Tag Archives: free speech

The mob vetoes Ann Coulter

Source: The American Conservative
by Peter Van Buren

"Ann Coulter will not speak at Berkeley tonight because the threat of mob violence led campus authorities to claim they could not protect her, resulting in a back-and-forth in which the speech was canceled, un-canceled, and finally canceled for good when the group sponsoring the event backed out. Similar threats led New York University (NYU) to cancel Milo Yiannopoulos'[s] appearance in February. These are shameful actions by two universities that purport to value free speech — one of them a public institution that is constitutionally obligated to. Previous violence at Berkeley directed against Yiannopoulos, as well as the current threats, originated with a coalition of so-called antifas: anti-fascists, persons who believe that in Trump’s America violence to silence speech they do not agree with is justified. They probably are unaware their tactics were once used to silence civil-rights marchers, anti-war protesters, abortion-rights advocates, and the women’s movement." (04/27/17)

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/__trashed-2/

The bipartisan urge to suppress dissent

Source: Reason
by Jacob Sullum

"The University of California at Berkeley's inhospitality to conservative speakers, the subject of a federal lawsuit filed on Monday, prompted a Twitter rebuke from President Trump a few months ago. Yet his administration seems determined to demonstrate that suppression of opposing views is a bipartisan impulse. … the Justice Department is once again looking for a way to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for sharing classified documents with the public. The Obama administration abandoned that project after concluding that charging Assange with violating the Espionage Act would create a precedent that could be used against any news organization that publishes stories based on 'defense information' from sources who obtained or divulged it illegally — a very common journalistic practice. CIA Director Mike Pompeo says we shouldn't worry about that because Assange is not a real journalist, a debatable and constitutionally irrelevant point. The 'freedom of the press' that is guaranteed by the First Amendment is not the freedom of people who work for officially recognized news outlets; it is the freedom to use technologies of mass communication." (04/26/17)

http://reason.com/archives/2017/04/26/the-bipartisan-urge-to-suppress-dissent

Howard Dean's new excuse for censoring Ann Coulter: She incites violence

Source: Reason
by Jacob Sullum

"Last week [Howard] Dean … said it was OK for a public university to cancel Coulter's talk because 'hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment.' … having been informed that 'hate speech' is not a constitutionally relevant category, Dean started citing Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, the 1942 case in which the Supreme Court upheld the criminalization of 'fighting words,' in-person insults that 'tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace' by provoking a violent response from the target. As I noted yesterday, neither of the Coulter quotations cited by Dean remotely resembles the Supreme Court's definition of fighting words. Yesterday Dean decided his real point was not that Coulter's remarks qualify as 'hate speech' or that they amount to 'fighting words' but (as I predicted) that they constitute 'incitement to violence,' which 'is not protected.' That issue, Dean informs us, 'has been litigated multiple times.' Once again Dean is making shit up to give his censorious impulses a sheen of constitutional legitimacy." (04/25/17)

http://reason.com/blog/2017/04/25/howard-deans-new-excuse-for-censoring-an

CA: UC Berkeley student Republicans sue over timing of Coulter burlesque

Source: Los Angeles Times

"A UC Berkeley student group on Monday filed a lawsuit demanding that the university allow conservative pundit Ann Coulter to speak on campus Thursday as originally planned. Citing unspecified threats, administrators had rescheduled Coulter’s appearance for May 2, when they said they could provide adequate security. But in its free-speech lawsuit, the Berkeley College Republicans — which planned to host Coulter — called that date a 'sham' intended to ensure her address was poorly attended. That day falls during 'dead week,' when students are studying for final exams and the campus traditionally is deserted. The university also had said Coulter would have to speak at midday, in a science hall located away from the central campus, rather than during the evening." (04/24/17)

http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-ann-coulter-20170424-story.html

The Un-Free Speech Movement at Berkeley

Source: Reason
by Steve Chapman

"There are few prospects in life more appealing than the silence of Ann Coulter. She brings to mind what novelist Mary McCarthy said about playwright and Stalinist Lillian Hellman: 'Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the." If the world never suffered another emission from Coulter's toxic brain, it would be a better place. But she said she would speak at the University of California, Berkeley even though the school administration had canceled the speech she was scheduled to give April 27 at the invitation of two student groups. Faced with that challenge, the university changed its mind, sort of, proposing to let her appear May 2. All I can say is something I never thought I would: It will be a great thing for Ann Coulter to speak." (04/24/17)

http://reason.com/archives/2017/04/24/the-un-free-speech-movement-at-berkeley

Yes, rights are double-edged swords

Source: A Geek With Guns
by Christopher Burg

"The beauty of the idea of the right to free speech is that it can turn a minority idea into a majority idea. Free speech is why same-sex marriage went from strongly opposed by the majority of people in this society heavily influenced by Judeo-Christian values to being generally accepted, at least within the realm of government marriage. Likewise, cannabis legalization efforts have been made possible because the right to free speech has allowed legalization advocates to inform the public that the government claims about cannabis are false. … But free speech, as with any concept developed by humans, is a double-edged sword. It allows minority and majority opinions to be expressed. Free speech is not 'appropriated' when people use it to express an opinion that is unpopular within your sphere of influence, it’s exactly what the concept of free speech was created to allow." (04/21/17)

https://blog.christopherburg.com/2017/04/21/yes-rights-are-double-edged-swords/

UC Berkeley declares itself unsafe for Ann Coulter

Source: The Atlantic
by Conor Friedersdorf

"[Ann Coulter's] critics would have done well to deny her attention by treating her scheduled appearance with the ambivalent yawn every provocateur most dreads. Instead, they began playing into her hands, situating her appearance in a paradigm where free speech is cast as being in conflict with anti-racism — a wrongheaded frame anathema to civil-rights heroes and marginalized protesters the world over. It guarantees either that bigots like Coulter will be seen by many as occupying a moral high ground, or that free speech will suffer, hitting marginalized groups hardest in the end. Issuing violent threats was, for the left, the most counterproductive of all courses. It generated just the sort of attention Coulter thrives on. And it is remaking Berkeley into a place where the illiberal right can reliably bait the illiberal left into raising their profile." (04/20/17)

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/04/uc-berkeley-declares-itself-unsafe-for-ann-coulter/523668/

CA: Berkeley grows some stones, stops appeasing anti-free-speech thugs, reverses Coulter ban

Source: The Guardian [UK]

"The University of California, Berkeley, has announced it has found a new 'protectable venue' for the controversial rightwing speaker Ann Coulter, after initially canceling the event over security fears. At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, the university’s chancellor, Nicholas Dirks, said that the school could host Coulter in May at the 'protectable venue.' … The town of Berkeley, famous for its liberal history, has become the center of repeated clashes between far-right figures and leftwing protesters in the last few months." (04/20/17)

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/20/ann-coulter-uc-berkeley-event-back-on

So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, 04/20/17

Source: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

"Professor [Geoffrey R.] Stone is our guest on today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast. Fittingly, we met in New York City to discuss the portions of 'Sex and the Constitution' dealing with the regulation of sexual expression. It was, after all, in New York City where the YMCA and Anthony Comstock began their campaigns in the 1800s to root out what they deemed obscene, sexually explicit material. During our conversation, Stone explains how 'obscenity' came to be regulated in America and why its legal definition constantly shifts. We also explore other First Amendment issues surrounding sexual expression, including nude dancing and the public funding of art with sexual themes." [various formats] (04/20/17)

https://www.thefire.org/so-to-speak-podcast-sex-and-the-constitution-with-professor-geoffrey-r-stone/

A message from FIRE's president: UC Berkeley and the state of free speech on campus

Source: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
by Greg Lukianoff

"When the riots on Feb. 1 ended a planned speech by former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos at Berkeley, we condemned the violence. However, we tried to be cautious in our statements about the actions of the Berkeley administration, as it seemed plausible that the campus police were simply overwhelmed by the number of protesters and the intensity and scale of the violence. But in the weeks following the incident, Berkeley appears to have done nothing to prevent events like the Feb. 1 riots from happening again. Since that time, the Berkeley College Republicans’ property has been destroyed, the group cancelled a speech by conservative activist and Berkeley alumnus David Horowitz after the administration threw up numerous roadblocks, and now it has been told that conservative commentator Ann Coulter may not speak as planned due to the danger posed by potentially violent protesters. This is a chilling and dangerous precedent. The Berkeley administration is incentivizing anyone who doesn’t want a particular speaker to be heard to threaten (or even engage in) acts of violence. This all but guarantees that speakers who are controversial on a particular campus will be silenced, and teaches a generation of students that resorting to violence will be rewarded." (04/20/17)

https://www.thefire.org/a-message-from-fires-president-uc-berkeley-and-the-state-of-free-speech-on-campus/