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Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell – Facts about the …

Freedom of Speech was the first in a series of four paintings which depict examples of the four basic freedoms of Americans. Freedom of Speech depicts a young man who appears to be of the American working class, given his plain clothing over which he wears a plain, brown jacket. Protruding from a front pocket of the jacket is a folded document that appears to bear importance in the matter at hand.

This main character of the painting is standing in the midst of a meeting of importance to the locality in which he lives and/or works. He is surrounded by older gentlemen, wearing traditional suits and ties, but who are looking at him with a degree of curiosity mixed with consideration for the young mans oratory. The young man appears to be unfazed by his modest attire in the midst of formality, focusing instead on the subject matter that concerned him to the extent that he felt it necessary to attend this meeting and speak his mind.

Freedom of Speech was painted by renowned American artist, humorist, and painter, Norman Rockwell. The inspiration for the painting came from the State of the Union address, delivered in January of 1941 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in which he set forth the four basic freedoms that Americans have the right to enjoy. This painting was the first of the series and appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Posts February 20th issue.

Mr. Rockwell, in his usual style, includes discreet inferences in this painting which may not be immediately obvious upon initial viewing. For instance, the bench immediately in front of the young man is conspicuously empty. This has been viewed by some as an invitation to the viewer to attend the meeting as well. Others see the empty bench as a portrayal of the fact that someone did not feel compelled to attend the meeting.

Another interesting fact behind this painting is Mr. Rockwells inclusion of the faces of people he knows in his work.

And, finally, the manner in which he pointedly signs his own name in the dark background of the painting depicts his own humility in the face of such a powerful message.

Continue reading here:

Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell – Facts about the …

Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell – Facts about the …

Freedom of Speech was the first in a series of four paintings which depict examples of the four basic freedoms of Americans. Freedom of Speech depicts a young man who appears to be of the American working class, given his plain clothing over which he wears a plain, brown jacket. Protruding from a front pocket of the jacket is a folded document that appears to bear importance in the matter at hand.

This main character of the painting is standing in the midst of a meeting of importance to the locality in which he lives and/or works. He is surrounded by older gentlemen, wearing traditional suits and ties, but who are looking at him with a degree of curiosity mixed with consideration for the young mans oratory. The young man appears to be unfazed by his modest attire in the midst of formality, focusing instead on the subject matter that concerned him to the extent that he felt it necessary to attend this meeting and speak his mind.

Freedom of Speech was painted by renowned American artist, humorist, and painter, Norman Rockwell. The inspiration for the painting came from the State of the Union address, delivered in January of 1941 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in which he set forth the four basic freedoms that Americans have the right to enjoy. This painting was the first of the series and appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Posts February 20th issue.

Mr. Rockwell, in his usual style, includes discreet inferences in this painting which may not be immediately obvious upon initial viewing. For instance, the bench immediately in front of the young man is conspicuously empty. This has been viewed by some as an invitation to the viewer to attend the meeting as well. Others see the empty bench as a portrayal of the fact that someone did not feel compelled to attend the meeting.

Another interesting fact behind this painting is Mr. Rockwells inclusion of the faces of people he knows in his work.

And, finally, the manner in which he pointedly signs his own name in the dark background of the painting depicts his own humility in the face of such a powerful message.

Link:

Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell – Facts about the …

Freedom of speech | Britannica.com

Freedom of speech, Right, as stated in the 1st and 14th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, to express information, ideas, and opinions free of government restrictions based on content. A modern legal test of the legitimacy of proposed restrictions on freedom of speech was stated in the opinion by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in Schenk v. U.S. (1919): a restriction is legitimate only if the speech in question poses a clear and present dangeri.e., a risk or threat to safety or to other public interests that is serious and imminent. Many cases involving freedom of speech and of the press also have concerned defamation, obscenity, and prior restraint (see Pentagon Papers). See also censorship.

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Freedom of speech | Britannica.com

Freedom of speech | Britannica.com

Freedom of speech, Right, as stated in the 1st and 14th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, to express information, ideas, and opinions free of government restrictions based on content. A modern legal test of the legitimacy of proposed restrictions on freedom of speech was stated in the opinion by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in Schenk v. U.S. (1919): a restriction is legitimate only if the speech in question poses a clear and present dangeri.e., a risk or threat to safety or to other public interests that is serious and imminent. Many cases involving freedom of speech and of the press also have concerned defamation, obscenity, and prior restraint (see Pentagon Papers). See also censorship.

Go here to see the original:

Freedom of speech | Britannica.com

Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell – Facts about the …

Freedom of Speech was the first in a series of four paintings which depict examples of the four basic freedoms of Americans. Freedom of Speech depicts a young man who appears to be of the American working class, given his plain clothing over which he wears a plain, brown jacket. Protruding from a front pocket of the jacket is a folded document that appears to bear importance in the matter at hand.

This main character of the painting is standing in the midst of a meeting of importance to the locality in which he lives and/or works. He is surrounded by older gentlemen, wearing traditional suits and ties, but who are looking at him with a degree of curiosity mixed with consideration for the young mans oratory. The young man appears to be unfazed by his modest attire in the midst of formality, focusing instead on the subject matter that concerned him to the extent that he felt it necessary to attend this meeting and speak his mind.

Freedom of Speech was painted by renowned American artist, humorist, and painter, Norman Rockwell. The inspiration for the painting came from the State of the Union address, delivered in January of 1941 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in which he set forth the four basic freedoms that Americans have the right to enjoy. This painting was the first of the series and appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Posts February 20th issue.

Mr. Rockwell, in his usual style, includes discreet inferences in this painting which may not be immediately obvious upon initial viewing. For instance, the bench immediately in front of the young man is conspicuously empty. This has been viewed by some as an invitation to the viewer to attend the meeting as well. Others see the empty bench as a portrayal of the fact that someone did not feel compelled to attend the meeting.

Another interesting fact behind this painting is Mr. Rockwells inclusion of the faces of people he knows in his work.

And, finally, the manner in which he pointedly signs his own name in the dark background of the painting depicts his own humility in the face of such a powerful message.

Read more:

Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell – Facts about the …

Freedom of speech | Britannica.com

Freedom of speech, Right, as stated in the 1st and 14th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, to express information, ideas, and opinions free of government restrictions based on content. A modern legal test of the legitimacy of proposed restrictions on freedom of speech was stated in the opinion by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in Schenk v. U.S. (1919): a restriction is legitimate only if the speech in question poses a clear and present dangeri.e., a risk or threat to safety or to other public interests that is serious and imminent. Many cases involving freedom of speech and of the press also have concerned defamation, obscenity, and prior restraint (see Pentagon Papers). See also censorship.

Read the original:

Freedom of speech | Britannica.com

Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell – Facts about the …

Freedom of Speech was the first in a series of four paintings which depict examples of the four basic freedoms of Americans. Freedom of Speech depicts a young man who appears to be of the American working class, given his plain clothing over which he wears a plain, brown jacket. Protruding from a front pocket of the jacket is a folded document that appears to bear importance in the matter at hand.

This main character of the painting is standing in the midst of a meeting of importance to the locality in which he lives and/or works. He is surrounded by older gentlemen, wearing traditional suits and ties, but who are looking at him with a degree of curiosity mixed with consideration for the young mans oratory. The young man appears to be unfazed by his modest attire in the midst of formality, focusing instead on the subject matter that concerned him to the extent that he felt it necessary to attend this meeting and speak his mind.

Freedom of Speech was painted by renowned American artist, humorist, and painter, Norman Rockwell. The inspiration for the painting came from the State of the Union address, delivered in January of 1941 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in which he set forth the four basic freedoms that Americans have the right to enjoy. This painting was the first of the series and appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Posts February 20th issue.

Mr. Rockwell, in his usual style, includes discreet inferences in this painting which may not be immediately obvious upon initial viewing. For instance, the bench immediately in front of the young man is conspicuously empty. This has been viewed by some as an invitation to the viewer to attend the meeting as well. Others see the empty bench as a portrayal of the fact that someone did not feel compelled to attend the meeting.

Another interesting fact behind this painting is Mr. Rockwells inclusion of the faces of people he knows in his work.

And, finally, the manner in which he pointedly signs his own name in the dark background of the painting depicts his own humility in the face of such a powerful message.

Originally posted here:

Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell – Facts about the …

Freedom of speech | Britannica.com

Freedom of speech, Right, as stated in the 1st and 14th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, to express information, ideas, and opinions free of government restrictions based on content. A modern legal test of the legitimacy of proposed restrictions on freedom of speech was stated in the opinion by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in Schenk v. U.S. (1919): a restriction is legitimate only if the speech in question poses a clear and present dangeri.e., a risk or threat to safety or to other public interests that is serious and imminent. Many cases involving freedom of speech and of the press also have concerned defamation, obscenity, and prior restraint (see Pentagon Papers). See also censorship.

Read more:

Freedom of speech | Britannica.com

Freedom of speech | Britannica.com

Freedom of speech, Right, as stated in the 1st and 14th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, to express information, ideas, and opinions free of government restrictions based on content. A modern legal test of the legitimacy of proposed restrictions on freedom of speech was stated in the opinion by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in Schenk v. U.S. (1919): a restriction is legitimate only if the speech in question poses a clear and present dangeri.e., a risk or threat to safety or to other public interests that is serious and imminent. Many cases involving freedom of speech and of the press also have concerned defamation, obscenity, and prior restraint (see Pentagon Papers). See also censorship.

Continue reading here:

Freedom of speech | Britannica.com

Why Is Freedom of Speech Important? | Reference.com

In areas of the world where freedom of speech is not protected, citizens are afraid to speak out against their government, even when it acts illegally, for fear of being locked away in a cell for life. According to the University of Virginia, historically, men, women and even some children were put to death for daring to speak out against a tyrannical monarch, an unjust parliament or legislature or even a powerful corporation.

Fortunately, in the first amendment in the Bill of Rights guarantees a person the freedom to speak and express himself however he wishes, just so long that his actions do not infringe on the rights of another person. Even in the American Colonies, prohibitions on free speech were rampant. Virginia had a law in its charter that would grant the death penalty for anyone who “blasphemed God’s holy name.”

According to Justia.com, one of the most overlooked part of the guarantee of free speech is the fact that it causes sweeping change in ways that the government itself can never quite accomplish. Justice Thurgood Marshall stated, “above all else, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content.”

The change is gay marriage laws is one example of how the actions of a free society lobbying, protesting, distributing fliers and debating caused sweeping changes in public perception and the law in a relatively small amount of time. Without freedom of speech, the voices of this minority would have never been heard.

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Why Is Freedom of Speech Important? | Reference.com

What Does Free Speech Mean? | United States Courts

Main content

Among other cherished values, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech. The U.S. Supreme Court often has struggled to determine what exactly constitutes protected speech. The following are examples of speech, both direct (words) and symbolic (actions), that the Court has decided are either entitled to First Amendment protections, or not.

The First Amendment states, in relevant part, that:

Congress shall make no law…abridging freedom of speech.

Excerpt from:

What Does Free Speech Mean? | United States Courts

Freedom of speech | Britannica.com

We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles. You can make it easier for us to review and, hopefully, publish your contribution by keeping a few points in mind.

Your contribution may be further edited by our staff, and its publication is subject to our final approval. Unfortunately, our editorial approach may not be able to accommodate all contributions.

The rest is here:

Freedom of speech | Britannica.com

The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech… Just Watch What You Say …

The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech… Just Watch What You Say! is the third studio album by American rapper Ice-T. The album was released on October 10, 1989, by Sire Records and Warner Bros. Records. The album has an uncharacteristically gritty sound, featuring some of the darkest musical tracks that Ice-T ever released.

The album was released after Ice-T was encountering censorship problems on tour. In The Ice Opinion: Who Gives a Fuck? the rapper states that “People had already told me what I could not say onstage in Columbus, Georgia. You couldn’t say anything they called a ‘swear’ word. You couldn’t touch yourself. They were using the same tactics they used on everyone from Elvis and Jim Morrison to 2 Live Crew”.[5]

The album’s cover, featuring a B-boy with a shotgun shoved in his mouth, and two pistols pressed against each side of his head, reflected Ice-T’s experiences with the concept of freedom of speech. “The concept of that picture is, ‘Go ahead and say what you want. But here comes the government and here come the parents, and they are ready to destroy you when you open your mouth'”.[5]

“The Iceberg” alternates between typical violent metaphor, outlandish boasts, and comical sexual situations involving other members of Ice’s Rhyme Syndicate. “Lethal Weapon” tells listeners that the mind is the most powerful weapon:

“You Played Yourself” advises listeners to be smart and not let themselves “be played”. “Peel Their Caps Back” is about committing a drive-by to avenge a slain friend. Unlike other songs where violence is a metaphor for the rapper’s ability to defeat other rappers lyrically, this song is a stark depiction of what could lead to such an event. However, it contains two surprising elements: in the end, the main character is killed, and the whole event is written off by the media as just another gang killing.

In “The Girl Tried to Kill Me”, Ice-T raps about an encounter with a dominatrix:

“Black and Decker” starts off with Rhyme Syndicate members complaining about the media’s portrayal of their work as meaningless violence. Ice wonders aloud what it would sound like if you drilled into someone’s head with a powerdrill. After some gory sound effects, Ice says “Probably sound like that.” “Hit the Deck” offers sincere advice to wannabe-MCs:

“This One’s for Me” offers Ice’s take on the rap scene and music industry. “The Hunted Child” is a first-person account of a scared young gang-banger on the run. The busy, multi-layered composition, with its scratched sirens and staccato drums, samples Public Enemy’s “Bring the Noise”.[6]

“What Ya Wanna Do” is a 9-minute party song featuring several members of the Syndicate, including a young Everlast, who became famous as a member of House of Pain. “Freedom of Speech” was one of the first raps to focus on the First Amendment and in particular attacked Tipper Gore’s PMRC with unmistakable venom:

The album ends with in “My Word Is Bond”, featuring Syndicate members telling one exaggerated story after another against a looped sample of Slick Rick saying “Stop lying” from his song “La Di Da Di”.[7]

Sample credits

The rest is here:

The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech… Just Watch What You Say …

The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech… Just Watch What You Say!

The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech… Just Watch What You Say! is the third studio album by American rapper Ice-T. The album was released on October 10, 1989, by Sire Records and Warner Bros. Records. The album has an uncharacteristically gritty sound, featuring some of the darkest musical tracks that Ice-T ever released.

The album was released after Ice-T was encountering censorship problems on tour. In The Ice Opinion: Who Gives a Fuck? the rapper states that “People had already told me what I could not say onstage in Columbus, Georgia. You couldn’t say anything they called a ‘swear’ word. You couldn’t touch yourself. They were using the same tactics they used on everyone from Elvis and Jim Morrison to 2 Live Crew”.[5]

The album’s cover, featuring a B-boy with a shotgun shoved in his mouth, and two pistols pressed against each side of his head, reflected Ice-T’s experiences with the concept of freedom of speech. “The concept of that picture is, ‘Go ahead and say what you want. But here comes the government and here come the parents, and they are ready to destroy you when you open your mouth'”.[5]

“The Iceberg” alternates between typical violent metaphor, outlandish boasts, and comical sexual situations involving other members of Ice’s Rhyme Syndicate. “Lethal Weapon” tells listeners that the mind is the most powerful weapon:

“You Played Yourself” advises listeners to be smart and not let themselves “be played”. “Peel Their Caps Back” is about committing a drive-by to avenge a slain friend. Unlike other songs where violence is a metaphor for the rapper’s ability to defeat other rappers lyrically, this song is a stark depiction of what could lead to such an event. However, it contains two surprising elements: in the end, the main character is killed, and the whole event is written off by the media as just another gang killing.

In “The Girl Tried to Kill Me”, Ice-T raps about an encounter with a dominatrix:

“Black and Decker” starts off with Rhyme Syndicate members complaining about the media’s portrayal of their work as meaningless violence. Ice wonders aloud what it would sound like if you drilled into someone’s head with a powerdrill. After some gory sound effects, Ice says “Probably sound like that.” “Hit the Deck” offers sincere advice to wannabe-MCs:

“This One’s for Me” offers Ice’s take on the rap scene and music industry. “The Hunted Child” is a first-person account of a scared young gang-banger on the run. The busy, multi-layered composition, with its scratched sirens and staccato drums, samples Public Enemy’s “Bring the Noise”.[6]

“What Ya Wanna Do” is a 9-minute party song featuring several members of the Syndicate, including a young Everlast, who became famous as a member of House of Pain. “Freedom of Speech” was one of the first raps to focus on the First Amendment and in particular attacked Tipper Gore’s PMRC with unmistakable venom:

The album ends with in “My Word Is Bond”, featuring Syndicate members telling one exaggerated story after another against a looped sample of Slick Rick saying “Stop lying” from his song “La Di Da Di”.[7]

Sample credits

See the original post here:

The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech… Just Watch What You Say!

Freedom of speech | Britannica.com

We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles. You can make it easier for us to review and, hopefully, publish your contribution by keeping a few points in mind.

Your contribution may be further edited by our staff, and its publication is subject to our final approval. Unfortunately, our editorial approach may not be able to accommodate all contributions.

See the original post here:

Freedom of speech | Britannica.com

When ‘free speech’ becomes a political weapon – The Washington … – Washington Post

By Jennifer Delton By Jennifer Delton August 22

Jennifer Delton is the Douglas Family Chair in American culture, history, and literary and interdisciplinary studies at Skidmore College. She is the author of, most recently, ‘Rethinking the 1950s: How Anticommunism and the Cold War Made America Liberal.”

Heres the dilemma college presidents face in the fall: Either uphold free speech on campus and risk violent counterprotests, or ban conservative provocateurs and confirm the freedom of speech crisis on campuses. Either way their institutions legitimacy is undermined.

This impossible dilemma is no accident. It has been part of a strategy, deployed first by conservatives and perfected by the alt-right. The alt-right is a nebulous, still-developing political movement, but we know at least two things about it. One, its most prominent popularizers Stephen K. Bannon, Milo Yiannopoulos and Richard Spencer have all articulated that they seek to destroy liberal cultural hegemony, which they associate with a bipartisan, globalizing, multicultural, corporate elite, and which, they think, is perpetrated in the United States by the mainstream media and on college campuses.

The second thing we know about the alt-right is that its provocateurs seek to bait liberal institutions by weaponizing the concept of free speech, which is an issue that divides the liberal left. It is true that higher education has brought much of this on itself through the extreme policing of speech and tolerance of student protesters who shut down speakers with whom they disagree. But that doesnt diminish the extent to which the alt-right and conservatives are using free speech to attack and destroy colleges and universities, which have long promoted different variations of the internationalist, secular, cosmopolitan, multicultural liberalism that marks the thinking of educated elites of both parties.

As college presidents try to figure out whether the First Amendment protects conservatives right to create political spectacle and instigate violence, it might be useful to recall another time when American liberals were forced to sidestep First Amendment absolutism to combat a political foe: the 1940s, when New Deal liberals purged U.S. communists from American political life.

Thats right, New Deal liberals and unionists including President Harry S. Truman, Minnesota Sen. Hubert Humphrey, black labor leader A. Philip Randolph and Walter Reuther of the United Auto Workers were staunch anticommunists who effectively shut down the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), forcing communists out of unions, civil rights organizations, jobs and universities.

They did so because communists were a disruptive force that was baiting and dividing the liberal left. Communists were also in a party directed by Moscow just as the Cold War was commencing. Their presence in liberal organizations made liberals vulnerable to Republican and conservative attacks. So those liberals interested in political success (and in preserving the New Deal) drove them out of politics.

What about the First Amendment, you may ask? Well, this was a point of contention that likewise divided the liberal-left community. Liberals had historically supported freedom of speech and assembly; they saw themselves as champions of the First Amendment. To deny communists freedom of speech and assembly to run them out of politics on the basis of their ideas and political connections seemed like the height of hypocrisy. Communists constantly pointed this out, as did those liberals who rejected the anticommunist agenda.

So anticommunist liberals made a series of arguments that justified denying communists these rights on account of their disingenuous intentions and totalitarian ideology. Most famously, liberal activist Arthur Schlesinger Jr. argued that communists hid behind the First Amendment to attack liberal democracy, using it as a shield as they sought to destroy the democratic system that upheld those rights.

Schlesinger understood there werent enough communists in the United States to actually foment revolution. But there were enough to divide progressive forces and thus create an opportunity for conservative Republicans to take power and repeal the New Deal, which he believed would in turn destabilize American capitalism and possibly tilt the balance of international power to the Soviets. Liberals would be chumps to let a principled commitment to freedom of speech undercut the pragmatic goal of political survival, which was the only way to ensure progress in civil rights and social welfare.

Philosopher Sidney Hook hinged his argument about speech on the distinction between the free flow of ideas, which the First Amendment protected, and actions, which it did not. He said liberals had no problem with communists ideas, which they were free to expound upon and disseminate. The problem lay in their organized actions, which involved all sorts of stratagems, maneuvers, and illegal methods, evasions and subterfuges developed by Lenin to subvert democracy.

Historians remain divided about the pros and cons of American communism, but most agree that the party often operated in secret and that it was directed and funded by Moscow. Communists denied this, of course, but the partys activities were the basis of Hooks contention that the CPUSA was a conspiracy, and thus not protected by the First Amendment although its ideas were. Hook didnt think thatthe state should ban the Communist Party (which would be unconstitutional and ineffective), but that private citizens and institutions should shun and expose communists, denying them the opportunity to further their political agenda.

Subsequent liberals (and most of my professors) condemned these anticommunist liberals for opening the door to McCarthyism and Cold War militarism. But given our current political moment and the threat posed by the actions of alt-right provocateurs, Schlesingers and Hooks arguments may bear revisiting. Both worried that liberals commitment to the absoluteness of rights made them unable to confront an enemy that didnt share that commitment. Both understood that the CPUSA, like the alt-right, was engaged in a struggle to destroy the cultural and political legitimacy of western democratic liberalism. And both understood that First Amendment absolutism was a luxury that only a stable, peaceable society could afford. I cant help but think that even William F. Buckley would have agreed with this.

Historical analogies are always imperfect. Nonetheless, it is clear that western liberalism, as well as left-liberalism in the United States, is under attack from people who see the First Amendment as a political weapon and not a sacred principle. Quoting Voltaire is not going to preserve anyones liberties least of all those populations most vulnerable to vicious racist, misogynist and anti-Semitic attacks.

It was one thing to defend the American Nazi Partysright to march in Skokie, Ill. in 1977, when the liberal establishment and mainstream media were still intact and American Nazi Party wasamarginal fringe group. The groupwas offensive, but neither its actions nor its ideas posed a threat to the political or social order, which was stable. The situation is different today, with an erratic PresidentTrump in the White House, elites in disarray and white nationalism on the rise. In this situation, and against this foe, it may be worth remembering that our constitutional rights are not unchanging abstract principles, but, as Hook and Schlesinger argued, always evaluated in terms of their consequences for society at any given historical moment.

At the same time, however, colleges and universities need to recognize that their liberal critics of, say, diversity policies or Title IX excesses are not political foes and should not be subject to censorship or censure. One reason the right has been able to so effectively exploit free speech is because campuses have become places where the free exchange of ideas has been curbed by peer pressure, self-policing and a self-righteous call-out culture, as described by Jonathan Haidt, Jonathan Chait and Mark Lilla. Until university presidents offer real leadership inreconciling the liberal critique of identity politicswith a new generation of diverse students, faculty and staff for whom such politics representprogress, they will be unable to protect their institutions from conservative attacks.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misidentified the group that marched in Skokie, Ill., in 1977. It was the American Nazi Party, not the Ku Klux Klan.

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When ‘free speech’ becomes a political weapon – The Washington … – Washington Post

Unlikely Allies Join Fight To Protect Free Speech On The Internet – NPR

White nationalist Richard Spencer’s free speech fight against Google, Facebook and other tech companies has some unlikely support from the left. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images hide caption

White nationalist Richard Spencer’s free speech fight against Google, Facebook and other tech companies has some unlikely support from the left.

Following the violence in Charlottesville, Va., Silicon Valley tech firms removed far-right groups from search results, cut off their websites and choked their ability to raise money online.

The moves have leaders on the far-right calling for the government to step in and regulate these companies. They have some strange bedfellows in this many liberals also are calling for more regulation of the same companies.

On the far-right is Richard Spencer. He is a white supremacist.

“I would ultimately support a homeland for white people,” Spencer says. “I think that ethnically or racially defined political orders are legitimate.”

After Donald Trump was elected president, Spencer got some press about a speech during which he shouted: “Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail Victory!” and members of the audience gave him a Nazi salute.

But, it is the First Amendment that now inspires Spencer, who was a speaker at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

In the wake of the violence that occurred there, the Daily Stormer an online neo-Nazi publication was blocked by a series of major tech companies. Its domain name was taken away by GoDaddy. Google stopped linking to it. Facebook took down links to any article it published. And it can’t use PayPal anymore.

“Getting kicked off Facebook or YouTube or PayPal or whatever, this is effectively losing the ability to speak,” Spencer says. “It is actually a more powerful form of censorship” than it would be if a government were to censor.

Companies like Google and Facebook are not covered by the First Amendment, which applies only to the federal government. But Spencer feels these companies are so large that the government needs to step in just as it did with broadcasting. Spencer says that otherwise, there won’t be freedom of speech.

“These are the free speech platforms in the 21st century,” he says. “So if we’re going to regulate all of these 20th century ways of expressing ourselves, then why are we so loath to regulate the 21st century ones, which are much more relevant and much more vital?”

Spencer has some unlikely allies on this.

Robert McChesney, a communications professor at the University of Illinois, describes himself as a Democratic socialist and has written books about the threat of fascism.

“I think Richard Spencer and I wouldn’t agree on hardly anything,” he says. “But on the issues of whether these companies should be able to control what I can and can’t hear, I think in principle we have to be together on that. All Americans should, across the political spectrum.”

Right now, Google has more than 80 percent of the online search market, according to Net Market Share. Google and Facebook combined have 77 percent of the online ad market, and 79 percent of Americans on the Internet have a Facebook account, according to Pew Research.

“The research shows that if Facebook or Google changes the algorithm just slightly and puts a different type of story in there, it affects the way people think about the world,” McChesney says. “Their internal research demonstrates this.”

Because these are private companies, they don’t have to reveal their algorithms or what changes they make to them.

Currently, many Americans may agree with the choice to censor the Richard Spencers of the world, but McChesney says it might not always affect groups people don’t like.

“What’s to stop them from turning around and saying, ‘Well, we don’t like these people who are advocating gay rights. We don’t like these people who are advocating workers’ rights’?” he says.

That is the question leading both white nationalist Spencer and left-leaning professor McChesney to call for the government to step in.

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Unlikely Allies Join Fight To Protect Free Speech On The Internet – NPR

UC Berkeley tries to reclaim its free speech legacy – The Mercury News

BERKELEY In recent months, white nationalists and other alt-right groups haveadvanced the argument that UC Berkeley isnt living up to its distinction as the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement. By canceling events such as a February speech by conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, they contend, the school is stepping on their First Amendment right to express themselves.

Carol Christ, Cals new chancellor, is well aware how that argument has gained steam in recent months. Before her tenure, former Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, who stepped down this summer, was criticized for addressing free speech issues reactively, not cooperatively.

So now, as a highly publicized, right-wing rally targets the city of Berkeley on Sunday, Christ is looking to regain control of the narrative. She has declared this school term a year of free speech in which the university will recount the origins of its free speech legacy and invite both conservative and liberal speakers to campus.

Free speech is not inexpensive, said Dan Mogulof, a spokesman for the university.

But in some ways, thats the cost to the school of reclaiming its reputation as the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement.

Free speech scholars say that if Christ succeeds in both fostering meaningful conversations and keeping violence at bay, the schools approach could serve as a model for other colleges grappling with the issue. In recent months, Pennsylvania State University, Texas A&M University and others have come under fire for declining to host right-wing activists and white nationalists, or canceling their talks.

On Wednesday, Christ emailed a letter with the subject line Free speech to the campus community and hosted her first fireside chat with student leaders on the topic.

This is the new reality, said Mogulof. We cant duck and cover. We have to be out there engaged in conversation.

Thats not how the school approached the free-speech issue as recently as last year and its certainly not how the school addressed it in the 1960s. In 1964, Dean of Students Katherine Towle prohibited students from taking positions on off-campus political issues because the university was hoping to minimize student involvement in political demonstrations off campus.

But the announcement backfired spectacularly. Faculty and students, led by a young Mario Savio, protested for months and ultimately won the right to speak openly. In response, most other colleges in the U.S. loosened regulations around political activity by students.

Today, anyone who sits on the famed Mario Savio steps at UC Berkeley for any length of time inevitably hears several languages and sees people from around the world pass by. For Cals leaders and many students, that ethnic and racial diversity has long been a point of pride.

But that diversityand the schools worldwide reputation as a progressive university also make the college a target for white nationalists and neo-Nazis.

In February, while Dirks was still in charge, Berkeley College Republicans invited Yiannopoulos to speak on campus. But tension between his supporters and opponents, not all of them affiliated with the university, erupted into violence that ultimately prompted the school to pull the plug on the event, citing security concerns. In the following months, the school raised similar concerns about having the conservative commentator Ann Coulter on campus.

The Berkeley College Republicans, joined by the Young Americas Foundation, filed a lawsuit alleging the school violated the First Amendment by imposing curfew and venue restrictions on Coulter and other conservative speakers.

Harmeet Dhillon, their lawyer, says it remains to be seen whether Christs tenure will bring an improvement in how the school handles free speech issues.

Christs comments so far mark a welcomefirst step, Dhillon said. However, they cannot address the deep-seated issues at Cal with a sort of fig leaf approach.

Shed like to see the university hire more conservative professors so that conservative students feel more comfortable sharing their views, she said. Were literally years or generations away from that at Cal, she said.

Bettina Aptheker, one of the students who launched the Free Speech Movement at Cal, is now a feminist studies professor at UC Santa Cruz. She is pleased Christ is addressing the issue head-on.

During the McCarthy era in the 1950s, while schools were cracking down on political advocacy, thousands of Americans were accused of and investigated for being communists by some on the right. In essence, Aptheker said, it was the right trying to suppress freedom of speech.

Now, she said, you have the ascendancy of the right again and a kind of hijacking of the free speech issue in a way that makes it seem like the left is trying to suppress freedom of speech which is not true.

Broadly speaking, the argument of Christ and other UC Berkeley leaders is that hate speech is best countered with more measured, thoughtful speech. That may be something Dirks believed but he didnt step forward like Christ to model the idea. Her approach appears to be resonating with professors and free speech scholars.

Youve got to protect the greatest possible range of speech, said Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. The answer to really idiotic racist speech is speech explaining why its idiotic and racist.

Former New York City police officer Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino, agrees.

Universities have been doing a laudable job of having a diversity of people, but what theyve not been doing a laudable job of is getting a diversity of ideas, he said. This is a test of academia and we are failing.

But not everyone is so sanguine. Zaynab Abdulqadir-Morris, a Cal senior and president of the Associated Students of the University of California, said she wants more students to be comfortable interacting with people who have different views. But shes also concerned about the real threat of violence when rallies and protests happen on or near campus.

And she thinks theres a line between fostering debate and opening the campus to provocateurs like Yiannopoulos.When speech is grounded in hate for another person, she said, its not free speech any more.

In her letter this week, Christ pushed back at that notion, writing: Some constitutionally protected speech attacks the very identity of particular groups of individuals in ways that are deeply hurtful. However, the right response is not the hecklers veto, or what some call platform denial. Call toxic speech out for what it is, dont shout it down, for in shouting it down, you collude in the narrative that universities are not open to all speech.

As a public university, Berkeley officials acknowledge they must balance protecting free speech with preventing the violence that has plagued rallies on campus in the past, or worse, deadly confrontation, as happened in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a young woman was killed earlier this month.

Ahead of Sundays rally which is on city, not university, property Cal has been in close contact with city officials, Mogulof said. The school is providing information on how to protest safely to students who want to join a counterprotest and also supportive services to students who are anxious about the rally. The school has learned from past protests that it needs to have more police in place for free speech events than it has in the past,Mogulof said.

Aptheker and Orfield point tothe peace that was maintained in Boston recently when thousands of counterprotesters overwhelmed a much smaller free speech rally that some white supremacists had promised to attend.

If its done well, Orfield said, it will create an example for the rest of the country.

See more here:

UC Berkeley tries to reclaim its free speech legacy – The Mercury News

Is Free Speech an Absolute Right, or Does Context Matter? – New York Times

Recent events in the United States have only reaffirmed the wisdom of this liberal compromise. If there was ever a group whose speech appears to me to be obviously evil and dangerous, it is the white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville earlier this month. But the president of the United States is sympathetic to white supremacists; to him, it is the (mythical) alt-left that presents the real threat. If he had the power to suppress freedom of speech, he would use it to silence the people I agree with. It is better for me for no one to possess that power than to entrust it to someone who might regard me as an enemy.

Campus leftists who believe they are serving the cause of goodness and truth by silencing right-wing (or even not-so-right-wing) speakers are living in a fools paradise, because they temporarily inhabit an environment where they are in the majority. When they graduate into Trumps America, they will find that many people, including people in power, think they are the ones who are wrong and dangerous. Then the principle of free speech will become their shield, as it has long shielded dissidents and radicals in America. Without it, politics becomes a war of all against all, and as we have learned since last November, there is no guarantee that the right side will win.

Adam Kirsch is a poet and a critic. His most recent book is The Global Novel: Writing the World in the 21st Century.

By Francine Prose

What could free speech possibly mean when a mob is bullying and beating people with whom they dont agree?

Lately, Ive been thinking about The Emperors New Clothes. What a deeply felt and personal story it must have been for Hans Christian Andersen, whose work is full of plucky honest children. Awkward and painfully unable to pick up on basic social cues, he chose, as his fairy-tale hero, the outspoken innocent who delivers an unwelcome truth.

The emperor is naked! Was Andersen also alluding to one role of the writer: to say the thing that everyone knows but fears to say? Even the emperor realizes that the boy is right. No one punishes or contradicts the young truth-teller. But naked or not, no one is owning up. The procession must go on, so the emperor held himself stiffer than ever, and the chamberlain held up the invisible train.

Had the story been set here, we might say that the little boys right to call attention to the emperors nudity was protected by the First Amendment. But doesnt context matter? Wasnt the boy discouraged by his parents from embarrassing their leader? Shouldnt he have waited for a private moment, or asked the chamberlain to explain the emperors intention?

Not according to the United States Supreme Court. On the basis of past decisions, we can imagine that the justices would have decided in favor of the boy. Not only would he be allowed to say what hed observed, but he could have hurled insults racial, religious, sexual, political at the emperor, and still he would have been within his constitutional rights. In order for the boy to exceed the limits of protected free speech, he would have had to exhort the crowd to attack their naked ruler.

Traditionally, the courts have defended the freedom to express the thought that we hate; the law doesnt ban words that wound egos or hurt feelings. Its concerned not with psychological harm but with physical action, injury and risk with real and present danger.

Though when violence does occur, as it did in Charlottesville, we want to be very clear about what constitutes exhortation and incitement. Its regrettable that the phrase free speech should have been co-opted by white supremacists, as if the only kind of free speech worth rallying around is hate speech. And what could free speech possibly mean when a mob is bullying and beating people with whom they dont agree?

Obviously, context is important. Just because youre legally permitted to say what you want doesnt mean its socially or morally acceptable to subject other humans to racist rants. Yet almost daily one can see, on social media, someone doing just that, losing it on a plane or at the checkout counter. I think the ranters are reprehensible, but I dont want to see them locked up unless theyre trying to goad their fellow passengers or shoppers to mob violence.

Democracy depends on the civil, healthy and open exchange of ideas, on the chance to be persuaded by opposing opinions, to reasonably consider variant arguments and explanations. Freedom of speech, free expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press those guarantees have helped keep us from sliding into dictatorship, a fate that has befallen countries with formerly democratic governments and levels of education and prosperity not unlike our own.

We need to be clear about what those protections are, and about why we need them a need that seems to grow more intense each time Donald Trump attacks the press; when the former chief of staff Reince Priebus floated a plan to change libel laws (and by extension the First Amendment) in some vague but ominous way; and each time someone brings an automatic weapon to a free and open political demonstration.

Our democracy may have its flaws, but the alternative the repression that exists right now in so many countries is worse. That is a different fairy tale, less like the work of Andersen than like some modern-day Brothers Grimm. That is the story that ends with the little boy being arrested, jailed and killed for the crime of daring to say out loud what the emperor isnt wearing.

Francine Prose is the author of more than 20 works of fiction and nonfiction, among them the novel Blue Angel, a National Book Award nominee, and the guide Reading Like a Writer, a New York Times best seller. Her most recent novel is Mister Monkey. Currently a distinguished visiting writer at Bard College, she is the recipient of numerous grants and awards; a contributing editor at Harpers, Saveur and Bomb; a former president of the PEN American Center; and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Read more:

Is Free Speech an Absolute Right, or Does Context Matter? – New York Times


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