David French: The Threat To Free Speech – Commentary Magazine

From the July/August COMMENTARY symposium.

The following is an excerpt from COMMENTARYs symposium on the threat to free speech:

Were living in the midst of a troubling paradox. At the exact same time that First Amendment jurisprudence has arguably never been stronger and more protective of free expression, millions of Americans feel they simply cant speak freely. Indeed, talk to Americans living and working in the deep-blue confines of the academy, Hollywood, and the tech sector, and youll get a sense of palpable fear. Theyll explain that they cant say what they think and keep their jobs, their friends, and sometimes even their families.

The government isnt cracking down or censoring; instead, Americans are using free speech to destroy free speech. For example, a social-media shaming campaign is an act of free speech. So is an economic boycott. So is turning ones back on a public speaker. So is a private corporation firing a dissenting employee for purely political reasons. Each of these actions is largely protected from government interference, and each one represents an expression of the speakers ideas and values.

The problem, however, is obvious. The goal of each of these kinds of actions isnt to persuade; its to intimidate. The goal isnt to foster dialogue but to coerce conformity. The result is a marketplace of ideas that has been emptied of all but the approved ideological vendorsat least in those communities that are dominated by online thugs and corporate bullies. Indeed, this mindset has become so prevalent that in places such as Portland, Berkeley, Middlebury, and elsewhere, the bullies and thugs have crossed the line from protectedalbeit abusivespeech into outright shout-downs and mob violence.

But theres something else going on, something thats insidious in its own way. While politically correct shaming still has great power in deep-blue America, its effect in the rest of the country is to trigger a furious backlash, one characterized less by a desire for dialogue and discourse than by its own rage and scorn. So were moving toward two Americasone that ruthlessly (and occasionally illegally) suppresses dissenting speech and the other that is dangerously close to believing that the opposite of political correctness isnt a fearless expression of truth but rather the fearless expression of ideas best calculated to enrage your opponents.

The result is a partisan feedback loop where right-wing rage spurs left-wing censorship, which spurs even more right-wing rage. For one side, a true free-speech culture is a threat to feelings, sensitivities, and social justice. The other side waves high the banner of free speech to sometimes elevate the worst voices to the highest platformsnot so much to protect the First Amendment as to infuriate the hated snowflakes and trigger the most hysterical overreactions.

The culturally sustainable argument for free speech is something else entirely. It reminds the cultural left of its own debt to free speech while reminding the political right that a movement allegedly centered around constitutional values cant abandon the concept of ordered liberty. The culture of free speech thrives when all sides remember their moral responsibilitiesto both protect the right of dissent and to engage in ideological combat with a measure of grace and humility.

Read the entire symposium on the threat to free speech in the July/August issue of COMMENTARY here.

A doctrine is taking shape.

With all of Washington consumed by the effort to craft and pass health-care legislation, the Trump White House appeared to catch the countrys political establishment off guard when it announced that the crisis in Syria was again reaching a crescendo.

In a prepared statement, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer revealed that the Bashar al-Assad regime was engaged in potential preparations to execute another chemical attack on civilians. [If] Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price, the statement read.

Hours later, the Pentagon expounded upon the nature of the threat. We have seen activity at Shayrat Airfield, said Captain Jeff Davis, associated with chemical weapons. The Shayrat Air Base outside the city of Homs is the same airfield that was targeted in April with 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles.

For all the frustration over the Trump administrations failure to craft a coherent strategy to guide American engagement in the Syrian theater, the White House has communicated to the Assad regime a set of clear parameters in which it is expected to operate. That is a marked improvement over the approach taken by Barack Obamas administration.

When American forces in Syria or those under the American defense umbrella are threatened by the Assad regime or its proxies, American forces will take action. On several occasions, U.S. forces have made kinetic defensive strikes on pro-government militias, and that policy recently expanded to include Syrian regular forces. On June 18, a Syrian Su-22 fighter-bomber was destroyed when it struck American-backed fighters laying siege to the ISIS-held city of Raqqa.

The Trump administration has also telegraphed to Damascus the limited conditions that would lead to offensive operations against regime targets. At the risk of contradicting his campaign-trail promise to scale back American commitments abroad, President Trump was convinced at the urging of his closest advisors and family members following the April 4 chemical attacks to execute strikes on the Assad regime. His administration was quick to communicate that this was a one-time punitive measure, not a campaign. There would be no follow-on action.

That directive may no longer be operative. With the release of this latest statement warning Damascus against renewed chemical strikes on rebel targets, the triggers that led to strikes on regime targets in April are hardening into a doctrine. The United States will act aggressively to maintain a global prohibition on the use of weapons of mass destruction. There is enough consistency and clarity to Trumps approach that it might amount to deterrence. Even if the Assad regime is not deterred, onlookers may yet be.

This is a doctrine that Barack Obama flirted with, but declined only at the last minute to adopt. As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas, and using them, Obama explained to the nation in a primetime address on September 10, 2013. Over time, our troops would again face the prospect of chemical warfare on the battlefield. And it could be easier for terrorist organizations to obtain these weapons, and to use them to attack civilians.

This was and remains a prophetic warning. ISIS militants have already deployed chemical munitions against Iraqi troops and their American and Australian advisors. An inauspicious future typified by despots unafraid to unleash indiscriminate and unconventional weapons on the battlefield would surely have come to fruition had the West not eventually made good on Obamas threats.

Obama framed his about-face as an odd species of consistency. He deferred to Congress in a way he hadnt before and wouldnt after while simultaneously empowering Moscow to mediate the conflict. This laid the groundwork for Russian armed intervention in Syria just two years later. In contrast, Donald Trump eschewed the rote dance of coalition-building and public diplomacy. Instead, he ordered the unilateral, punitive strike on a rogue for behaving roguishly. And hes willing to do it again if need be.

That approach will prove refreshing to Americas Sunni allies who, by the end of the last administration, were entirely disillusioned with the Obama presidency. Obamas waltz back from his red line undermined the Gulf States and shattered hopes in Syria that the West was prepared to enforce the proscription on mass civilian slaughter. In the week of war drums leading up to the anti-climax of September 10, 2013, a wave of defections from the Syrian Army suggested that a post-Assad future was possible. Today, few think such a prospect is conceivable. And because the insurgency against Assads regime will not end with Assad in power, an equal number cannot foresee a stop to the Syrian civil war anytime soon.

These circumstances have led some to criticize the Trump administration. Perhaps the behaviors theyve resolved to punish are too narrowly defined. Maybe the White House should rethink regime change? It is, after all, not so much a civil war anymore but a great power conflict. American troopsto say nothing of Russian, Turkish, British, French, and a host of othersare already on the ground in Syria in numbers and at cross purposes. Still others contend that even this level of engagement in the Levant is irresponsible. They argue the Syrian quagmire is to be avoided at all costs.

These are all legitimate criticisms, but only now can there be a rational debate over a concrete Syria policy.

For more than three years, Barack Obama tried to have his cake and eat it, too. He presented himself as sagaciously unmoved by the political pressuring of Washingtons pro-war establishment, which salivates over the prospect of lucrative strikes on an alien nation. At the same time, the Obama White House cast itself as a reluctant defender of civilization in the Middle East and elsewhereperhaps even too quick to deploy men and ordnance. This was only nonsense retrofitted onto Barack Obamas pursuit of a face-saving way to retreat from his self-set red line.

The Trump administrations policy in Syria is an improvement over Obamas if only because it deserves to be called a policy. Love it or dont, at least Americans are no longer being gaslighted into debating the merits of phantasms invented by political strategists in Washington talk shops.

This isn't about politics.

On June 23, the Washington Post ran a comprehensive article reviewing the Russian interference in last years presidential election, which involved stealing emails from Democratic Party accounts and releasing them via Wikileaks. The outstanding work of reporters Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima, and Adam Entous shows that there was a bipartisan, cascading failure to respond adequately to this attack on our democracy. That attack began under President Obama and is continuing under President Trump.

The Post revealed that the CIA had sourcing deep inside the Russian government showing that Vladimir Putin had personally tasked his intelligence agencies with audacious objectivesdefeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.

Obama was informed of this while the election was underway, but he did little.

the Obama administration secretly debated dozens of options for deterring or punishing Russia, including cyberattacks on Russian infrastructure, the release of CIA-gathered material that might embarrass Putin and sanctions that officials said could crater the Russian economy.

But in the end, in late December,Obama approveda modest package combining measures that had been drawn up to punish Russia for other issues expulsions of 35 diplomats and the closure of two Russian compounds with economic sanctions so narrowly targeted that even those who helped design them describe their impact as largely symbolic.

The article went on to quote a former senior Obama administration official involved in White House deliberations on Russia who said: It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend. I feel like we sort of choked.

In fairness to Obama, he tried to seek bipartisan support to expose Russias machinations and found no interest among the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill, who were plainly more worried about losing an election than about this Russian attack on our democracy. Obama knew that if he had spoken out more forcefully, Trump and his Republican supporters would have hammered him for allegedly trying to rig the election for Crooked Hillary.

That doesnt excuse Obamas failure of leadership. He was the commander-in-chief; it was his responsibility. It does make clear, however, that he was worried not just about the possibility of worsening relations with Russia but also about being charged with a partisan interference in the election.

The failure to react more strongly to the Russian hack extends now into the Trump administration. Trumps reaction to the Post story is indicative of his troubling mindset. The day before the Post story came out, Trump claimed on Twitter that reports of Russian interferenceas unanimously attested to by his own intelligence agenciesare all a big Dem HOAX! Following the publication of the Posts story, he tweeted: Just out: The Obama Administration knew far in advance of November 8th about election meddling by Russia. Did nothing about it. WHY?

Given that the Obama administration had publicly called out Russian interference in October, its hard to imagine why this would be news to Trump now.

The benefit of the doubt ends there. Trumps next reaction was purely cynical. Since the Obama Administration was told way before the 2016 Election that the Russians were meddling, why no action? Focus on them, not T! So when Trump is accused of collusion with the Russians or other wrong-doing, he claims that the entire Russian operation is a hoax. But when he wants to accuse Obama of wrongdoing, then he stipulates that the hacking was real.

For Trump, this is a purely partisan issue. The Democrats are out to get to him, to de-legitimize his election victory, and he will say or do anything to stop themeven if that means denying the reality of the Russian operation one moment and admitting it the next. There is no indication that he has treated this attack with the gravity it deserves, which makes it more likely that the Russians will be up to their old tricks in future elections, just as they have been doing recently in Europe.

Trump is right to castigate Obama for not doing more, but the same criticism now applies to him.

How the West was dug.

Next Tuesday marks the beginning of the 242nd year of the independence of the United States, and the day will be justly celebrated with parades,picnics, and fireworks from Hawaii to Maine.

But next Tuesday will also mark another anniversary of surpassing historicalimportance to this country. For it was on July 4th, 1817, 200 years ago,that the first shovelful of dirt was dug and the construction of the ErieCanal began. Finished eight years later (ahead of schedule and under budget)it united the east coast with the fast-growing trans-Appalachian west.

It was a monumental undertaking. At 363 miles, the canal was more than twiceas long as any earlier canal. (The Canal du Midi in southern France was 140miles in length.) Thomas Jefferson thought the project little short ofmadness. But Governor Dewitt Clinton saw the possibilities and went ahead,artfully handling the very considerable political opposition and arrangedthe financing (much of the money was raised in London).

Clinton was quickly proved right and the Erie Canal can claim to be the most consequential public works project in American history. Before the canal,bulk goods such as grain could reach the east coast population centers onlyby going down the Mississippi River and out through the port of New Orleans.With the canal, it could travel via the Great Lakes and the canal to theport of New York. Before the canal, it had taken six weeks to move a barrelof flour from Buffalo to New York City, at the cost of $100. With the canal,it took six days and cost $6.00. The result was an economic revolution.

Within a few years, New York City had become, in the words of Oliver WendellHolmes (the doctor and poet, not his son the Supreme Court justice), thattongue that is licking up the cream of commerce of a continent. The cityexploded in size, expanding northwards at the rate of about two blocks ayear. That may not seem like much, but Manhattan is about two miles wide,and thus the city was adding about ten miles of street front every year, apace that continued for decades.

The cost of the canal was paid off in only eight years and thereafter becamea cash cow for the state. This allowed it to weather the crash of 1837 andthe following depression, which bankrupted the state of Pennsylvania andcrippled Philadelphias banks. New York quickly became the countrysundisputed financial center, which it has been ever since.

And while goods were moving eastwards, people were moving westward throughthe canal as farmers deserted the thin, stony soils of New England for therich, deep loams of Ohio and Indiana. This New England diaspora moved thepolitical center of the country westwards.

The canal era in this country was a brief one as railroads, beginning in the1830s, began to spread. But the Erie Canal continued to function as anartery of commerce until the 1970s and is still used today for things that,usually for reasons of size, cannot be moved by highway or railroad. And itremains a popular avenue for recreational boating.

So Americans should remember Dewitt Clinton next week just as we rememberWashington, Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin. For New Yorkers, that goesdouble. For it was the Erie Canal that put the empire in the Empire State.

The travel ban is saved, for now.

President Trump got a much-needed win today when the Supreme Court allowed part of his executive order on immigration to take effect, vacating stays issued by lower courts. The justices will decide the fate of the executive order in the fall. Judging by todays ruling, its possible that Trump will triumph, at least in part, if only because the president has broad authority to restrict entry into the United States by anyone who is not a citizen or permanent resident. But even if Trumps executive order proves to be legal, that doesnt mean that its wise or necessary from a security standpoint.

The Department of Homeland Security can now keep out nationals of six Muslim countriesIran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemenas long as those nationals cannot credibly claim a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. Prepare for more litigation to figure out what constitutes a bona fide relationship, a new, arbitrary standard invented by the justices to modify the arbitrary standard invented by President Trump. What does any of this have to do with the dictates of counter-terrorismthe ostensible justification for the travel ban? Not much.

There is no history in the United States of terrorist acts committed by nationals of the six countries in question. As a Cato analyst noted, back when the ban still applied to Iraq as well as the six other countries: Nationals of the seven countries singled out by Trump have killed zero people in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1975 and 2015.

In justifying the travel ban, Trumps original executive order on January 27 made its main argument the 9/11 attacks, when State Department policy prevented consular officers from properly scrutinizing the visa applications of several of the 19 foreign nationals who went on to murder nearly 3,000 American. But the 9/11 attacks were committed by 15 Saudis, 2 Emiratis, 1 Egyptian, and 1 Lebanesenone of whom would be covered under the Trump travel ban. Thats not an argument for enlarging the ban but merely a commentary on the fact that the executive order as crafted is utterly disconnected from any actual security threat.

This reality is further underlined by the fact that when the original executive order was issued on January 27, the Trump administration claimed that it had to suspend all entry for nationals of seven Muslim countries for 90 daysand of all refugees from all over the world for 120 days. The stated intent of that order was to ensure the proper review and maximum utilization of available resources for the screening of foreign nationals, and to ensure that adequate standards are established to prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals.

Well, its now been 150 days since that executive order was issuedand we have not experienced any attacks by the hordes of terrorists that Trump claimed were waiting to rush into the United States when his executive order was suspended. And yet the administration is now arguing that it needs at least 90 more days to come up with vetting procedures for the entry of nationals of the six Muslim countries in question. Why havent the previous 150 days sufficed to make entry requirements as stringent as they need to be? In reality, there is no evidence that Homeland Security has had to strengthen already rigorous admission standards significantly.

President Trump gave away his real motives for pursuing the travel ban, in spite of the original justification lapsing, when he tweeted in favor of it on June 3 just minutes after a terrorist attack in London. We need to be smart, vigilant and tough, he wrote. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety! When Trump sent that tweet, the nationality of the attackers was not known. (They would subsequently be identified as a British citizen born in Pakistan, an Italian citizen born in Morocco, and a Moroccan who had been granted residency in the European Union because of his marriage to an Irish woman.)

All that anyone knew at that point is that the attackers were Muslims. So Trump was clearly signaling that his real worry is not about the six countries in questionnone of which had anything to do with the London attackbut with Muslims in general. In keeping with his campaign rhetoric, which catered to anti-Muslim bigotry, Trump evidently wants to keep as many Muslims out of the country as possible.

It will be up to the Supreme Court to rule on whether Trump can do so under the Constitution. From a security standpoint, this blanket animus against Muslims is highly counterproductive. It would make no sense, even if it were legally possible, to keep out all Muslimsincluding citizens of American allies from Britain to Saudi Arabia. Its not even clear that this is possible to do: How would immigration agents know that someone is a Muslim or not? Passports dont ordinarily list religion.

The U.S. needs the cooperation of moderate Muslims, both at home and abroad, to fight the scourge of terrorism, which has claimed far more Muslim lives than those of Christians or Jews. That means we shouldnt alienate Muslims by trying to ban them from the United States. The U.S. should be trying to gather as much intelligence as possible on terrorist designs from within Muslim communities, both domestically and abroad, while at the same time carefully screening anyone, Muslim or not, who seeks entry to the United States.

But thats not very sexy. Its, in fact, the status quo. Trump seems intent on some big, showy, symbolic act, no matter how counterproductive, to demonstrate that he is doing more to combat terrorism than Obama. The Supreme Court may just let him get away with it.

View post:

David French: The Threat To Free Speech - Commentary Magazine

Why Can’t ‘Free Speech’ Advocates Ever Defend Adjunct Professors and People of Color? – Pacific Standard

Pacific Standard
Why Can't 'Free Speech' Advocates Ever Defend Adjunct Professors and People of Color?
Pacific Standard
In contrast to other free speech-related controversies on college campuses, there has been almost no media coverage of Durden's ouster. That omission is part of a pattern: When wealthy, right-wing speakers and politicians encounter protest, the ...
EDITORIAL: Sometimes free speech can have consequencesTuscaloosa News
How the Right Stifles Speech With Threats and ViolenceNew Republic
Black Newark Professor Fired After Fox News Show; Will Speak At Local ChurchPatch.com
Rolling Out -Washington Post -Essex County College -Fox News Insider
all 105 news articles »

Go here to read the rest:

Why Can't 'Free Speech' Advocates Ever Defend Adjunct Professors and People of Color? - Pacific Standard

Free speech policies have improved at ECU and UNC-Charlotte, watchdog group says – News & Observer

News & Observer
Free speech policies have improved at ECU and UNC-Charlotte, watchdog group says
News & Observer
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which monitors free speech on U.S. college campuses, issued green light ratings for East Carolina University and UNC-Charlotte in the past week. North Carolina now has six green light campuses, the ...

More here:

Free speech policies have improved at ECU and UNC-Charlotte, watchdog group says - News & Observer

If the US Supreme Court decides cake baking is free speech, it will affect more than gay weddings – Quartz

The US Supreme Court on June 26 agreed to to hear a landmark case involving baking, same-sex weddings, religious belief, and free speech. But Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. the Colorado Civil Rights Commission is a complicated and controversial matter that could have an impact far beyond gay rights.

The court will have to decide whether Masterpiece Cakeshop, a Colorado bakery, can be compelled by the state to bake cakes for same-sex weddings in violation of the owners religious belief. The owner claims bakingspecifically, creating a cake to order for a weddingis a form of free speech, and same-sex unions violate his faith. So, he argues, the state should exempt him from anti-discrimination laws because the constitution protects free speech and freedom of religion.

This case, which the court will hear in the term that starts in October, brings to a head a long-running battle. As LGBT rights and protections have increased in the US, similar cases involving, for example, florists who refuse to make flower arrangements for same-sex weddings, have been heard in state courts, ending mostly in defeat for the business owner. Religious-rights groups, many of whom backed US president Donald Trump in last years election, have stepped up their activism on the issue in recent months, and believe Trumps addition of the conservative Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court could tip the balance in their favor.

Hours after the Supreme Court agreed to review it, the sexual revolutionaries are butting heads with the First Amendment, conservative lawyer David French wrote in the National Review. May free speech prevail.

The Masterpiece case isnt about whether businesses can turn away gay and lesbian couples on religious grounds. They cannot, by law, and Masterpiece argues that it obeys that law because it does sell cakes and cookies to same-sex couples. But it says it wont bake same-sex marriage cakes specifically. Baking is creative expression, which is speech, which is constitutionally protected, as are religious beliefs, Masterpiece argues.

Just as the states anti-discrimination laws wouldnt stop an African-American cake artist from refusing to create a cake promoting white-supremacism for the Aryan Nation, or an Islamic cake artist from refusing to create a cake denigrating the Quran for the Westboro Baptist Church, Phillips should be allowed to turn away same-sex couples who want wedding cakes, Alliance Defending Freedom, the bakers representatives, argued in their petition to the Supreme Court.

Civil-rights activists, on the other hand, worry that a decision for Masterpiece Cakeshop will open the door to more discrimination. While the ruling would be seemingly narrowallowing the baker to refuse to bake a same-sex wedding cake but not to bar gay couples altogetherit would set a precedent that other businesses could expand on almost without limit, namely the ability to claim that a business activity is a form of creative expression.

In an amicus brief (pdf) to the Colorado appeals court for the Masterpiece case, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a lobbying group, wrote: Restaurants, hotels, hairdressers, clothing vendors, and other businesses whose proprietors object to deploying their artistic services to facilitate a same-sex wedding would be entitled to the same exemption. Nor would only LGBT people be affected: The same argument would allow nearly any business alleging similar concerns to discriminate as it pleased. Lesbians and gay men (as well as others protected by antidiscrimination statutes) would not know which businesses were open to them, and could not expect the law to consistently protect their rights.

Whats more, the Supreme Court is taking the case in a charged atmosphere, noted James Esseks of the American Civil Liberties Union, the gay couples lawyer, in a blog post on June 26. In recent months, he wrote, states have proposed laws that would license discrimination by businesses, government workers, adoption agencies, and counselors. Congress has considered similar measures. And Trump has signed an executive order that signaled his intent to use religious exemptions to advance discrimination.

In other words, theres every sign that religious conservatives are looking for legal means to broaden discrimination based on religious beliefjust as, in the wake of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, some argued that segregation was also protected by religious beliefs and freedom. If it rules in favor of the bakery, the Supreme Court could give them an important foothold.

The rulings impact could be widespread because of the sheer number of businesses it could set a precedent for. Despite the proliferation of Wal-Marts and Home Depots across the United States, small businesses remain a large part of the US economy. There are just over 5 million (pdf) businesses with fewer than 20 employees, which employ 17.3% of the private workforce.

US courts and lawmakers have traditionally given businesses this size much more leeway in deciding whom to serve or hire. Federal anti-discrimination employment laws dont apply to businesses with fewer than 15 employees, for example, and anti-discrimination housing laws dont cover smaller buildings when the owner lives there as well. Small, owner-operated businesses are also exempt from shareholder pressure.

This means that, taken to its logical conclusion, the Masterpiece precedent would give a large swathe of the economy the potential power to choose whom to serve based on religious beliefs. One might respond that there will always be plenty of other choices. But as Esseks wrote in his filing (pdf) to the Supreme Court, it is no answer to say that [the couple] could shop somewhere else for their wedding cake, just as it was no answer in 1966 to say that African-American customers could eat at another restaurant.

Read more:

If the US Supreme Court decides cake baking is free speech, it will affect more than gay weddings - Quartz

Free Speech on Campus – HuffPost

There has been a lot in the media recently about speakers with a conservative message who were scheduled to speak on college campuses but through one action or another were not able to speak. Whether these speakers were cancelled by the administration or whether they were not allowed to speak due to large (and sometimes violent) protests has led to a widespread belief that conservative voices are not tolerated on college campuses. While I understand why some speakers have been cancelled, often for safety reasons, I think cancelling speakers who were invited is a mistake. Let them speak; challenge their statements; but, dont silence their voices.

This is not a new issue. While serving as the Provost at Luzerne County Community College, I addressed a legislative subcommittee on the issue of conservative voices on campus. I stated then (12 years ago), as I state now, all voices are welcome on college campuses. However, with the current climate polarized positions, the tendency for people to act out (conservative or liberal) with violence and the seemly lack of meaningful dialogue across the country, the issue is being exacerbated for everyone. The current climate adds a heightened concern for public safety to the mix of speakers on campus, liberal or conservative.

There are those who argue that college campuses are bastions of liberal thinking attempting to indoctrinate liberal viewpoints in all students. I respectfully disagree. Do more people who work on a college campus lean to the left of the political spectrum? Most probably. I think two factors lead to that conclusion. First, those with more liberal leanings tend to be drawn to careers that are designed to help others. College education is indeed a career of helping others. Second, students, for the most part, are young. Historically, younger folks tend to be more liberal; conservative views tend to develop as we get older. Does that mean conservative voices cannot be heard in our classrooms, in our lecture halls, in public speeches or in community events? Of course not.

The faculty and staff that I have known at each of the colleges and universities where I have worked, welcome students opinions in class. They are thrilled when students participate in discussions and express their views on either side of the topic of the day. However, faculty will question any student as to how they reached their conclusion. What data did they use? How do they know the data is factual? Did they cherry pick data or conduct a reasonable review of both sides of the issue? Today, far too many people dig in their heels on an issue based on a headline or something they read on Facebook. We are academic institutions and we must teach students to use facts, data and reasoning to reach whatever conclusion that they reach. It is our job.

It is my belief that colleges, like Fulton-Montgomery Community College have the responsibility to bring discussions of current issues to our campuses; and, to do so with a balance voice of both sides of any issue. This is particularly important in rural regions, such as the one FM serves, as the college may be the only place to have such discussions in an academic and balanced manner. Given todays climate, I believe that it is important to discuss these issues as a panel and not through a single speaker. Whether the voice is conservative or liberal, we need to demonstrate to our students, and our public, that fair and measured discussions or debates are not only possible, also meaningful.

The Morning Email

Wake up to the day's most important news.

Go here to see the original:

Free Speech on Campus - HuffPost

Free Speech for Zi – The Weekly Standard

Bill C-16, which recently received Royal Assent and will soon become law, is the most recent bill to threaten free speech and to mandate that individuals adopt a social constructionist philosophy of gender. Those who refuse to use gender neutral pronouns such as they or zi and zir, or who oppose the notion that gender is subjectively determined, may find themselves facing the full force of federal law. The federal statute is akin to existing provincial laws in Canada and municipal laws in the United States, and demonstrates a disconcerting turn toward compelling speech and ideology. Laws that protect people from discrimination need not infringe on free speech or individual rights. However, Bill C-16 risks crossing the line into coerced speech for favored groups at everyones expense.

The bill itself looks quite innocuous. It makes three alterations to federal law. Two are amendments to the Criminal Code to include "gender identity" and "gender expression" to the groups protected from hate propaganda, and to include gender identity and gender expression as an aggravating factor. That is, if a crime is committed against a transgender individual and there is evidence that the crime was done due to the individuals gender identity or gender expression, the defendant may be given a harsher sentence.

Serious restrictions on free speech come with changes to the Human Rights Act to include gender identity and gender expression to the list of groups protected from discrimination. Previously, discriminatory practices did not include failure to refer to an individual by their preferred name. Rather, they included denying someone public employment due to their race, gender, sexual orientation.

Now, particular courts may find that individuals who do not use preferred pronouns guilty of discrimination as well. Precise grounds for discrimination are not laid out in the legislation. Rather, according to Canadas Department of Justice, With very few exceptions, grounds of discrimination are not defined in legislation but are left to courts, tribunals, and commissions to interpret and explain, based on their detailed experience with particular cases. An individual accused of discrimination can be named in a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission and then be tried and fined by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

This is not at all far-fetched, given the precedent of the provincial courts where this kind of legislation already exists. Even supporters of Bill C-16 have been forthcoming about this possible interpretation of discrimination by the Human Rights Tribunal. University of Toronto law professor Brenda Cossman wrote, Non-discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression may very well be interpreted by the courts in the future to include the right to be identified by a persons self-identified pronoun.

Theryn Meyer, a political commentator on YouTube who focuses on transgender issues, critiqued Bill C-16 for claiming to benefit transgender individuals while infringing on everyones right to free speechtransgender people included. She noted that transgender individuals are already protected under the laws against discrimination, which do not infringe anyones rights.

Everyone who cares about free speech should be concerned that this prima facie benevolent legislation actually harms everyone who wishes to practice their right to free speech.

Provincial law in Canada has prohibited discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression for years. The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) added "gender identity" and "gender expression" to the listed of protected groups in 2012. The OHRC defined gender identity as "each person's internal and individual experience of gender. It is their sense of being a woman, a man, both, neither, or anywhere along the gender spectrum. A persons gender identity may be the same as or different from their birth-assigned sex.

As with the federal law, the problem arises with the definition of discrimination: "Refusing to refer to a trans person by their chosen name and a personal pronoun that matches their gender identity, or purposely misgendering (using a pronoun that is not ones preferred pronoun), will likely be discrimination when it takes place in a social area covered by the Code, including employment, housing and services like education."

Individuals who refuse to use made-up words, who refuse to endorse a social constructionist philosophy of gender, who refuse compelled speech and ideology can be brought before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal and severely fined. Professor Jordan Peterson, a University of Toronto psychologist, came under fire last fall when he made a YouTube video saying that he would not use made-up gender pronouns. The University sent him a letter requesting that he stop making such videos because he was expressing an intent to violate the law. Ontario human rights commissioner Renu Mandhane suggested that Peterson might be liable under the law, but no action has been taken.

This kind of legislation has already made its way into the United States. In the District of Columbia, the Office of Human Rights, which enforces the D.C. Human Rights Act, prevents discrimination on the basis of gender identity and has recently stated that Deliberately misusing a persons preferred name or pronoun may be considered unlawful harassment.

In New York City, the Commission on Human Rights Legal Enforcement requires employers and covered entities to use an individuals preferred name, pronoun and title (e.g., Ms./Mrs.) regardless of the individuals sex assigned at birth, anatomy, gender, medical history, appearance, or the sex indicated on the individuals identification. The legislation states, Some transgender and gender non-conforming people prefer to use pronouns other than he/him/his or she/her/hers, such as they/them/theirs or ze/hir. Failure to comply can result in, civil penalties up to $125,000 for violations, and up to $250,000 for violations that are the result of willful, wanton, or malicious conduct.

If each person is allowed free speech, then surely each person should be able to decide for him or herself whether or not to act out a radical social constructionist philosophy of gender. However, each of these laws, regardless of their intent to benefit transgender people, infringes individual liberty. They require not only that people use government approved speech, but that they adhere to a government-approved ideology. They are coercive intrusions by the government into the speech of individuals. Protections for transgender individuals can and should be accomplished without infringing on everyones rights.

Max Diamond is a writer and editor in New York.

Excerpt from:

Free Speech for Zi - The Weekly Standard

College lawyers hear discussion about tension between free speech … – Inside Higher Ed

Inside Higher Ed
College lawyers hear discussion about tension between free speech ...
Inside Higher Ed
At meeting of college lawyers, panelists rue students' lack of understanding of First Amendment and share strategies for balancing expression and sensitivity.
Q & A : Free Speech 101 | Newton Daily NewsNewton Daily News
Inside the First Amendment: In United States, law protects even ...The Westerly Sun

all 4 news articles »

Read the rest here:

College lawyers hear discussion about tension between free speech ... - Inside Higher Ed

James Woods: ‘Free Speech Is Dead in Liberal America’ – LifeZette

Actor James Woods is more outspoken than ever about his conservative political and cultural beliefs. Hes earned nearly 700,000 followers on Twitter thanks to his sharp and constant commentary about the news and about the Left.

Surprisingly, the actor doesnt often take his opinions beyond social media. He doesnt pop up in many interviews or throw himself at the press. It appears this is for a very good reason.

A writer at Independent Journal Review recently attempted to interview Woods to get the artist's opinion about Johnny Depp's assassination "joke" and Woods politely declined. He explained why he generally avoids the press these days even press of which he approves.

"Well, I'm deeply flattered, but turn down hundreds of requests to do interviews. I'm a big fan of IJR, but I must graciously decline. I find that Twitter makes it impossible for the sleaze liberal press to take my words out of context. If I were to do an IJR interview, surely CNN and NYT would misrepresent my thoughts and words. As honorable as IJR may be, they can't stop others from engaging in malicious behavior. Sadly, free speech is dead in liberal America," wrote Woods to the reporter who requested the interview.

For the record, Woods was one of the first and only celebrities to condemn Depp's commentsand his attacks on liberals haven't stopped or slowed since then.

His reason for declining interviews is understandable, yet it's a sad commentary on how far gone the mainstream media are today. The actor has worked with everyone from Martin Scorsese to John Carpenter, but he can't share whatever expertise or viewpoint he has because the press is so blatantly biased against people like him.

Related: James Woods, Culture Warrior, Returns to Fight

Woods even admitted in 2013 that his outspokenness would likely lose him future opportunities and end his career in Hollywood. He may have been right. His last major role was in 2013 on Showtime's "Ray Donovan," which also starred conservative actor Jon Voight.

Other than that, Woods has done mostly sporadic voice work.

While it's easy to miss his work as an actor, his commentary on Twitter is something people can enjoy each and every day.

Read the original:

James Woods: 'Free Speech Is Dead in Liberal America' - LifeZette

Democrats speak out, as Republican bill aimed at silencing UW protesters passes – La Crosse’s NewsTalk 1410AM 92.3FM

Campus Free Speech Act moves on to Senate.

Despite Democratic arguments, a Republican-led bill that punishes student protests at the University of Wisconsin is moving on.

The Campus Free Speech Act passed the Assembly by a 61-36 vote. It moves to the Senate, where a similar bill was already introduced.

A UW System student who interrupts a speaker twice would constitute suspension for a semester, while a third offense would mean expulsion.

"We don't allow free speech here like we should, as people in the gallery can't sit quietly and protest with a piece of tape across their mouths," Representative Jill Billings, D-La Crosse, said of the Capitol rotunda. "I don't think we are the role model on free speech - that we should be legislating what should happen on campus."

Billings pointed out that it's not even a reoccurring problem.

"I'm not happy when speakers are shouted down on campus," she admitted. "The fact is, that doesn't happen all the time. A few cases have been cherry picked, mostly outside of Wisconsin."

Lead sponsor Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum, said. "Around the country we've had situations that have gotten to the point of demonstration shout downs and we do not want to get to that point in Wisconsin."

Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, pointed out that not one speaker has ever been silenced from a protester on a UW campus, and said the bill"bags and gags" First Amendment rights. She added that the irony that "Assembly Bill 299 (that) "protects" free speech by restricting it for our UW System students.

Taylor went on to argue Republican lawmakers keep restricting opposing speech at the Capitol since assuming control. They've restricted protesters from gathering at the rotunda, a public forum where people are entitled to the most heightened protection on speech.

Those who run the show have shown hostility to free speech and hostility to the university, Rep. Jonathan Brostoff, D-Milwaukee, added.

Billings was also upset that UW System president Ray Cross was not spoken to.

"I don't think it's by accident that this bill came out for the public hearing during finals week," Billings pointed out. "I'm disappointed president Cross was not consulted."

Read the original here:

Democrats speak out, as Republican bill aimed at silencing UW protesters passes - La Crosse's NewsTalk 1410AM 92.3FM

Steps from Lincoln Memorial: Dueling rallies for free speech, against hate – WTOP

Protesters attending the free speech rally. (WTOP/Liz Anderson)

WASHINGTON At the National Mall Sunday afternoon, a few hundred people gathered with signs and flags to exercise their First Amendment rights.

Both rally groups gathered near the Lincoln Memorial; one in support of free speech, the other just steps away to rally against hate speech.

Were not going to be replaced, one speaker told the audience gathered near the reflecting pool for the free speech rally. This was our country, the founding fathers objectively founded this country for white people.

There were a variety of ideological representations at the gathering including Ariel Kohane, who held Jews for Trump signs. Kohane said he traveled from Manhattans Upper West Side for the rally.

I definitely think that the left is trying to smother free speech. We on the right definitely promote it, Kohane told WTOP.

The free speech speaker lineup included controversial white nationalist Richard Spencer.

At the counter rally staged by D.C. Unite Against Hate, attendees said they felt it necessary to also make their voices heard.

The U.S. is very progressive as of right now. I think were moving in the right direction. But of course there are some people who just are living in the past, said Rose, who is from D.C. but now lives in Rockville, Maryland.

I think we have to come out when the far right is demonstrating and the racist white supremacists are out here, said John van Kamp of Arlington, Virginia.

But everyone at the free speech rally didnt agree with everything they heard.

I think that shows I stand up 100 percent for freedom of speech, said Irma Hinojosa, a rally speaker who says shes taken lots of flack because she is a Donald Trump supporter.

Others gave a listening ear at that rally, not to show their support for all the rhetoric, but to understand other points of view and try and see what people are concerned about and what their grievances are with other political parties and ideologies, said William, a student studying government at Georgetown University.

Meanwhile, Yale University student Sidney Daniels attended the counter rally because there are people in this country, Americans, fellow citizens, who dont believe in my right to exist and who dont believe in my right to have rights, she told WTOP.

Now that Trump is in office, lots of people have been given license to do and say things that they wouldnt have said before. Things that werent previously (socially) acceptable have become socially acceptable, said Daniels. Because of that, I think its important to have counter protests in order to demonstrate that Black lives matter, that women matter, that all people matter.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

2017 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.

Excerpt from:

Steps from Lincoln Memorial: Dueling rallies for free speech, against hate - WTOP

Attack on Free Speech or Reality Check? Israel Code Fuels Debate – Bloomberg

A proposal to define the contours of political discourse in Israeli universities has sparked a stormy debate: Is it a government assault on free speech -- or the long-overdue injection of balance into a bastion of liberalism?

Photographer: Thomas Coex/AFP via Getty Images

The academic ethics code commissioned by pro-settlement Education Minister Naftali Bennett would bar university and college faculty from conducting political activity on campus, including an unbalanced airing of political views. Students would be able to lodge complaints against teachers, and on-campus units would be set up to enforce the code.

Bennett says the blueprint, which is still being fine-tuned,would shield students from unwanted politicking, and would prevent lecturers from promoting a boycott of Israel mounted by Palestinians and their supporters.

It is inconceivable that students wont voice their opinions for fear of their grades, or that professors call for a boycott of the institutions where they themselves teach, he said through a spokesman.

These and other controversial measures seen by critics as hindering free speech have drawn fire beyond Israels borders from academic associations and liberal U.S. Jews.

The code of ethics that the government of Israel is considering for the countrys academic institutions is a threat not only to academic freedom in Israel, but to Israels standing as a democracy, theAmerican Association of University Professors and American Federation of Teachers.

The proposal reflects a frustration among Israeli government backers about the limits to their power. While the nationalist Likud Party has governed for most of the past 40 years, its supporters say the majoritys views arent given adequate voice in other centers of influence, including the courts, arts, media and universities.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus government has been active in recent years in trying to reshape the media landscape, which he accuses of pursuing a left-wing agenda antagonistic to his policies and family. Other members of his government have trained their sights on other institutions.

Culture Minister Miri Regev has said she would withhold funds from cultural institutions that are subversive, support incitement and racism, or burn the Israeli flag. In adding conservative justices to the Supreme Court earlier this year, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked declared a historic day. The flagship of our judicial system changed its direction tonight.

Photographer: Gali Tibbon/AFP via Getty Images

The academic code, condemned by associations of Israeli university and college heads and the national students organization, would need to be approved by the states Council of Higher Education, which hasnt commented on the proposal written by Tel Aviv University philosophy professor Asa Kasher.

Some schools already have their own guidelines on political discourse. Kasher, a co-author of Israels military ethics code, has said the draft was modeled after the code of theAmerican Association of University Professors,which said the U.S. government had no hand in its document.

Opponents see the code as part of an objectionable government pattern.

This is serious, impacts on the important issue of academic freedom, and is part of a broader attack on freedom of speech,said Amir Fuchs, a researcher at the Israel Democracy Institute.

The government is reducing democracy to a matter of majority rule and making it legitimate to reject criticism, he added.

They say, we were elected and if the law passes, then what is the problem? he said.

The government says its acting to defend the country against the diplomatic, economic, academic and cultural sanctions advocated by the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement.

A law recently approved by Israels parliament denies visas or residency rights to foreigners who champion boycotts of Israel or its settlements. In April, Netanyahu canceled a meeting with Germanys foreign minister after he insisted on meeting with BTselem and Breaking the Silence, groups that accuse the Israeli army of violating Palestinian human rights and are heavilyfunded by foreign governments.

Officials in the prime ministers office declined to comment for this story. Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Michael Oren said he doesnt see Israels democracy unraveling.

Photographer: Jay Mallin/Bloomberg

Israeli laws go through the democratic process and are democratically voted on, he said.

In the past, some bills assailed as undemocratic have foundered before reaching a parliamentary vote, or have been watered down because their constitutionality was questioned. But some derailedbills have been successfully revived by subsequent governments, like the law passed in February legalizing previously unauthorized settlements on privately owned Palestinian land.

These measures have been deplored by liberals in the the U.S. Jewish community that Israel relies on for support.

They paint a picture discordant with the Jewish democratic state as a beacon of hope and light, said Rabbi Rick Jacobs, head of the Union of Reform Judaism in the U.S.

Get the latest on global politics in your inbox, every day.

Get our newsletter daily.

With most American Jews identifying as Democrats, the contentious legislation could chip away at bilateral support for Israel. Republicans told the U.S.-based Pew Research Center in January that they sympathized more with Israel than the Palestinians, by a margin of 74 percent to 11 percent. About a third of Democrats said they sympathize with the Palestinians and a similar share with Israel -- the largest party gap on this question since 1978.

Controversial legislation will only exacerbate the problem, said Stuart Eizenstat, who served as U.S. ambassador to the European Union and deputy secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department.

Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

It is important for Israel as a sovereign state to act in what it considers are its national interests, but no country can be isolated from the world, particularly from the U.S., Eizenstat said. Israel cant afford to lose support of a significant element of part of one of the two major U.S. parties.

The rest is here:

Attack on Free Speech or Reality Check? Israel Code Fuels Debate - Bloomberg

Backing Trump, Shakespeare and free speech (at the same time) – The Hill (blog)

As Brutus from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar said, perhaps ironically, There are no tricks in plain and simple faith.

Only a fool would fail to see the decaying political discourse in America and the sharp partisan divides. These divides in America have become so overt and tense that the arts have become outlets to express partisan anger in an ever-increasingly distasteful manner.

Since the inauguration of President Trump, Madonna spoke of blowing up the White House, Snoop Dogg assassinated a clown resembling Trump in a music video, and Kathy Griffin held up a severed head that resembled President Trump in a photograph, all under the auspices of the resistance. Last week, the Republican baseball team was nearly massacred by a man who clearly had targeted them for their political views. The escalation of both rhetoric and violence should be alarming to any rational citizen.

Over the past weekend, supporters of Trump aimed to directly combat Shakespeare in the Park in New York City, in which Julius Caesar, dressed to resemble Trump, is assassinated on stage. Their tactic? Rushing the stage and interrupting the performance while yelling things such as stop leftist violence! and, Goebbels would be proud!

Their actions did not calm and tone down the rhetoric: they only furthered it. Ironically enough, these same people belong to a base that was vocal and united against campus protesters who employed the same tactics to shut down and harass conservative speakers.

Its worth mentioning that the very same production did the same thing to an actor resembling President Obama, and no public outcry took place. The directors of the play used the modern context of the presidency to illustrate the plays point, although continuing to do so in the wake of last weeks violence was distasteful and unnecessary.

Laura Loomer, the woman who first rushed the stage, claimed on Fox News: I am protecting the presidents life. I am protecting our Constitution. I am using my constitutional right of free speech and protest to protest against the bastardization of Shakespeare.

These claims are as ridiculous as they are false. The Secret Service protects the presidents life, not stage-rushing playgoers. Shakespeare in the Park is a free event, albeit one that requires tickets from its attendees. As a closed event, any interruption cannot be described as an exercise of free speech, but instead an act that infringes on the rights of those who are attending the event.

The producers of the play had already come under immense pressure and were already losing sponsors. By rushing the stage, the narrative switched from the disturbing act of the play, to silly protesters shouting down the play itself in the name of free speech.

Perhaps these protesters should have better studied Julius Caesar. The play portrays the assassination of the historic Roman leader, but focuses on the infighting and strife that ensues among the assassins. The plays tragedy is not Caesar himself, but rather the friendships, and eventually the lives, of those who wished to seize power. It is itself a condemnation of political violence.

In the aftermath of what was obviously a publicity stunt, Loomer used her airtime on Fox News to bash the never-Trumpers who she claimed are unhappy with President Trump being our president.

They havent accepted it and the only way that they would be resolved is if he was eradicated or taken out, she said.

I voted for Trump. Supporting our president and supporting free speech are not mutually exclusive. Americans who chose to not vote for Trump have the same rights to free speech as those who voted for him. The get in line or else mentality on display is the very sort of behavior that fuels the hyperpartisan rhetoric originally at fault.

Fight fire with fire is the mantra these demonstrators have used to defend their actions.

This sort of logic (if you can call it that) is only furthering the downward spiral of political discourse. After the many times the right has claimed to be the champions of free speech, this sort of behavior is unbelievably hypocritical.

Discourse in America, on both sides, is seriously flawed. Taking away others free speech is not the solution. You can fight back with outrage and strength while upholding decency and respecting the rights of others.

Kassy Dillon is the founder of Lone Conservative blog and has appeared on Fox News discussing issues surrounding free speech and cultural issues on college campuses. @KassyDillon

Views of contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.

Original post:

Backing Trump, Shakespeare and free speech (at the same time) - The Hill (blog)

Jonah Goldberg: Free speech isn’t always a tool of virtue – Arizona Daily Star

Theres a tension so deep in how we think about free expression, it should rightly be called a paradox.

On the one hand, regardless of ideology, artists and writers almost unanimously insist that they do what they do to change minds. But the same artistes, auteurs and opiners recoil in horror when anyone suggests that they might be responsible for inspiring bad deeds.

Hollywood, the music industry, journalism, political ideologies, even the Confederate flag: Each takes its turn in the dock when some madman or fool does something terrible.

The arguments against free speech are stacked and waiting for these moments like weapons in a gladiatorial armory.

Hollywood activists blame the toxic rhetoric of right-wing talk radio or the tea party for this crime, the National Rifle Association blames Hollywood for that atrocity. Liberals decry the toxic rhetoric of the right, conservatives blame the toxic rhetoric of the left.

When attacked again heedless of ideology or consistency the gladiators instantly trade weapons. The finger-pointers of five minutes ago suddenly wax righteous in their indignation that mere expression rather, their expression should be blamed. Many of the same liberals who pounded soapboxes into pulp at the very thought of labeling record albums with violent-lyrics warnings instantly insisted that Sarah Palin had Rep. Gabrielle Giffords blood on her hands. Many of the conservatives who spewed hot fire at the suggestion that they had any culpability in an abortion clinic bombing, gleefully insisted that Sen. Bernie Sanders is partially to blame for Rep. Steve Scalises fight with death.

And this is where the paradox starts to come into view: Everyone has a point.

The blame for violent acts lies with the people who commit them, and with those who explicitly and seriously call for violence, Dan McLaughlin, my National Review colleague, wrote in the Los Angeles Times last week. People who just use overheated political rhetoric, or who happen to share the gunmans opinions, should be nowhere on the list.

As a matter of law, I agree with this entirely. But as a matter of culture, its more complicated.

I have always thought it absurd to claim that expression cannot lead people to do bad things, precisely because it is so obvious that expression can lead people to do good things. According to legend, Abraham Lincoln told Harriet Beecher Stowe, So youre the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war. Should we mock Lincoln for saying something ridiculous?

As Irving Kristol once put it, If you believe that no one was ever corrupted by a book, you have also to believe that no one was ever improved by a book. You have to believe, in other words, that art is morally trivial and that education is morally irrelevant.

Ironically, free speech was born in an attempt to stop killing. It has its roots in freedom of conscience. Before the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, the common practice was that the rulers religion determined their subjects faith too. Religious dissent was not only heresy but a kind of treason. After Westphalia, exhaustion with religion-motivated bloodshed created space for toleration. As the historian C.V. Wedgwood put it, the West had begun to understand the essential futility of putting the beliefs of the mind to the judgment of the sword.

This didnt mean that Protestants instantly stopped hating Catholics or vice versa. Nor did it mean that the more ecumenical hatred of Jews vanished. What it did mean is that it was no longer acceptable to kill people simply for what they believed or said.

But words still mattered. Art still moved people. And the law is not the full and final measure of morality. Hence the paradox: In a free society, people have a moral responsibility for what they say, while at the same time a free society requires legal responsibility only for what they actually do.

Read more from the original source:

Jonah Goldberg: Free speech isn't always a tool of virtue - Arizona Daily Star

Kellogg claims it’s been ‘vilified’ over free-speech suit – Campus Reform

Kellogg Community College claimed that it was vilified by a lawsuit filed against it after arresting three students for distributing pocket copies of the U.S. Constitution on campus.

As Campus Reform first reported, student Shelly Gregoire and two conservative activists, Nathan Berning (a former employee of Campus Reforms parent organization, the Leadership Institute) and Isaac Edikauskas, spent the duration of an afternoon passing out copies of the Constitution to their peers and recruiting for a Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) chapter before they were accosted by administrators.

"Free speech is a right, not a privilege that can be censored by university officials on a public campus."

[RELATED: Campus cops: free speech needs approval from college]

Ultimately, all three were arrested and brought to jail after they refused to leave the premises, prompting the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) to sue the school for violating their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

"Free speech is a right, not a privilege that can be censored by university officials on a public campus," ADF declared in a press release at the time. "If public universities silence free speech on campus, they deny their students opportunities for engagement and learning. If public universities stifle these learning opportunities on campus, they impair a student's ability to function in the real world."

Now, Kellogg has responded to the lawsuit with a briefing of its own, particularly opposing ADFs request for a preliminary injunction on the schools solicitation policy.

[RELATED: Rutgers: no such thing as free speech]

Our campus guests could have resolved their dispute with KCC in a matter of minutes on Sept. 20 and carried on their solicitation activities that same afternoon if they had simply filled out basic paperwork and moved out of the pedestrian walkway where students were trying to get to class, Kellogg spokesman Eric Greene remarked in a press release, though ADF has argued that a policy of requiring basic paperwork for expressive activity is precisely what is objectionable.

Because public colleges have the duty to protect and promote the First Amendments guarantee of free speech, we are asking the court to prevent Kellogg from enforcing its unconstitutional policy while our lawsuit proceeds, said ADF Legal Counsel Travis Barham in a press release. Like all public colleges, KCC is supposed to be the marketplace of ideas, but instead, it arrested these club supporters for exercising their freedom of speech, and, ironically, for handing out copies of the very documentthe Constitutionthat protects what they were doing.

[RELATED: Students threatened with arrest for handing out constitutions]

Kellogg, however, claims that it is being unfairly vilified by YAL and its supporters who are allegedly spreading false information about why individuals were arrested.

These accusations couldnt be further from the truth, Greene continued. The College takes seriously any allegation that an individuals freedom of expression has been infringed and we have carefully reviewed our Solicitation Policy and concluded that we have been and continue to be in compliance with all applicable laws.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski

Original post:

Kellogg claims it's been 'vilified' over free-speech suit - Campus Reform

Wisconsin Dems complain free speech bill targets UW-Madison – Campus Reform

Wisconsin Democrats accused their Republican counterparts of hypocrisy Thursday in a desperate bid to halt the progress of a bill to protect free speech on college campuses.

According to The Journal Times, Democratic state lawmakers leveled the charges in an unsuccessful effort to prevent passage of the Campus Free Speech Act by the State Assembly, contending that GOP legislators have shown hostility to free speech in other contexts, and are merely attempting to silence liberal students at the states public colleges and universities.

"If you man-terrupt me in feminism class, I can sue you?"

The bill, which would require schools to penalize students who disrupt free speech on campus, nonetheless passed in a 61-36 vote, and now heads to the Senate.

[RELATED: Four more states join fight to protect free speech on campus]

Those who run the show have shown hostility to free speech and hostility to the university, declared Democratic state Rep. Jonathan Brostoff, citing recent GOP actions to cut funding for the University of Wisconsin system and prohibit protesters from holding signs in the Capitol rotunda.

Democratic Rep. Chris Taylor also condemned conservative colleagues as hypocrites for having previously criticized liberal hegemony at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, saying legislative rebukes related to the content of courses and political affiliations of guest speakers could influence how professors present material.

In December, Republican lawmakers sent a letter to the UW-Madison administration calling for the cancellation of a class on The Problem of Whiteness, and the following month they denounced an anti-masculinity program that they said declares war on men.

[RELATED: UW program explores dangers of masculinity]

The author of the Campus Free Speech Act, Republican Rep. Jesse Kremer, dismissed objections that the bill is intended to shut down liberal speech, asserting that the legislation was developed in response to requests for action from students and regents in the UW System.

In a press release provided toCampus Reform,Kremer pushed back even more forcefully, describing a "mob mentality" that leads to "conservative groups being shouted down by their liberal counterparts" at UW-Madison.

Repeatedly, weve seen students shouted down and silenced by those in disagreement and unconstitutional policies that violate the First Amendment on the books at the UW," Kremer said. "The Campus Free Speech Act will end the unconstitutional 'hecklers veto' and create a behavioral shift on campus."

Taylor also claimed that she has personally experienced Republican restrictions on speech, accusing her colleagues of mansplaining for suggesting that she ask fewer questions in committee hearings, as well as violating the First Amendment by refusing to provide state funding for her to attend a conference on reproductive rights.

[RELATED:Liberals mock UW free speech center as 'GOP safe space']

Democratic Rep. Katrina Shankland concurred that female legislators are constantly interrupted, and sought to provoke discomfort among the bills supporters by suggesting that mansplaining on campus could constitute a violation of its provisions.

Under this bill, if two people get really tired of this person in political science speaking up every day, and asking good questions, could they decide to report them? Shankland asked. If you man-terrupt me in feminism class, I can sue you?

The bill does require that administrators investigate any incident in which two or more people accuse someone of disrupting free expression, but also includes caveats allowing professors to maintain order in the classroom and guaranteeing that those who stand accused of disruptive activity are entitled to a full disciplinary hearing, complete with the ability to retain legal representation, confront and call witnesses, and even appeal the results.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @MrDanJackson

Read the original here:

Wisconsin Dems complain free speech bill targets UW-Madison - Campus Reform

Europe’s Free-Speech Crackdown: Punish Anti-Muslims, Ignore Terrorists – National Review

A spate of terrorist attacks has hit Europe in the past month, not only in Manchester and London but also in Paris and Brussels, where incidents this week were mercifully terminated before they could do any real damage. In Britain, a man seeking vengeance rammed a van into a crowd exiting a mosque, giving rise to real and justified fears of an anti-Muslim backlash. The incidents have left the Continent, and especially Britain, in a state of nervous agitation, fearful of a prolonged period of social unrest and heightened tensions between Muslim communities and their secular neighbors.

On the issue of free speech, the response from authorities has been sad but predictable. Reports the New York Times: In a coordinated campaign across 14 states, the German police on Tuesday raided the homes of 36 people accused of hateful postings over social media, including threats, coercion, and incitement to racism. Most of the raids concerned politically motivated right-wing incitement. In Sussex, in southern England, a man has been charged with publishing written material intending to stir up religious hatred against Muslims on his Facebook account in 2015; he faces a year in prison. The Sussex police say they hope the lengthy sentence will deter those looking to spread messages of fear and hate on the Internet.

There are two things that come to mind in the wake of this suppression. The first is that Americans should never forget the value of free speech. Free speech not its anodyne, Continental form is by and large a uniquely American institution. It simply does not exist in Europe. Those who yearn for an America that looks more like the orderly, regulated, universal-health-care systems of Western Europe should keep this fact in the back of their mind always.

The second thing to say is that the crackdown on free speech is not occurring in absentia. The ongoing suppression interacts with decisions taken or not taken in other domains of policy and public debate. The most important of those decisions is that politicians and the culture more broadly have chosen not to inquire into the specifically Islamic roots of terrorism. To decline to blame Muslims en masse for terrorism is well and good and should continue. But the unwillingness to ask how Islam may provide a wellspring of justification for terrorist actions is harder to rationalize. It comes with a certain set of implications and corollaries.

Because someone still has to be blamed. Humans are incapable of accepting acts of terrorism or just about any human action that causes mass suffering as quasi-random acts governed by processes too byzantine for us to understand. We still feel the need to pin the blame on somebody or something, so that through punishment we may eradicate the chance of another attack.

In this case, the refusal to query the role of Islam in inspiring terrorism a refusal regarding which my argument is agnostic has directed the blame in the opposite direction, toward those people who make it their business to propagate their hatred of Islam and those who follow it. Not only does this blame-shifting fulfill the political need to shore up Britains international image nobody likes a country of racists and display the requisite concern for Muslim communities. It also fulfills the psychological need to force someone anyone to take responsibility for the heinous crimes.

In fact an entire ideology, that of right-wing xenophobia and racism, can be blamed, and its proponents punished. The energies that might have been directed toward Wahhabi extremism flow instead toward the elimination of an ideology expressing similar hatred but boasting considerably less power to incite actual violence. The logic motivating this suppression is precisely the one that authorities neglect to use in the case of Islam: that certain sorts of rhetoric, however anonymous and innocuous, have a radicalizing effect on the environment and can effect physical violence; therefore they must be prohibited.

That strategy is likely only to backfire. Responding to a terrorist attack by jailing entirely innocent men they are nearly all men who express unappealing and unwelcome views does little more than radicalize the opposition and reduce the size of the acceptable center ground. When a government tells its citizens that they may not hold certain views, those views do not fancifully dissipate; rather, they come to be articulated only by their most radical proponents, thereby polarizing the political climate and stifling the expression of more-moderate and constructive opinions. Had the present system of legal enforcement existed in the 1960s, Enoch Powell may well have faced prison time for his infamous rivers of blood speech. But that would not detract from the attraction of his ideas, or from their popularity: It would only ensure that they became the property of characters far more unsavory.

But that it will backfire does not mean it cannot do its damage. The terms in which the authorities conducting widespread suppression of free speech emanating largely from the right are jarring. Our society must not allow a climate of fear, threat, criminal violence, and violence either on the street or on the Internet, says the president of the German Federal Criminal Police Office. That would not sound out of place in an Orwell novel, not only for its totalitarian mindset but also for its absurd juxtaposition with the situation on the ground: Idiots spewing their vile thoughts on Facebook are conflated with Islamic terrorists killing hundreds.

Europe has responded to the rise of terror with the tactics of suppression. That these tactics wont work will become obvious soon enough. But until then, there is plenty of reason to fear.

READ MORE: Normalizing Terror Is Worse than Overreacting to It London Attacks Followed the Same Old Stale Arguments Lessons from Norther Ireland

Noah Daponte-Smith is a student of modern history and politics at Yale University and an editorial intern at National Review.

The rest is here:

Europe's Free-Speech Crackdown: Punish Anti-Muslims, Ignore Terrorists - National Review

North Carolina Colleges Rated Most Free Speech Friendly – The Daily Caller

North Carolina colleges earned the most pro-free speech ratings from The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a nonprofit group that tracks civil liberties on campus.

FIRE gave five North Carolina colleges green light ratings for embracing free speech on campus. It gave special distinction to the University of North Carolina Charlotte, which received the highest free speech rating across the country.

UNC Charlotte is showing a sincere commitment to free speech a commitment that only a few dozen colleges and universities nationwide have made, said Laura Beltz, policy reform program officer for FIRE, in the press release. FIRE is thrilled at the progress in North Carolina and around the country, and looks forward to working with more colleges to protect student and faculty speech rights.

Duke University, North Carolina Central University, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and the University of North Carolina Greensboro also received green light ratings from FIRE. Across the nation, 31 schools

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to UNC Charlotte for comment, but received none in time for publication.

Follow Rob Shimshock on Twitter

Connect with Rob Shimshock on Facebook

Send tips to [emailprotected].

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [emailprotected].

See the article here:

North Carolina Colleges Rated Most Free Speech Friendly - The Daily Caller

Johnny Depp on Donald Trump: Crime or free speech? – BBC News

BBC News
Johnny Depp on Donald Trump: Crime or free speech?
BBC News
Actor Johnny Depp has caused controversy after he appeared to threaten US President Donald Trump at the Glastonbury Festival. "When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?" he asked the crowd. It is a crime in the US to make threats ...
Johnny Depp jokes about killing Donald Trump in Glastonbury appearanceThe Guardian
Johnny Depp: 'When was the last time an actor assassinated a President?'CNN
Johnny Depp slams Donald Trump at Glastonbury and asks: 'When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?'Telegraph.co.uk

all 315 news articles »

Read more from the original source:

Johnny Depp on Donald Trump: Crime or free speech? - BBC News

Anti-Free-Speech Radicals Never Give Up – National Review

In the never-ending battle to preserve free speech, there is always good news and bad news. There are triumphs and setbacks. The struggle for liberty always encounters the will to power, and often the will to power is cloaked in terms of compassion, justice, and equality.

And so it is with the quest to censor so-called hate speech. First, lets address the good news. Earlier this week the Supreme Court ruled 80 against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), which had refused to register a trademark for a band called The Slants. The PTO claimed that the bands name violated provisions of the Lanham Act, which prohibits registering trademarks that disparage...or bring into contempt or disrepute any persons, living or dead.

As I wrote immediately after the decision, it would have been shocking if the Court hadnt ruled against the PTO. After all, there are literally decades of First Amendment precedents prohibiting the government from engaging in punitive viewpoint discrimination, even when the viewpoint expressed is deemed hatred or offensive. Justice Alito made short work of the notion that the government has an interest in preventing speech that expresses offensive ideas:

As 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.

But not even a ruling joined by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor can persuade determined, far-left censors, and just as sure as night follows day, Laura Beth Nielsen, a research professor for the American Bar Foundation, took to the pages of the Los Angeles Times to make the case for viewpoint discrimination. Ive seen enough pieces like this to recognize the type. They always begin with misleading statements of the law, declarations that free-speech protections arent absolute, and then move to the core pitch in this case, that the state should regulate hate speech because its emotionally and physically harmful:

In fact, empirical data suggest that frequent verbal harassment can lead to various negative consequences. Racist hate speech has been linked to cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and requires complex coping strategies. Exposure to racial slurs also diminishes academic performance. Women subjected to sexualized speech may develop a phenomenon of self-objectification, which is associated with eating disorders.

This is the very close cousin of the speech as violence argument sweeping campuses from coast to coast. Its the heart of the argument for the campus speech code that subjective listener response should dictate a speakers rights. The more fragile the listener, the greater the grounds for censorship.

And there is no limiting principle. If How does this speech make you feel? is the core question, it incentivizes victim politics and overreaction. Robust debate triggers robust emotions, and robust debate on the most sensitive issues issues like race, gender, and sexuality trigger the most robust of responses.

Lest anyone wonder about the actual definition of hate speech, look to campus and liberal activist groups. At Evergreen State College in Washington, a progressive professors statement against racial separation and division was deemed so hateful that he couldnt safely conduct classes on campus. Influential pressure groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center label the Ku Klux Klan and other genuine racistshate groups but also apply the same label to mainstream Christian conservative organizations such as the Family Research Council. The SPLC has branded respected American Enterprise Institute scholar Charles Murray a white nationalist. Moreover, its far more forgiving of leftist extremism than of moderate speech that is conservative or libertarian.

In a stinging piece in the Wall Street Journal, Jeryl Bier notes the double standard:

Kori Ali Muhammad allegedly murdered three white people in California in April. The SPLC reports that on Facebook Mr. Muhammad wrote of grafted white devil skunks and repeatedly referred to the mythical Lost Found Asiaiatic [sic] Black Nation in America. Yet in contrast with its unequivocal (and false) tagging of Mr. Murray, the group describes Mr. Muhammad as a possible black separatist.

Got that? One of the Rights most important scholars stands condemned, while a man who shot and killed three people is just a possible separatist. Thats the through-the-looking-glass world of the anti-hate speech Left. The definitions are malleable, but one thing you can count on the Right will always lose.

Interestingly, the day before Nielsens call for censorship appeared in the Los Angeles Times, German police raided the homes of 36 people accused of hateful social-media postings. Thats where prohibitions against hate speech lead. Indeed, wannabe American censors often extol Europe as a model for their proposed American laws. Do you trust the government to decide when your viewpoint is unacceptable?

Left-wing censors discount voices like mine, claiming that its easy for me to pontificate on free speech while basking in my white privilege. Yet my family has been exposed to more vile and vicious rhetoric than most people will experience in ten lifetimes. Yes, its painful. Yes, it has consequences. But it is far more empowering to meet bad speech with better speech than it is to appeal to the government for protection even from the worst ideas.

To paraphrase Alan Charles Kors, co-founder of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, no class of Americans is too weak to live with freedom. Rather than indulging weakness and fear, activists left and right would do well to cultivate emotional strength and moral courage. The marketplace of ideas demands no less.

READ MORE: Free Speech Isnt Always a Tool for Virtue Speech Is Not Violence and Violence Is Not Self-Expression When Speech Inspires Violence, Protect Liberty While Restoring Virtue

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and an attorney.

Read more:

Anti-Free-Speech Radicals Never Give Up - National Review

With Paladino’s Job at Stake, Right to Free Speech Is His Defense – New York Times

The tensions between them exploded in December after Mr. Paladino made offensive remarks about the Obamas in a local weekly newspaper. The newspaper, Artvoice, sent a survey to members of the Buffalo community asking about their hopes for 2017. Mr. Paladino said he hoped Mr. Obama would die of mad cow disease and that Mrs. Obama would return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.

Mr. Paladino apologized. He also said he meant to send the remarks to friends, not the newspaper, but he hit reply instead of forward. About a week after his comments were published, the Buffalo school board demanded his resignation, which he declined to provide.

Not long after, the board filed a petition with the Education Department to have Mr. Paladino removed from his position, saying he had twice disclosed confidential information. In one instance, they said that he shared information with reporters about a legal dispute the board was having with a contractor, which had been discussed with the boards lawyer in executive session, meaning it was closed to the public. Then in January, Mr. Paladino published an article in Artvoice about contract negotiations with the teachers union, which occurred in the fall.

Mr. Paladinos lawyers disputed that his disclosures were improper, arguing that the closed-door meetings had not been convened correctly. But the thrust of their argument was that the board wanted him removed after his comments about the Obamas, and when it learned he could not be removed for what he had said, it looked for another reason. Such an effort violates his right to free speech, the lawyers said. Last week, Mr. Paladino sued members of the board who are trying to remove him, seeking damages.

Frank W. Miller, a lawyer representing school board members, has conceded that Mr. Paladinos statements were protected speech but said that the board was not trying to remove him for those statements. He said Mr. Paladinos disclosures were an unmistakable rejection of his oath of office that made it difficult for the board to have open, fair, and candid discussion. In her testimony Thursday, Dr. Nevergold agreed.

It was quite disturbing to have a board member to go out and reveal executive session information knowing we were in the process of negotiating a contract, she said. It really disrupts the ability of the board to function appropriately.

This was the first day of testimony in a hearing that is expected to stretch into early next week. MaryEllen Elia, the states commissioner of education, is presiding over the hearing and will decide whether Mr. Paladino may remain on the board.

Luis Ferr-Sadurn reported from Albany, and Elizabeth A. Harris from New York

A version of this article appears in print on June 23, 2017, on Page A25 of the New York edition with the headline: Free Speech Is Defense For Paladino At Hearing.

The rest is here:

With Paladino's Job at Stake, Right to Free Speech Is His Defense - New York Times