occupation and denial of basic rights to the Palestinian people.”
Never mind that the play is actually an antiwar document, that its Israeli writer lost a son to battle and is understandably reluctant to fan any fires, and that, in fact, it has a sympathetic Palestinian character. Never mind that Israel is surrounded by would-be assassins who have sworn to destroy the Jewish state and all who live there. Never mind that a quick glance at the state of human rights or rule of law among any of Israel’s neighbors provides the sharpest possible foil, and that not a peep has been heard from Adalah-NY about the lives of the citizen-victims of Egypt, Gaza, Syria, or Lebanon. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 19, 2017 Filed under: Law & Justice, U.S. News | Tags: Berkeley, David French, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Freedom of Expression, Freedom of speech, Lawsuit, Liberty, National Review, SCOTUS, Ted Wheeler, United States, University of California
Free Speech Wins (Again) at the Supreme Court
David French writes:
… Given existing First Amendment jurisprudence, there would have been a constitutional earthquake if SCOTUS hadn’t ruled for Tam. The Court has long held that the Constitution protects all but the narrowest categories of speech. Yet time and again, governments (including colleges) have tried to regulate “offensive” speech. Time and again, SCOTUS has defended free expression. Today was no exception. Writing for a unanimous Court, Justice Alito noted that the Patent and Trademark Office was essentially arguing that “the Government has an interest in preventing speech expressing ideas that offend.” His response was decisive:
[A]s we have explained, that idea strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express “the thought that we hate.”
Quick, someone alert the snowflakes shouting down speeches on campus or rushing stages in New York. There is no constitutional exception for so-called “hate speech.”
Indeed, governments are under an obligation to protect controversial expression. Every justice agrees. The ruling is worth celebrating, but when law and culture diverge, culture tends to win. The law protects free speech as strongly as it ever has. The culture, however … (read more)
Source: National Review
In two First Amendment rulings released this week, the justices argue they’re saving would-be censors from themselves.
Matt Ford reports: The U.S. Supreme Court handed down two notable victories for free-speech advocates on Monday as it nears the end of its current term. The two First Amendment cases came to the Court from starkly different circumstances, but the justices emphasized a similar theme in both rulings: Beware what the free-speech restrictions of today could be used to justify tomorrow.
In the first case, Matal v. Tam, the Court sided with an Asian-American rock band in Oregon named The Slants in a dispute with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The PTO had denied band member Simon Tam’s application to register the group’s name as a trademark, citing a provision in federal law that prohibits the office from recognizing those that “disparage” or “bring … into contempt or disrepute” any “persons, living or dead.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 22, 2017 Filed under: History, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Politics, Science & Technology, U.S. News | Tags: Acquisition of NBC Universal by Comcast, Alberobello, Amana Colonies, Anti-competitive practices, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Donald Trump, Freedom of speech, New York, Reason.tv, United States, video
“We’ve gone to a modern [broadcast] system that has a lot of places where stuff can happen without permission,” says Thomas W. Hazlett, who’s the FCC‘s former chief economist, a professor at Clemson University, and author of the new book The Political Spectrum: The Tumultuous Liberation of Wireless Technology, from Herbert Hoover to the Smartphone. “And we have seen that the smartphone revolution and some other great stuff in the wireless space has really burgeoned…That comes from deregulation.”
So-called net neutrality rules are designed to solve a non-existent problem and threaten to restrict consumer choice, Hazlett tells Reason’s Nick Gillespie. “The travesty is there’s already a regulatory scheme [to address anti-competitive behavior]—it’s called antitrust law.”
Greater autonomy and consumer freedom led to the development of cable television, the smartphone revolution, and the modern internet. While we’ve come a long way from the old days of mother-may-I pleading with the FCC to grant licenses for new technology, Hazlett says, “there’s a lot farther to go and there’s a lot of stuff out there that’s being suppressed.”
He points to the history of radio and television. Herbert Hoover and Lyndon Johnson exercised extraordinary control over spectrum allocation, which they used for their own political and financial gain. With liberalization, we now have hundreds of hours of varied television programming as compared to the big three broadcast networks of the ’60s, an abundance of choices in smartphone providers and networks as compared to the Ma Bell monopoly, and more to come. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 24, 2017 Filed under: Censorship, Crime & Corruption, Education, Law & Justice, Mediasphere | Tags: Ann Coulter, Berkeley, Breitbart News, Charles Murray (political scientist), College Republicans, Donald Trump, Freedom of speech, Milo Yiannopoulos, Sproul Plaza, University of California
Amber Randall reports: A New York Times op-ed argues for a new understanding of free speech that takes into account the experiences of the more marginalized in society.
Ulrich Baer, the author and a New York University professor, writes Monday in favor of students who protest talks on campuses from more conservative voices like political scientist Charles Murray and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. These students, unlike “liberal free-speech advocates,” understand that a more complex definition of free speech is needed, Baer argues.
“Universities invited speakers not chiefly to present otherwise unavailable discoveries but to present to the public views they have presented elsewhere. When those views invalidate the humanity of some people, they restrict speech as a public good,” Baer writes. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 13, 2017 Filed under: Censorship, Education, Think Tank | Tags: African Americans, Alan Dershowitz, BEN SHAPIRO, Donald Trump, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Free speech zone, Freedom of speech, Grand Valley State University, Lawsuit, Turning Point USA
What is the least diverse place in America? It’s the institution that most actively seeks racial, ethnic, gender, and cultural diversity: the college campus! Colleges want students to look different, but think the same. Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, explains.
This video with Charlie Kirk is part of an exciting partnership between PragerU and Turning Point USA that will include videos with other young conservatives like Ben Shapiro, Antonia Okafor, Matt Walsh, and more. Visit here to learn more.
Posted: February 9, 2017 Filed under: Censorship, Education, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Academia, Fox News, Free speech, Freedom of speech, Liberal, Milo Yiannopoulos, news, protests, Tucker Carlson, video
Posted: February 2, 2017 Filed under: Entertainment, Humor, Mediasphere | Tags: Berkeley, Breitbart News, Donald Trump, Freedom of speech, Milo Yiannopoulos, Parody, Protest, Republican Party (United States), San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco Chronicle, satire, University of California
BERKELEY, CA—A protest at UC Berkeley turned violent Wednesday night into Thursday morning as hundreds of rioters set fires, assaulted people, damaged vehicles, and smashed storefronts. But in the midst of all the chaos: an inspirational moment. After beating a man unconscious for disagreeing with him, a masked protester pulled out a black marker and […] Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 2, 2017 Filed under: Education, Mediasphere, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: 2016, Berkeley, Breitbart News, Conservative, Donald Trump presidential campaign, Fascism, Freedom of speech, Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism, Milo Yiannopoulos, Republican Party (United States), Riots, UC Berkeley, University of California, video, Violence
“I wrote a book called ‘Liberal Fascism’ about a decade ago, and even then the best working definition of a Fascist in America is ‘a conservative who’s winning an argument’. The way the Left operates, they just try to shout down anyone who disagrees with them, these campuses are little, sort of soft-Totalitarian states where disagreements is actually a heresy.”
“By all means, Milo has a right to speak, he has free speech rights, they should have let him speak, the far smarter strategy would be to ignore these things, but the clampdown on free speech that’s more troubling is when they block people like Condoleeza Rice from being able to give a speech. The whole point to protecting outrageous speech is that it keeps the zone of speech for reasonable important speech safer, the way they do this kind of stuff is so counterproductive, it feeds into the worse impulses on both the right and the left, and Berkeley, and the administration of Berkeley should be ashamed of itself.”
[Order Jonah Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning” from Amazon]
[And Jonah’s other popular book, The Tyranny of Cliches, also available at Amazon]
[NEW – Berkeley’s Shame – NR Editors]
[Also see – [VIDEO] Jonah Goldberg with Bill Kristol: Trump’s Candidacy, Conservative Exile, and ‘Liberal Fascism’ Revisited]
[More – Charles Murray: The Trouble Isn’t Liberals. It’s Progressives]
[More – Populism Is Not Fascism]
Posted: February 2, 2017 Filed under: Breaking News, Education, Mediasphere, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: Breitbart News, College Republicans, Davis, Donald Trump, Freedom of speech, hate speech, Hillary Clinton, Milo Yiannopoulos, Protest, Simon & Schuster, Twitter, University of California
MSNBC reporter Hallie Jackson ironically referred to Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos as a “flame-thrower” on Thursday while scenes played out of people at California-Berkeley literally setting fires the night before in protest of him speaking on their campus.
“Jackson’s use of the term ‘flame-thrower’ was humorous given that Yiannopoulos was not the one who actually caused parts of campus to go up in flames.”
“This protest developed overnight out at Berkeley because Milo Yiannopoulos, sort-of noted troll, sort-of flame thrower if you will, was set to speak,” Jackson said, as images showed of the chaos. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 24, 2016 Filed under: Education, Mediasphere, Think Tank | Tags: Campus, Clemson University, Executive director, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Free speech zone, Freedom of speech, Higher Education, Student, Young Americans for Liberty
“It used to be college was a place for open dialogue and open debate,” says Says Cliff Maloney Jr., Executive Director at Young Americans for Liberty (YAL). “But now we find free speech zones, we find unconstitutional policies. And thats our goal with…our national fight for free speech campaign. How do we tackle them? How do we change them and reform them?”
YAL, the non-profit pro-liberty organization that emerged from the 2008 Ron Paul campaign, encourages college students to understand and exercise their constitutional rights. “We try to reach kids with these ideas. We do that through activism. Real events–which college campuses are supposed to be all about–taking ideas to students and having these discussions.” Since it’s founding, YAL has increased chapters from 100 to over 700 nationwide. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 16, 2016 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Law & Justice | Tags: American Civil Liberties Union, FBI, Freedom of speech, journalism, Journalist, Kansas City Public Schools, Lawsuit, media, Probate court
The FBI also did not violate policy when an agent impersonated an editor with the Associated Press in 2007, the Inspector General found.
Alan Neuhauser reports: FBI agents may impersonate journalists while conducting undercover investigations, and an agent who posed as an editor with the Associated Press during a 2007 investigation did not violate agency policies, the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General found in a report released Thursday.
“The Associated Press is deeply disappointed by the Inspector General’s findings, which effectively condone the FBI’s impersonation of an AP journalist in 2007. Such action compromises the ability of a free press to gather the news safely and effectively and raises serious constitutional concerns.”
— Associated Press Vice President Paul Colford, in a statement
The conclusion sparked consternation across social media by journalists, civil rights groups and some legal experts, who have argued that the practice – by its very existence – threatens to heighten public mistrust of reporters, damage journalists’ credibility and have a chilling effect on sources and whistleblowers who may fear that their contacts in the media are actually undercover agents.
“The Associated Press is deeply disappointed by the Inspector General’s findings, which effectively condone the FBI’s impersonation of an AP journalist in 2007,” Associated Press Vice President Paul Colford said in a statement. “Such action compromises the ability of a free press to gather the news safely and effectively and raises serious constitutional concerns.”
[Read the full story here, at US News]
The inspector general’s report acknowledged that the practice calls for “a higher level of approval” by FBI supervisors than was in place in 2007. Policies on impersonating journalists at the time were “less than clear,” it found. However, a new interim policy adopted this June – one that permits agents to pose as journalists so long as they get approval from two high-ranking officials and an undercover review committee at headquarters – meets that requirement.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 8, 2016 Filed under: Censorship, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Donald Trump, Drudge Report, Federal Election Commission, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Freedom of speech, hate speech, Hillary Clinton, John Roberts, Supreme Court of the United States, United States
Paul Bedard writes: A key Federal Election Commission Republican warned Wednesday that liberals are moving aggressively to “amend the First Amendment” so that conservatives are silenced and businesses are chased “out of the democracy.”
“The general tenor of the Left in American politics today has certainly spoken out against First Amendment rights. It has been a reversal over the last 50 years.”
In some the toughest criticism leveled at Democrats, Commissioner Lee E. Goodman said that the attack started once the Tea Party changed American politics in the 2010 election and now dominates the politics of the Left.
[Read the full story here, at Washington Examiner]
“It has triggered a very aggressive movement by people to amend the First Amendment, left intellectuals have placed it on the table,” Goodman said on Boston’s Howie Carr show.
[Order Kirsten Powers book “The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech” from Amazon.com]
“The general tenor of the Left in American politics today has certainly spoken out against First Amendment rights. It has been a reversal over the last 50 years,” he added, citing FDR Democrats who defended socialists and communists.
From trying to reverse the Citizens United decision to using the IRS to kill Tea Party groups, Goodman said that the Democrats have moved to change free speech in the country.
“But I have been concerned from time to time about every time a conservative group comes up, somehow, some way, exceptions and distinctions are made and this is the problem giving government the power to regulate speech in the first instance because ultimately human beings have to make that decision.”
“I have been concerned about bias both in how complaints are brought to the commission just like in the way, the lobbying campaign for Lois Lerner. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 17, 2016 Filed under: Censorship, Mediasphere, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: Barack Obama, FCC, First Amendment, Freedom of speech, IRS, Liberals, Michael Barone, Political Speech, Salon.com
Michael Barone writes: The knee jerk response of many liberals to political attacks seems to be to suppress such speech. Examples abound. Michigan Rep. Gary Peters, running for the Senate, threatens the broadcast licenses of stations that run adscriticizing him. Over at salon.com Fred Jerome imagines what it would be like to nationalize — have the government take over — Fox News. And of course evidence continues to accumulate that high Internal Revenue Service officials denied approval to conservative groups in order to suppress political speech.
[Read the full story here, at Washington Examiner]
Then there’s the Federal Communications Commission‘s “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs”–put on hold Friday. The FCC was going to query TV station and newspaper
writers about their “coverage choices.” As my Washington Examiner colleague Byron York explains, this “study” was the project of Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, daughter of Rep. James Clyburn, and it was scheduled to be rolled out first in Columbia, S.C. — which just happens to be the Clyburns’ hometown. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 2, 2016 Filed under: Censorship, Education, History, Mediasphere, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: Campus, college, Facebook, Freedom of speech, Internet, Jim DeMint, Knowledge spillover, Mark Zuckerberg, Matt Welch, Reason (magazine), Robby Soave, The Washington Free Beacon, United States, University
“The vocal minority of students who actually want censorship—who want to be protected from ideas they don’t like—they’ve always existed,” says Reason associate editor Robby Soave. “But in the last five years they have gained institutional power on these campuses.”
From microaggressions and trigger warnings, to the shouting down and assault of controversial speakers, the climate on American college campuses have shifted sharply away from the classical understanding of free speech and inquiry that were once the bedrock of higher education.
Soave, who reports on political correctness and on college campuses for Reason, sat down with Reason magazine Editor-in-Chief Matt Welch at Reason Weekend, the annual event hosted by the Reason Foundation, to talk about the state of free speech on American colleges and universities.
Edited by Alex Manning. Camera by Paul Detrick and Todd Kranin
Posted: January 25, 2016 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Education, Mediasphere | Tags: Activist, Columbia, Democratic Party (United States), First Amendment, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Freedom of speech, Freedom of the press, Jefferson City, KANSAS CITY, Left Wing, Melissa Click, Missouri, Protest, R. Bowen Loftin, University of Missouri
Melissa Click confronted a student photographer and a student videographer during the protests, calling for ‘muscle’ to help remove the videographer, Mark Schierbecker, from the protest area. Schierbecker’s video of his run-in with Clink went viral, and he filed a complaint with university police.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Jim Suhr reports: A University of Missouri assistant communications professor was charged Monday with misdemeanor assault linked to her run-in with student journalists during campus protests last November, drawing a curator’s renewed calls for her ouster.
“I’m willing to listen to the possibility of other job actions involving her as long as they’re serious. The whole situation surrounding this has been stonewalling and an attempt to run out the clock by the university.”
— Board member, David Steelman
Melissa Click, 45, faces up to 15 days in jail if convicted of the charge filed by Columbia city prosecutor Steve Richey, who retires next month and did not return messages seeking comment Monday.
[Read the full story here, at the Washington Times]
Click confronted a student photographer and a student videographer during the protests, calling for “muscle” to help remove the videographer, Mark Schierbecker, from the protest area. Schierbecker’s video of his run-in with Clink went viral, and he filed a complaint with university police.
That day’s demonstrations came after the president of the four-campus University of Missouri system and the Columbia campus’ chancellor resigned amid protests over what some saw as indifference to racial issues.
Days after the confrontations, Click said publicly she regretted her actions, and that she apologized to Schierbecker and all journalists and the university community for detracting from the students’ efforts to improve the racial climate on the Columbia campus. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 28, 2015 Filed under: Censorship, Education, Law & Justice, Politics | Tags: Academic freedom, Academic Freedom bills, American Association of University Professors, Campus, DUI, Freedom of speech, Informant, Minnesota, North Dakota, University of Missouri
The bill is crucial to preserve academic freedom and the ability of faculty members to blow the whistle when they observe wrongdoing.
Joseph Cohn reports: 2016 is right around the corner, and it promises to bring good news to college students and faculty members in Washington state. When the Washington State Legislature reconvenes in January, State Representative Matthew Manweller plans to introduce HB 3055, a bill that includes items on FIRE’s wish list.
“The bill’s wide-ranging scope includes a provision that would prevent campus administrators from forcing faculty members to affix “trigger warnings” on class syllabi that caution students that certain topics might be unsettling.”
Included in the bill’s meritorious provisions is the Campus Free Expression Act (CAFE Act), similar to a new law in Missouri, which would prevent public institutions of higher education from limiting expressive activity in the open outdoor areas of campus to tiny, misleadingly labeled “free speech zones.”
“The legislation also forbids institutions from punishing students or faculty for so-called ‘microaggressions’—defined by proponents as ‘everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.’”
Another important part of Representative Manweller’s legislation is a provision aimed at ensuring faculty at the state’s public colleges have the freedom to speak out on institutional policy and matters of public concern without fear of reprisal. The bill is crucial to preserve academic freedom and the ability of faculty members to blow the whistle when they observe wrongdoing.
“Due process protections are also front and center in Representative Manweller’s comprehensive bill. Like legislation passed with overwhelming bipartisan support earlier this year in North Dakota, the bill would provide students accused of non-academic offenses that could result in lengthy suspensions or expulsions with the right to hire lawyers to represent them and fully participate in the campus process.”
The bill’s wide-ranging scope includes a provision that would prevent campus administrators from forcing faculty members to affix “trigger warnings” on class syllabi that caution students that certain topics might be unsettling. Under the legislation, individual faculty members would decide if and when they want to include such warnings. The legislation also forbids institutions from punishing students or faculty for so-called “microaggressions”—defined by proponents as “everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 17, 2015 Filed under: Censorship, Education, Think Tank | Tags: Campus, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Fox News Channel, Freedom of speech, Higher Education, Petition, Safe Space, Student, Yale University
George Leef writes: A good argument can be made nowhere in America is free speech less safe than on private college and university campuses.
“There is a limit to ‘bait-and-switch’ techniques that promise academic freedom and legal equality but deliver authoritarianism and selective censorship.”
On public college and universities, the First Amendment applies, thus giving students, faculty members, and everyone else protection against official censorship or punishment for saying things that some people don’t want said. A splendid example of that was brought to a conclusion earlier this year at Valdosta State University, where the school’s president went on a vendetta against a student who criticized his plans for a new parking structure – and was clobbered in court. (I discussed that case here.)
But the First Amendment does not apply to private colleges and universities because they don’t involve governmental action. Oddly, while all colleges that accept federal student aid money must abide by a vast host of regulations, the Supreme Court ruled in Rendell-Baker v. Kohn that acceptance of such money does not bring them under the umbrella of the First Amendment.
[Read the full story here, at Forbes]
At private colleges, the protection for freedom of speech has to be found (at least in most states) in the implicit contract the school enters into with each incoming student. Ordinarily, the school holds itself out as guaranteeing certain things about itself and life on campus in its handbook and other materials. If school officials act in ways that depart significantly from the reasonable expectations it created, then the college can be held liable. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 17, 2015 Filed under: Education, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: Campus, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Freedom of speech, Hidden camera, Higher Education, Political Satire, Safe Space, Student, video, Yale University
Political satirist Ami Horowitz tests the waters at Yale University to see if today’s Ivy League students would actually sign a petition to repeal the first amendment.
Posted: December 13, 2015 Filed under: Censorship, Education, Mediasphere, Think Tank | Tags: 1st Amendment, Barack Obama, Center for Immigration Studies, Christian, Columbia University, Des Moines, Donald Trump, Free speech, Freedom of speech, Iowa, Los Angeles, Minority, Muslim, Permanent residence (United States), Pew Research Center, Reason (magazine), Reason.tv, University, video
The faculty council at Occidental College is considering instituting a system for students to report microaggressions perpetrated against them by faculty members or other students.
Reason TV visited Occidental’s campus to find out what exactly constitutes a microaggression. One Columbia psychology professor defined the term this way: Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.
After exploring the limitations of a microaggression reporting system, we discussed broader free speech issues with the students in the wake of a month of campus protests that resulted in the resignations of several faculty members and a university president.
Most of the students defended free speech in principle, if not always in practice. This is consistent with a recent Pew Research Center survey, which found that although 95 percent of Americans agree that people should be allowed to publicly criticize government policies, support erodes when the question turns to offensive speech. While a majority of millennials still believe that the government should protect speech offensive to minorities, a whopping 40 percent believe the government should restric such speech. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 15, 2015 Filed under: France, Mediasphere, Terrorism | Tags: Angela Merkel, Arab League, Bashar al-Assad, Bohemians, Charlie Hebdo, EUROPE, France, Freedom of speech, Government of France, Hipsters, Jihadist sympathizers, Middle East, Muslim, Syria, Terrorism, Western world
‘They’re stupid, but they aren’t evil,’ says Parisian woman who works in 11th arrondissement, and in Place de la Republique, no one wanted to talk about Islamists or the Islamic State.
PARIS – Ansel Pfeffer reports: On the day after the terror campaign in Paris that left 129 people dead and more than 300 wounded, residents of the French capital are still trying to absorb what hit them.
“They are victims of a system that excluded them from society, that’s why they felt this doesn’t belong to them and they could attack. There are those who live here in alienation, and we are all to blame for this alienation.”
By evening, after they had avoided gathering outdoors all day on the orders of police, hundreds of people started to assemble at the Place de la Republique, only a few hundred meters from the Bataclan concert hall where four terrorists had held hostage hundreds of people for more than two hours, killing 89 of them. From Boulevard Voltaire, where the hall is located and which was closed by police, ambulances carrying the bodies of the victims would emerge every few minutes, sirens wailing. As of last night only a handful of the victims had been named.
“They don’t want us to think that maybe it’s connected to the policies of our government and of the United States in the Middle East. These are people the government gave up on, and you have to ask why.”
A group of friends was standing near the candles that had been lit at the foot of the monument at the square, trying to find out if the waiter that had served them at La Belle Equipe, one of the restaurants attacked in the 11th arrondissement, had been killed.
“One member of the group said they had come to the square to demonstrate ‘unity,’ but they didn’t seem to feel solidarity with the victims of the last wave of terror. There were signs calling for unity, but it wasn’t clear what they were meant to unite around.”
“It’s very personal, what’s happened,” said Stephan Byatt, an actor who lives on a nearby street. He has a hard time finding the words to describe what he’s feeling. His friend, Bruno Michlaud, a graphic artist, tries to help out. “It’s a symbol of Paris, a symbol of life. They hurt us in the center of our lives and each of us could have been one of those killed.”
But they aren’t angry, at least not at the perpetrators. “They’re stupid, but they aren’t evil,” their friend Sabrina, an administrative worker in one of the theaters in the 11th arrondissement, said. “They are victims of a system that excluded them from society, that’s why they felt this doesn’t belong to them and they could attack. There are those who live here in alienation, and we are all to blame for this alienation.”
“Perhaps it’s correct to bomb them in the name of democracy and freedom, but it brought the war in Syria to us in France. I don’t think it’s worth it.”
Ten months after the previous wave of terror in Paris that hit the editorial offices of Charlie Hebdo and the Hypercacher kosher supermarket, one might assume that residents would feel a sense of continuity, but that didn’t seem to be the case. “Then they harmed journalists and Jews, those were defined targets,” said one of the young people who had come to the square. “Now it was an attack with no objective, anyone could have been hurt.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 4, 2015 Filed under: Censorship, Politics, Think Tank, White House | Tags: Academic freedom, Bill Clinton, Blog, Condoleezza Rice, Facebook, Fire, First Amendment, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Free speech, Freedom of speech, George W. Bush, Hong Kong, Speech, United States
Michael Barone writes: “‘Shut up,’ he explained.” Those words are from Ring Lardner‘s short story “The Young Immigrunts.” They’re an exasperated father’s response from the driver’s seat to his child’s question, “‘Are you lost, Daddy?’ I asked tenderly.”
They also can be taken as the emblematic response of today’s liberals to anyone questioning their certitudes. A response that at least sometimes represents the uneasy apprehension of the father in the story that they have no good answer.
“We are told that speech codes are necessary because some students may be offended by what others say. In recent years we have been warned that seemingly innocuous phrases may be ‘microaggressions’ that must be stamped out and that “trigger warnings” should be administered to warn students of possibly upsetting material.”
It was not always so. Today’s liberals, like those of Lardner’s day, pride themselves on their critical minds, their openness to new and unfamiliar ideas, their tolerance of diversity and differences. But often that characterization seems as defunct as Lardner, who died at an unhappily early age in 1935.
“Beyond the campus, liberals are also eager to restrict free speech. This is apparent in some responses to those who argue that global warming may not be as inevitable and harmful as most liberals believe, and that while increased carbon emissions would surely raise temperatures if they were the only factor affecting climate, some other factors just might be involved.”
[Read the full story here, at Washington Examiner]
Consider the proliferation of speech codes at our colleges and universities. The website of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education sets out the speech codes at 400 of the nation’s largest and most prestigious institutions of higher learning. The liberals who run these institutions — you won’t find many non-liberals among their faculties and administrations — have decided to limit their students’ First Amendment right of freedom of speech. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 4, 2015 Filed under: Censorship, Education, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Think Tank | Tags: Adam Carolla, Barack Obama, Campus, College football, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Freedom of speech, Greg Lukianoff, Reason, Twitter
“The…idea that if you just let people talk, it will be this pit of racist pandemonium…is sort of childish and it oversimplifies. But it is a great justification for having a lot of power over speech,” says Greg Lukianoff, the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).
Posted: July 29, 2015 Filed under: Censorship, Crime & Corruption, Law & Justice, Politics | Tags: Barack Obama, Congress, corruption, fraud, Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of speech, Impeachment, IRS, Jim Jordan, John Koskinen, Lois Lerner, Obama administration, Richard Nixon, Ron DeSantis, Taxpayer, The Smidgen Report, The White House
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen Has Got to Go
Posted: June 28, 2015 Filed under: Education, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: Bruce Thornton, David Horowitz Freedom Center, Freedom of speech, Harvard Undergraduate Council, Harvard University, Institute for Policy Studies, Janet Napolitano, John Kiriakou, Person of color, United States
FIRE co-founder Harvey Silverglate’s take on the importance of free speech on campus and Harvard’s deception when it comes to academic freedom.
Posted: June 16, 2015 Filed under: Entertainment, Politics, Self Defense | Tags: Alfred P. Murrah, Eric Bolling, Fox News Channel, Freedom of speech, Geraldo Rivera, GQ, Greg Gutfeld, Right to keep and bear arms, Timothy McVeigh, Vince Vaughn
Mark Chesnut writes: When actor Vince Vaughn recently took up for the right to keep and bear arms in a highly publicized British GQ interview, he made a very reasonable argument for the Second Amendment—one you seldom hear coming from the “Hollywood crowd.”
“You think the politicians that run my country and your country don’t have guns in the schools their kids go to? They do. And we should be allowed the same rights. Banning guns is like banning forks in an attempt to stop making people fat.”
— Vince Vaughn
“I support people having a gun in public full stop, not just in your home,” Vaughn said. “We don’t have the right to bear arms because of burglars; we have the right to bear arms to resist the supreme power of a corrupt and abusive government. It’s not about duck hunting; it’s about the ability of the individual. It’s the same reason we have freedom of speech. It’s well known that the greatest defense against an intruder is the sound of a gun hammer being pulled back.”
Vaughn also pointed out the danger of gun-free zones, detailing how only criminals intent on doing harm have firearms in those locations.
“All these gun shootings that have gone down in America since 1950, only one or maybe two have happened in non-gun-free zones,” he said. “Take mass shootings. They’ve only happened in places that don’t allow guns.
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
“These people are sick in the head and are going to kill innocent people. They are looking to slaughter defenseless human beings. They do not want confrontation.” Vaughn even weighed in on the importance of armed citizens in protecting students. Asked whether he supported guns in the hands of good guys on campuses, Vaughn said: Ironically, the most vocal criticism came from some in the news media—those who are supposedly objective and impartial.
“Of course. You think the politicians that run my country and your country don’t have guns in the schools their kids go to? They do. And we should be allowed the same rights. Banning guns is like banning forks in an attempt to stop making people fat.”
One might expect such strong, pointed talk would draw lots of criticism from other actors, many of whom lean toward the anti-gun end of the spectrum. Ironically, the most vocal criticism came from some in the news media—those who are supposedly objective and impartial.
On Fox News’ The Five, Geraldo Rivera compared Vaughn to the perpetrator of the Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 innocent people. “Doesn’t that remind you of Timothy McVeigh …?” Rivera quipped.
Geraldo went on to claim that armed self-defense is simply a figment of the imagination of those who support gun rights. Read the rest of this entry »