Call Me Stormy

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Archive for the tag “censorship”

Wild West of the Internet

Twitter Head of Trust and Safety Del Harvey tells Great Britain’s Channel 4 News that “there is a perception that Twitter is the Wild West.” “It’s a balance between making it really easy to report content but also preventing others from trying to silence people.”

Newspaper Censorship

In May 2013, John Rosemond—America’s longest running newspaper columnist—received an astonishing order from the Kentucky attorney general: Stop publishing your advice column in the Bluegrass State or face fines and jail. The attorney general and Kentucky’s psychologist licensing board believe that John’s column, which is syndicated in more than 200 papers nationwide, constitutes the “unlicensed practice of psychology” in Kentucky when it appears in a Kentucky newspaper. Kentucky’s crackdown is part of a national surge in the abuse of occupational licensing laws to censor advice.

Puppies & Kittens & Censors

Can the government silence and shut down licensed professionals for giving advice online?

The Institute for Justice has filed a lawsuit involving free speech and Internet freedom while centering on one of the most important unresolved issues in First Amendment law: When does occupational licensing trump the First Amendment?  The outcome will have widespread implications for medicine, law, psychology, investment advice, and many other occupations that often involve nothing but speech in the form of advice. The facts make it an ideal lawsuit for eventual consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Colleges: Hotbeds of Censorship

“The…idea that if you just let people talk, it will be this pit of racist pandemonium…is sort of childish and it oversimplifies. But it is a great justification for having a lot of power over speech,” says Greg Lukianoff, the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

Lukianoff spoke with Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie about his new book Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate, where he details the slow and steady withering of free expression on America’s college campuses.

In some ways, the modern on-campus free-speech movement dates back to 1993’s “water buffalo incident” at the University of Pennsylvania, where a student was brought up on racial harassment charges for using the term “water buffalo” as an insult. That case led directly to the founding of FIRE, which “defends free speech, due process and basic rights on campus.”

A Stanford Law-trained liberal who blogs at the Huffington Post, Lukianoff insists that by restricting controversial or potentially offensive speech, “you’re putting people into echo chambers” where they only interact with people with whom they already agree. That sort of groupthink is dangerous to a free society, says Lukianoff, but it’s particularly appalling to see it instituted at the nation’s colleges and universities, where the free exchange of ideas is supposed to be the whole point of higher education.

Bizarro U

Readers of DC Comics in the 1960s might remember Bizarro World, the cube-shaped planet that spawned sundry alter-ego versions of Superman and other superheroes. Bizarro World, also known as “Htrae,” or Earth spelled backwards, gave us such notables as Wonderzarro, Bizarro Flash, The Yellow Lantern and Batzarro, the World’s Worst Detective. Their motto:  “Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!”

Flash forward to 2012, and one might think Bizzaro World has overtaken several prominent universities and colleges in the United States. A case in point: Fordham University, a Jesuit-founded school in New York City. Fordham’s President Joseph M. McShane had a conniption fit recently when the College Republicans invited Ann Coulter to speak on campus. McShane accused Coulter of spewing hate and said her message is “aimed squarely at the dark side of our nature.” As a result of his rebuke, the College Republicans rescinded their invitation to Coulter.

Now, we learn that while Coulter was being blackballed by this august university, no one on campus apparently perceived any hypocrisy in extending open arms and offering a public speaking platform to Peter Singer. Who’s Peter Singer, you ask? He’s a tenured “bioethics” professor at Princeton University who preaches against killing animals but believes it’s perfectly acceptable to commit infanticide on baby humans through their first month of life. He’s a radical proponent of animal liberation, but also has defended bestiality,  believing society ought to loosen its strictures against sex with animals.

Singer’s appearance didn’t faze McShane in the least, or draw one word of condemnation from the Fordham president. The DC Comics writers weren’t just entertaining. They were prophets, who foresaw Bizarro World right around the corner.

Colleges Throttle Free Speech

Instead of serving as bastions of free speech and true centers of higher education, US colleges and universities have become the polar opposite — places where censorship reigns and political correctness is enforced by absurd extremists. What happened to make campuses so cloistered? Who will be banned next by the small-minded autocrats masquerading as professors and college administrators? Glenn Reynolds talks turkey with Greg Lukianoff, author of Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate. Hear how higher education is censoring speech and imperiling First Amendment rights on this InstaVision. H/T PJTV

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