Ira Glasser: Why we need freedom of speech, even if it’s offensive and hateful

The University of Chicago and some of our faculty are pondering creating an orientation module on free speech for incoming students—a module that’s all too rare but essential, for “progressive” students are beginning to oppose free speech and the First Amendment since some speech is seen as “harmful”, “offensive”, or even “violent.” I wrote to … Continue reading Ira Glasser: Why we need freedom of speech, even if it’s offensive and hateful

An interview with ACLU great Ira Glasser

Ira Glasser was head of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) from 1978 until 2001, and his name is familiar to those who keep an eye on civil liberties. As Wikipedia notes: The ACLU website credits Glasser with transforming the American Civil Liberties Union from a ‘mom and pop’-style operation concentrated mainly in a few … Continue reading An interview with ACLU great Ira Glasser

How the ACLU got woke, became political, and changed its mission

I’ve written before about the newish movie “Mighty Ira“, a documentary about former American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) head Ira Glasser and his involvement in civil-liberties litigation in the 1970s (see my posts here and here). I highly recommend the movie, as it’s not just about Glasser or the ACLU, but also involves baseball, Jackie … Continue reading How the ACLU got woke, became political, and changed its mission

The ACLU loses its way

I was always a big fan of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), admiring their single-minded dedication to preserving our civil liberties, most notably those specified by the First Amendment. But they also saved my bacon when I took the government to court for drafting me illegally as a conscientious objector. When I went to … Continue reading The ACLU loses its way

Three brief movie reviews

I mentioned the new 99-minute movie “Mighty Ira” the other day: it’s a documentary about former ACLU head Ira Glasser.  Here’s the trailer: I quite liked it, and recommend it if you have any interest in civil liberties. It’s a montage of clips about a diversity of subjects, centered on Glasser’s work with the famous … Continue reading Three brief movie reviews

The ACLU reverses course once again in the interest of wokeness

Last September, a surprising article in the New York Times reported on how the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) seemed to be losing its mission of defending civil liberties, moving more and more towards “progressive” politics. Part of this transformation involved suddenly prioritizing what speech to defend based on its perceived “harm.” More harmful speech … Continue reading The ACLU reverses course once again in the interest of wokeness

Matt Taibbi on National Public Radio’s trashing of free speech

It’s dispiriting to start the day dealing with an NPR piece like this, in which the New York branch produced a nationally-broadcast 50-minute discussion of free speech featuring no defenders of free speech. Instead, we hear from several guests who all advocate (without explicitly saying so) some kind censorship. The issue, of course, is hate … Continue reading Matt Taibbi on National Public Radio’s trashing of free speech

An absorbing discussion of cancel culture

If all the articles that were given “Sidney Awards” by New York Times columnist David Brooks this week are as engaging at the one below, then you should read every one. Here we have author Jonathan Rauch, who wrote a prescient book about free speech in 1993, being interviewed by Nick Gillespie, editor at large of … Continue reading An absorbing discussion of cancel culture