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Full speaker list released for FREE SPEECH WEEK at UC Berkeley

Milo Yiannopoulos confirmed Thursday a full list of speakers scheduled to appear at UC Berkeley during Free Speech Week from Sept. 24-27.

Full speaker list released for Free Speech Week at UC Berkeley

The organization originally intended to release the list of confirmed speakers slowly over a period of two weeks, but decided to release the entire list of names at once because reactions to the announcement of former White House chief strategist and Breitbart editor Steve Bannon’s confirmation were “so huge,” according to a press release issued Thursday by Yiannopoulos. Free Speech Week, a joint effort between Yiannopoulos and a conservative campus publication, The Berkeley Patriot, will encompass a variety of themes.

“Berkeley Free Speech Week will be an amazing experience for people of all viewpoints to come together in a festival environment and freely exchange ideas,” Yiannopoulos said in the press release.

The Berkeley Patriot, however, has been having some trouble confirming every speaker on the list, according to Berkeley Patriot news editor Pranav Jandhyala.

Yiannopoulos is scheduled to appear every single day. Other prominent speakers include Bannon; Ann Coulter, whose planned appearance at UC Berkeley fell through two days before; and right-wing InfoWars radio show host Mike Cernovich.

James Damore, the former Google employee who was fired recently for an internal memo mocking the company’s diversity policies, is also scheduled to speak on the second day, “Zuck 2020.”

According to campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof, however, the campus administration is currently unable to confirm a list of speakers. Only three of the speakers have contacted the campus or UCPD to make security arrangements, which is required for all campus events.

Additionally, rental fees for available indoor venues have not been paid, and no venue contracts have been signed.

“To date a number of key deadlines have been missed,” Mogulof said in an email. “While campus officials and venue managers are working diligently to assist the Berkeley Patriot group with its proposed events, the group’s failure to meet important deadlines is making it increasingly difficult to ensure a safe and secure program.”

Below is the list of speakers confirmed to speak on each day of the four-day-long event.

Sept. 24: “Feminism Awareness Day”

  • Miss Elaine
  • Lucian Wintrich
  • Lisa DePasquale
  • Chadwick Moore
  • Milo Yiannopoulos

Sept. 25: “Zuck 2020”

  • Heather Mac Donald
  • Monica Crowley
  • SABO
  • Professor Jordan Peterson
  • James Damore

Sept. 26: “Islamic Peace and Tolerance Day”

  • Michael Malice
  • Raheem Kassam
  • Katie Hopkins
  • Erik Prince
  • Pamela Geller
  • David Horowitz
  • Milo Yiannopoulos

Sept. 27: “Mario Savio is Dead”

  • Mike Cernovich
  • Charles Murray
  • Ariana Rowlands
  • Stelion Onufrei
  • Alex Marlow
  • Milo Yiannopoulos
  • Steve Bannon
  • Ann Coulter

The time and location of these events will be released next week, according to Yiannopoulos’s press office.

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

Free Speech is Necessary

The right to freedom of speech is the hallmark of the American democratic experiment. The United States was the first nation to guarantee an individual’s right to speak freely and openly about one’s thoughts and ideas. It was, and remains, a radical concept. Today, speech is constantly restricted — even in the most democratic of societies. And it appears as if the restrictions that chain free speech are beginning to wash upon our shores as well.

The events in Charlottesville, Va. were, quite clearly, an egregious and despicable act of hatred, bigotry and racism. Any sensible person would agree that the actions taken by the radical neo-Nazis and white nationalists that occupied Charlottesville’s streets represent all that is wrong and evil with our society. However, even these radicals have a right to free speech.

Obviously, I would rather that these deranged lunatics keep their mouths shut and mind their own business. It would be ideal if those who harbor the most deplorable of thoughts and philosophies were to just disappear and leave us all to live our lives in peace. Yet if we try to achieve this ideal by preventing freedom of expression, we risk running a very slippery slope.

If the government, or any body for that matter, has the ability to censor one group of people, a door is opened to future suppressions. The history of tyranny is laden with examples of governments removing freedoms of expression from fringe groups, and then using such removals as justification for steadily removing the freedoms of more and more groups. In essence, the protection of a white nationalist’s freedom of speech is the protection of our own right to speak freely. But there are issues that are boiling that extend well beyond the range of white nationalism.

Free Speech is Necessary

Condoleezza Rice

In 2014, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was scheduled to speak at Rutgers University. Yet this decision greatly angered students, who were upset at Rice’s involvement in the Iraq War. As a result, students launched a massive — and ultimately successful — effort to pressure Rice to rescind the convocation invitation. This event marks one of the most troubling and disturbing attacks on freedom of thought and speech.

Surely most Americans agree that the Iraq War was an unmitigated disaster and a largely unnecessary conflict. And it is quite clear that as President Bush’s national security advisor, Rice played a role in facilitating American involvement in the region. Yet a poor policy decision does not discredit the ideas of an individual — especially an intellectual powerhouse such as Rice.

By forcing Rice to rescind Rutgers’s speaking invitation, the students at the university were essentially stating that anyone who does not align with their political views is not welcome to speak. And, unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. From Ann Coulter at Berkeley to Ben Shapiro at Cal State, college campuses across the nation are beginning to embrace these sorts of restrictions. If one does not possess the political views of the students, they are unwelcome to speak on their campus.

This philosophy is disturbing on a number of grounds. First of all, these refusals to listen to another person’s ideas and opinions carry a sort of medieval ignorance. Ostracizing those who do not adhere to the majority view is the sort of thinking that led to Galileo and Darwin’s rejection from society. Furthermore, refusing to listen to someone else’s ideas doesn’t make you principled — it makes you weak and insecure. Those who are truly grounded in their ideals and principles are those who truly understand the other side of the argument.

But perhaps the most concerning aspect of this philosophy is that further deepens the divide of this country. You may think that Ann Coulter and Ben Shapiro’s ideas are outlandish — but nearly half the country agrees with these people. By refusing to listen to their thoughts and ideas, you are effectively refusing to understand how the other half of this country thinks.

Yet this suppression of free speech is not just limited to college kids on liberal campuses — conservatives are just as guilty as liberals at silencing those they disagree with. Many conservatives seem to genuinely believe that American liberalism is a sort of disease. They believe that liberalism is an ideology whose sole purpose is to hurt hard-working Americans and benefit those who contribute nothing to society (think welfare recipients, college students and the unemployed). Because of this mentality, they too refuse to allow liberals to speak their mind.

As a moderate, I tend to see both sides of the argument. And as someone who personally knows a great deal of liberals and conservatives, I know for a fact that their hatred of one another is driven by their unwillingness to respect the other’s right to speak freely. Each side refuses to truly listen and understand the other side — and as a result, misinformation is spread and people get very, very angry. A fellow student in one of my classes once stated that people who are pro-life want to punish a woman for having sex; a conservative once tried to convince me that liberals want to let Muslims enter the country so that they can establish Sharia law. These utterly ridiculous, offensive and wrong claims are the product of a repression of a free and open dialogue. If civility is to return to our civic discourse, then freedom of speech — and the willingness to actually listen to others’ ideas — must reign as the core of our nation’s principles.

Michael Glanzel is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at mglanzel@cornellsun.com. Cornell Shrugged appears alternate Mondays this semester. 

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

A Handful of Tech Companies Decide Who Has Free Speech Online. That’s Not Good.

Conservatives and others outside the Silicon Valley consensus are right to be paranoid.  On August 18, statistics professor and researcher Salil Mehta discovered his Google account had been shut down. Not only did he lose access to his email, but his popular blog Statistical Ideas was inaccessible — right after The New York Times had linked to it, directing a stream of readers his way. Google’s automated message told Mehta that he had violated the Terms of Service, but didn’t specify how and offered little recourse.  Insert:  The tech giants do not have to provide any reasons for shutting you down whether related to free speech or not.

A Handful of Tech Companies Decide Who Has Free Speech Online. That's Not Good.

Too Easy?

The incident came soon after Google fired software engineer James Damore for his outspoken views on diversity in the tech industry. In the tense atmosphere, Mehta assumed that writing he had done about electoral politics was the cause. “Apparently if you show [p]robability work like Hillary having lower election odds, then this is new definition of hate speech,” he tweeted in frustration. Mehta’s plight went semi-viral after Ricardo Blanco, a Tesla communications manager and himself a former Google executive, signal-boosted Mehta’s complaint, as did bombastic economics author Nicholas Nassim Taleb.

Like Damore, who saw himself as merely presenting scientific data showing differences between populations, Mehta did not think of himself as an ideological bomb-thrower. He told ZeroHedge, “I am not promoting any specific viewpoint. I teach probability math and that’s it.”

Mehta was lucky. The public outcry and press attention prompted Google to manually review his case. A Google spokesperson told Inc. that Mehta mistakenly marked some of his own email as spam, which confused the algorithm and triggered the shutdown. By August 21, the account had been fully restored.

It could have turned out differently. Without his impressive credentials and far-reaching network, Mehta never would have found out why his Google account was shut down. He wouldn’t have been able to access his correspondence or restore his blog, which he says has been read by the likes of Elon Musk and Warren Buffett.

After regaining access to his blog, Mehta published an out-of-character post. Instead of talking about math, Mehta discussed the societal danger posed by artificial intelligence. He pointed out that algorithms constructed by ideologically homogenous groups will reflect that homogeneity — an argument that is common among technology critics and activists of all political persuasions.

“Risk-taking off the backs of billions of citizens, an increasingly unstable segment of whom are fuming at the moment,” Mehta called the practice.

Mehta’s experience with Google illustrates just how little some of us trust our digital gatekeepers. Anyone who is right of center — or otherwise holds views that don’t jibe with the dominant Silicon Valley paradigm — can’t help but feel antsy in 2017. This anxiety exploded into public view last year after Facebook was rumored to be suppressing conservative articles in its “Trending Topics” module. People are worried about being no-platformed; about losing their ability to advocate for themselves and their communities.

“Despite their participatory rhetoric,” media critic John Herrmann wrote in The New York Times, “social platforms are closer to authoritarian spaces than democratic ones.” Users have no ability to vote in new CEOs, and the shareholders who do are more concerned with earnings and dividends than free speech rights. Your whole life could be tied up in an account, and then a fluke mistake could get you banned. There would be nearly nothing you could do about it. Unless you’re prominent enough for the media to care, you’ll be hard-pressed to get human eyes on your case.

Tech companies that offer free consumer products get away with promising very little to their users. Due process is not part of the deal. Platforms like Google and Facebook go through the rigmarole of establishing official policies, but they can break them arbitrarily whenever they want. The backend infrastructure of the internet, made up of hosting companies and DNS registrars, is also governed by what boils down to whim.

Sometimes the affectation is broken. Cloudflare’s CEO Matthew Prince caused a stir when he reversed the company’s policy of content neutrality in order to ax a neo-Nazi site. In a sorry-not-sorry email to Cloudflare staff, Prince wrote, “Literally, I woke up in a bad mood and decided someone shouldn’t be allowed on the internet.”

To his credit, Prince recognized his exercise of power as problematic and attempted to use it as a teachable moment. “Firing a Nazi customer gets you glowing notes from around the world, thanking you for standing up to hate,” he subsequently noted in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. “But a week later, I continue to worry about this power and the potential precedent being set. The reality of today’s internet is that if you are publishing anything even remotely controversial, your site will get cyber-attacked. Without a massive global network similar to Cloudflare’s, it is nearly impossible to withstand the barrage.”

Prince added, “The upshot is that a few private companies have effectively become the gatekeepers to the public square — the blogs and social media that serve as today’s soapboxes and pamphlets. If a handful of tech executives decide to block you from their services, your content effectively can’t be on the internet.”

Conservative writer David French critiqued Prince’s decision in National Review, and came to the same conclusion:

“This was an ominous development for free speech — and not because there is anything at all valuable about The Daily Stormer’s message. It’s an evil site. Its message is vile. Instead, The Daily Stormer’s demise is a reminder that a few major corporations now have far more power than the government to regulate and restrict free speech, and they’re hardly neutral or unbiased actors. They have a point of view, and they’re under immense pressure to use that point of view to influence public debate.”

Everyone is on edge. Even rote decisions made by algorithms — like the one that booted Salil Mehta from his Google account — are easy to interpret as ideology-driven malice. In most cases, users are disenfranchised to the extent that they’ll never find out either way.  Talk about free speech rights being stompled by Big Tech.

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

 

Black-clad anarchists storm Berkeley rally, assaulting 4

Black-clad anarchists on Sunday stormed into what had been a largely peaceful Berkeley protest against hate and attacked at least four people, including the leader of a politically conservative group who canceled an event a day earlier in San Francisco because of fears violence could break out.

Black-clad anarchists storm Berkeley rally, assaulting 4

Demonstrator Joey Gibson, second from left, is chased by anti-fascists during a free speech rally Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in Berkeley, Calif. Several thousand people converged in Berkeley Sunday for a “Rally Against Hate” in response to a planned right-wing protest that raised concerns of violence and triggered a massive police presence. Several people were arrested for violating rules against covering their faces or carrying items banned by authorities.

The group of more than 100 hooded protesters, with shields emblazoned with the words “no hate” and waving a flag identifying themselves as anarchist , busted through police lines, avoiding security checks by officers to take away possible weapons. Then the anarchists and blended in with a crowd of 2,000 largely peaceful protesters who turned up to demonstrate in a “Rally Against Hate” opposed to a much smaller gathering of right-wing protesters.

Among those assaulted by the anarchists was Joey Gibson, the leader of the Patriot Prayer group, who canceled a rally Friday and was prevented from holding a news conference on Saturday when authorities closed off the public square Gibson planned to use. Gibson has said he launched Patriot Prayer after several supporters of President Donald Trump were beaten at a Trump campaign stop in San Jose, California last year.

After the anarchists spotted Gibson at the Berkeley park, they pepper-sprayed him and chased him out of it as he backed away with his hands held in the air, accompanied by a masked man wearing football shoulder pads. Gibson and the man went behind a line of police wearing riot gear, who set off a smoke bomb to drive away the anarchists.

Earlier in the day, another group of left-wing demonstrators dressed in black attacked at least three men in the park, kicking and punching them until the assaults were stopped by police. Police also used a smoke grenade to stop one scuffle.

Police in the San Francisco area have been braced for violence and trying to prevent protests that draw left-wing and right-wing opponents since the deadly confrontation in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12 during a rally of white supremacists.

Berkeley authorities did not issue a permit Sunday’s gathering of right-wing protesters and Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin had urged counter-protesters to stay away.

It had been canceled by organizer Amber Cummings, who encouraged supporters to stay away but said she would attend on her own.

By mid-afternoon Cummings had not appeared and left-wing protesters far outnumbered right-wing supporters.

Earlier in the day, police had set up barricades around park and checked people who entered to make sure they did not have prohibited items like baseball bats, dogs, skateboards and scarves or bandanas they could use to cover their faces.

Several people were arrested for violating rules against covering their faces or carrying items banned by authorities.

At one point, an anti-rally protester denounced a Latino man holding a “God Bless Donald Trump” sign.

“You are an immigrant,” said Karla Fonseca. “You should be ashamed of yourself.”

Several other people also yelled at the man, who said he was born in Mexico but supports Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the southern border.

Police pulled one supporter of President Donald Trump out of the park over a wall by his shirt as a crowd of about two dozen counter demonstrators surrounded him and chanted “Nazi go home” and pushed him toward the edge of the park. At least two people were detained by officers for wearing bandannas covering their faces.

Anti-rally protesters chanted slogans “No Trump. No KKK. No fascist USA” and carried signs that said: “Berkeley Stands United Against Hate.”

A separate group of counter protesters had assembled earlier Sunday at the nearby University of California, Berkeley campus and then marched park to merge with the anti-rally protesters who had already gathered there.

Both Cummings and Gibson have disavowed racism and say they wanted to hold the rallies to bring conservative voices to the liberal San Francisco Bay Area.

Student activism was born during the 1960s free-speech movement at Berkeley, when thousands of students at the university mobilized to demand that the school drop its ban on political activism.

However, the violence in Charlottesville led San Francisco area police and civil leaders to rethink their response to protests.

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

No, It’s Not The Onion: Pregnancy Center Attacked For Candle That ‘Smells Like A Baby’

That’s right, ‘Candlegate’ is upon us. Run for your lives.

In an apparent attempt to cash in all remaining credibility, pro-abortion warriors are reporting breathlessly on what may be the most absurdly non-newsworthy story of the week: a Facebook post about candles. That’s right, “Candlegate” is upon us. Run for your lives.

Credit—or blame—for “breaking” this “news” goes to Broadly, which ran a story on its website Tuesday claiming that Stanton Healthcare’s Belfast, Ireland location was in “hot water” for posting a picture of baby powder-scented Yankee Candles to its Facebook page.

No, It’s Not The Onion: Pregnancy Center Attacked For Candle That ‘Smells Like A Baby’

Quite unassumingly, the post read, “Stanton Healthcare would recommend to all crisis pregnancy centre’s the new baby powder yankee candle. It just smells like a new born baby. #lovelife #lovebabies #protectthemboth #loveyankeecandles”

Shocked that a pregnancy center that serves—well—pregnant women, would dare light a candle that smelled like a baby and then have the nerve to encourage others to do likewise, Broadly was able to connect with The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), a pro-abortion group that has made a habit of demonizing Stanton Healthcare and other alternatives to abortion in Ireland.

Naturally, BPAS was outraged.

“Not only is this a rather cruel attempt to manipulate women who may be in incredibly desperate circumstances, it is also profoundly patronizing,” BPAS spokesperson Katherine O’Brien told Broadly. “The majority of women who have an abortion are already mothers—they know perfectly well how a newborn baby smells, and the idea that any woman could be convinced to have a child by the mere presence of a scented candle is just insulting.”

Sending Faux-Journalists To Their Fainting Couches

Of course, no sane reading of the Facebook post even remotely allows for the idea that the candles will somehow magically “manipulate” a woman into choosing life, but O’Brien’s statement is also patently false on another, far deeper level: every pregnant woman, not just “the majority” who resort to abortion, is already a mother. That’s what pregnancy is. That this escapes the attention of a woman speaking for a so-called “pregnancy advisory” group is just as telling as the tortured rendering of the Facebook post itself.

Within just 10 minutes of Broadly’s initial coverage, “Candlegate” was in full swing, sending reporters at Romper and Revelist and Teen Vogue to their respective fainting couches—quite the feat in the case of the latter outlet, which is making a name for itself by encouraging teens to engage in anal sex and bring vibrators to school in the past month alone.

The feigned outrage even drew an official statement from Yankee Candle, distancing itself from Stanton Healthcare, lest faux-journalists get the wrong impression via a Facebook post featuring one of their products.

“Yankee Candle is not affiliated with Stanton Healthcare Belfast. We are currently addressing the issue,” the company told Broadly. Brandi Swindell, who founded Stanton Healthcare in 2006, said her team had yet to hear directly from Yankee Candle as of Wednesday afternoon.

“It’s probably conservative grandmothers and pro-life pregnancy centers who buy most of their candles,” Swindell laughed. “If we weren’t dealing with abortion here, this would be one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard.”

‘Women Get The Quality Health Care They Deserve’

With its sights set on replacing Planned Parenthood as the go-to provider of women’s health, Stanton Healthcare has two locations Idaho—in Boise and Meridian—as well as Belfast. The organization is named after suffragette Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who, like her contemporaries including Susan B. Anthony, opposed abortion and referred to it as “child murder.”

Stanton Healthcare’s Belfast location—the group’s first non-U.S. site—has been a lightning rod of controversy in recent years, as abortion promoters have fought to legalize the lethal procedure in Ireland. Abortion is currently illegal under the Eighth Amendment of Ireland’s constitution, which recognizes the equal right to life for both mothers and unborn children. Abortion activists have engaged in a pitched battle to overturn the law for the past three years.

Stanton Healthcare’s Belfast location and other pro-life centers in the nation have been accused of lying to women as part of the campaign, which has enlisted the likes of film star Liam Neeson and late-night comic James Corden.

“We have it bad enough in America, but Europe has become so secular, and the battle that they face in Belfast is just so snarky, but they’ve done a great job of dealing with that,” Swindell said. “The Belfast center is beautiful and it’s professional, and it’s truly helping women. It’s the exact model and approach we want, where women get the quality healthcare they deserve.”

Not Even Candles Are Safe

Stateside, Stanton Healthcare is fighting a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood, which complained that Stanton’s mobile medical unit was serving women in a parking lot shared by both organizations.

The latest kerfuffle, Stanton said, is a perfect indicator of just how motivated and unhinged the abortion lobby is becoming. It also provides those who identify themselves as pro-choice to get a glimpse into the revved-up mindset of abortion absolutists.

“It shows that they really don’t care about women,” Swindell said. “When they’re willing to stoop to the level of diminishing our work because of a candle, it shows they’ll stop at nothing to fight the work of pregnancy care centers and life-affirming women’s medical clinics—not because they care about women, but because they truly hate us and they can’t stand any other options or choice for women other than abortion.”

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

Why Even Nazis Deserve Free Speech

The First Amendment is under threat—and you should be worried.  The events in Charlottesville last weekend have provoked understandable fear and outrage. Potential sites for future “alt-right” rallies are on edge. Texas A&M University, the University of Florida and Michigan State University have all decided to cancel or deny prospective events by white nationalist Richard Spencer. All cited safety concerns. All raise serious First Amendment free speech issues.

Why Even Nazis Deserve Free Speech

Even though we’ve been called “free speech absolutists”—sometimes, but not always, as a compliment—we will not pretend that Spencer’s speaking cancellations make for a slam-dunk First Amendment lawsuit. Yes, hateful, bigoted and racist speech is fundamentally protected under the First Amendment, as it should be. However, if we’re honest about the law, we have to recognize that Spencer faces tough—though not insurmountable—legal challenges.

First, he is not a student at any of the aforementioned universities and was not invited to the campuses by students or faculty. He was seeking space on campus that is available to the general public to rent out. In at least some cases, courts have found that public colleges have a somewhat freer hand to regulate the speech of non-students on campus who are not invited by students or faculty.

Second, although a general, unsubstantiated fear of violence is not enough to justify cancelling an approved speaking event, recent violence in Charlottesville and the fact that one of the organizers of the Texas A&M rally used the promotional tagline “TODAY CHARLOTTESVILLE TOMORROW TEXAS A&M” make security concerns more concrete, at least in the short term. The more concrete the security concerns are, the easier it is to justify the cancellation or denials.

Third, as David Frum, Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern point out, judges might decide cases differently when protesters are liable to show up brandishing guns, as happened in Charlottesville. Bad facts make bad law, so the saying goes. The general legal standard now is that if a public college opens itself up to outside speakers, it cannot engage in viewpoint discrimination. Most cases of prior restraint censorship will fail in court under this standard. But in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy in Charlottesville, judges may look differently at these facts.

And that should trouble us: If a court decides in favor of the prior restraints, it could set a precedent that would do considerable harm to the free speech rights of speakers, students and faculty far beyond Spencer.

But what happens in a court of law is one thing. What happens in the court of public opinion is perhaps more important. As the famous jurist Learned Hand once said, “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.”

And, unfortunately, there is evidence that freedom of speech needs a pacemaker.

If your social media newsfeed doesn’t provide ample anecdotal evidence that free speech is suffering a public relations crisis, look to the polling: A recent Knight Foundation study found that fewer than 50 percent of high school students think that people should be free to say things that are offensive to others.

The New York Times opinion page, for its part, has run three columns since April questioning the value of free speech for all, the most recent imploring the ACLU to “rethink free speech”—the same ACLU that at the height of Nazism, Communism and Jim Crow in 1940 released a leaflet entitled, “Why we defend civil liberty even for Nazis, Fascists and Communists.” The ACLU of Virginia carried on this honorable tradition of viewpoint-neutral free speech defense in the days before the Charlottesville protests. However, the Wall Street Journal reported this week that the ACLU “will no longer defend hate groups seeking to march with firearms.”

And how is the birthplace of the 1960s free speech movement faring? In the wake of the riots that shut down alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos’ speech at the University of California, Berkeley on February 1, multiple students and alumni wrote that the violence and destruction of the Antifa protests were a form of “self-defense” against the “violence” of Yiannopoulos’ speech. Watching videos of the protest, it is fortunate nobody was killed.

What’s to account for this shift? One of our theories is that this generation of students comprises the children of students who went to college during the first great age of campus speech codes that spanned from the late 1980s through the early 90s. This is when colleges and universities first began writing over-broad and vague policies to regulate allegedly racist and sexist speech. Although that movement failed in the court of law, these codes have stubbornly persisted, and the view that freedom of speech is the last refuge of the “three Bs”—the bully, the bigot and the robber baron—found a home in classrooms.

When we speak on college campuses, our explanations of the critical role the First Amendment played in ensuring the success of the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement and the gay rights movement are often met with blank stares. At a speech at Brown University, in fact, a student laughed when Greg pointed out that Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall was a steadfast defender of freedom of speech––as if it were impossible for a black icon of the civil rights movement to be a free-speech champion.

However, we don’t fault students for holding these opinions. The idea of free speech is an eternally radical and counterintuitive one that requires constant education about its principles. Censorship has been the rule for most of human history. True freedom of speech is a relatively recent phenomenon. It perhaps reached its high point in the United States in the second half of the 20th century.

Most Americans claim that they venerate free speech in principle. So do most world leaders. Even censorial dictators like Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan sometimes feign support for it. Despite this, it’s common for people to have their exceptions in practice: their “I believe in free speech, but …” responses. But even the “free speech, but …” responses seem to be falling out of favor. In the last few years—and especially after Charlottesville—we have observed increasing squeamishness about free speech, and not just in practice; also in principle.

So how do we respond to the calls for censorship after Charlottesville?

For most of our careers, the charge “what if the Nazis came to town?” has been posed as a hypothetical retort to free speech defenses. (Godwin’s law extends to free speech debates, too.) But the hypothetical is no longer a hypothetical: In Charlottesville, neo-Nazis carried swastikas through the streets and revived the Hitler salute.

If you were to listen to scholars like Richard Delgado, the response should be to pass laws, to put people in jail, to do whatever it takes to stop the Nazi contagion from spreading. It’s a popular argument in Europe and in legal scholarship, but not in American courts.

There are a few problems with this response that free speech advocates have long recognized. For one, it doesn’t necessarily work; since the passage of Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism laws in Europe, rates of anti-Semitism remain higher than in the U.S., where no such laws exist. In fact, the Anti-Defamation League found that rates of anti-Semitism have gone down in America since it first began measuring anti-Semitic attitudes in 1964.

What’s more, in the 1920s and 30s, Nazis did go to jail for anti-Semitic expression, and when they were released, they were celebrated as martyrs. When Bavarian authorities banned speeches by Hitler in 1925, for example, the Nazis exploited it. As former ACLU Executive Director Aryeh Neier explains in his book Defending My Enemy, the Nazi party protested the ban by distributing a picture of Hitler gagged with the caption, “One alone of 2,000 million people of the world is forbidden to speak in Germany.” The ban backfired and became a publicity coup. It was soon lifted.

We cannot forget, too, that laws have to be enforced by people. In the 1920s and early 30s, such laws would have placed the power to censor in the hands of a population that voted in large numbers for Nazis. And after 1933, such laws would have placed that power to censor in the hands of Hitler himself. Consider how such power might be used by the politician you most distrust. Consider how it is currently being used by Vladimir Putin in Russia.

What does history suggest as the best course of action to win the benefits of an open society while stemming the tide of authoritarians of any stripe? It tells us to have a high tolerance for differing opinions, and no tolerance for political violence. What distinguishes liberal societies from illiberal ones is that liberal societies use words, not violence or censorship to settle disputes. As Neier, a Holocaust survivor, concluded in his book, “The lesson of Germany in the 1920s is that a free society cannot be established and maintained if it will not act vigorously and forcefully to punish political violence.”

But we should not be so myopic about the value of freedom of speech. It is not just a practical, peaceful alternative to violence. It does much more than that: It helps us understand many crucial, mundane and sometimes troubling truths. Simply put, it helps us understand what people actually think—not “even if” it is troubling, but especially when it is troubling.

As Edward Luce points out in his excellent new short book The Retreat of Western Liberalism, there are real consequences to ignoring or wishing away the views that are held by real people, even if elites believe that those views are nasty or wrongheaded. Gay marriage champion and author Jonathan Rauch reminds us that in the same way that breaking a thermometer doesn’t change the temperature, censoring ideas doesn’t make them go away—it only makes us ignorant of their existence.

So what do we do about white supremacists? Draw a strong distinction between expression and violence: punish violence, but protect even speakers we find odious. Let them reveal themselves.

As Harvey Silverglate, a co-founder of our organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, says, it’s important to know who the Nazis are in the room.

Why?

Because we need to know not to turn our backs to them.

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

Free speech does not incite violence

The First Amendment is probably the most quoted and one of the most important amendments to many Americans. It includes freedom of religion, freedom of free assembly and freedom of speech (free speech). Unfortunately, we are discovering that a few people in this nation think that freedom of assembly and freedom of speech includes inciting actions of hate and violence.

Free speech does not incite violenceThe Daily Journal, Fergus Falls, Minnesota, under no circumstance, believes that with free speech comes violence. As a community newspaper, we hold the freedom of speech close and regard it with the utmost respect. Just this past Monday, along with over 200 Minnesota newspapers, The Daily Journal printed a blank front page. Without our readers and the content they provide us to cover, we wouldn’t have a paper. Without the freedom of speech, we would not be able to feature the stories that inform, influence and touch our audience.

Having the freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and freedom of press allow us to stand up for what we believe is right, keep ourselves informed and provides a check and balance for those who are in power. One great benefit of the First Amendment is that it allows for a marketplace of ideas, beliefs and values. It diversifies our cultures and our politics. It is when individuals take the privileges of the First Amendment beyond its definition and twist it’s meaning that people believe free speech; freedom of assembly justifies violent acts.

A strong community can be built upon various opinions, ideas and values. We do not believe that the differences found in each other should be grounds to use that speech to discriminate, demean or intentionally harm others. Protest for a change in your government or community, counter protest and send letter to the editors. But don’t vandalize, don’t maim or hurt one another.

The Daily Journal is proud and grateful for the community it serves. We hope that any other communities, who find themselves affected by those who believe violence and hatred is the answer, will find the strength and perseverance to stand in the face of that violence and let their voices and actions ring out for justice and respect.

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

Illinois’ abortion notification law harms free speech

Few issues evoke stronger feelings or more basic divisions than abortion. Those who think it should be legal regard it as part of women’s basic autonomy and liberty. Those who think it should be outlawed in all or some cases see it as the deliberate and unwarranted taking of a human life. Forty-four years after the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision, the two sides remain as opposed as ever.

Illinois' abortion notification law harms free speechThe right to abortion, as the court ruled then, is protected by the constitutional right of privacy. But that leaves other questions unanswered. The one posed by an Illinois law is: To what extent can medical professionals who are morally opposed to the procedure be forced to facilitate it?

A state law passed in 1977 provides broad coverage for rights of conscience. It says no doctors or nurses may be required to “perform, assist, counsel, suggest, recommend, refer or participate in any way” in any procedure that violates their moral convictions. But last year, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill mandating that any medical professional who declines to provide abortion must, on request, give the patient a referral or information on where to get an abortion.

A group of medical clinics and professionals challenged the law in court, arguing that providing the required information would make them complicit in what they see as destroying human life. And last month, a federal court ruled in their favor.

One essential component of freedom of speech is the freedom not to speak. In 1943, the Supreme Court ruled that public school students could not be forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. In 1977, it said the state of New Hampshire could not require motorists to display its “Live Free or Die” motto on their license plates. The First Amendment, it said in that case, protects the right of all people “to refuse to foster … an idea they find morally objectionable.”

Judge Frederick Kapala found that the Illinois law likewise infringes on the right of medical professionals who object to abortion — “by compelling them to tell their patients that abortion is a legal treatment option, which has benefits” and “to give their patients the identifying information of providers who will perform an abortion.” The judge blocked enforcement of the law.

We think the court got it right. And the decision is one abortion-rights advocates should approve, if only because the principle upheld here protects them. That’s clear from a 2014 federal appeals court decision invalidating a North Carolina law requiring abortion providers to show each patient ultrasound fetal images and deliver a message meant to discourage her from having an abortion.

“While the state itself may promote through various means childbirth over abortion,” the court said, “it may not coerce doctors into voicing that message on behalf of the state in the particular manner and setting attempted here.” The Supreme Court let the ruling stand.

In either instance, the state is free to use its own resources and outlets to convey the information it thinks patients should have. But it can’t make private individuals do that job. Government-compelled speech is a bad idea — no matter which side is being compelled.

Source:  ChicagoTribune.

The New York Times Is Okay With Sexism So Long As The Target Is Sarah Huckabee Sanders of the Trump White House

Women in Trump’s White House are criticized not just for what they say or do, but also for what they wear, although the media used to tell us this was sexist.

The New York Times Is Okay With Sexism So Long As The Target Is Sarah Huckabee Sanders of the Trump White House

 

Do you recall that time the New York Times wrote a fashion takedown of one of President Obama’s Press Secretaries? Yeah, me either. But they just did it this week to Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The discrepancy may, of course, have something to do with the fact that President Obama never had a female Press Secretary. The media paid little mind to what it was like to be a woman in the Obama White House (though they were paid less than their male counterparts).

But now, women in the Trump White House are criticized not just for what they may say or do, but also, for what they wear—all in the name of taking down a sexist President. The ends justify the means, it seems.

Trump Has Problems In His Past—But So Do Democrats

With the nomination and election of President Donald Trump, we’ve been warned that Gilead is coming to America and soon, all American women will in chains. It was Trump’s misogyny that made it impossible for women to vote for him, or so his opponents thought (including myself).

This is not to say Trump doesn’t have a woman problem; one of the most powerful ads during the general election was about his many, many disgusting remarks about women.

What puts a bee in the bonnet of conservative women, however, that how the Left isn’t much better on the issue. It’s not easy to convince women to vote against a man based on his feminist record, when his opponent’s husband has a track record as checkered as Bill Clinton’s—or when the opponent herself was culpable in his sexual escapades. With every assault on Trump’s history with women, Trump countered with volleys about Bill Clinton’s. It proved effective in disarming at least some of the “women solidarity” ploys from the Clinton campaign.

One of the Trump campaign’s talking points, in its efforts to counter his past misogynistic statements, was to point out the many women Trump employed throughout his career in real estate, giving them high-standing positions his competitors did not. In his political life both on the campaign trail and in the White House, Trump is continuing this pattern. Sanders is just the third female Press Secretary and the first mother to fill the position, and Kellyanne Conway broke new ground for women in campaigns.

The NYT Piece On Sarah Huckabee-Sanders Is Unfair

The Left’s response to both Sanders and Conway shows their true colors on feminism and misogyny. They don’t like Trump, they say, because he has made problematic statements about women. They would have just a bit more credibility on that front if Ted Kennedy (who played not such a small role in the actual death of an actual woman) and Bill Clinton were not as lionized as they are.

No, they are in opposition to Trump because he has been deemed The Enemy. Thus, any and every tactic to attack him is on the table—even using sexist arguments against the women in his employ.

While there is a newsworthy angle to Sanders’ fashion choices and how they reflect the culture within the White House, the Times couldn’t resist getting catty. It’s clear that analyzing Sanders’ fashion wasn’t just an effort to analyze how the Trump White House operates—it presented another opportunity to delegitimize and mock it.

The Times quoted others publications characterizing Sanders’ style as “field hockey mom,” “substitute teacher,” and “a real-world figure dressing on a budget.” The Times even went to the effort of pointing out Trump’s issues with women in the beginning of the piece, before criticizing Sanders for dressing too femininely without making an effort to also look sexy.

It means stack-heel beige pumps and a ubiquitous single strand of pearls. It means that, thus far, the cardigans and printed dresses that had become a signifier for her doppelgänger on “S.N.L.” have disappeared, replaced by a series of almost identical knee-length, round-neck dresses in colors like red, green, black and fuchsia. It meant, during her Tuesday briefing, prom-queen-like shoulder ruffles. It has not meant, thus far, suits or jackets.

The Times went on to say about Sanders’ style: “The net effect is femininity that hasn’t been stiletto-weaponized or armored up as much as turned into an access point: No matter her words, they are framed by a style steeped in cheerful Hallmark history.”

Apparently, Only Democrats Can Shirk the Pant Suit – White House is Front and Center

On Capitol Hill in the age of Nancy Pelosi, suits and jackets were a requirement of both sexes in order to maintain a professional environment. Later, under the control of Republicans Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, Democratic lawmakers made a hullabaloo of shaking off these dress codes in favor of dressing however they wanted. Women shirking suits and jackets is an expression of feminism when Democratic women on the Hill choose to do so, but seemingly unprofessional—according to the Times—when Sanders does the same in the Trump White House.

There was a time once when the Times called out the sexist political commentary that women in the Trump orbit, like Kellyanne Conway, had been subjected to. Six months into a Trump White House, it appears sexism is once again an appropriate weapon to battle Trump and the women who have committed the offense of working for him.

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

Meet The Man, Gordon Hartman, Who Built A $51 Million Theme Park For His Special-NeedsDaughter

A Texas dad wanted to take his daughter, who has special needs, somewhere she could feel included while having fun. When Gordon Hartman realized a place like that didn’t exist, he decided to build an amusement park for her in San Antonio, Texas.

Meet The Man, Gordon Hartman, Who Built A $51 Million Theme Park For His Special-Needs Daughter

Gordon Hartman

Gordon recounts watching his then-12-year-old daughter, Morgan, who is on the autism spectrum, try to play with a group of children who were swimming in a hotel pool where they were vacationing. But the kids ran away from her, likely because they didn’t know how to interact with someone with special needs.

The interaction broke Gordon’s heart and later inspired him to sell his homebuilding business to set up a nonprofit, The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation, which provides grants and sponsorships to local charities that serve the special-needs community.

He then worked with a team of doctors, engineers, and special needs experts to create Morgan’s Wonderland, a theme park tailored to accommodate visitors with special needs. More than one million people have visited the $34 million park since its opening in 2010. Last month, Gordon opened an adjacent waterpark, Morgan’s Inspiration Island, to the tune of $17 million.

“When [Morgan] comes here she’s a rock star! Lots of people want to talk to her and take her picture, she’s very good with it,” Hartman told BBC.”Morgan knows the park is named after her, but I don’t think she understands the magnitude of what it represents and how it’s changed lives.”

To make the park financially accessible for visitors, admission for individuals with disabilities is free. Tickets for adults and children older than 2 range from $11-$27. Gordon keeps admission prices low even though it means losing about $1 million per year. The park relies on donations to stay afloat.

Morgan’s Inspirational Island is the first handicap-accessible waterpark in the world. The park provides waterproof wheelchairs that run on compressed air for all visitors who need it and many of the attractions feature warm water to soothe pain or calm kids down.

About three-quarters of the park’s visitors do not have special needs, a ratio he says has the intended effect.

“I saw one girl in a wheelchair go up to another girl without special needs, and they began playing together — that was really cool,” Gordon told BBC News. “It helps people realize that though we are different in some ways, actually we are all the same.”

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