Tag Archives: free speech

The campus speech debate spends summer break in statehouses

Source: The Atlantic
by Conor Friedersdorf

"Until this summer, the debate about free speech on college campuses was shaped by small groups of student activists, forcefully protesting an ever-expanding list of controversial speakers, and their critics and defenders, who were mostly reactive. The clearest conflict, amid many shades of gray, concerned the subset of those activists who went beyond mere protest and tried to shut down events. … Those most extreme activists succeeded in denying campus platforms to some speakers, generated a lot of media attention, and seemed for a while to suffer no consequences, even as observers like the socialist activist and academic Freddie deBoer cautioned that, for few if any gains, they were courting an inevitable backlash. That backlash is now upon them." (08/03/17)


Congress finds consensus on free speech on campus

Source: The Atlantic
by Conor Friedersdorf

"If you’ve been following the debate about free speech among administrators, faculty, and students on college campuses, this congressional hearing may be most striking as a reminder that, in Washington, D.C., almost no elected official in the Republican or Democratic Party agrees with the most censorious parts of the campus Left. Republican legislators emphasized the least defensible efforts to shut down speech, while Democratic legislators cautioned against passing any laws that might chill the speech of protesters and emphasized the threat white supremacists pose to minority students. But there was no support for the philosophy of Herbert Marcuse, or for censoring Heather Mac Donald, or for the idea that the safety of students is threatened by microaggressions, or even for denying open bigots the right to speak." (08/01/17)


How Bitcoin is protecting the right to free speech in Brazil

Source: PanAm Post
by Mauricio F Bento

"Daniel Fraga, a young man living in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil began his YouTube channel by recording and commenting on what was going on in the city. … Fraga recorded a video criticizing a candidate for Sao Jose dos Campos mayor (a city in the state of Sao Paulo) for going before the judiciary and requesting that negative internet memes about him be removed from Facebook. In the video, he also criticizes the judge who accepted the candidate’s arguments and henceforth ordered that all relevant memes be taken down, even establishing a fine for anybody continuing to post and share the 'offensive' memes. Since Fraga had continued to post videos discussing the situation, the judge involved sued him requesting compensation for 'moral damages.' There began Fraga’s quest for free speech. … After exposing the judge for demanding that Fraga pay 5,000 BLR each time he mentioned the situation on camera, he asked the judge if he was familiar with Bitcoin." (07/25/17)


Orientation or indoctrination? Forcing political doctrine on students is an affront to the First Amendment and higher education

Source: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
by Sam Foer

"It was August 2015, and I was entering Hampshire College as an excited freshman, ready to begin an undergraduate career that I hoped would be characterized by exploration and intellectual challenge. Hampshire appealed to me because it advertised itself as an institution that fostered civic-mindedness, emphasized critical inquiry and academic rigor, and stood by progressive values. I assumed that most of my incoming class applied for similar reasons. Hampshire sounded like an ideal institution for independent thinkers. This was going to be a dream come true! Unfortunately, the opposite was the case, and prompted my transfer to my current school. It quickly became clear that Hampshire’s advertisements were disingenuous (or I just didn’t know what being progressive actually meant), and that it was infringing on its students’ freedom of conscience to advance a political and social agenda. These weren’t the progressive values I stood by." (07/21/17)


Comply or die: The police state's answer to free speech is brute force

Source: CounterPunch
by John W Whitehead

"Militarized police. Riot squads. Camouflage gear. Black uniforms. Armored vehicles. Mass arrests. Pepper spray. Tear gas. Batons. Strip searches. Surveillance cameras. Kevlar vests. Drones. Lethal weapons. Less-than-lethal weapons unleashed with deadly force. Rubber bullets. Water cannons. Stun grenades. Arrests of journalists. Crowd control tactics. Intimidation tactics. Brutality. This is not the language of freedom. This is not even the language of law and order. This is the language of force. Unfortunately, this is how the government at all levels — federal, state and local — now responds to those who choose to exercise their First Amendment right to peacefully assemble in public and challenge the status quo." (07/12/17)


What attending a "green light" university taught me about free speech

Source: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
by Julian Kothmann

"The number of schools abandoning restrictive speech codes is growing — FIRE granted 'green light' ratings to East Carolina University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte last month, bringing the number of institutions earning FIRE’s highest rating for free speech to 33 nationwide. While it remains crucial to analyze and reform illiberal speech codes, examining schools that protect students’ First Amendment rights is equally valuable. Doing so sharpens the distinction between tolerant and repressive policies, provides a goal toward which advocates can work, and illuminates the benefits free and open debate can provide students and university communities. My school, the University of Virginia, earned FIRE’s green light rating in 2010. Now, seven years later, a year at the university has provided me with insight into how UVA upholds its commitment to free speech and the impact this commitment has on students." (07/10/17)


Freedom of speech, tool for advancing liberty in Nigeria

Source: Students For Liberty
by Ojekunle Alex Aderemi

"reedom of speech is the right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas without fear of government retaliation or censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used interchangeably, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. In Nigeria for example, government’s restriction of speech related to libel, slander, obscenity, pornography, sedition, incitement, fighting words, classified information, copyright violation, trade secrets, non-disclosure agreements, right to privacy, right to be forgotten, political correctness, public security, public order, public nuisance and oppression occur with varying limitations. Whether these limitations can be justified under the harm principle depends upon whether influencing a third party’s opinions or actions adversely to the second party constitutes such harm or not. Governmental and other compulsory organizations often have policies restricting the freedom of speech for political reasons, for example, speech codes at state schools." (07/09/17)


It's disadvantaged groups that suffer most when free speech is curtailed on campus

Source: The Atlantic
by Musa al-Gharbi & Jonathan Haidt

"Harvard President Drew Faust gave a ringing endorsement of free speech in her recent commencement address. There was, however, one passage where Faust asserted that the price of Harvard’s commitment to free speech 'is paid disproportionately by' those students who don’t fit the traditional profile of being 'white, male, Protestant, and upper class.' That point has been illustrated by a few recent controversies over speakers whose words were deemed offensive by some members of those non-traditional groups of students. But focusing solely on those controversies, and on a handful of elite campuses, risks obscuring a larger point: Disadvantaged groups are also among the primary beneficiaries of vigorous free-speech protections." (07/08/17)


Germany has declared war on Internet freedom

Source: spiked
by Sabine Beppler-Spahl

"On 13 June, German police raided the homes of 60 people accused of posting hateful comments on social media. The raids, taking place in 14 federal states, were part of 'a day of action against hate speech,' as the Justice Ministry described it. The first day of action took place in July last year, when the homes of 36 people were searched. This year's raids were mainly focused on people accused of expressing right-wing prejudice, but they also reportedly included two cases of ‘left-wing’ incitement and one of sexual harassment. These days of action are only the latest German clampdowns on speech deemed unpleasant or potentially dangerous." (06/29/17)


The new threat to free political speech

Source: Libertarian Institute
by Thomas Eddlem

"It’s said that tough cases make bad law. If so, Maryland’s prosecution of Dennis Fusaro and Stephen Waters for campaign finance law violations threatens to make some really bad law. The prosecutors themselves believe the case will 'justify burdening speech and associational rights' under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and article 10 of the Maryland State Constitution’s Declaration of Rights. The latter promises 'That freedom of speech and debate, or proceedings in the Legislature, ought not to be impeached in any Court of Judicature.' … One of several interesting details about the case is that none of the actions, spending or speech took place inside the State of Maryland. Prosecutors claim that Fusaro bought the phone used for the call at a Virginia Wal-Mart and had Waters set up the robocall from Virginia with a Canadian company. In short, Maryland is claiming that it can regulate political speech initiated in other states." (06/21/17)