Category Archives: freedom of speech

Greg Lukianoff of FIRE outlines how colleges should commit to freedom of speech

Here’s a short video of Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), outlining five actions people can take to ensure free speech on college campuses. These are, he says, things that people should demand of all college presidents.  I’ll give a short list of What Is To Be Done, but watch the […]

The University of Chicago professes free expression as a “core value”, and a call by one of our faculty to “end the rot”

“The point of education is not to make you comfortable; it’s to make you think.” —Hanna Gray (former President, University of Chicago, speaking in video below) I greatly fear that one of my roles over the next few years, should this website continue, will be to chronicle the downfall of the University of Chicago as […]

A hard case to make a good law: the ideological impurity of David Starkey

The original saying I paraphrase above, from Oliver Wendell Holmes, is “hard cases make bad law”, meaning you shouldn’t erect general principles based on extreme cases. But in this instance, regarding the defenestration of scholars who say things unpalatable to their peers, or odious things in general, these are the hard cases that should be […]

Slate obliquely criticizes the Harper’s letter, blames Twitter for everything

I used to think of Slate and Salon as brother sites, with Salon being the slightly unhinged and woker younger brother and Slate being the more serious elder.  Well, Salon has gone down the drain of wokeness, and Slate is no longer nearly as interesting as it used to be, full as it is now […]

Two approbations for The Letter, and a summary of the critics’ views

I thought I wouldn’t write any more about “The Letter”, which of course refers to the Letter in Harper’s and four other international venues decrying “cancel culture” and promoting open debate and free speech. That piece,”A letter on justice and open debate“, with 153 signers, now sports its own Wikipedia page! Over the past few days […]

Should we narrow the First Amendment to forbid speech urging violence?

The limitations on “free speech”, as construed by the courts’ parsing of the First Amendment, are well known. No personal threats, no harassment in the workplace, no child pornography, defamation, or false advertising. And, of course, no calling for violence that will predictably lead to imminent violence.   The Encyclopedia Brittanica describes the law.  . . . […]

Pushback from Sean Carroll and others against the Harper’s letter promoting open discourse

UPDATE: In a New York Times article, Thomas Chatterton Williams, a Haper’s writer who helped organize the letter, got specific with some of the incidents that inspired its creation: He said there wasn’t one particular incident that provoked the letter. But he did cite several recent ones, including the resignation of more than half the board of […]

A major critique of the illiberalism of the Left

This letter, or statement, was just published today in Harper’s, Le Monde, Die Zeit, La Repubblica, and El País.  It’s a really good piece of work, calling out the Right for censoriousness, but, importantly, the Left (most of the signatories seem to be on that side), for restricting debate. I’d like to quote the whole thing, […]

Emory University’s ideological indoctrination of its students and its hedging about free speech

Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia reports that, at the urging of students and by a big majority of faculty, it has instituted a general education requirement that “focuses specifically on the histories and experiences of people of color.” This will be a required course for all students, though there may be different courses in different […]

Oxford students pass anti-“hate-speech” motion

Offense for offense, a woke British university can match the likes of The Evergreen State College or Middlebury College any day. British woke schools have included the London School of Economics, the rest of the University of London, and, of course, Oxford University (called “Oggsford” in The Great Gatsby). And Oggsford students has now solidified […]