Donald Trump

Trump's Anti-Speech Agenda Gets a Boost From Lefty Lawyers and Academics

Declining support for unfettered debate among politicians, academics, and the public doesn't bode well for the future of free speech.


Paul Christian Gordon/ZUMA Press/Newscom

It may not yet be "the end of free speech," but that particular fundamental right is probably a bad candidate for a new life-insurance policy.

We have an environment in which the president of the United States is dismissive of the free speech rights of his opponents, prominent constitutional scholars sniff at free speech unless it's used by the "right" people for their favored goals, and the country's leading civil liberties organization is suffering an internal revolt by staffers who oppose "rigid" support for free speech protections.

Last October, President Trump said "It's frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write." That came just hours after he tweeted, "With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!" And even before Trump took the oath of office, he'd huffed that protesters who burn American flags should face loss of citizenship or jail.

So if you're an academic with expertise in constitutional law, and you have months to watch a populist politician who commands the power of the presidency fulminate about punishing those who criticize him, what do you do? If you're Georgetown Law's Louis Michael Seidman, you suggest that the president might be on to something.

In a forthcoming paper, Seidman's main complaint is that free speech doesn't inherently favor progressivism—it allows too much voice to people who disagree. "At its core, free speech law entrenches a social view at war with key progressive objectives," writes Seidman.

Sure, "the speech right has instrumental utility in isolated cases," he adds. But "significant upside potential"? Nah.

The doctrine of free speech "is dominated by obsession with government restrictions on speech and with government interference with listener autonomy," and as such it is "ill-equipped to deal with a world where there is too much speech and where listener autonomy makes real conversation impossible," writes Seidman.

[M]ight free speech law be reformulated so as to constitutionally mandate aspects of the positive program favored by progressives? For reasons that I explain below…I think that this outcome is very unlikely. At its core, free speech law is much more conducive to constitutionally required libertarianism.

Seidman considers that free speech might be defended on grounds of tolerance, the search for truth, or popular sovereignty (though he is "agnostic about the value of free speech as so conceived"). But he tuts that "[progressives] just can't shake their mindless attraction to the bright flame of our free speech tradition. Progressives need to turn away before they are burned again."

This isn't the first time Seidman has put forth such a wish. In 2016, he wrote for the Nation, "Would the election of Donald Trump threaten the sanctity of the United States Constitution? We should be so lucky." In fact, Seidman has long been an advocate for dumping the Constitution and its protections in their entirety. He just thinks that Trump is the wrong vehicle.

And Seidman isn't alone in arguing from academia that free speech is overrated. His paper favorably quotes Laura Weinrib of the University of Chicago Law School, author of The Taming of Free Speech: America's Civil Liberties Compromise. Weinrib complained in a Los Angeles Times op-ed last summer that "free speech has served to secure the political influence of wealthy donors," while "labor's strength has plummeted, and the Supreme Court is poised to recognize a 1st Amendment right of public sector employees to refuse to contribute to union expenses."

In its early days, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) viewed free speech as a tool of social justice, suited to particular purposes under particular conditions," wrote Weinrib, calling on the modern organization to rededicate itself to progressive political goals over civil libertarian advocacy.

The ACLU may be close to taking her advice. Last fall, about 200 of the organization's staff members signed a letter objecting to the groups' "rigid stance" on the First Amendment. The letter was characterized by former ACLU board member Michael Meyers as "a repudiation of free-speech principles."

Huh. With a president who openly chafes at criticism and suggests media naysayers should be punished with the force of law, now seems like a perfect time for opponents to rally around unfettered debate and the First Amendment. Instead, lefty academics and activists are lining up to agree with Trump that a free press and individual rights to freedom of speech, belief, and association are indeed overrated overall.

Thankfully, Trump, Seidman, Weinrib, and the ACLU dissidents face an uphill battle. Trump and his administration are beset by critics because the courts have repeatedly upheld an expansive right to say unkind things about government officials. Seidman and Weinrib have turned up their noses at free speech protections because they're unhappy with the wide-spread empowerment court decisions have handed to advocates of all views.

But the momentum for preserving expansive free speech rights depends on a culture that supports such liberty, and on the appointment of judges willing to make pro-liberty decisions. If that culture erodes and those judges' ranks grow thin, all bets are off. And there is evidence that support for free speech may be on the ropes.

A majority—53 percent—of Republicans agree with the president that people who burn the American flag should be stripped of their U.S. citizenship, according to a 2017 Cato Institute survey. Forty-seven percent of them favored a ban on new mosques. Meanwhile, a majority—52 percent—of Democrats supported outlawing "hate speech," however that's defined.

The numbers are more disturbing for college campuses, which have played host to well-publicized attacks on controversial speakers and attempts to shut down discussion. A recent Gallup/Knight Foundation survey found that 61 percent of students—up from 54 percent in the prior survey—"strongly agree or agree that the climate on their campus prevents some people from saying things they believe because others might find them offensive." And, the summary notes, "barely a majority think handing out literature on controversial issues is 'always acceptable.'"

Americans, by and large, seem to favor free speech in the abstract, but to have a large laundry list of exceptions they'd like to make for speech they find unpleasant or offensive.

That intolerance has pretty clearly become a dominant theme at colleges, where the likes of Seidman and Weinrib teach that free speech is overrated and important primarily as a tool to be reserved for the right ideas. Now their students will emerge from that environment into a larger world where a sitting president of an entirely different political perspective shares that disdain for open debate.

NEXT: Fear of a Free, Prosperous Internet

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  1. I do worry about these clowns who can’t seem to comprehend how their biased political framework would work in the hands of the opposition, even with the opposition in the White House and controlling both chambers right now.

    But I think they will have little luck trampling free speech. Even if they got close — if some court ruled hate speech illegal and some appeals court agreed — they’d run into the problem of defining hate speech. Any progress they made would be immediately be used by their opponents, and I think there would be enough conflicting trial court opinions and appeals court opinions that the only common ground would be rejecting limits on free speech.

    Suppose Hillary had won and Dems had won both houses, and suppose they rammed through a Constitutional Amendment to ban hate speech. Whatever definition they used would be useless, inept, clumsy, and riddled with technicalities and loopholes, pretty soon every pundit and his dog would be pointing out the problems, and state legislatures would quickly dump it.

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      1. I was hoping to earn such a paycheck from working at the Trump University. But what is this nonsense I keep hearing about “unfettered debate” and “free speech”? It starts with a few little “loopholes,” and then certain unsavory individuals creep into our midst, who see fit to subject some of our most distinguished colleagues to unwanted mimicry, mockery and ridicule of an inappropriately deadpan nature, accusing them, what is more, of plagiarism and other dastardly actions. Clearly this is something we cannot have, as I’m sure everyone will readily agree. Surely no one here would dare to defend the “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated judge in our nation’s leading criminal “satire” case? See the documentation at:

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  2. Free speech has been thoroughly vindicated in the Trump era, paradoxically by Trump himself – he campaigned on being politically incorrect and perpetrated many examples of ‘hate speech’. When the president himself can do it, then obviously so can everyone else. Yes he bloviates against it but so what? It’s hypocrisy and no one falls for it. So basically when this guy Seidman comes out with his paper it will be pilloried from all quarters from academia to homeless guys. Will be great fun to watch. People are starting to realize that from a practical perspective there’s no way to police it. Of course, it’s a different issue on gun control but it will be the same battle and we’ll win it. I’m surprised that Reason is so skeptical and cynical. An example is the recent Will & Grace episode, which was a thorough validation of a baker’s right not to bake a cake, despite what the writer and the trolls in the commentariat insist. Remember, they are just trolls many of whom are Russian and can’t be expected to appreciate basic humor. Also, Reason can take some of the credit for vindicating free speech. Give yourselves a pat on the back! Go ahead and gloat!

    Yes the ACLU is backtracking on free speech. But I’ve discovered that every successful advocacy organization ultimately does this. They see the light at the end of the tunnel, and so they turn back. Baby needs new shoes!

    1. It’s actually one of the great paradoxes of advocacy orgs that they say, “Our job is to put ourselves out of business.” But when it comes down to it, they will panic and retrench. For example, after DPA made a ton of progress on decriminalization during the Obama era (again, despite what the Reason trolls say), they actually started to plunge headlong into 12 Step addiction theology. Because they saw the problem going away and had to restoke the flame. But fortunately this period was short-lived – Trump came along and set everything back a decade, e.g. with tomorrow’s announcement to execute drug dealers (cue accusations that I am on drugs). But it will happen again. Similar issues with SPLC/ADL on antisemitism hysteria. Just gotta slow their roll by reducing donations. Don’t worry they are a shrewd bunch and will find gainful employment elsewhere.

    2. Re: Dajjal,

      It’s hypocrisy and no one falls for it.

      I’m sure that’s the reason Trumpistas voted for him: because they don’t believe a single thing he says. When he says tariffs are the perfect economic policy for Making America Grating Again or putting up a wall to stop people bringing over tamales or the conflation of people and the country they were born in… Not one Trumpista –not one– takes him seriously.

      Right? No? Then stop dreaming.

      1. Or we tend to look at his actions and what he has done, namely in the nominations/regulations department, and don’t care what he says that is not actionable. You keep worrying about speech, the rest of us will worry about actions. Obama talked a great game about respecting the press while spying on them and handing out warrants to dig through their emails. I look at the actions as more indicative of harm than the words.

    3. Having Trump in office and none of his critics thrown in jail is clear evidence that the First Amendment is working the way it’s supposed to work and it needs to massaging or changing by progressives.

      1. “needs no”

      2. Unlike, say, Mark Basseley Youssef

  3. To think that this guy is a law professor at Georgetown. That’s like a creationist teaching biology at Harvard. Christ.

    1. More like an atheist teaching theology.

  4. It’s interesting how those well-meaning leftists who denigrate free speech think they will be able to ride the tiger no problem.

    1. They thought presidential lawmaking by a phone and a pen would always endure because they’d keep putting Ds in the White House, so their delusion runs deep.

  5. There’s an important distinction here: Trump wants the “public person” rule for libel and slander abolished, so that he can sue on the same basis as your plumber could, if a newspaper publishes a lie about him.

    Seidman wants outright censorship of viewpoints he disagrees with.

    They’re not, in other words, in the same ballpark. Seidman is advocating much worse than Trump, because the truth would NOT be an absolute defense in Seidman’s world. Trying to argue that you were right would just get you in bigger trouble if Seidman had his way.

    By the way, the rot at the ACLU is much more advanced that the OP suggests. They hired a prominent critic of the CU decision to be their new director of litigation. They haven’t come out and said so, but they’re absolutely giving up on freedom of political speech.

    And, is it any wonder? The ACLU may have done some good work in defense of freedom of speech, but that was when the left assumed their enemies would be the censors. Now that the left assumes they’ll be the ones to play censor, expecting the ACLU to remain reliable on freedom of speech is foolish. It’s no accident that they hired an opponent of the CU decision to be their new director of litigation. Citizens United was probably the last gasp of the pro-free speech faction in the ACLU.

    1. Re: Brett Bellmore,

      Trump wants the “public person” rule for libel and slander abolished, so that he can sue on the same basis as your plumber could, if a newspaper publishes a lie about him.

      How is that different from censorship?

      1. publishing falsehoods about someone has always been actionable. Why should a public person give up that right to protect their reputation and livelihood? This is particularly relevant in the information age when many people find themselves to be more public then they intended or desire.

        Libel and slander laws do not inhibit free speech or a very aggressive, partisan press. To claim otherwise is frankly delusional and ridiculous.

        The only difference between hypothetic statements like “Harry Reid is paid off by casino tycoons” and “Harry Reid has questionable financial dealings” is the monetary value of the headline. The latter is responsible, aggressive ‘press’, the former is valuable click bait used at the expense of Mr. Reid and should be actionable.

      2. I’ve my own doubts that libel law can be squared with that “no law” language in the 1st amendment, but somehow at least some protection of freedom of speech has coexisted with a civil remedy for publicly lying about people to their detriment. And the public figure requirement to prove actual malice dates back only to the 1960’s, prior to that a President could have sued for libel on the same basis as anybody else.

        And that is all I understand Trump to be asking for: The ability to sue people who lie about him in the media, without facing a higher burden than the average person. He’d still have to prove that they had good reason to think what they were publishing was false, and in a number of cases, (The ‘hat toss’ smear, for instance.) that hurdle could easily be cleared.

        I’m not suggesting that would be a good development, I might prefer going the other way, actually. But it’s a LOT less threatening than what Seidman is advocating. Seidman is coming right out and demanding that opposing viewpoints be censored.

        1. This is why I believe the public figure doctrine should be scaled back.


          “There are no genuine issues of material fact upon which a reasonable jury could find that the Defendants acted with actual malice,” Nelson ruled. She said the malice standard was appropriate because Zimmerman is a public figure.

          The doctrine shoul;d be scaled back to cover only elected officials and candidates for public office.

          1. No.
            There shouldn’t be a different condition for anyone.
            A materially false statement, whether of a public, or private, person should be actionable.
            Both freedom of speech and freedom of the press are in the same sentence of the First Amendment – there is no justification, for the press to be given some kind of super freedom.

    2. “The ACLU may have done some good work in defense of freedom of speech” … well, yeah. Back in the day when the ACLU proudly proclaimed that its only client was the Constitution. And quoted people like Niemoller: “First they came for the Communists And I did not speak out Because I was not a Communist Then they came for the Socialists And I did not speak out Because I was not a Socialist Then they came for the trade unionists And I did not speak out Because I was not a trade unionist Then they came for the Jews And I did not speak out Because I was not a Jew Then they came for me And there was no one left To speak out for me.”

      But that was back in the day before the ACLU was a purely partisan organization run by hacks pursuing a narrow political agenda. Now the ACLU is “they” and proud of it. Plus ?a change, plus c’est la m?me chose.

  6. “Anti-speech agenda”?

    wow, you have to be utterly delusional to pen that.

  7. Let’s have a look at things, shall we?

    Tuccille writes–

    We have an environment in which the president of the United States is dismissive of the free speech rights of his opponents”

    And then elaborates–

    Last October, President Trump said “It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write.” That came just hours after he tweeted, “With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!”

    “his opponents’? He’s not speaking about “his opponents”. He’s speaking about the purportedly unbiased press.

    As is plainly stated in Tuccille’s own quote.

    Trump has long demanded an equality of rights with regard to the press–that they be held to the same libel standards that anyone would, that they not be allowed to claim that certain people are less protected by libel laws because they’re famous in some way. This is portrayed, by those IN the press, as support for the suppression of free speech–which it is clearly not.

    In fact, what we are seeing with this is the press demanding special dispensation in that they want freedom from responsibility for what they print/say/show.

    And that is simply unacceptable.

    To suggest that this is in any way comparable to the generalized loathing of free speech that permeates the left is simply ludicrous.

    1. one quibble…

      you write, “He’s not speaking about “his opponents”. He’s speaking about the purportedly unbiased press.”

      His opponents are the press. The left has abdicated reasoned debate and employed the press as their attack dogs. Dem policies, gaffs, misstatements, bill, proposals, votes, non-votes, etc are rarely reported and almost never criticized. It has made them soft and reliant on a favorable press, which is why their political bench is almost laughably weak. A press that held all parties to the same standard, would have never resulted in a Hillary candidacy. They’ve been coddled and it shows.

      1. As Instapundit likes to say, the press are Democrats with bylines.

    2. Re: Azathoth!

      Trump has long demanded an equality of rights with regard to the press […] This is portrayed, by those IN the press, as support for the suppression of free speech–which it is clearly not.

      Actually, it is exactly that.

      Threatening to remove their “privileged” status is a clear attempt at influencing what speech the press should put to word. Why would Trump suggest this action otherwise?

      1. The ‘press’ does not deserve special privilege that the common citizen does not have. Nor does the public-person standard for libel make sense in the new information age where everyone can be famous. That should be blatantly obvious to anyone not steeped in political bias.

        1. The ‘press’ does not deserve special privilege that the common citizen does not have.

          This is true. But you don’t make it equal by limiting the press’s rights, but by making it clear that the same liberties apply to anyone, whether or not they are professional journalists.

          1. That is what is being done.

            Everyone will have the same liberty to sue for libel based on the same criteria. The citizenry will no longer be kept from suing the media.

          2. The constitution doesn’t care if you are a professional journalist or some angry twitter writer in his mom’s basement. The Press wasn’t a thing at the time of the writing of the 1A. Anyone with a printing PRESS was a journalist as far as the founding fathers were concerned. Professor Volokh has written about the concurrent record of the meaning of the term press from 1A and links it to the use of technology to amplify ones own voice. There were not special carve outs for corporate presses as the left attempts to contend.

      2. Wanting them made equally liable with anyone else for publically printing lies–be they about you, me, or some ‘celebrity’ is not ‘removing their privilege’–it’s remedying an injustice that favors the press at the expense of the people.

        The press must be free–the press must not be set above.

    3. “He’s not speaking about ‘his opponents’.”

      Really? Do you think Trump was standing up for some general principle or broad based cause? My observations of Trump is that, in his mind, everyone that disagrees with him is his opponent. He is not a guy for thoughtful reflection of a middle ground nor a believer in well meaning disagreement.

      1. Yes, well, no one cares about your ‘observations’. We’re talking about things that were actually, provably said.

        Try to limit yourself to things that aren’t subjective opinions.

    4. The law gives the press a degree of latitude because of the overall role the press plays in society. If you or I stand on a street corner somewhere and spout off, we may have an effect on a few passersby, though most likely not. But the press speaks to and affects a wide range of people, left and right. If the content of the press can be muzzled by easy recourse to libel lawsuits, the ability of the press to play that public role is destroyed. Much as I despise what passes for journalism, I do not want to see that happen and neither should you.

  8. Intellectuals and authoritarians (plenty of overlap there) often bemoan any autonomy in the chess pieces. The first two constitutional amendments are particularly dangerous tools peasants can use to stall the Grand Scheme.

  9. I think a lot of the progs’ hatred of Trump is in fact jealousy-yet he is an inept buffoon who can’t seem to govern his way out of a wet paper bag. They, of course, would elect only the “right people” to congress and state governments who will get these pesky first and second amendments thrown out. Hasn’t happened so far, but could very well after 2020, especially if they succeed in electing progs at the state level who will support a ConCon.

    1. I’ve never quite understood this determination to trash talk Trump. The guy is a billionaire, married to a supermodel, got elected President on his first venture into politics over the opposition of both major parties’ establishments and a virtually unified media, while being outspent more than 2-1.

      If this were a political fan-fiction, we wouldn’t be describing him a an inept buffoon, we’d be calling him a Marty Stu.

      1. Trump inherited his life. That enabled him to coast despite widespread failures, bankruptcies, stiffed creditors, adverse judgments, and the like.

        His personal life? He is a thrice-married, cheating, vainglorious, selfish, lying boor.

        He was elected by riding a wave of backwardness, bigotry, and ignorance. Whether that is to his credit depends upon one’s view of intolerance, backwardness, and ignorance. He already is ranked among our worst presidents, sets a new record for weak approval each time it is checked, and seems destined to damage the Republican brand for at least a generation.

        Melania was not and is not a supermodel. She is a half-educated, resume-padding, third-rate nude model with a sketchy immigration trail and an apparently huge tolerance for profound public humiliation. (To a flabby guy nearly twice her age with a ridiculous wig, however, she probably looked like quite a catch.)

        Other than that, nice post.

        1. Yup, those grapes are really sour.

          1. Sour grapes?

            America has been improving in line with my preferences, and in conflict with yours, for more than a half-century. Its electorate continues to improve, and prospects for my aspirations improve with it.

            Right-wingers, meanwhile, mutter bitterly at society’s sidelines, complaining about how great things were in the 1950s and whining about all of this damned science, education, reason, tolerance, and progress.

            Carry on, clingers.

        2. And he still defeated Hillary. Sucks for you!

        3. Arthur L. Hicklib is clearly pissed that he didn’t get to fuck the head cheerleader in high school.

        4. Wormwood and bile. It must really suck to be you

  10. 1. Free speech is not designed to be a tool progressives can use to achieve their goals.
    2. If we all agreed on everything, there would be no need for a First Amendment…comrades.
    3. Profit!

  11. “Trump’s Anti-Speech Agenda”

    Jesus Christ, stop the “to be sure” equivocating. Trump doesn’t have an anti-speech agenda – whatever that even means. The problems, as almost always, are flailing progressives, desperate in their attempt to avoid feeling more insecure. Trump is not serious when suggesting we put Jim Acosta in a gimp box due to his terrible journalism.

    1. It is pretty silly when you consider that his opponents have been pushing a for-real anti-speech agenda for decades, and they will continue to do so long after Trump is a memory.

      But in the meantime I think the mistake a lot of people are making is taking Trump’s tweets seriously, like as policy proposals rather than brain farts.

      1. For many (most?), I don’t believe conflating the two is a mistake, but rather a deliberate attempt to manufacture outrage, for the almighty click. They – the pundits, media figures – have made it to middle age and beyond, and can’t possibly be that stupid.

  12. I hope all these people who advocate ending free speech slip and break their necks in the shower. They deserve it.

    That said, I’m not worried about legally enforced free speech. What is really worrying right now is the censorship from EVERY major platform in the world. TV, papers, magazines have always been controlled… But not Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have gone crazy town with taking down anything that is right of center, with even many libertarians getting fucked with.

    In a certain respect, what use is free speech if nobody can hear it? That’s the problem we find ourselves having right now. Obviously as private companies they should be able to do as they please, blah blah blah, but when they ALL are doing it in lockstep for the leftist agenda… It’s pretty sketchy. seems to be growing A LOT lately. I’m not on there, but know some who are, and hear it talked about from some things I listen to. If the current big guys get too out of control, they may well find some company like Gab all of a sudden become real competitors. I certainly hope that’s what happens.

    1. Yep. I’m not on Twitter but I’m seeing reports that Twitter is simply not allowing people to mention certain urls in tweets. Of course, these are always urls by people on Team Red.

      Facebook does it too, they manipulate your feed so you see Team Blue stuff but not Team Red.

      At this point I wouldn’t cry if the government prosecuted both of them to oblivion.

      1. There is definitely obvious bias going on. They’ve just outright kicked off tons of people who aren’t doing anything illegal, or in many cases even that extreme.

        Facebook kicked somebody off for using the word “Tranny” for Christs sake! Twitter cleared out 10,000+ people ina single sweep, claims they were all bots, when many of them were just conservatives, with hardly a leftist booted at all. These companies are showing a willingness to sacrifice revenue in order to push a leftist agenda. That is NOT okay. I’ve avoided social media since the Myspace days because of the time hole it is, but most others don’t. It isn’t okay for the main public forum of the era to be rigidly censored.

    2. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have gone crazy town with taking down anything that is right of center

      Quit whining. Get an education. Lose the bigotry and backwardness.

      Or, keep losing.

      Either way is fine by me.

      Carry on, clinger.

  13. Mr. Tuccille whines about the “lefty” menace but omits mention of the hundreds of conservative-controlled campuses that impose strenuous censorship; collect loyalty oaths; reject academic freedom; teach nonsense; disdain science and history to flatter superstition and dogma; and engage in viewpoint-based discrimination in everything from admissions to hiring (professors and administrators to janitors and basketball coaches).

    Carry on, clingers.

    So far as your lousy educations, bigoted souls, and childish gullibiilty can carry anyone, at least.

    1. “hundreds of conservative-controlled campuses”

      real world example that isn’t small and irrelevant?

      1. Wheaton, Hillsdale, Regent, Liberty, Franciscan, Grove City, Dallas, Biola, Ouachita Baptist, Bob Jones, Oral Roberts, Ave Maria.

        Patrick Henry, Cedarville, Houston Baptist, Brigham Young, Maranatha Baptist, Southwestern Assemblies, Northwestern-St. Paul, Benedictine, Samford, George Fox, Taylor, Geneva.

        Cornerstone, King’s College, Oklahoma Baptist, Azusa Pacific, Southeastern, Mary Hardin, Harding, Moody Bible, Thomas Aquinas, Hampden-Sydney, Oklahoma Christian, Union.

        There are dozens more. To make building the list easier, focus on schools whose names include South, Baptist, Southern, Bible, Southeastern, Christian, Southwestern, Faith, or Nazarene. Also, keep a lookout for anything involving “Concordia.” Concentrate on schools occupying the third and fourth tiers of legitimate quality rankings. Do not overlook the unranked schools — those are fertile ground if searching for right-wing goober factories, yahoo farms, and conservative censorship institutions.

        1. So, basically all openly religious/conservative schools that are perfectly upfront about it. And which are, generally, willing to allow contrary viewpoints to be expressed anyway.

          I’m sorry, I missed where Berkeley announced to the world that only communists should apply, because anybody else who tried to speak would be beaten by a goon squad.

          1. I imagine that Berkeley has declared its opposition to the bigotry, backwardness, superstition, and ignorance that mark the modern conservative-Republican electoral coalition.

            I doubt that anyone genuinely misapprehends Berkeley’s position on intolerance, ignorance, silly dogma, or backwardness.

            Anyone who goes to Berkeley expecting it to be a Patrick Henry, Regent, Grove City, Wheaton, or Hillsdale seems too stupid to function at any level, even in the right-wing sticks, let alone that of a strong liberal-libertarian university.

        2. Sounds like a bunch of real powerhouse propaganda factories! I mean, when Wheaton throws its weight behind an issue, the people listen!

        3. Here’s the difference: If all of the schools pushing leftist stuff called themselves: Neo-Marxist University Of New York, nobody would have a problem!

          The problem is that they’re billing themselves as being neutral and not explicitly biased in any way… And then being insanely biased. I would have no problem with atheist universities at all, just as I don’t mind religious schools, despite being nonreligious myself.

          It’s the same problem CNN has. CNN bills themselves as neutral, but is heavily biased. This is of course to fool the rubes. If they outright said they were a Progressive network, it wouldn’t work for fooling people into thinking their views are the mainstream views. Basically it’s a matter of transparency. I would be fine if we went to a world of explicitly left, right, and neutral news media, or universities. Let people pick and choose. But the things that claim to be neutral cannot then go on to clearly be biased, which is what we have now.

          1. Our strong schools bill themselves as reason-based, science-based, reality-based, tolerant, modern, progressive, diversity-preferring institutions.

            As they should.

            This makes right-wingers cranky, because they prefer goober factories that flatter superstition, backwardness, “traditional” ignorance, and silly dogma.

            Why don’t conservatives build some strong right-wing schools?

            I think conservatives know the answer, and wish to avoid discussing it.

        4. Hey! I heard of a few of those!

    2. Fuck off, slaver.

    3. And now we know for certain what Spiro Agnew meant when he referred to “effete, intellectual snobs”

      It’s good we have Rev Art to demonstrate regularly how far we really do not want to go

  14. The author fails to basically separate free speech from classroom education. As someone who knows Seidman and took classes with him, he has all sorts of political views that don’t come into the classroom. Sure, theyre related to his constitutional underpinnings but the idea that this sort of view would brainwash students is a connection you just dont see on the ground.

    1. Frankly, it’s scary enough that somebody with his views would be teaching about the constitution. Those underpinnings have to be pretty rotten.

  15. So you’re using your free speech to criticize Trump’s free speech criticizing the press’ free speech. How “meta” as the kids say. What are the rules of negation when it comes to free speech?

  16. I am inclined to align with Reason’s views on free speech, however, I do believe that we are in a crisis situation that does need addressing. The age of the internet, coupled with large pools of wealth has created a situation where propagandists of all stripes are assaulting us at every turn. The news about Cambridge Analytica is just the latest example. What I find insane is that very few people lack the ability to express their views. What people tend to cry about the most is not having the ability to force their views in your face when and where they deem fit. I’m not so sure the constitution, nor our framers addressed this problem.

    The flip side is that as an individual I feel I have a right to not be screwed with. I want to be protected from propaganda. I do not have the resources at hand to debunk every claim. I don’t have the nutritional background or the time necessary to analyze every claim on the food packages I consume. Yet free speech absoluters are fighting to have the right to trick me and use distorted messenging to get me to buy their products and their ideologies. I’m afraid that by allowing for unfettered free speech, while it empowers me to burn a flag, it leaves me vulnerable to a tidal waive of fake news and propaganda that I do not have the strength and time to fight. This is a frustrating dilemma.

    1. Tidal wave? Most fake news is so patently fake it is more of a joke than anything else.

      Just read BBC and avoid TV news networks, seems to work for me. Easy day.

    2. It’s not difficult to pick out “facts” from “opinions” in articles. The authors try to disguise them, but anybody who reads with an eye toward that should be able to judge objective facts from editorial opinion in the articles. Further, there is no right to be protected from things you personally find threatening. That road leads directly off of a cliff.

      But do let me know how those $2,000/week online job offers are going. Maybe you can tell me if they’re credible.

      1. The problem isn’t picking out “facts” from “opinions”; It’s that sometimes the “facts” aren’t actually true.

        Remember “Hatgate”? Supposedly Trump had a hat passed to him by a handicapped kid at a rally, signed it, and instead of giving it back, tossed it into the crowd? The story was extensively reported with supporting video.

        Only another camera angle was available that revealed he’d tossed it straight back to the kid. Many of the false accounts, at major media outlets, are still up, without corrections. Some of the accounts that corrected what happened have spun it against Trump anyway.

      2. Believing people can pick out fake news just by careful reading is credulous. Fakes constructed by people who use journalistic conventions fool even trained journalists. But those know to check other sources, so they don’t stay fooled.

        Decades ago I wrote and published in a newspaper I edited an outright hoax, designed to be so factually outrageous that if you got to the end, nobody could mistake it for truth. But I wanted folks to keep reading, for laughs, so I took pains to make the style and presentation look real?a (fake) picture with a caption, (fake) corroborative detail for every material assertion, (made-up) people used as sources, with credible-sounding personal details supplied, all written in AP style?to the effect that the Idaho Fish and Game Department was suppressing a block-buster story: They had tried to cross-breed rainbow trout with Snake River sturgeon, to spawn trout with sturgeon genes that would enable giant trophies. It got out of hand. At (fake) Weasel Lake, hosting the experiment, a trout fisherman in a float tube was devoured, in one gulp. The witness reporting (fake prospector, Silas Bloggins) said, “It took him like he was a dry fly.” Etc., etc., all at the peak of publicity for the newly-released movie, Jaws.

        Two days after publishing that in central Idaho, I got a call from the AP’s senior editor in New York. Sheepishly, he asked, “I know I’m not supposed to be doing this, but my boss says I have to find out. Is it true?”

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  18. Seidman and Weinrib have turned up their noses at free speech protections because they’re unhappy with the wide-spread empowerment court decisions have handed to advocates of all views.

    Is that a fair characterization? I suggest it might be more accurate to say they are unhappy with court-created imbalances concerning who may speak, and whose views get reasonable access to a hearing.

    Limit speech freedom to natural persons, who pay out of their personal pockets for speech publicity, and I doubt you would have many objections from progressives to any speech at all, regardless of content. The problem is policies boosting plutocratic control of speech, which empower those who run commercial corporations to let them enjoy the status of super speakers?and the corollary advantage of corrupt influence on government which goes with it.

    1. “Limit speech freedom to natural persons” and every media outlet in the country will suddenly be subject to comprehensive censorship.

      There isn’t a single newspaper in the country that isn’t a corporation, Ditto for broadcasters.

      And that’s not because people think forming corporations is fun. It’s because the government’s tort system has made doing anything of the slightest scale insanely perilous if you don’t form a corporation.

      1. No problem. The 1A excepts publishing corporations. Not others. Relax about that, and your objection would go away.

        Except, no, it wouldn’t go away, because what you really don’t like are traditional media.You favor advocacy to cripple them, or failing that, to put them in the shade with gigantic revenue streams from commercial corporations which publishing corporations can’t match. It’s tiresome when folks aren’t forthright about the motivations behind their advocacy?you get lots of pretending to ideals that, often as not, they are trying to undermine.

        1. ” The 1A excepts publishing corporations”

          No. It. Does. Not. This very blog is named after a guy who published a detailed paper on that topic: The 1st amendment protects publishing. By anybody. It’s not about who’s doing it, it’s about what they’re doing.

          ANY corporation, to the extent it publishes, is protected by the 1st amendment. Just like any individual is.

        2. “No problem. The 1A excepts publishing corporations. Not others. Relax about that, and your objection would go away”

          Kindly go fuck yourself.

          CU repudiated an effort by Leftists to muzzle folks critical of Hillary. Your effort to elevate the New York Times above citizens is the signature of one serious asshole.

          Fix your brain. It is broken.

  19. don’t say words that annoy me like Billy Joel and lite beer.

  20. So 53% Republicans and 52% of Democrats both believe something stupid then more than everyone is wrong.

  21. You can’t make a citizen stateless it’s a simple fact of international law, so burn away.

    1. Even Robert Hanssen is still a U.S. citizen, for all the good it does him sitting in Supermax for life

  22. really “progressives” can we stop with their self redefinition from ” socialist Labor Party” give their true name back, quit letting the Liars define themselves. they have actually advocated “medievalism”,

  23. Trump nominated Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, so he can’t be wonder against the First Amendment.

    1. Get an education. Start with standard English.

      1. Poor Kirkland angry all of the time, so much dysfunctional rage and intense hatred . . . probably too much idle time, a real job as a net tax producer rather than a net tax consumer might improve his mental health.

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