Charlie Hebdo Massacre

"How the PC Police Threaten Free Speech" in America

|

Lucille Clerc

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo murders, there's been an outpouring of solidarity that's both energizing and powerful. But we in the United States need to also think through the less-dramatic ways in which our speech and expression is constantly under attack. Here, it's less about Islamic terrorists and bomb threats and more about shutting down the marketplace of ideas through charges of racism, sexism, and disregard for the feelings of the aggrieved (a group whose numbers swell all the time, and include everyone from atheists to Christians to celebrities to elected officials).

We like to tell ourselves that we're different than Europe, with their stupid hate-speech laws, and the backward-looking Middle East, with their blasphemy laws. But the fact is that free speech has always been precarious in the U.S. and that threat is just as real in the Internet Age as it was when mailing a copy of Naked Lunch could get you thrown in jail.

From my latest Daily Beast column:

We Americans shouldn't be glib or smug in our devotion and commitment to free speech. Yes, we do typically do better than Europe (and Canada, too, which is frequently awful on this score). But even if free speech is guaranteed by law, it's hemmed in by countless other trends, customs, and especially mind-sets that seek to reduce, restrict, and in some cases even criminalize speech.

The simple, awful truth is that free speech has never been particularly popular in America. When they're not busy banning books such as the Harry Potter and Captain Underpants series (really), schools should drill into students that it's pathetic that Lady Chatterley's Lover and countless other books, films, and other forms of creative expression were banned for decades….

The atmosphere on campuses has gotten repressive enough that comedian Chris Rock no longer plays colleges. Citing examples such as University of California at Berkeley students trying to bar an appearance by Bill Maher because of his anti-Muslim jokes, Rock told New York that he "stopped playing colleges, and the reason is because they're way too conservative… Not in their political views—not like they're voting Republican—but in their social views and their willingness not to offend anybody… You can't even be offensive on your way to being inoffensive."…

In fact, hate-speech laws may even become a reality. An October 2014 Economist/YouGov poll found roughly equal amounts of Americans supporting and opposing "a law that would make it a crime for people to make comments that advocate genocide or hatred against an identifiable group based on such things as their race, gender, religion, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation." Thirty-six percent were in favor and 38 percent were opposed. Among Democrats, 51 percent supported such laws.

Read the full article.

NEXT: Rand Paul to Hannity: "I'm seeing Christians beheaded"; Wants "Civilized Islam" to Fight ISIS

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. found roughly equal amounts of Americans supporting and opposing “a law that would make it a crime for people to make comments that advocate genocide or hatred against an identifiable group based on such things as their race, gender, religion, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.”

    I advocate that everyone should hate anyone who self-identifies as any race, gender, religion, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation. Furthermore, I advocate that anyone who identifies themselves under any of those categories should be genocided.

  2. Holy moral equivalence, Batman!

    Captain Underpants may (the link isn’t clear) have been removed from school libraries, but this really is so different in degree from the Charlie Hebdo assassinations as to be different in kind.

    And being against murder doesn’t require being against censorship *by the government.* You just have to be against murder.

    1. He wasn’t comparing that with the Charlie Hebdo assassinations. He was comparing it to Europe’s hate speech laws.

      1. That still doesn’t compare. Hate speech laws make speech a crime. That is not the same as taking something out of a publicly funded library. Saying “the government won’t pay for this” is not the same or anything like saying “it is a crime to say that”.

        1. Are the people that do that worried about government subsidizing books some people might not like or are they just upset at the idea that certain books may be made more available and more people might read them? I’m betting the latter, and here’s a way to tell: if an atheist sued to get the Bible taken out the library would they support him?

          1. No. They are upset that their tax money is going to pay for books they hate and think are bad. If their goal were to ban the books, they would be out protesting Barnes and Noble as well.

            Find me one place or one story where someone wants that book banned instead of just not in the library. If you can’t, then why should I assume they do other than because it fits some prejudice I may have to believe they do?

            1. “If their goal were to ban the books, they would be out protesting Barnes and Noble as well.”

              That’s not true, they might (rightly) think that they have more chance of influencing their local library than getting a chain of booksellers to change their inventory. Of course, Christian groups do pressure private groups to stop carrying books, magazines, movies, etc they oppose. A common example is pushing chains not to carry pornographic magazines and movies.

              Like I said, the test would be, would they support an atheist who wants the Bible removed from the library?

              1. That’s not true, they might (rightly) think that they have more chance of influencing their local library than getting a chain of booksellers to change their inventory.

                If they do, show me some evidence of that. What gives you the right to assume it? All your telling me is that “sure they are not trying to ban it but they would if they could”. Well maybe, but until you show me why that is true and they are just not pissed off about their tax money going to pay for things they don’t like, why should I or anyone else assume it is true?

                1. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki…..ssociation

                  Check out the section on their many campaigns to get private chains to change their inventories based on the content of speech.

                  1. They are boycotting stores they don’t like. I think that is dumb, but that is not the same as demanding something be banned or criminalized.

            2. There was this small town that banned all rock music and all dancing. At least until a plucky Chicago teen with great moves moved there and taught them a valuable lesson about the joy of dancing.

              1. That didn’t really happen. You’re just describing the plot to Dr. Zhivago.

                1. I saw a really great documentary about it on AMC. It had an excellent soundtrack.

              2. plucky Chicago teen

                Obama?

    2. Is he saying they’re morally equivalent or is he saying they all fall under the broad category of attempts to stifle speech?

      1. That’s how I interpreted it. Not really equating, just pointing out the ways in which moral scolds here attempt to stifle speech despite the absense of hate speech laws.

    3. The list of ‘banned or challenged’ books includes books that have been challenged not just for being in a school library, for instance, but for being part of the curriculum.

      That is, if I object to a teacher assigning Book X to my child, the book is included by the ALA as ‘banned or challenged’, even if my challenge was laughed out of the room, and no matter the reason I objected.

      The ALA does not make it easy to find out how many attempts are made to remove books from libraries (which still falls well short of ‘banning, IMO) vs objections of the form “I don’t want my child to read that garbage”.

      Regarding Bo’s argument about the Bible, if public school teachers included Bible study as part of the curriculum, I’m guessing a lot of people would challenge that. I suppose it doesn’t happen, though, because the Bible doesn’t appear on the ALA’s list of frequently challenged books.

  3. a law that would make it a crime for people to make comments that advocate genocide or hatred against an identifiable group

    It’s stuff like this where speaking Minnesotan comes in handy.

    “You know, a lotta guys would advocate genocide or hatred against [insert ‘identifiable group’].”

  4. The problem is that people have a hard time separating people’s rights from the people themselves. They can’t see the difference between standing up for, say, the right of rapists to face their accusers and standing up for rapists. They can’t see the difference between standing up for the free speech rights of white supremacists and standing up for white supremacists.

    Turns out that white supremacists and rapists have rights, too, but it’s not even their rights I’m really standing up for–those rights that people want to violate are my rights, too. When I’m standing up for the free speech rights of white supremacists, it isn’t even really their rights that I’m standing up for–it’s my own right to free speech.

    People don’t understand that when they attack the rights of rapists and racists, they’re attacking my rights, too–and I’m neither a rapist nor a racist.

    That’s what I wish I could get across to people: that rapists and racists have rights, too, and their rights are the same rights the rest of us have, and that shooting my rights in the head because rapists, racists, and other scum can hold them hostage is stupid and wrong.

    1. That’s one of the reasons I, a conservative Christian, am a libertarian — if I have the ability to dictate someone else’s lifestyle choices they have the same right to dictate mine. It astounds me that so many Christians are right-wing statists.

      1. Sorry to hear about how it is in your country. Here in the USA it’s the opposite, the vast majority of Christians are extreme left-wing statist totalitarians.

        1. Good point; I was thinking my fellow fundamentalists, most of whom are Republicans or Constitution Party.

          1. Yeah, I was thinking of the many numerous Christians I’ve had considerable direct experience with who look at me as some kind of curiosity who’s obviously a heathen, or even worse a Republican, since I’m not seen participating in any of the progressive causes and don’t have my truck plastered with Democrat political stickers. I was thinking of both of my last two wives families who were both hardcore Church goers with their female church leaders, their rallying against guns, their rallying against “hate speech,” their rallying against “bullying,” their rallying for gay marriage, their rallying for “undocumented” immigrant sanctuary and their rallying for the vast majority of liberal causes. One thing I never encountered was anything even remotely “right-wing.” Now, things could be different elsewhere, my experience is only with Christians of the Southwest and Northwest. Nonetheless, very fortunately, that’s all behind me. I like being heathen. And have no intention of any further action with people, as well intentioned as they may be, are fully determined to undermine my liberties.

            1. I think the number of such liberal Christians is far below the number of conservative Protestants in this nation. Compare how many Southern Baptists there are to Episcopalians, for example.

              1. I don’t think so. The numbers are falling but they are still there. All of the old school Protestant Churches are run by pretty left wing people.

                The country is still majority Christian. And there are plenty of church goers in deep blue states just like there are in deep red states. The political views of a typical congregation that is not explicitly conservative, usually line up pretty closely with the local population. So, there are still millions of millions of Christan who politically are very liberal.

                The stereotype that every Christian or even most Christian is some hard right winger and every or even most liberals are Jewish or secular atheists is just not true.

                1. “Mainline Protestants were a majority of all Christians in the United States until the mid-20th century, but now constitute a minority among Protestants. ”

                  http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mainline_Protestant

                  1. yes. But not every Protestant who is “not mainline” is conservative, though most are. And I said the numbers were falling but they are still there and they are.

                    And Catholics are Christians too, despite what some of the Protestants say. And a whole lot of them are very left.

                    1. There’s certainly many, but they’re still a minority now I’d bet. The SBC might dwarf them by itself.

                    2. Don’t forget the black churches. They tend to be very conservative on a few issues, but ultra liberal on others.

              2. I think the number of such liberal Christians is far below the number of conservative Protestants in this nation. Compare how many Southern Baptists there are to Episcopalians, for example.

                You have to include Blacks, a significant portion of which are very liberal and very Christian.

                1. Blacks are often counted separate in polls. The common categories are ‘mainstream churches’, ‘conservative white Protestant, ‘black Protestant’ ‘catholic’

                  1. For purposes of this discussion I disagree with both that and the Catholic distinctions.

                    For some reason discussions of Christianity in popular culture (in which I’m including politics) center almost exclusively on white people in red counties.

                2. You have to include Blacks, a significant portion of which are very liberal and very Christian.

                  Depends on the issue. A lot of blacks are very socially conservative, for instance when it comes to gay marriage. A lot of white progs were quite upset when CA Prop 8 passed with a very large black vote. It was pretty much “how dare they leave the plantation.”

                  1. A lot of white progs were quite upset when CA Prop 8 passed with a very large black vote. It was pretty much “how dare they leave the plantation.”

                    As I recall, they ignored the black vote and blamed the Mormon vote for the outcome. They could never directly and criticize blacks – why, that’s racism!

            2. The only thing worse than atheist lefties who embrace liberalism as a religion are lefty Christians who want to use the force of government and other people’s money to do all the wonderful charitable Christian things that they’re either too lazy or too cheap to do themselves.

              1. You are correct Thom. I will take the most noxious atheist over some Christian talking about your holy duty to pay high taxes, recycle and do something about global warming, every single time.

                1. I can’t think of a more silly contemporary misreading of the New Testament than one that advocates a Christian duty to raise or maintain high tax rates.

        2. True John,Jesus teachings were very socialist. He did live {if he lived} in a time when the rich were all members of the Roman rulers.Just like many don’t undrestand Robin Hood stole from the government and gave to the people.

          1. Stole from the government and returned to the people.

            1. hey I’ve been up since 3,

          2. I wouldn’t say that Jesus was socialist. Collectivist maybe, but as far as I can yell he never advocated the use of force. Also keep in mind that he lived in a pre- capitalist society where social mobility was basically nonexistent.

            1. So, how far can you yell?

              1. Not very. I’ve got big lungs, but I smoke.

            2. This. To the extent that the New Testament can be said to be ‘socialist’ it’s more if the ‘here’s how people should voluntarily choose to live’ than government enforced socialism.

            3. If we’re trying to equate Jesus with a more modern political philosophy, he seems to be an anarchist communitarian of some kind.

      2. +1

        That said, I think most Christians are pretty tolerant. People get a thrill out of “shocking” those stick-in-the-mud socialcons but, really, there’s isn’t much shock value left in that tired shtick anymore.

      3. Yeah, I grew up in a denomination so fundamentalist that fundamentalist Baptists would point to us and accuse us of taking the ten commandments too literally.

        Still, the overwhelming majority of the people in that church would not support laws prohibiting abortion–even though they thought abortion was fundamentally immoral. And that was because they thought that if they helped the government impose their views on others, then others might have a toehold to use the government to impose other people’s values on them.

        End Times prophecies of one world government turning against the true faithful seem to help in that regard. I won’t claim any authority on this issue, but it’s always seemed to me that if there’s a line between fundamentalists and evangelicals, it may be the evangelicals’ willingness to use government to advance their goals.

        I think fundamentalists tend to view the government from a position of suspicion. Perhaps the more seriously you take the actual text, the more weight you give to the seemingly constant warnings about government. And not just in the New Testament!

        God was so disappointed in Israel for wanting a king.

        1. That is not surprising. The really hard core Christians I have known want nothing to do with government and want it as far out of their lives as possible. They home school their kids, they live in areas where there are as many people who think like them as possible. The last thing those people seem to want to do is launch some kind of jihad to transform government.

          In my experience at least, the Christians who love government and want to use it to enforce their views are generally not fundamentalists. They are people on both the right and left who view their religion as a social signal and use their religion to justify whatever pet preference they have, be that right or left. I am talking about suburbanites who, depending on their politics, think it is their moral duty to either close down strip clubs or make sure everyone recycles and pays high taxes.

          1. You’re describing my parents and the church I grew up in in your first paragraph. Lots of hardcore religious people just want to live outside government altogether. Many are resigned to the fact that earthly governments belong to Satan more than exist as a tool for God’s work.

            1. There are a lot of them out there. The real annoying political Christians, even those on the Right are not fundamentalist. I would never call someone like Huckabee a Christian fundamentalist.

            2. I would have a hard time saying they’re wrong. I only wish more Christians were suspicious of government.

    2. First they came for the rapists, and I didn’t speak up because I am not a rapist. Then they came for white supremacists…

  5. Seems like Democrats used to be satisfied mounting assaults upon religion and guns, but today it’s those things plus free speech plus just about anything under the Sun that isn’t one of their few pet projects.

  6. I’d like to see the results of that poll if “genocide” were not in the equation. I bet the number of “hate speech law’ advocates would plummet.

    1. Good point.

      Perhaps a series of questions involving: loving, liking, tolerating, ignoring, shunning, hatred, imprisonment, violence, torture, genocide.

  7. there’s been an outpouring of solidarity that’s both energizing and powerful.

    There has also been a nasty undercurrent of weakness, appeasement, and crypto-dhimmitude. But its been somewhat muted, I’ll give you that. And there’s this, as well:

    In fact, hate-speech laws may even become a reality.

    Blasphemy laws are hate-speech laws, and blasphemy is hate speech. The Islamonutters want blasphemy laws. Hate speech laws are exactly what the nutters want, because they know the multi-culti progs will be delighted to turn them on blasphemers.

    1. I think Islamonutters better tread very lightly. They are toeing a line they might not want to cross. Even here in the US, they may be very surprised how peaceful Christians, Jews, and atheists would react to anti-blasphemy laws.

      1. You would basically have to repeal the first amendment to have anti blasphemy laws in the USA, as they touch not just the freedom of speech aspect but the establishment of religion as well. That said, I won’t be surprised if the first amendment is repealed in my lifetime.

        1. Probably not out and out repealed but effectively neutered by SCOTUS Rube Goldberg jurisprudence.

          1. ^This^ Repealing would be very difficult and I doubt very seriously that they’ll ever be able to get 2/3 od states to ratify an ammendment to repeal the 1st. Neutered by the courts, like they’ve done with the 4th? Practically a certainty.

      2. You would basically have to repeal the first amendment to have anti blasphemy laws

        A trifle expansion of hate speech laws, an interpretation of hate speech to include blasphmeny, run through the proggy/multi-culti filter to ensure that Christians can’t claim protection, and viola.

        I don’t think its that much of a stretch.

  8. The Guardian is the worse. They are publishing “je suis Charlie” Guardian articles and then deleting comments that they deem “hate” speech in their comments. They also haven’t published the Hebdo cartoons, I believe.

    The New York Times editor, in a moment of intellectual and emotional brilliance, has defended not publishing the Hebdo cartoons because it doesn’t want to offend some Muslim family in Brooklyn. This is the same publication that had no problem publishing Piss Christ which was on display in Brooklyn.

    Lord have fucking mercy.

    1. Quite a show, ain’t it?

      Since the issue seems to be essentially unresolvable, we’ll be “enjoying” it for a long time.

      1. It’s resolvable. But someone is going to be very disappointed with the result.

        1. Or *everybody* (who remains). 8-(

    2. “… then deleting comments that they deem “hate” speech in their comments…”

      Because dem’s da laws in the U.K. Arthurs and Churchills for the new age, they ain’t.

  9. The simple, awful truth is that free speech has never been particularly popular in America

    Sure, Nick. That’s why we’ve had existing communist parties through the height of the Cold War (despite them being proscribed or banned in Euro countries during this same period), freedom of religion back when the concept was not taken for granted, and why it is enshrined in the Constitution. Yes, we realize that the unwashed masses’ zeal for putting Lady Chatterley’s Lover or Captain Underpants on the library’s shelves (not a free speech matter, btw) is not ardent enough for you but I would say that in all of the ways that matter, the US is pretty damn good on free speech.

    1. The fact that the courts prevented the government from banning communist parties does not mean that people in general would not have supported such an action.

      1. I love the American people and their natural animosity towards communism.

      2. Re: Jordan,

        The fact that the courts prevented the government from banning communist parties does not mean that people in general would not have supported such an action.

        Which is why the Constitution bars the government from stepping over people’s right to express their views.

    2. Books like Lady Chatterlys were the target of obscenity charges for those who tried to trade in them, that’s certainly a speech issue. And when people try to remove a book from a public library that’s one too.

      1. When the government creates a public forum and them engages in viewpoint discrimination in excluding speakers from that forum, that’s a free speech violation. So, if the government creates a park where people can come speak or rally about whatever, when they tell this or that guy they can’t because of what they’ll be saying, that’s wrong. Likewise when they create a public library and then prohibit thur or that book based on the contents the same thing is going on. If an adult doesn’t like a book in his library, he should not check it out or donate some counter speech book. If he’s upset at the prospect his kid might check out the book he should talk to his kid.

        1. You are describing a society that does not cater to every thin-skinned neurotic’s desire not to be offended, and that believes that people can resolve their own disputes peacefully rather than relying on government to do so.

          I’m not sure that’s our society, anymore.

        2. But there are differences between designated and non-designated public forums.

          The park you mentioned would be a designated public forum and therefore the government couldn’t ban any kind of topic from being discussed. Public libraries might be different, as far as I know. Does SCOTUS consider them a traditional public forum?

          1. How in the world would a public library not be and a park be? The first is primarily set up as an outlet for speech, the second is not.

            1. Well, SCOTUS considers classrooms to be limited public forums, which seem to be closer to public libraries than public parks.

              1. Classrooms are places where a directed activity goes on.

        3. But every public forum engages in view point discrimination. Ultimatley, what is in the tax payer funded public library ought to be up to the tax payers. If the people of the upper east side in New York want their public library to contain only good Progressive approved left wing books and the people in Gynette Country Georgia want theirs to contain only good Christian books, that is each communities right. It only becomes a problem when those communities stop people from speaking or expressing things or reading books with their own money.

          1. “Ultimatley, what is in the tax payer funded public library ought to be up to the tax payers.”

            So every title should be up for a majority vote? How’s that different than having every speaker at the park be up for a vote (remember, the park is built and maintained with taxpayer money too).

            1. So every title should be up for a majority vote

              If the majority cares enough to do so, sure. If the community wants to waste its time fighting about what is in the library, that is their right. Ultimately, they owe you and me and everyone else the right to publish and read whatever we want. But they don’t owe anyone the right to use tax money to do it.

              1. I think you’re begging the question. You say if the government sets up a forum intending it to be used as a platform for a variety if speakers then they can’t prohibit any given speaker. Why isn’t a library exactly that? You seem to insist that it’s because the library would involve the taxpayers supporting the speech by buying and making the book available. But if a university sets up student run newspapers the taxpayer is paying for every copy too. Even with the library or park allowing verbal speeches the taxpayer supports the speech by building and maintaining the space for it (if you can’t see this try to book a hall for a speech and see what it costs). In all cases the taxpayer is having his money go to support speech that otherwise the speaker or audience would have to pay for themselves.

          2. John, if taxpayer money determined what individuals could say in public places, then the First Amendment would be eviscerated.

            1. It shouldn’t and doesn’t. How does not using tax payer money to support your speech the same as stopping you.

              You should be able to publish or sell any book you want. You do not however, have a right to demand that the government buy it from you and put it in the public library. Your right to free speech doesn’t include a right to demand that the taxpayers buy your book and provide it to people.

              1. I agree that taxpayers shouldn’t have any obligation to purchase one’s book, but I was objecting to this: “Ultimately, what is in the tax payer funded public library ought to be up to the tax payers.”

                Substitute any public place for public library and you get to my point.

                And to repeat what Bo said, what about donated books?

                1. But buying a book isn’t the same thing as me saying something. Unless you are disruptive or harming someone, the can’t tell you what you can say in any public forum library or not. But that is your speech, which is not the same as which books to provide.

                  1. Why is it different considering taxpayer funds build and maintain the forum?

                    1. Simply speaking is different from having your book purchased by public libraries. You can write whatever book you want, but if the people who fund the library don’t want to pay for it, that’s their right. Standing in a park which is already built and maintained no matter who the speaker is or how many people hear him doesn’t force anyone to pay the speaker. If you want to speak in a public park, fine say whatever you want. If you want me to pay you a speaking fee, then I’m gonna have an opinion about what you say.

                    2. “Simply speaking is different from having your book purchased by public libraries.”

                      Not much when you factor in that providing and maintaining a space to give speeches is itself something of value that the taxpayer has to pay for. It’s essentially the government leasing and operating a hall for speeches. According to Johns logic the taxpayers should then be able to determine who speaks at that hall.

                  2. Yes, but that still leaves us with donated books. The cost to shelve and inventory a donated book is negligible, so in prohibiting that book from being available in the public library anyway, taxpayers would be discriminating based on content, not because they are forced to pay for anything.

                    Or am I being too narrow in my understanding of what costs taxpayers’ money?

              2. John is correct.

        4. A related problem is the idea of “free speech” zones on campus – something that has been covered here at Reason. You also have the pattern at many schools of repression of speech by disruption.

          The big problem is that most students at elite schools support both those ideas. They are the people who end up in powerful position and will think it entirely appropriate to “protect” other people by putting in place such prohibitions.

          1. What’s your school like? Full=bore speech fascism or just a few pockets of it? And how does it affect your teaching?

            1. Most of the people I know are what I call “default liberals.” I tend not to talk politics with any of my colleagues since there is just no common ground for discussion. The few I do talk with, who know my views, tend to be genuine free speech proponents.

              I have tenure now so I tend to be less circumspect in the classroom. The main avenue for promoting views is my intro World History class where I get to trash most politicians.

          2. Raven,

            I think there is a difference between not buying a book and campus speech laws. Not buying a book is akin to a public university refusing to teach Austrian economics. That may make it a bad university, but I don’t think that is a speech issue. Even though I pay taxes to support it, I don’t have a right to demand it cater to my academic tastes. That is up to the community at large.

            The campus speech codes are akin to a public library not allowing me to give a speech in support of Austrian economics during the weekly educational talk when they allow Keynesians to speak all of the time. I don’t see using tax payer money to buy or not buy a book as being the same as making it a crime for someone to say something.

            1. Should universities be able to deny funds to certain college newspapers on the ground that taxpayers don’t want their government to support what those papers are saying?

              1. If the colleges want to only fund newspapers that toe the university line, then sure. Of course the courts say otherwise. I do not however think they are right. The newspapers are nothing but a class and education tool provided by the University to train interested students in journalism. If they want to determine what goes in them, that is no different than them determining what goes in the substance of an economics class.

                Now, when it comes to unofficial newspapers. There, the point is not education. The point is to provide students with a platform to express their views. In that case, the college saying “no one we don’t like gets funded” is more akin to the library not letting me speak when they let the other side speak.

                The question should be are they choosing content of services or are they just providing a platform to anyone who wants it. If it is the latter, they should have to be equal about it. IF it is the former, they shouldn’t.

                1. Well that and universities turning a blind eye when conservative publications are trashed by campus fascists.

                2. “The question should be are they choosing content of services or are they just providing a platform to anyone who wants it. If it is the latter, they should have to be equal about it. IF it is the former, they shouldn’t.”

                  When public libraries are set up they are not to my knowledge set up as ‘a place where government speech is presented.”

      2. And when people try to remove a book from a public library that’s one too.

        No it is not. It is a public library issue. My speech is in no way restricted because the local library won’t carry my book. Maybe a hundred years ago when books were still a bit expensive and people really did rely on the public library for them, you could make that argument, but not now.

        Saying “I don’t want my tax money going to pay for this shit” in no way affects your free speech. This is especially true today when books and information are so readily available.

        1. What if the book is donated?

          1. It still costs to keep it on the shelves. The taxpayers are still paying for the building to house it. If they paid for the building, they should be able to say what books it is going to house.

            1. It costs government to build and maintain any other public forum too John.

              1. Suffice it to say Bo, whatever you think of the issue of public libraries catering to community tastes, it is a very different issue from outright suppression of speech — which, given the context of Charlie Hebdo, is what is being discussed.

                No one would have cause for complaint if the only outward manifestation of political Islam were that libraries in Medina and Mecca don’t keep copies of Augustine’s Confessions or the latest issue of Playboy on the shelves. What is going on is a particularly severe attempt to silence a specific type of speech — not by refusal to fund, but through extraordinary acts of violence (and threat of same, in less extreme instances).

  10. we do typically do better than Europe (and Canada, too, which is frequently awful on this score)

    Agreed, but some of it has been cut from the act.

    It’s a start.

  11. a law that would make it a crime for people to make comments that advocate genocide or hatred against an identifiable group based on such things as their race, gender, religion, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.

    It’s always about control. Always.

    The law so often is used as a weapon against political enemies.

  12. One of the more frustrating issues seems to be quite deliberate and cynical conflation of Islam and race on the part of the European left (and it is seeping into America as well.) In order to counter any criticism of non-white immigrants, any complaint about Islam is equated to a racial criticism of any or all of the large number of races that can or could be Muslims.

    It’s a horrid little rhetorical trick they’ve been allowed to pull and I’m not sure it can be countered.

    1. It is how they think they can get out of being called out for being so critical of Christianity. No one considers being Christian a race, because it isn’t. So therefore, no one can be called a racists for disrespecting it. Pretend Islam is a “race” and then you can call anyone who criticizes it a “racist” without worrying about the same standards being applied to you when you go after Christianity.

  13. Our free speech problems compared to much of Europe’s (to say nothing of Islam) amount to “Oh, yeah, your arm got chopped off? Look at this nasty paper cut I have.”

  14. Gunfire and explosions at the Charlie Hebdo siege site, and six explosions in the kosher deli in Paris, and the cops are now scrambling phone signals. Looks like the endgame

  15. Among Democrats, 51 percent supported such laws.

    No surprise there. Actually, I’d expect it to be higher.

    1. But think about how much their heads would explode if their fav comedy shows could not longer lampoon Christians.*

      *SLD: I don’t advocate any sort of limit on speech, especially bigoted speech.

      1. Of course they would. But those laws would never get applied in that context. And they know it.

        1. If the Republicans had the balls and there was some terrible future where such a degree of hate-speech law was seriously considered, they would insert such language in the bill.

          The same should happen should campaign finance laws rear their ugly collective head again: limiting what John Stewart/Steven Colbert could say since their speech and the platform they use amount to in-kind campaign contributions to Democrats.

  16. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link,
    go to tech tab for work detail ???????? http://www.jobsfish.com

  17. You have the right to hate me. You don’t have the right to murder me.

  18. “trends, customs, and especially mind-sets” are essentially nothing more than manifestations of free speech itself. I consider none of them a threat to free speech absent the use of force (itself already properly criminal) or state-sanctioned force — which is what the protection of free speech should rightly be concerned with preventing.

    Reprehensible as I may find campus speech codes, I don’t believe it should be the role of government to ban them. Unfortunately, government is the leading force promoting them. That seems on-its-face unconstitutional.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.