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Tag Archives: First Amendment


Is online free speech under attack?

By Rudy Takala     •     Washington Examiner

Internet World Wide WebRegulators in Washington are showing increasing interest in tightening rules on political speech on the web, arguing that the dissonant voices enabled by “new media” have become too influential. If that effort is successful, experts wonder whether it could impact more traditional media as well, especially in how it relates to conservatives.

“The best example we can give is going back a few years to when the [Federal Communications Commission] was looking at trying to silence talk radio, which was obviously a realm of conservatism,” said Drew Johnson, executive director of the nonprofit group “Protect Internet Freedom.” He was referring to the agency’s “Fairness Doctrine,” which required broadcasters to grant equal time to opposing political candidates.

Democrats on the Federal Election Commission demonstrated a similar regulatory ambition in February, when they voted unsuccessfully to apply campaign finance laws, which are traditionally intended to govern paid political advertisements, to unpaid political accounts on Twitter. Continue reading


Safe From “Safe Spaces”

On the rare good sense of a college administrator.

The New Criterion

Rendered-helpless-by-microaggression-cartoonThe Ohio state legislature ought to give the Ohio State University President Michael Drake some sort of medal or commendation.

We’ll come back to the admirable President Drake below. First, the story thus far. For the last six months, since the disruptive and pitiable nonsense at the University of Missouri and Yale made headlines nationwide, university administrators have been in full-cringe mode. Students across the country, seeing what pushovers the administrators at Yale and Mizzou were, have tied themselves into squalid little knots of needy and petulant resentment. At Yale, a posse of students showed up at President Peter Salovey’s house at midnight to present him with a list of demands, including the demand for “a University where we feel safe.” President Salovey, though acknowledging that the students had appeared “somewhat late” on his doorstep, professed himself “deeply disturbed” by the “distress” they felt and promised that he would “seriously” review their new demands.

He certainly did that. Among many other accommodations, he promised to distribute $50 million to the congeries of ethnic, racial, and sexual pseudo-disciplines that provide holding pens for the exotic populations with which contemporary universities assuage their guilty consciences. Continue reading


University President Defies Trend, Defends Intellectual Diversity

In an open letter to faculty, George Mason University president resists descent into grievance culture.

By Alice B Lloyd     •     Weekly Standard

In the May 9th issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD, the Scrapbook reports a particularly shameful episode of campus outrage. Recently, at George Mason University, thuggish puritanical progressivism apotheosized in a meeting of the university’s faculty senate and a vote to disapprove of naming the law school for the late Justice Scalia. “Thus continues the closing of the campus mind,” the Scrapbook wrote.

But in an open letter on Friday April 29, GMU president Angel Cabrera responded to his faculty. He defended the future Antonin Scalia Law School and commended his dean’s fundraising prowess, bucking the New York Times’ front page “exposé” of major donors’ alleged undue influence. More importantly, though, he came out on the side of education:

“…We must ensure that George Mason University remains an example of diversity of thought, a place where multiple perspectives can be dissected, confronted, and debated for the benefit and progress of society at large. Rejecting a major naming gift in honor of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice on the basis that some of us disagree with some of his opinions would be inconsistent with our values of diversity and freedom of thought.”

Read the full letter.

 


Dear attorneys general, conspiring against free speech is a crime

by Glenn Harlan Reynolds     •     USAToday

Free speechFederal law makes it a felony “for two or more persons to agree together to injure, threaten, or intimidate a person in any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the Unites States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same).”

I wonder if U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker, or California Attorney General Kamala Harris, or New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have read this federal statute. Because what they’re doing looks like a concerted scheme to restrict the First Amendment free speech rights of people they don’t agree with. They should look up 18 U.S.C. Sec. 241, I am sure they each have it somewhere in their offices.

Here’s what’s happened so far. First, Schneiderman and reportedly Harris sought to investigate Exxon in part for making donations to groups and funding research by individuals who think “climate change” is either a hoax, or not a problem to the extent that people like Harris and Schneiderman say it is. Continue reading


The College That Wants to Ban ‘History’

by Robby Soave     •     The Daily Beast

Rendered-helpless-by-microaggression-cartoonThe history department might someday become the hxstory department, if the students in the Assembly for Power and Liberation have their way.

Students at Western Washington University have reached a turning point in their campus’s hxstory. (For one thing, they’re now spelling it with an X—more on that later.) Activists are demanding the creation of a new college dedicated to social justice activism, a student committee to police offensive speech, and culturally segregated living arrangements at the school, which is in Bellingham, up in the very northwest corner of the state.

Students have the right to push for robust changes to campus conditions, of course. But if administrators care about free speech at all, they will ignore these calls to create an almost cartoonishly autocratic liberal thought police on campus. Continue reading


State College Bans Lecture Because It’s “Damaging to Students’ Mental Health”

by Breitbart News

Rendered-helpless-by-microaggression-cartoonOn Monday evening, just three days before Breitbart News Senior Editor-At-Large was scheduled to give his speech at California State University Los Angeles (CSULA) titled “When Diversity Becomes a Problem,” the president of the university officially cancelled the lecture, citing the need to organize a more “inclusive event.”

In an email to the Young America’s Foundation chapter at CSULA, university president William Covino wrote, “After careful consideration, I have decided that it will be best for our campus community if we reschedule Ben Shapiro’s appearance for a later date, so that we can arrange for him to appear as part of a group of speakers with differing viewpoints on diversity. Such an event will better represent our university’s dedication to the free exchange of ideas and the value of considering multiple viewpoints.” Continue reading


Desperately seeking a college that’s free of ‘safe spaces’

By Brooke A. Rogers     •     New York Post

screw_political_correctness_When I began looking for a university to finish out a degree I started in 2012, my set of standards could be summed up by the bullet points in the average college brochure: strong programs, experienced faculty, vibrant campus life, etc.

But by the end of last year, as well-documented sit-ins and protests began popping up in the news weekly, my criteria began to change to include other stipulations, such as: “doesn’t suppress freedom of speech” and “doesn’t treat its students like children.”

Which narrowed my choices considerably.

I don’t remember exactly when I began second-guessing my decision to go back to college, but the extent of the backlash against dissent on campus caused me to wonder whether college was still the enlightening experience I was hoping for. Students were raising hell over maracas on posters at Quinnipiac University and “appropriated” cafeteria food at Oberlin (the mecca of overreacting). Continue reading


The Regrettable Decline of Higher Learning

by Victor Davis Hanson     •     RealClearPolitics

Rendered-helpless-by-microaggression-cartoonWhat do campus microaggressions, safe spaces, trigger warnings, speech codes and censorship have to do with higher learning?

American universities want it both ways. They expect unquestioned subsidized support from the public, but also to operate in a way impossible for anyone else.

Colleges still wear the ancient clothes of higher learning. Latin mottos, caps and gowns, ivy-covered spires and high talk of liberal education reflect a hallowed intellectual tradition.

In fact, today’s campuses mimic ideological boot camps. Tenured professors seek to indoctrinate young people in certain preconceived progressive political agendas. Environmental studies classes are not very open to debating the “settled science” of man-caused, carbon-induced global warming — or the need for immediate and massive government intervention to address it. Grade-conscious and indebted students make the necessary ideological adjustments. Continue reading


10 Tips to Survive Today’s College Campus, or: Everything You Need to Know About College Microaggressions

By Larry Elder     •     RealClearPolitics

Rendered-helpless-by-microaggression-cartoonWhen students protesting “microaggressions” took over an administrative building at Occidental College in California, they issued 14 demands. The school agreed to all except the first, which required the firing of its president. Similar protests took place concurrently at other colleges nationwide.

Occidental’s five-day takeover was organized by Oxy United for Black Liberation, led by members of Oxy’s Black Student Alliance (BSA) and Coalition at Oxy for Diversity and Equity (CODE). Occidental says the demands they agreed to meet were:

“Promotion of the new chief diversity officer (CDO) position to vice president level.

“Increase budget of the CDO office by 50 percent.

“Allocate $60,000 to Diversity and Equity Board (DEB) to fund programming and provide resources for black and other marginalized students. Continue reading


Closed Minds on Campus

Today’s student protesters start with valuable observations, writes John H. McWhorter, but then they drift into a mistaken idea of what a university—and even a society—should be

by John H. McWhorter     •     Wall Street Journal

From the aggrieved pitch of recent student protests against racism, the naive observer might be surprised that we are now 50 years past the 1960s. Today’s protesters have not endured the open hostility and dismissal that James Meredith did as the first African-American student at Ole Miss in 1962, when white students turned their backs on him in the cafeteria and bounced a basketball in the room over his at all hours of the night. As a black college student in the early 1980s, my experience felt different enough from his that it never occurred to me to characterize my school, Rutgers University, as a “racist campus.”

Of course, it was part of a racist America, and so I encountered discrimination here and there. The girl at the open-mic night who opened with “What do you call 150 black people at the bottom of the ocean? A good start!” The German teacher who told me I was in the wrong class the second I walked in and openly despised me for the rest of the semester. The frat boys yelling “Zebra!” as I passed with a white girl I dated.

But I was too busy with the other 99.7% of my life to really focus on such things—maybe being an introverted geek was part of it? Under the current campus Zeitgeist, I was nevertheless behind the curve. The new idea is that even occasionally stubbing your toe on racism renders a university a grievously “unsafe space” and justifies students calling for the ouster of a lecturer who calls for reasoned discussion (Yale) and even of a dean stepping down in shame for an awkwardly worded email (Claremont McKenna). Continue reading


The Left’s Illogical Logic of Diversity

By Jonah Goldberg     •     National Review

“From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe and Asia . . . could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide.” — Abraham Lincoln

The winning streak enjoyed by campus activists this fall was violently interrupted by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. Some activists were sufficiently annoyed by their ejection from the limelight that they took to Twitter to complain under the hashtag “F***Paris.”

The most obvious irony stemmed from the fact that some of the same protesters who griped about media coverage of their antics — even declaring First Amendment-free zones — suddenly whined when the cameras turned to bloodshed in the heart of Europe. Continue reading


This is Not a Day Care. It’s a University!

by Dr. Everett Piper, President     •     Oklahoma Wesleyan University

Rendered-helpless-by-microaggression-cartoonThis past week, I actually had a student come forward after a university chapel service and complain because he felt “victimized” by a sermon on the topic of 1 Corinthians 13. It appears this young scholar felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love. In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable.

I’m not making this up. Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic. Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims. Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them “feel bad” about themselves, is a “hater,” a “bigot,” an “oppressor,” and a “victimizer.”

I have a message for this young man and all others who care to listen. That feeling of discomfort you have after listening to a sermon is called a conscience. An altar call is supposed to make you feel bad. It is supposed to make you feel guilty. The goal of many a good sermon is to get you to confess your sins—not coddle you in your selfishness. The primary objective of the Church and the Christian faith is your confession, not your self-actualization. Continue reading


Yesterday’s Giants, Today’s Dwarves

The Left’s highly selective application of today’s standards to yesterday’s heroes.

By Victor Davis Hanson     •     National Review

politically correct zipper free speech censorshipThe latest round of condemning the past on the moral criteria of the present started with banning the Confederate flag from public places. Now it is on to airbrushing away progressive old white guy Woodrow Wilson, in Trotskyized fashion, from public commemoration.

But do those on the Left realize that they are rapidly becoming captives to the consequences of their own ideology? Their current effort to rewrite the past is doomed to failure for a variety of reasons.

Left-Wing Hypocrisy

First, this damnation of memory is not a balanced enterprise, but predicated on today’s notions of politics, race, and gender. No one is insisting that the great work of Martin Luther King Jr. be dismissed from the pantheon of American heroism because he was a known plagiarist and often a callous womanizer who did not live up to our current notions of gender equality. The racist eugenicist Margaret Sanger is still a saint. Continue reading


Liberalism’s Imaginary Enemies

In Paris, it’s easier to battle a climate crisis than confront jihadists on the streets.

By Bret Stephens     •     Wall Street Journal

Child Yelling Liberal DemocratLittle children have imaginary friends. Modern liberalism has imaginary enemies.

Hunger in America is an imaginary enemy. Liberal advocacy groups routinely claim that one in seven Americans is hungry—in a country where the poorest counties have the highest rates of obesity. The statistic is a preposterous extrapolation from a dubious Agriculture Department measure of “food insecurity.” But the line gives those advocacy groups a reason to exist while feeding the liberal narrative of America as a savage society of haves and have nots. Continue reading


How political correctness rules in America’s student ‘safe spaces’

A student backlash against hearing words and ideas that oppose their own, citing emotional “trauma”, is changing the culture of the American campus

by Ruth Sherlock     •     Telegraph

Harvard Law School Photo: Alamy

Far from the bra-burning, devil-may-care attitudes at universities in the Sixties and Seventies, today’s generation of American students increasingly appears to yearn for a campus ruled by dogmatic political correctness, in which faculty members assume the role of parents more than purveyors of academic rigour.

The lexicon of college has changed: students now speak about “micro-aggressions”, “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces”. Continue reading


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