Category Archives: Free Speech

September 21, 2017

James Madison Weeps

A Brookings survey finds college students are clueless about free speech.

‘Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government,” wrote Ben Franklin. “When this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved.” Imagine what Franklin, James Madison and the other Founders would make of a new Brookings Institution survey showing that American college students have no clue what the First Amendment means.

John Villasenor surveyed more than 1,500 undergraduates, and among the alarming findings: Most American college students do not know that even hate speech is constitutionally protected; half agree that it’s okay to shout down a speaker whose views they don’t agree with; and nearly one of five believe it is acceptable for a student group opposed to a speaker to use violence to keep him from speaking. Some of the answers vary by political identification, but overall the findings suggest great confusion.

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The Politics of the Professoriat: Political diversity on campus (Audio)

Universities are supposed to be dedicated to the exchange of ideas. But according to social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, campuses now skew so far to the left that they’ve become what he calls “political monocultures” in which voices that stray too far from liberal orthodoxy are shouted down. Paul Kennedy speaks with Professor Haidt – and with other scholars who have been thinking about the complex question of diversity on campus.

“We’ve created a hostile climate for people who don’t fit in intellectually. We’ve marginalized them. We’ve made it clear they don’t belong; they’re not welcome. And then the really smart ones among them don’t apply! And what we’re left with is a politically homogeneous field of inquiry, which therefore has problems studying anything that is politically valenced.” – Jonathan Haidt

Back in 2011, Jonathan Haidt was addressing a large gathering of professional psychologists about the perceived left-leaning bias of research in the social sciences. Before beginning his talk, he asked for a show of hands to determine the political composition of the crowd. There were about a thousand academics in the room. Fewer than ten people–perhaps only three or four–admitted to being Republican, or conservative. Maybe fifteen or twenty people claimed to be moderates. Approximately 80% of the crowd identified as supporters of the Democratic Party, or self-described liberals. The disparity has inspired much of his research ever since.

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September 16, 2017

UC Berkeley Faculty Want to Shut Down Campus for Free Speech Week

“This is a clear threat to public higher education.”

A faculty letter addressed to the UC Berkeley campus and the Berkeley community at large is calling for a complete boycott of classes and campus activities during the upcoming “Free Speech Week,” which will feature conservative speakers whose very names inspire college students to seek safe spaces and therapy.

The Berkeley paper called The Daily Californian reports that the letter was co-written by seven faculty members, including Michael Cohen, a campus associate teaching professor of African American studies. The letter urges fellow faculty members to take three steps: cancel classes and tell students to stay home; close buildings and departments and allow staff to stay home; and not penalize students who are afraid of coming to campus. The letter was signed by 132 campus faculty members from various departments, and by 56 individuals who aren’t part of the UC Berkeley faculty.

Cohen said that most of the students in his African American Studies class are students “of color,” and he believes it is unethical and discriminatory for him to ask his students to be on campus during Free Speech Week, which will be held on campus from Sept. 24-27.

As noted by the Daily Californian, Free Speech Week is being hosted by the Berkeley Patriot, a conservative student newspaper. The four-day event includes themes such as “Feminism Awareness Day” and “Mario Savio is Dead.” Speakers scheduled to be on campus include libertarian provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, conservative commentator Ann Coulter, and dreaded Breitbart honcho Steve Bannon.

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Gad Saad believes in free speech at (almost) all costs (Video)

“Really we’re pretty much like North Korea at this point,” said Saad.

Gad Saad is Jewish and emigrated from Lebanon due to religious persecution, yet he supports the freedom of speech of Holocaust deniers.

That’s how committed he is to an open dialogue, something he says is being lost in the western world.

Saad is scheduled to speak Monday evening at the University of Regina on “forces that impede the free and rational exchange of ideas.”

“I support the right of grotesque, diabolical people saying that the Holocaust and anything that I might have experienced is a hoax. Why? Because that’s what freedom of speech is. It’s the right for people to be idiots, to be wrong,” said Saad, a marketing professor at Montreal’s Concordia University and the Canada Research Chair in evolutionary behavioural sciences and Darwinian consumption.

There are only two exceptions to “absolute” freedom of speech, said Saad.

The first is using words to directly incite violence against other people.

The second is defaming or libelling someone.

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Gab Declares War On Google, Files Lawsuit

According to Gab’s CEO Andrew Torba, “Google is the biggest threat to the free flow of information. Gab started to fight against the big tech companies in the marketplace, and their monopolistic conduct has forced us to bring the fight to the courtroom.”

Free speech social media site Gab AI, Inc. filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Google for violations of the Clayton Act and Sherman Act. The lawsuit stems from Google removing Gab from its Google Play Android app store on spurious grounds of “hate speech” arising from posts by users.

Google did not accuse Gab of hate speech, but used third party content as a pretext to justify its own business ends. Gab, a startup, aims to bring “folks together of all races, religions, and creeds who share in the common ideals of Western values, individual liberty and the free exchange and flow of information.”

According to Gab’s attorney, Marc Randazza, Google’s conduct is a straightforward violation of the antitrust laws “Google Play and Android have monopoly power in the app store market, and Google’s apps YouTube and Google+ compete directly against Gab. Google’s intimate partnership with Twitter, which also competes against Gab, makes Google’s control of all Android apps available through the Play Store a serious restraint of trade issue.”

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September 15, 2017

Ben Shapiro’ Speech at UC Berkeley- 9/14/17 (Video)

Ben Shapiro, an attorney and bestselling author, is the editor-in-chief of DailyWire.com and the host of “The Ben Shapiro Show.” Shapiro is leading the crusade against political correctness on campuses across the country, and infuriating leftists every step of the way. Sarah Palin says that Americans should “consider Ben’s advice about how we must stand up and push back twice as hard against this bullying.” Sean Hannity says to join Ben Shapiro and “fight back” against liberal bullying. And Michelle Malkin says Shapiro is “infused with the indomitable spirit of his friend and mentor Andrew Breitbart.”

September 13, 2017

UC Berkeley Poll: 53% of California Democrats Oppose Free Speech

A new poll conducted by the University of California Berkeley reveals that a majority of California Democrats oppose the First Amendment right of freedom of speech and assembly, at least as it applies to extreme right-wing groups. A plurality (46%) of all Californians feels the same way.

The San Jose Mercury News reports:

Forty-six percent of California voters say we’ve gone too far in allowing white nationalists to demonstrate while 43 percent say the rallies should not be restricted and 11 percent had no opinion.

And Democrats, especially, appear to be grappling with the complex issue in deep blue California.

In the wake of violent protests from Charlottesville to Berkeley, more than half, a full 53 percent of California’s Democratic voters, believe we have gone too far in allowing those demonstrations. Some 50 percent of California Republicans, meanwhile, believe the right to demonstrate should not be restricted, compared with 39 percent of Democrats.

The poll’s results reportedly surprised the pollster who conducted it. “I would have thought the liberals would be defending the right to demonstrate in general,” Mark DiCamillo told the Mercury News.

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September 12, 2017

Mike Cernovich interviews Andrew Torba CEO of Gab.ai (Video)

Must watch video.

September 11, 2017

The Slow Eradication of Freedom of Speech in Canada – The Saad Truth (Video)

This was the taped lecture that I delivered remotely (i.e., it was played for the audience) in Toronto on September 10, 2017.

Taking Risks to Move the Culture Forward

An interview with Claire Lehmann, founder of an online magazine for free thought.

Claire Lehmann is the founder and editor of Quillette, an online magazine that publishes essays on a range of topics related to politics, social life, science, and academia. The magazine is quickly becoming a highly respected outlet for open discussion of topics in psychology and the social and behavioral sciences.

I reached out to Claire to discuss Quillette and the role she thinks it can play in academic and public conversations about issues relevant to psychology and related fields.

Could you describe what Quillette is for Psychology Today readers who may be unfamiliar with it?

Quillette is an online magazine (you can find it at Quillette.com) and we publish articles on politics, science (predominantly social science and psychology) as well as history, art and culture.

What inspired you to create Quillette?

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly. I think there was a confluence of factors. I had been writing a few columns for the local Sydney newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald, and I was very aware that I couldn’t write anything that was too academic or scholarly, and I also couldn’t write anything that was too politically incorrect. It felt very constrained.

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