Free Press

The Ongoing Fight for Free Speech: Why Jonathan Rauch's Kindly Inquisitors Is More Relevant Than Ever


Last year, the University of Chicago Press reissued Jonathan Rauch's classic 1993 defense of free speech, Kindly Inquisitors, with a new afterword by the author and an introduction by George Will. In October, the Reason Foundation hosted an event featuring Rauch on the book's genesis and lasting influence:

Nick Gillespie sat down with Rauch a couple weeks later to discuss why his book is still relevant today:

Here's the original text from that video, which was released on November 8, 2013:

The great advantage of a society that embraces robust and often-angry debate, "is not that it does not make mistakes," says Jonathan Rauch, "it's that it catches mistakes very, very quickly." For Rauch, such dialogue is at the heart of what he calls the "liberal science" of producing and refining knowledge.

A National Magazine Award-winning journalist and author, Rauch's path-breaking study of political correctness, Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought, has just been released in a 20th-anniversary edition by the Cato Institute. The new version includes an introduction by George Will and a powerful afterword by Rauch about how calls for censorship and regulation of speech have changed over the past two decades.

Nick Gillespie sat down with Rauch to discuss why free speech cannot and should not be abridged, even when it causes pain and discomfort. Rauch talks about how the weak defense of Salman Rushdie after receiving Islamic death threats radicalized his views and the inspiration he draws from figures such as Frank Kameny, a pioneering gay rights activist who never called for the censoring of hate speech.

About 6:30 minutes.

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  1. I actually bought a copy of Rushdie’s most notorious book, because some douchebag was standing in front of a bookstore I was going into, and he asked me to boycott the store because they had the book in stock. I told him to go fuck himself, and bought the book.

    Turns out, the book was absolute crap. So now I despise the protestor for TWO reasons.


  2. Should there be a Mary Stack exemption to the First Amendment? Discuss…

    1. Nah. Nevada has legalized gamboling, right? How much did it hurt them?

  3. I’m not listening.

  4. Inquisitors IS more relevant?

    1. Ah I see, it’s a book title. Never mind.

      1. Thank you for beating me to it.

        1. It’s nice when someone else is wrong and you don’t have to make a fool of yourself.

          1. So you noticed me doing this before? Great. :-/

  5. Naturally, a Dem candidate is threatening TV station licenses because they have run an anti-ObamaCare ad. Real kindly, that.

  6. Oh, YAY! ABC is breathlessly hyping our grand victory in the War on Drugs. This time for sure, we have broken the back of the narcoterrorista cartellissimos!

    Praise our lordly protectors. Bow down and kiss the ground on which they walk. Pledge your undying loyalty to the alphabet soup prohibitionists.

  7. Looks like that little weasel Yanukovych has pulled a Saddam Hussein and gone into hiding.

    Here’s hoping they find him and kill him. The only good communist authoritarian thug is a dead communist authoritarian thug.

    1. It would be perfectly appropriate to make him try to catch a Lenin statue.


    2. Except that Yanukovych is hardly a communist. Authoritarian? Yes. Crony capitalist? Yes.

      1. Well, he spent his career as a member of the Communist Party of Ukraine before it became outlawed and eventually reconstituted itself as the Party of the Regional Revival of Ukraine.

  8. Martha Raddatz is a freaking looking bitch.

  9. It looks like America needs a raise is going to be the dims propaganda for the 2014 elections.

    Maybe the republican response should be …to pay their Obamacare premiums.

  10. Social Justice

    In his weekly address Saturday, the President took the opportunity to make another plea, appealing to the public to pressure representatives to “give America a raise.”

    Two recent polls show the public is behind Obama on this one. According to CBS News and Pew Research Center polls, 72% and 73% of Americans support raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, respectively. Even Republicans are split about half and half, both polls say.

    Despite the national support, Obama said, it is Republicans in Congress who stand in the way.

    “Even though a majority of Democrats, independents and Republicans across the country support raising the minimum wage, Republicans in Congress don’t want to give it a vote,” Obama said. “Only Congress can finish the job.”

    Who gives a fuck what “the voters” say? This country has gone insane.

    Maybe some day we’ll have a president who actually understands how wealth is created.

    1. By screwing everyone who’s not wealthy? Is that how?

      1. Old and tired progtard talking point remains old and tired.

        1. Giving money to rich people, while taking it away from poor people, creates wealth! That’s not old and tired and completely nonsensical at all!

          1. Mary had a little lamb,
            its fleece was white as snow;
            And everywhere that Mary went,
            the lamb was sure to go.

          2. hey dumbass, you can’t take money away from poor people. Poor = not having money to take away.

            Wealth is created by offering products or services that people are willing to buy. It is not created by govt fiat.

            1. So it stands to reason that having more demand in the economy (i.e., more money in the pockets of the nonrich) would mean more wealth is created. You said it yourself!

              But strip away all the bullshit and what I said is the policy you advocate, practically as your raison d’etre. Take from the poor and give to the rich. And it has never worked, just as one with an ounce of sense might predict.

              1. So it stands to reason that having more demand in the economy (i.e., more money in the pockets of the nonrich)

                That’s not demand, why lie about defintions?

                1. “That’s not demand, why lie about defintions”

                  Because if the shitpile didn’t post lies, he couldn’t post at all.

                2. That’s not demand, why lie about definitions?

                  Because all it knows is lies. Lying is the only way he can make his immoral philosophy work.

                  He is a disgusting immoral pig who advocates theft.

              2. if not for dishonesty, you would have even less argument that you do. Point out where I advocated taking from anyone. Just one instance of it, you dishonest turd.

                You cannot take from the poor because the poor, by definition, have nothing to take. Your ideology has done more to harm the poor than the most evil capitalist could imagine, mostly because the capitalist is against poverty as it deprives him of customers.

                The approach that actually has not worked is what you desire – taking from the rich to give to someone else. It has never worked in any society that has tried it. Demand generation is not something govt can cause or create.

              3. So it stands to reason that having more demand in the economy (i.e., more money in the pockets of the nonrich) would mean more wealth is created.

                Money is not wealth. Otherwise we could just give everyone a million little green squares and never have to work another day.

                1. Money is not wealth. Otherwise we could just give everyone a million little green squares and never have to work another day.

                  Even true to some extent with precious metals. Spain flooded Europe with gold and silver plundered from the Americas. Inflation averaged close to 1.5% for 150 years.

              4. You’re conflating money with wealth. Money is a form of stored wealth. It’s an IOU of sorts.
                When you want something from another person, money is the note from the grateful person you did something for. The proprietor is asking you why he should give you anything. Money is your proof of having done something to deserve it.

              5. You post a lot of nonsense, but this might be the most absurd thing you’ve ever written.

          3. It’s also not what anyone is suggesting, so why openly lie like that?

            1. When buying votes the best policy is to wrap it up in noble altruism, and not, you know, the dirty business of buying votes.

            2. why lie? Because progressive ideology cannot stand up to the light of truth. It has to be disguised as something it is not, often draped in projection in order to put dissenters on the defensive.

              These are the folks who have championed eugenics, things like the Sedition Act of 1918, the war on poverty, and a host of other things that have produced the exact opposite of their state goal.

          4. Giving money to rich people, while taking it away from poor people, creates wealth! That’s not old and tired and completely nonsensical at all!

            Actually, upon analysis, it isn’t nonsensical, just as you admit.

            Poor people are bad with money. Rich people are less bad with it, and would be far more likely to invest/save it.

            So, yes, practically speaking, taking money from a poor person and giving it to a rich person would probably create wealth.

          5. Again, snark fails to hide ignorance.

            You can argue that the line is old and tired, but you can’t argue it’s nonsensical. Economists have published study after study researching the well-known phenomenon of lottery winners who were awarded prizes of multi-millions, only to be bankrupt in a few years. The fact is someone who is rich is more likely to know what to do to maintain his or her wealth than someone who is poor. You give a poor lottery winner money and time and time again, they piss it away by buying homes they can’t afford to maintain, shopping sprees, and ‘helping’ their spendthrift friends and family. Someone who is wealthy is more likely to invest profits from a windfall back into their business or another method of wealth generation.

            While money shouldn’t be taken from poor people by force and redistributed to the wealthy, at least it makes economic sense. The same cannot be said for what you advocate, using the force of the government to take money from rich people and giving it to those poor people you deem worthy. I know you wouldn’t redistribute wealth to all poor people, as you’ve already proven on this forum that you’re a racist who is bigoted toward Southeast Asians. I’m guessing you’re not overly fond of Chinese or Indians either. Probably one of them “stole” your could be done by a robot job.

            1. Wouldn’t the take away also be that, since the poor cannot manage their finances, and their financial issues often cause them to be eligible for govt. bennies, they cannot be allowed to manage their finances any longer because of the cost to the government?

              It’s the same reason Obamacare was said to be needed.

              1. It’s quite clear that the government views the intellect of poor people with utter contempt. Just look at the hand-holding of mothers on welfare. Our taxes pay for the government to hire someone to make doctor’s appointments for these women, because obviously if you are a woman on welfare, you are too stupid to dial a phone and use a calendar. However, despite the government’s dim view of these women’s time-keeping ability, they still miraculously know when it’s the first of the month.

                Just one example out of many of Tony’s benevolent government.

                1. This system also provides wonderful healing effects for persons with mental illnesses and drug addiction problems quite obviously, given the rate of discharges between the 1st and 3rd of the month.

          6. Hey Krugie, what do you think about your guy de Blasio giving NBC a big tax break just to lure “The Tonight Show” back to New York City?

            That doesn’t sound to me like the kind of policy that you would usually approve of!

      2. Tony|2.23.14 @ 12:05PM|#
        “By screwing everyone who’s not wealthy? Is that how?”

        Well, shitpile, it’s way better than the left’s tendency to simply kill everyone who disagrees.
        Your fave governments killed at least 100,000,000 people last century.

      3. By screwing everyone who’s not wealthy? Is that how?

        This is how Tony believes wealth is created.

        1. It’s quite simple you fascist cunt…

          Rich people make money selling things. Take their money and give it to poor people. The poor people buy things with the money from the rich people. The rich people now have their money back and the poor people have the goods they need. Everybody’s happy. Win-win, really.

          This is all elementary economics that you’d be able to understand if you weren’t blinded by your extremist ideology.

          1. Is this a parody of left wing thinking? Or, are you being serious?

        2. Tony can’t get past others have more than him. He just wants it, that’s all. He doesn’t care how it is created.


    2. I guess he’s going to repeal Obamacare. Since a majority of people across the country don’t want it. But, Democrats in the Senate ‘don’t want to give it a vote’.



  12. Wall Street is EVUL.

    1. I take it you are torturing yourself with the Sunday morning talking points shows again. Unhealthy, and known by the state of CA to cause cancer, P Brooks.

  13. I guess when every single policy you have is a stinking failure, you can always throw money at people.

  14. NY Times pushing the freedom of unemployment angle pretty hard. The usual suspects are eating this shit up, but if this becomes the common perception then I fucking give up. I’m getting as much .gov freebies as possible and buying ammo with it.

    Why should I be yoked to a job when I have a DREAM to pursue? A DREAM to DANCE!

    1. Yep, for the first time in American history, the left now clearly thinks we’re officially beyond the tipping point. And they may very well be right.

    2. They’re just recycling the “funemployment” meme that the proggies were peddling when Obama proved incapable of reducing unemployment his first few years.

    3. Remember, you dragging your ass into the office every day so I can be an Artiste = more freedom.

  15. maybe someone else knows so I’ll ask — one talking point behind the minimum wage increase is how people will be lifted out of poverty. How long before the poverty level is recalculated and many of those “out” are back in? How often is that level determined?

    1. “How often is that level determined?”

      Every time the D’s need another distraction from their latest disaster.

      1. so a derivative of the FYTW principle?

    2. To say nothing of inflation. Oh, wait, there is no inflation. And these are also not the droids you are looking for.

    3. If 1000000 people make $8 an hour, ie $8 million an hour aggregate, and you raise the minimum to $10, 200,000 will lose their jobs, and 800,000 will make the same $8 million, only $8 million will slowly adjust to the inflationary pressure of the increase such that the 800,000 end up earning the same, while the 200,000 laid off are really hurt.

  16. Giving money to rich people, while taking it away from poor people, creates wealth!

    You’re not even trying anymore. You must be one of them SEIU trolls.

  17. In a sense, Obamacare amounts to a massive transfer of risk. Under the old system, if you quit your job and couldn’t get health insurance, you courted financial ruin every time you did something as mundane as riding your bike or playing pickup basketball. Now that risk is distributed to everyone who buys health insurance (including the government). Free of the massive financial risk of being alive, unemployed Americans can more easily take on risks associated with doing what they want to do.

    Holy shit, what a pathetic existence these people have.

    1. I wonder what created the status quo of employer based healthcare? Probably insufficient “regulation,” right?

  18. Our economy needs risk-takers in order to grow. That’s why the government creates programs to mitigate risk. For example, insuring student loans softens the risk of investing in an education.


  19. For example, insuring student loans softens the risk of investing in an education.

    And here I thought that the nationalizing (not “insuring”) of the student loan industry increased the risk by making the debt non-dischargable.

  20. Tony still doesn’t understand the distinction between wealth and money.

    Not that I’m surprised. He is, what’s the nicest way to put it… Distinction-Challenged.

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