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NYU Administrator Goes Full Orwell: Violating Free Speech ‘Ensures The Conditions Of Free Speech’

NYU Administrator Goes Full Orwell: Violating Free Speech ‘Ensures The Conditions Of Free Speech’.  Do you think that you can count on university leaders to uphold the First Amendment on their campuses?

If so, think again.

I thought that I was being pranked when I received an email notifying me of a New York Times op ed, published by NYU vice provost, Ulrich Baer, addressing the violent left-wing protests sweeping across America’s campuses. Baer assessed the Middlebury College protest of AEI scholar, Charles Murray, at which a protester grabbed the hair of a liberal female professor, Allison Stanger, sending her to the ER, from which she emerged with a neck brace. He also weighed in on the violent protests of Milo Yiannopoulos at Berkeley, at which protesters hurled rocks and set fires, injuring at least six persons and causing $100,000 in property damage.

The NYU vice provost’s take on all this mayhem explains why I thought I had received “fake news.” He informs his New York Times’ readers that “the recent student demonstrations [he somehow neglects to mention the violence]. . . against Charles Murray, Milo Yiannopoulos and others . . . should be understood as an attempt to ensure the conditions of free speech for a greater group of people, rather than censorship” (emphasis supplied).

Huh? Let me get this right: The violent suppression of invited campus speakers’ First Amendment rights—as well as of those who wanted to hear from them—is not “censorship,” but, instead, an effort to protect “the conditions of free speech for a greater group of people.”

NYU Administrator Goes Full Orwell: Violating Free Speech 'Ensures The Conditions Of Free Speech'

Welcome to the Orwellian world of American higher education. Recall that in George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984, two of the slogans of the English Socialist Party (“INGSOC”) of Oceania were, “Freedom is Slavery” and “Ignorance is Strength.” According to this NYU administrator, freedom of speech for all is, in fact, slavery for some. Moreover, studied ignorance of the arguments advanced by those violently suppressed contributes to the strength of society, or, as the vice provost states it, to the “common, public good.”

Silly me: I had thought that freedom of speech for all was indispensable to the goal of extending the Declaration of Independence’s promise of equal rights to all. How did I miss the change?

Baer answers my question. I—and you—“overlook the fact that a thorough generational shift has occurred.” You see, we First Amendment defenders “fail to acknowledge the philosophical work that was carried out, especially in the 1980s and ’90s, to legitimate experience — especially traumatic experience — which had been dismissed for decades as unreliable, untrustworthy and inaccessible to understanding.”

What he means here is that postmodern “philosophical work” gives greater weight than was accorded in the past to personal experience, especially when that experience has been “traumatic.”

With this rise in the place of feelings relative to rational argument, some topics, he argues, have now become “unmentionable and undebatable.” Which topics, precisely? He answers, “Claims that some human beings are by definition inferior to others, or illegal or unworthy of legal standing, are not open to debate because such people cannot debate them on the same terms.”

Is NYU Vice Provost Baer arguing that no pro-abortion-rights activists, for example, should be allowed to speak on campus, because they regard the unborn as “unworthy of legal standing”? No, he has other causes in mind, which he has decided for us are “undebatable” (which means that he has decided for us that the First Amendment doesn’t really mean what it clearly says in their cases).

Regarding speech that “invalidate[s] the humanity of some people,” he argues, “there is no inherent value to be gained from debating them in public.” Where, then, should those students go who feel “insufficiently exposed to controversial views”? His answer: “[T]he internet, where all kinds of offensive expression flourish unfettered.”

As an aside, I cannot help but wonder why an NYU administrator would offer the internet as a finishing school that is required for one to receive a full education. Have not the defenders of the higher-education status quo been gnashing their teeth over their loss of market-share to online education? This attempt to push free speech away—anywhere, even to the internet!—speaks volumes about the sheer desperation with which he and others in the Academy greet the prospect of students engaging in real debate over controversial issues. (One can even imagine online colleges quoting his op ed in their ads.)

What, precisely, does Baer find so frightening about upholding the First Amendment for all? He tells us: “What is under severe attack, in the name of an absolute notion of free speech, are the rights, both legal and cultural, of minorities to participate in public discourse.”

Now, I’m all for protecting the rights of minorities to participate in public discourse—that’s why I support the First Amendment, which protects free speech for all. But, according to Baer, supporting free speech for all disenfranchises minorities. Somehow, minorities are not included in “all.” Somehow, minority rights can be protected only by restricting the First Amendment, which the Supreme Court announced long ago to be a “fundamental freedom,” meaning, that without free speech, we lose our capacity for self-government.

Baer’s essay is but the latest example of a truth I learned from long experience as a college professor and senior administrator: Universities cannot be reformed from within. Why? Because the intellectual and moral rot justifying anti-intellectualism is too deeply entrenched in the Academy. It is, in fact, quickly becoming among its chief reasons for being. Thanks to defenses such as Baer’s, our campuses are in danger of becoming the least tolerant places in America.

It is only toward the end of his piece that Baer reveals a deeper agenda. This emerges from the praise he offers to the campus protesters, who “sensed, a good year before the election of President Trump, that insults and direct threats could once again become sanctioned by the most powerful office in the land.” For “keeping watch over the soul of our republic,” he argues, “we should thank the student protestors, the activists in Black Lives Matter and other ‘overly sensitive’ souls.”

What does this mean? Simply stated, for Baer, Trump voters (apparently, all 62 million of you) need not apply for inclusion under the First Amendment on his campus. One need not be a Trump supporter, but merely a friend of intellectual and political liberty, to see in this the formula for the death of free and open debate on our campuses, as well as beyond them—when students indoctrinated in the new, anti-freedom orthodoxy go on to become senators, representatives, and judges.

But Baer appears unfazed by the enormity of his rationalization for censorship. Neither, he tells us, is he “overly worried that even the shrillest heckler’s vetoes will end free speech.”

Perhaps he would be less blithe were he to have witnessed Allison Stanger at the Emergency Room, where doctors treated the wounds inflicted by the Middlebury mobs’ “heckler’s veto.” Perhaps then, he would understand why the Constitution protects the free-speech rights of all—without discrimination.

Source:  Forbes.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

Free speech: Coulter, WorldNetDaily (WND) and me

Years ago, I never thought I’d be openly grateful for the opportunity for free speech. It was something I, and I suspect many Americans, assumed was a natural part of our lives.

I wanted to write and speak and express my thoughts and mind as I had learned in life and college. I often disagreed with the common line of thinking, but I liked the challenge and the debate. And debate it was

Do We Take Free Speech for Granted?

As Americans, we’ve taken it for granted – free speech. When I was a little kid and playground disagreements got verbally tense, the usual comeback was, “I can say what I want. It’s a free country, isn’t it?!”

That usually ended it, and life went on.

Unfortunately, not today. On paper, we are a free country, but many of our rights are, and have been, eroded. And it’s getting worse.

We’ve gotten to the point where if someone says something with which others disagree, they’re accused of having a “phobia” and are taken to task for it – within a school, a workplace, often a church and in the public square.

Often, it results in the law getting involved and punishment against the perpetrator of the “hated words.”

Imagine, legal ramifications for speech. The “thought police” are out there, and they are busy.

But too often, it results in public demonstrations, marches and riots with police involved and enormous damage. The most recent and notorious example being the University of California at Berkeley.

Known as the ’60s birthplace of the “Free Speech Movement,” Berkeley can’t say that now, because it’s become the place where conservative speakers are denied a podium or forced off the campus.

Ann Coulter is the most recent victim. She was booked as a speaker but the “anti-forces” took over. Repeated threats of disruption and violence led to the school cancelling her appearance, claiming it could not insure safety. She intended to speak anyway, and a lawsuit was threatened. But when her conservative backers withdrew their support, she canceled. Coulter is one of many victims of Cal’s closed-mindedness.

But maybe it’s just the liberal Bay Area. Last Friday, a few days after the Cal cancellation, Coulter spoke in Modesto at the invitation of the Republican Party of Stanislaus County. While law enforcement was ready for disruptions, nothing happened more than some shouting.

Coulter was her usual outspoken self – praising Donald Trump and criticizing California politics. The crowd loved it.

Free speech: Coulter, WND and me

Ann Coulter

I remember years ago when I first heard of Ann Coulter. I admired her ability to get to the heart of what she wanted to say and her courage in saying it, even though it was not “accepted mainstream” thinking. She did it verbally and in her hard-hitting columns and books. I admire her courage.

In the interim, I worked in media – TV anchoring and reporting and talk radio. I loved the freedom of talk radio and especially conservative talk on the air. After having worked in conventional TV news, where it was not allowed to air political views, conservative talk was liberating and fun!

To give you an idea of the anti-conservative point of view in the Bay Area, when a professional associate learned I was going to do a talk show on a conservative station (KSFO), she asked to me in all seriousness, “Why are you willing to destroy your career by doing that?”

I also know that local professional organizations many times refused to use me as an MC or presenter at events because of my conservative views.

Free Speech Is Not Easy

Ah yes, the joys of free speech.

And then I met Joseph Farah, a man with a traditional news background but who had a dream. He wanted to bring an independent news view to the Internet, and he did it!

Working with his wife, Elizabeth, and a group of talented people, WorldNetDaily – now WND – was born, has succeeded and is now celebrating its 20th anniversary! WND has grown and changed and expanded into print and publishing and film and has become the leading source of independent and conservative news on the Net.

I met Joseph on my radio program, interviewing him for my audience. I’d learned about WND and wanted to have my audience know him.

It was a great interview, but the best part was that it led to his invitation that I write a weekly commentary for WND. I didn’t hesitate at the opportunity and have done it ever since, for 17 years, never missing a week!

But don’t kid yourself that his was an easy path. He and his staff and contributors faced, and still face, the antagonism against anyone who believes anything outside of the liberal/progressive political point of view.

It takes great courage to step outside of the mainstream because of ones’ beliefs and to stake your business on it. Joseph and Elizabeth Farah and their family have staked it all on their beliefs and have succeeded.

Congratulations to them and everyone associated with WND. I’m proud to be a small part of it!

Imagine, 20 years! Happy Birthday!
Source: WND.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

Trump’s Chief of Staff threatens free speech crackdown

In the White House, Donald Trump is embracing a First Amendment crackdown as his Chief of Staff admits that the administration is looking at ways to limit free speech in America.

Trump’s Chief of Staff threatens free speech crackdown

Chief of Staff Reince Priebus

Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus declared that the Trump administration is currently in the process of “looking at” ways to limit speech in America.

Appearing on ABC’s This Week, Priebus said that Trump is looking at ways to change libel laws, which would make it easier for Trump to sue news outlets that publish information he disagrees with.

Asked about an idea floated by Trump while he was a candidate that people burning the American flag should be arrested or have their citizenship stripped, Priebus said it is “is probably going to get looked at.”

KARL: I want to move on, before you go — we have a segment coming up with Ann Coulter and Robert Reich. Of course, there’s a big controversy at Berkeley over freedom of speech. I want to ask you about two things the president has said on related issues.  First of all, there was what he said about opening up the libel laws, tweeting, ‘The failing New York Times has disgraced the media world. Gotten me wrong for two solid years. Change [the] libel laws?’ That would require, as I understand it, a constitutional amendment. Is he really going to pursue that? Is that something he wants to pursue?

PRIEBUS: I think it’s something that we’ve looked at, and how that gets executed or whether that goes anywhere is a different story. But when you have articles out there that have no basis or fact and we’re sitting here on 24-7 cable companies writing stories about constant contacts with Russia and all these other matters –

KARL: Do you think the president should be able to sue the New York Times for stories he doesn’t like?

PRIEBUS: Here’s what I think: I think that newspapers and news agencies need to be more responsible with how they report the news. I am so tired –

KARL: I don’t think anybody would disagree with that, it’s about whether the president should have the right to sue them.

PRIEBUS: And I already answered the question. I said this is something that’s being looked at, but it’s something that, as far as how it gets executed, where we go with it, that’s another issue. But I think this is a frustration of unnamed sources, of things that the FBI has told me personally is complete BS, written in a newspaper article, in my office one-on-one: This here is not true. And guess what? But its sitting there on the front page. So how is it possible, and what do we have? 24-7 cable, about a story, about intelligence, that the actual intelligence agencies says is not true. And we deal with it every day.

KARL: And then just very quickly the other thing he talked about is, flag burners should either possibly go to jail or have their citizenship revoked –

PRIEBUS: Well our flag needs – people need to stand up for our flag.

KARL: Is he going to pursue that?

PRIEBUS: The one thing that we have in common as Americans is our American flag and I think it’s something that, again, is probably going to get looked at. But our flag should be protected and it’s Donald Trump that talks about that issue, and you know what? It’s a 70 percent issue in this country and he wins every day and twice on Sunday on our flag.

Has Trump Demonstrated Hostility to Free Speech and Expression?

Trump has long demonstrated an avowed hostility to free speech and expression. While he has used the media to make a name for himself and gain political power, Trump has bristled whenever it has held him accountable for lies and misinformation.

His senior policy adviser Stephen Miller declared early in the administration that Trump’s power “will not be questioned,” while Trump has hailed authoritarian leaders around the world who share his skepticism of the free flow of information and ideas.

The First Amendment is one of the bedrock principles of American life, and it has to be defended against tyranny of the sort espoused by Donald Trump.

COMMENT:  Trump does not have an hostility towards free speech like we are seeing on campuses today.  The real problem, according to Priebus in the above, are the stories that are 100% false.  Journalists and media outlets need to be accountable for what they create and show to Americans.  All articles, news stories, snippets, etc. should be based on facts and facts alone!

Source:  ShareBlue.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

The only way to stop the college revolt against free speech

The only way to stop the college revolt against free speech.  Ok, Moms and Dads, listen up. You’re our last hope. The only way to save higher education, and the next generation, is for you to stop paying tuition.

The only way to stop the college revolt against free speech

Ann Coulter

It’s been two years since University of Missouri students went on a hunger strike and set up a tent city to force the president’s resignation; since Yale students shouted down a professor who dared to suggest students should be able to decide on their own Halloween costumes without guidance from the administration; and since Princeton students occupied the president’s office in order to demand the removal of Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public-affairs school because he was deemed a racist.

Things have only gotten worse. Last year, Cornell students held a “cry-in” when Donald Trump was elected, and University of Virginia students insisted that the president of the school stop quoting its founder, Thomas Jefferson.

Free Speech Cancellations

This year we have seen the riots at Berkeley over Milo Yiannopoulos, the attack on Charles Murray at Middlebury and protesters blocking Heather MacDonald from speaking at Claremont. Just this week, Ann Coulter had to cancel her speech because the Berkeley administration could not protect her from violent mobs.

Despite their lifetime job security, the faculty at these universities have done next to nothing to stop this nonsense. Sure, a few of them have signed petitions expressing the importance of the free exchange of ideas on campus. But they have spent decades telling students that political correctness is the highest virtue and the feelings of students matter more than any ideas adults have to get across.
(Five years ago when I wrote a piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education criticizing black studies, 6,000 professors demanded that I be fired because they were “offended.”)

Faculty members are sometimes even complicit in the campus takeover. Professors signed the letter regarding Jefferson’s racism. A Middlebury faculty member actually apologized this week for inviting Murray to campus in the first place. A Missouri professor grabbed the camera of a journalist covering the school’s protests and asked for “some muscle” to keep him away — in order to protect the protesters from public scrutiny.

Administrators, meanwhile, are just spineless. Princeton caved to protesters’ demands, offering to remove Wilson from the school’s name and promising to consider racially affiliated housing. The University of Missouri’s president complied with student demands and resigned. Berkeley says it is only trying to protect students by cancelling Coulter’s speech. NYU’s vice provost wrote a piece in The New York Times arguing “the parameters of public speech must be continually redrawn to accommodate those who previously had no standing.”

So where are the grown-ups in all this?

They’re at home working hard to write tuition checks. Yes, that’s right. Parents are the last line of defense against this chaos, and it’s time they woke up and smelled the burning flags (or the “sh-t-in” at the University of Massachusetts). So, Moms and Dads, ask yourselves: Is your child making good use of the $60,000 a year you are spending? Are they devoting most of their time to classroom lectures, reading important books or participating in productive extracurricular activities? Or is most of their time spent crying about Trump and demanding more gender-neutral bathrooms?

Are they learning something that might earn them employment after graduation, or are they going to be community organizing from the couch in your basement in a few years? Will they understand the demands that real bosses will place on them, or will they break down in tears every time a supervisor criticizes them?

During the original campus protests of the 1960s, many of the participants could have continued their activities without their parents’ help and probably did. College was much cheaper — in 1968, tuition at the University of California was $320 per year. And 18-year-olds were more likely to be seen as adults. After all, many among their cohort were actually going off to war. Sixties radicals did not need much of a cash infusion from Mom and Dad, except maybe to pay for drugs.

No one had a monthly cellphone bill or a $3,000 laptop from which to send out radical missives. Parents today are not only paying exorbitant amounts to send their kids to school, they are funding spring breaks on the beach, summers of activism (or at least unemployment) and gap years for finding oneself.

Is College Only About A Diploma or Is It Also About Free Speech, Learning to Speak Freely

Parents will say their children need this credential in order to make it in the world, that even if students learn nothing in their four years on campus, they will at least have a diploma with which to find gainful employment. Perhaps. Or perhaps by enabling them to stay on these campuses for years with no purpose besides getting offended and spewing anger, parents are letting their kids become less prepared for real life.

If we really want college to go back to being an educational experience where students hear the free exchange of ideas and are prepared for the real world, parents need to turn off the spigot.

Source:  NYpost.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

Kelly Hawes column: Free Speech extends to all of us

Ann Coulter and I don’t agree on much, but we agree on this.  It’s a sad day when threats of violence lead to the cancellation of a speech at a place known as a haven for free expression.  Comment:  Free Speech

Kelly Hawes column: Free speech extends to all of us

Ann Coulter

Coulter says she was forced to cancel an event at the University of California, Berkeley, after organizations sponsoring her appearance bailed out. She expressed disappointment that First Amendment advocates had not rallied to her defense.

“Everyone who should believe in free speech fought against it or ran away,” she said.

Well, not everyone. Coulter found unlikely defenders among people like Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

“What are you afraid of — her ideas?” Sanders said in an interview with The Huffington Post.

The Solution Is To Exercise Your Own Free Speech

Sanders is exactly right. When you hear an idea you find repugnant, the solution is not to silence that viewpoint with threats. The solution is to exercise your own free speech.

Holding up signs and shouting slogans is fine. Shedding the blood of your political adversaries is not.

Coulter insisted she had the constitutional right to deliver her address.

“Even the most lefty, Coulter-hating judge would probably have had to order Berkeley to let me speak,” she said.

I wouldn’t have used quite those words, but I agree with the sentiment.

Thursday’s event had been organized by the Berkeley College Republicans and a group called Young America’s Foundation, but both pulled their support citing fears of violence. They accused the university of trying to silence the views of conservative speakers.

University officials denied that. Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks sent a letter to the campus insisting the university was committed to defending free speech while protecting its students.

“This is a university, not a battlefield,” he said in the letter. “The university has two non-negotiable commitments, one to free speech, the other to the safety of our campus community.”

Keeping those commitments hasn’t been easy of late.

A bloody brawl broke out in downtown Berkeley this month when white nationalists at a pro-Trump event clashed with counter-demonstrators calling themselves anti-fascists. In February, violent protesters forced the cancellation of a speech by right-wing writer Milo Yiannopoulos, who like Coulter had been invited by campus Republicans.

In its defense, the university did offer Coulter an alternative date. Of course, that date fell at a time when classes would no longer have been in session.

Still, the university is not the villain here. The villains are those threatening violence to silence voices they don’t want to hear.

On the day of the planned speech, police erected barricades and refused to let demonstrators enter the campus. Police officers wearing flak jackets took selfies with students in an attempt to lighten the mood.

At least one of the demonstrators agreed with Coulter.

“I don’t like Ann Coulter’s views, but I don’t think in this case the right move was to shut her down,” 24-year-old graduate student Yevgeniy Melguy told The Associated Press.

Coulter had planned to speak on the topic of illegal immigration. Melguy held a sign that read “Immigrants Are Welcome Here.”

Another student, 19-year-old Joseph Pagadara, told an AP reporter the university should have allowed Coulter to speak.

“Now she’s making herself look like the victim and Berkeley like the bad guys,” he said.

The problem, he said, is a failure to communicate.

“Both sides are so intolerant of each other,” he said. “We are a divided country. We need to listen to each other, but we’re each caught in our own bubbles.”

We need more voices like that.

Source:  HeraldBulletin.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

Actor Floors Carlson With Comments About Free Speech, Civics Education

Actor Floors Carlson With Comments About Free Speech, Civics Education.  Actor Richard Dreyfuss and Fox News host Tucker Carlson were midway through a debate Friday night over funding for sanctuary cities when Dreyfuss left Carlson all but speechless.

Actor Floors Carlson With Comments About Free Speech, Civics Education

Richard Dreyfuss Talks To Tucker Carlson

Dreyfuss was telling Carlson that he believed no president had the power to withhold funding, as President Donald Trump has threatened to do, because that power rests with Congress.

But that was not what was uppermost in his mind. Instead, Dreyfuss needed to get something else off his chest.

“I want to mention one thing,” Dreyfuss said. “You were talking about the speakers on university campuses. And I am totally, incontrovertibly on your side about this.”

Free Speech And Education:  Only Ways to Address America’s Collective Ignorance

Dreyfuss said that not only is free speech essential, regardless of the consequences, but free speech and education are the only ways to address America’s collective ignorance about the foundational principles of the nation enshrined in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

“I think any intrusion into free speech is an intrusion into free speech. And when one of the presidents of one of the colleges said, ‘This is a school, not a battlefield,’ I said, no, it is a battlefield of ideas and we must have dissonant, dissenting opinions on campuses and I think it’s political correctness taken to a nightmarish point of view,” Dreyfuss said.

He then talked about deeper principles.

“I am a constitutionalist who believes that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights must be central and the parties must be peripheral,” Dreyfuss said, noting that few Americans have ever really studied these documents in school.

“Civics has not been taught in the American public school system since 1970. And that means everyone in Congress never studied the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as you and I might have,” he said.

Dreyfuss said knowing the basics of government is essential to being a functional American citizen.

Ignorance of the basics “is a critical flaw because it’s why we were admired and respected for so long, it gives us our national identity, it tells the world who we are and why we are who we are, and without a frame that gives us values that stand behind the Bill of Rights, we’re just floating in the air and our sectors of society are not connected,” he said.

Dreyfuss said each side has to quit trying to silence the other.

“What’s really important is that the assumptions of the left and the right are all skewed wrong,” he said. “We have to find areas of agreement and areas that we share. And we do share the notion that education accomplishes certain things. One, it turns students into citizens. And, two, it teaches students how to run the country before it’s their turn to run the country. And, three, it teaches the values of this nation,” he said.

The obligations, responsibilities and workings of American democracy are essential parts of education, he said.

“People come from all over the world or are born into this nation without the values that we have here. That’s why they came here, to get them. And what are they? You can put them in opportunity, rise by merit, mobility, and freedom. That’s what we sell. And if you don’t want that, you’ve chosen the wrong place. And you don’t get a pass by being born here, you have to learn it,” he said.

“And we must learn our values and if we don’t, we are fatally, fatally wounding ourselves. We will not have any way to really combat the ideas behind ISIS because we won’t know our own. And we have to,” he said.

When Dreyfuss was finished, Carlson veered away form his usual style.

“So I … typically I interrupt our guests and I expected to debate you, but … I agree with every single word of that and I just want to say thank you very much. I think it’s important,” he said.

Source:  WesternJournalism.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

Berkeley Didn’t Birth ‘Free Speech’ But Seems Intent to Bury It

Demosthenes, the Athenian rhetorician and champion of liberty, pointed out around 355 B.C. that residents of Athens were free to praise Sparta’s regime, but Spartans were banned from praising Athens.  In 1689, the British passed a law guaranteeing free speech in Parliament. A century later, French revolutionaries incorporated into law the Declaration of the Rights of Man, which established free speech as a universal right. Two years later, the Americans ratified the First Amendment, which guarantees that the state shall not infringe on the right to free speech. Roughly a century and half later, in 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which says, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression….”

Berkeley Didn't Birth 'Free Speech' But Seems Intent to Bury It

I mention all of this because every time I read or hear about the pathetic state of affairs at the University of California, Berkeley — where conservative speakers and rabble-rousers alike are banned from speaking lest they be assaulted by a mob — journalists and other commentators insist on pointing out the irony that this is all happening “where the Free Speech Movement was born.”

Yes, I know there was a thing called the Free Speech Movement. And, yes, its members and leaders talked a good deal about free speech.

But the movement for free speech is thousands of years old and runs like a deep river across the landscape of Western Civilization.

Indeed, I can’t help but get the impression that a lot of people don’t realize that the Free Speech Movement in this context is a brand name. I can tell you that the “mockumentary” band Spinal Tap was born in a 1979 TV skit for ABC. But that is not the same thing as saying the medical procedure — aka the lumbar puncture — was born in the same skit.

Mario Savio, the leader of the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley, was committed to free speech. But so was Berkeley at the time. In the years before Savio’s movement, Berkeley had hosted speeches by Communists, Nazis (invited by leftists to cause a stir), and political and literary speakers of every stripe.

Whatever perfunctory regulations of free speech existed, then-Berkeley professor Nathan Glazer explained in his 1965 Commentary essay “What Happened at Berkeley,” went “back to a time when no political activity of any kind was allowed on campus.” Even presidential candidates were barred from politicking because, “as a state university it was not supposed to be involved in politics.” But by 1964, these rules had already been loosened a great deal.

As for Savio, his mission was broader than merely wanting to allow vigorous debate. He wanted students to be able to participate as much as possible with the civil rights movement, which, obviously, was a very political movement. He was on the right side of that argument.

But Savio was also a passionate leftist. (When he got married to his fellow FSMer Suzanne Goldberg, The Daily Worker’s Mike Gold asked him what they wanted for a wedding present. “All that we really want is for President Johnson to withdraw all our troops from Vietnam and the Dominican Republic. Very little would make us happier.”)

Savio had a romantic hatred — in the tradition of Rousseau — for liberal democratic capitalism. His most famous statement came in his speech at Sproul Hall in 1964:

“There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels … upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”

Whatever legacy Savio has for the cause of free speech is dead, but this mindset lives on. The rioters and goons — along with their pusillanimous enablers in the administration — are carrying on this tradition. It is a tradition that says this is our sacred place and anyone not loyal to our faith must be resisted, rejected and renounced. All the talk of “hate speech” is clever marketing — like the label the “Free Speech Movement” itself.

What these petty, secular theocrats despise is heresy speech. And they will throw their bodies into the gears to silence it.

Source:  TownHall.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

Defending Free Speech is Worth the Cost

Defending Free Speech is Worth the Cost.  Neither Ann Coulter nor Linda Sarsour should be censored.

When news broke that the University of California, Berkeley was trying to reschedule Ann Coulter’s speech due to threats of violence, the Twittersphere exploded. Here was yet another link in a long chain of outrage over conservatives who have been blocked from speaking on college campuses.

Defending Free Speech is Worth the Cost

Linda Sarsour

When news broke that the University of California, Berkeley was trying to reschedule Ann Coulter’s speech due to threats of violence, the Twittersphere exploded. Here was yet another link in a long chain of outrage over conservatives who have been blocked from speaking on college campuses.

Her defenders made for strange bedfellows, with people from the left and right, fans and foes alike, expressing disappointment in the Berkeley administration and student body. Perhaps the most surprising demonstration of support came from Senator Bernie Sanders who told the Huffington Post, “obviously Ann Coulter is outrageous—to my mind, off the wall. But you know, people have a right to give their two-cents-worth, give a speech, without fear of violence and intimidation.”

He’s right, of course, as was Salman Rushdie when he said that “one of the problems with defending free speech is you often have to defend people that you find to be outrageous and unpleasant and disgusting.”

All three of those labels apply to Ann Coulter. But they also apply to Linda Sarsour, another woman whose right to speak has been challenged this week. Sarsour supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign that seeks the destruction of the State of Israel. She’s tweeted that “nothing is creepier than Zionism.” I don’t like the things that she says, but speech that appeals to everyone is rarely in need of protecting.

Free Speech:  The Right To Speak Freely

CUNY’s decision to invite Sarsour to give the commencement address was bizarre and misguided. Graduations are a time for unity, and the university should have had the foresight not to invite such a divisive and controversial speaker. But they did. She was no more entitled to this platform than Coulter was to what should have been hers at Berkley– but they were both offered these platforms all the same. If we cannot defend both of these women, we should not be defending either. Being outrageous, unpleasant, or disgusting should not mitigate the right to speak freely.

Source:  CommentaryMagazine.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

GOP proposes ‘Free Speech On Campus Act’

MADISON, WI (Wisconsin Radio Network) – Republican state lawmakers are proposing a bill they say will help protect free speech rights on University of Wisconsin campuses.

GOP proposes 'Free Speech On Campus Act'

Bascom Hall at UW-Madison

The legislation, so-sponsored by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester), directs the UW System to implement policies that encourage free speech from both sides of the political aisle. “The goal is to have the maximum amount of free speech that we possibly can, without regard to one side of the political equation or the other, so that the students – who are paying for the opportunity – get to hear from all viewpoints and get to make up their own mind,” Vos said.

The bill would also have campuses discipline students who disrupt speeches – including facing expulsion – and require the UW to remain neutral on political issues. It comes in response to several high-profile incidents across the country where conservative speakers have had campus events cancelled, following an outpouring of opposition from students. “We should allow them the opportunity to be heard, questioned, debated at the appropriate time…but not just having somebody stand up and try to shout them down or block access to the event,” Vos argued.

The liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now blasted the proposal, saying it would create “mandatory safe spaces” that help protect racist and sexist speech on campus. “Republicans want to make our campuses safe spaces for Republicans to be free of criticism and subject students to legal sanctions if they speak out,” said OWN executive director Scot Ross.

In a statement, UW System President Ray Cross said they remain committed to ensuring freedom of expression on campuses. “The authors have assured us they will work with us moving forward to maintain the free exchange of ideas throughout the UW System,” he said.

Source:  Wsau.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

Richard Dreyfuss On Free Speech At College: “Political Correctness Taken To A Nightmarish Point Of View”

Actor Richard Dreyfuss appeared on Tucker Carlson’s FOX News show Friday night to talk about his passion of American civics and political correctness on campus. The Academy Award-winning actor Dreyfuss explained the importance of teaching civics, something he said that has not been taught in American schools since 1970. The U.S. Department of Education was established in 1979.  Dreyfuss also addressed the ongoing problem of free speech and debate on the U.S. college campus. Dreyfuss said attempts to stop speakers from addressing college students is an “intrusion into freedom of speech.”

Richard Dreyfuss On Free Speech At College: "Political Correctness Taken To A Nightmarish Point Of View"
Dreyfuss said the current situation is “political correctness taken to a nightmarish point of view.”

“I want to mention one thing,” the actor told Carlson. “You were talking about the speakers on university campuses. And I am totally, incontrovertibly on your side about this. I think any intrusion into free speech is an intrusion into free speech. And when one of the presidents of one of the colleges said, ‘this is a school, not a battlefield,’ I said, no, it a battlefield of ideas and we must have dissonant, dissenting opinions on campuses and I think it’s political correctness taken to a nightmarish point of view.”

Dreyfuss encouraged viewers to go to his website, The Dreyfuss Civics Initiative, and sign the preamble to the United States Constitution. Dreyfuss wants to bring civics back into the American classroom.

DREYFUSS:

“I have withdrawn from partisan politics. I am a constitutionalist who believes that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights must be central and the parties must be peripheral. What’s most important for me is what you just mentioned haphazardly, we are over 30. Civics has not been taught in the American public school system since 1970. And that means everyone in Congress never studied the constitution and the bill of rights as you and I might have.

And that is a critical flaw because it’s why we were admired and respected for so long, it gives us our national identity, it tells the world who we are and why we are who we are, and without a frame that gives us values that stand behind the bill of rights, we’re just floating in the air and our sectors of society are not connected.

What’s really important is that the assumptions of the left and the right are all skewed wrong. We have to find areas of agreement and areas that we share. And we do share the notion that education accomplishes certain things. One, it turns students into citizens. And, two, it teaches students how to run the country before it’s their turn to run the country. And, three, it teaches the values of this nation.

People come from all over the world or are born into this nation without the values that we have here. That’s why they came here, to get them. And what are they? You can put them in opportunity, rise by merit, mobility, and freedom. That’s what we sell. And if you don’t want that, you’ve chosen the wrong place. And you don’t get a pass by being born here, you have to learn it. Even the Ten Commandments are not known at birth. You must learn them. And we must learn our values and if we don’t, we are fatally, fatally wounding ourselves. We will not have any way to really combat the ideas behind ISIS because we won’t know our own. And we have to.”

Source:  RealClearPolitics.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.