Free Speech

Taking the Battle for Free Speech to K-12

Rising illiberalism hits younger students.

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It's understood by most college alumni—and pretty much everyone in the general public, at this point—that open discourse is under assault in higher education, and has been for decades. From demands that speakers with unpopular opinions be disallowed on campus to strident calls for controversial professors to be fired, free speech culture has declined precipitously in academia while the corridor of acceptable opinion has uncomfortably narrowed.

Both faculty and students are clearly on notice that certain opinions are best not expressed, unless you're willing to risk consequences ranging from mild social disapproval to abject humiliation or even outright ejection. It's hardly surprising, then, that survey results reveal high rates of self-censorship in the United States, both on campus and off.

While college and graduate school-level speech censorship is widespread and well-documented, we find ourselves facing an even more alarming problem: this same restrictive culture, with its oppressive conformity demands, has already filtered down to younger students. Recent college graduates—now newly-minted teachers—are bringing these acquired academic habits and expectations to American high-, middle-, and even elementary schools.

It's one thing for college students or faculty to choose to censor their own personally-held viewpoints, but what happens when children absorb the norm of self-silencing before they've even had the opportunity to develop thoughtful, informed opinions in the first place? As deleterious as a censorship culture is among adults, who can estimate the damage inflicted, and the potential loss, when children are not even allowed the mental freedom to form their own positions independently?

For those of us who attended American schools in a different era—when cultural norms supported freedom of thought, respected freedom of conscience, and even encouraged a certain amount of spirited, rebellious disputation—it is difficult to imagine the interior gymnastics required to distort nascent thoughts into acceptable, approvable ones, and the constraint such stifling would impose on intellectual growth and personal development. (The Polish writer Czeslaw Milosz offers a detailed, disturbing examination of the contorted thought processes produced under authoritarian pressure in his Nobel Prize winning book The Captive Mind.) Presumably, at minimum, understanding and self-awareness would be stunted. Specious reasoning and internal contradictions would go unchallenged. Students who are not allowed to explore subjects fully, vigorously, and honestly would gain only a shallow, cursory grasp of difficult, nuanced topics. Extrapolating from the individual across an entire society, it is hard to calculate the diminishment this would portend for a free society.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), where I work, fights to protect the First Amendment and other constitutional rights of students and faculty on American college campuses, since the restriction of open dialogue diminishes the educational experience of students and infringes on the academic freedom of faculty. Years of hands-on work in this arena made it abundantly clear that many of the students arriving on campus with anti-speech attitudes developed them well before matriculation. Recognizing that it would be difficult to win this battle without addressing illiberalism at younger ages, FIRE expanded its mission and I joined to launch its High School Outreach program in 2018. My work includes developing curricular alternatives and other discourse-defending resources to reach and inform K-12 educators and constituents.

Because the K-12 arena is dramatically different from higher education — from its inherent purpose and function to the composition of its student body — it must be approached with awareness of the greater limits on educator speech, the deference due to the natural vulnerability of minors compelled to attend, and the rights of their parents. One valuable resource, from FIRE's President and CEO Greg Lukianoff, outlines 10 Principles for Empowering the American Mind and Opposing Thought Reform in K-12 Education. His first principle — "no compelled speech, thought, or belief" — reminds us of the important precedent set by West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette and reaffirms the basic right of students not to be compelled into saluting or genuflecting for causes or ideas.

In Barnette, Justice Robert H. Jackson, writing for the Court, warned against using public education as a political indoctrination tool:

Free public education, if faithful to the ideal of secular instruction and political neutrality, will not be partisan or enemy of any class, creed, party, or faction. If it is to impose any ideological discipline, however, each party or denomination must seek to control, or failing that, to weaken the influence of the educational system. Observance of the limitations of the Constitution will not weaken government in the field appropriate for its exercise.

This series of blog posts will examine ways in which K-12 indoctrination efforts shortchange students, undermine their education, interfere with school-home trust and communication, and erode community support. More importantly, it will offer solutions and practical paths forward.

While there will always be competing ideas of exactly how, and precisely what, we should teach in our elementary and secondary institutions, we can rely on shared common (small "l") liberal principles to guide our decision-making processes and to govern the necessary, open discussions on this essential topic in a democratic society.

 

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  1. Is FIRE as deferential with respect to conservative-controlled high schools (enforcement of speech codes, dogma, loyalty oaths, conduct codes, statements of faith; suppression of science, history, and academic freedom to flatter superstition) as it is in the context of conservative-controlled colleges?

    1. Rev cuntland..parasiting again..

      And, yes, they are..take 5 min of your life and go to thefire.org –

      Dude, I think you protest too much..you ARE a brownshirt

      1. Does this blog still claim to enforce civility standards . . . or is that just pretext employed when someone asks about the viewpoint-driven, partisan censorship imposed by the Volokh Conspiracy on liberals and libertarians?

        1. It’s not always clear which side is doing the indoctrinating (e.g. if a teacher gets fired for expressing a view in class, is the indoctrinator the teacher for promoting it or the administration for suppressing it?) but on the list of incidents on the website, I see one example from 2015 of a teacher criticizing Obama in class, with the other identifiable examples coming pretty decidedly from the left.

          https://undoctrinate.org/the-problem/

        2. “Reverend,” you are not a libertarian. Your opponents are.

    2. Do you have any evidence that FIRE is deferential to conservative-controlled colleges, Rev. Reason, or is this just another thing we’re supposed to accept on faith?

      For a guy that claims to choose reason, every time, you sure don’t like to back up your arguments with evidence.

      1. Check’s FIRE’s statement of policy, which expressly grants a pass to schools that provide certain warnings that they will suppress speech, science, history, academic freedom, and the like while enforcing dogma and engaging in censorship.

        1. I don’t see any such policy, Arthur.

          Are you going to provide a link, or does the church of exalted reason require that I accept the policy’s existence on faith?

          You know, the church of exalted reason is starting to look like a lot of other churches.

          1. I try to avoid performing basic research for clingers. First, you have been around here long enough to have seen the explanation of FIRE’s peculiar perspective and the lists of clinger schools to which FIRE issues an undeserved free pass. Second, how are you guys going to learn to do anything for yourself if others do the work for you every time?

            If you haven’t found it in a couple of hours, I will try to provide the link.

            1. “I try to avoid performing basic research for clingers.”

              You mean you try to avoid supporting your claims with evidence? That’s not how the church of exalted reason works, Arthur.

      2. Do you have any citations of FIRE criticizing ‘indoctrination’ at places like BYU, LU, Regent, West Point, etc., which routinely and as a matter of stated policy systemically censor speech their administrators disapprove of?

        1. “indoctrination” specifically? Why would they? I don’t know if I could find a citation of them specifically criticizing indoctrination at Harvard or Yale, either. This post criticizes indoctrination in K-12 schools.

          But contra Kirkland there are plenty of examples of FIRE criticizing the schools you mention, for example Liberty University was on their list of 10 worst schools for free speech a couple of years ago.

          1. See, pianist, when you show the partisans facts they don’t say”good, thanks, I was wrong”. They just skedaddle because their effort to make this an other tens thing is blown up.

            But I follow FIRE a little and have seen cases in which professors on the left have been attacked for speech and FIRE has come to their defense.

            But I guess Queen expects BYU not to be a religious school or something.

            Also note that by nature of their attacks they basically grant that defense of free speech is a position only on the right. I don’t think that’s true but they sure do.

            1. “But I guess Queen expects BYU not to be a religious school or something. ”

              Uh, more like I don’t give censorship a pass if the reason for censorship is religious. YMMV!

            2. …defense of free speech is a position only on the right.

              “[T]he left, everywhere in the world, suppresses dissent wherever it takes over — from Lenin to the modern American university to Twitter and the rest of Big Tech.” (source)

          2. Nice try, but FIRE is quite explicit that LU is on that list only because Falwell issued a press release promising free speech. As long as he’s up front about pro-indoctrination they are off FIRE’s list.

        2. “As long as he’s up front about pro-indoctrination they are off FIRE’s list.”

          Even I can see the conflict between your views, on the one hand, and logic and reason, on the other.

          They have a list of “‘warning’ schools” which unambiguously prioritize things besides religious freedom.

          BYU and West point are on that list.

          https://www.thefire.org/resources/spotlight/?x=&speech_code=Warning&y=&institution_type=&speech_code_advanced=Warning&y_advanced=#search-results

          You can say their “Warning” isn’t adequate, and that they should put these school in the “red light” category.

          But FIRE’s got a little list, and BYU and West Point are on it.

          I’m not sure I *agree* with FIRE’s distinctions – some of the “red light” schools are probably fairly clear and explicit about their censorial habits, just as much as BYU is.

          So there might be a case for transferring some of the “Red Light” schools to the “Warning” list.

          And the term “Warning,” in my view, is *too harsh* on BYU and the rest, not insufficiently harsh as you claim. They ought to call their list something more neutral, like “other priorities” or the like.

          But that doesn’t seem to be your argument, unless of course you want to modify your assertions to better fit the evidence.

          1. “unambiguously prioritize things besides religious freedom”

            academic freedom not just religious freedom

          2. Ah, the 10 Worst Schools list. You’re going to say *that* was the “FIRE’s list” you were referencing.

            And I suppose you’ll similarly parse your other comment:

            “Do you have any citations of FIRE criticizing ‘indoctrination’ at places like BYU, LU, Regent, West Point, etc., which routinely and as a matter of stated policy systemically censor speech their administrators disapprove of?”

            I would think the term “Warning” implied *some* criticism.

        3. While religious schools do indoctrinate, they are completely up-front about the fact. No one signs up to them expecting neutrality toward the institution’s own faith. And even then those institutions do not distort academic subjects such as math, history, or social sciences the way a K-12 school that has adopted CRT routinely does.

          1. Math?! How does one distort math based on anti-racist ideals?
            I notice you left out biology in your list… but you might find that even history and the social sciences are distorted at some of the more conservative privates. Scrubbing women leaders and LGBT people from history, avoiding sexuality and gender identity information. Teaching that the Confederacy was just a bunch of good people trying to hold on to heart-warming traditions and that slavery didn’t play a central role in the conflict. etc.

    3. The ACLU aggressively pursued those matters.

  2. Is there some authority for your position that K-12 schools have less authority to regulate speech than colleges? My understanding of the conventional view was that it is pretty much the opposite.

    1. College is a voluntary transaction so some restrictions can be legally acceptable as a condition of contract. Grades 1-12 are compulsory so there is not even an argument toward voluntary condition of contract as an authority to regulate speech.

      On the other hand, the in loco parentis argument is stronger for K-12. That could cut to greater authority to regulate speech – until a parent explicitly objects.

      I suspect you may be conflating (as I initially did) the authority to regulate in the classroom with the authority to regulate outside the classroom. Since K-12 almost exclusively occurs in classroom and kids go home after school, you can only compare it to in-classroom college discussions. The controversies over out-of-classroom campus speech restrictions do not apply to the K-12 example.

      1. T”he controversies over out-of-classroom campus speech restrictions do not apply to the K-12 example.”

        But see Morse v. Frederick.

        And the recent swearing cheerleader case, where the Justices correctly understood the school had gone too far but had a hard time articulating any clear limits on the ability of school officials to reach off-campus speech.

        1. You are right that there are some important cases about off-campus speech for K-12. I was trying to say (admittedly, not very well) that they don’t answer Noscitur’s question about the relative authority to regulate speech which I interpreted to mean in-classroom speech.

  3. “For those of us who attended American schools in a different era—when cultural norms supported freedom of thought, respected freedom of conscience, and even encouraged a certain amount of spirited, rebellious disputation.”

    When exactly was this era?

    Look, I really respect FIRE and the work they do, but this sounds like some nostalgic nonsense about a past that never actually existed. Unless there is some serious historical scholarship on this topic someone can point me to, I’m extremely skeptical of this claim.

    1. FIRE-class clingers figure the “good old days” were when

      — clergy visited public classrooms to poll students on church attendance and urge children to ask parents to take them to church

      — slavery was whitewashed

      — science classrooms featured fairy tales

      — “under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance recited in public classrooms

      — the treatment of Native Americans was whitewashed

      — John Birchers were invited to speak to students

      — the Klan conducted recruitment rallies for children on school grounds

      — certain school clubs were limited to boys, others to girls

      — books about uppity women, uppity gays, uppity Blacks, and others were banned from many classrooms

      Carry on, clingers. But, as always, your betters will let you know to what degree.

      1. All that was 50 years ago, Artie. You can calm down about them.

        1. Nice straw man you got there, Rev. Shame if sometin’ was to happen to it.

          A little more that fifty years ago, when I was in high school, my friends and I were working hard to get the free-expression rights of public high school students acknowledged and protected. We were not interested in “whitewashing” slavery, or in recruiting for the Klan, but if that had been a concern, we would have thought the right to publicly advance a different point of view would have been all to the good. (In fact, back at the time of the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam in 1969, when my interest in the first-amendment rights of high school students was first stirred up, we were more interested in distributing anti-war literature.)

          At the time, our pro-free-speech views were, if anything, thought of as leftist. Now, a new generation of high school students has to defend its rights against school administrators who are no less authoritarian than the ones we struggled against, but it’s right-wing viewpoints that the administrators are now trying to suppress. What a long strange trip it’s been.

          (To be fair, I knew at the time that some of the people I was allied with spoke slightingly of “liberalism” and saw freedom of expression more or less as just a means to be used under current conditions to advance the revolution, but which could be abandoned once the revolution was won. I naively thought that, however, that they would remain fringe actors and that liberalism would prevail in the long run.)

          1. You do get that your statement demonstrates that speech rights did not become suddenly ‘under assault’ a few decades ago, right?

          2. What “right-wing viewpoints” are administrators trying to suppress? I think you’re falling for the conservative victimization myth.

            The big recent censorship push in K-12 schools has been the Republican campaign to ban certain vaguely-defined discussions of race.

            1. What discussions of race are Republicans trying to suppress? I think you’re falling for the myth of systemic racism.

              The big indoctrination push in K-12 schools has been to smear all whites and to impart attitudes of racism and entitlement to impressionable children who don’t have any choice but to sit and take it on pain of punishment. Even if done to adult employees or college students this would constitute hostile environment racial harassment; doing it to children is child abuse.

              1. Blah blah CRT is bad blah blah. It’s also a straw man so beat it up as much as you want, no one cares.

                The problem of course with the Republican censorship wave is that it’s censorship, so it has unintended consequences. Some of the laws are way vague and overbroad, and have a chilling effect on totally legitimate discussions of race. Tiny pianist was even trying to tell me on another thread how happy he was that it had the effect in Texas I think of banning the teaching of the original Constitution, what with its 3/5ths compromise and all.

                Anyway good job not answering my question, which was, what supposed “right-wing viewpoints” are administrators suppressing?

      2. You can see how the right has simply co-opted the language of the left to keep this stuff going.
        Birchers and the Klan must have their free speech rights respected.
        Creationism needs to be taught as a form of free and fair debate.
        Clubs still need to be restricted because freedom of association.

        It’s not about the principles but the statuses.

        1. Do you deny that Birchers and the Klan should have their free speech rights respected?

    2. It used to be great, now it’s bad. So, it’s time to make it great again.

    3. When exactly was this era?

      Good question.

      When I attended public school the day began with a (usually explicitly Christian) prayer in class or later over the PA system.

      Objections to this practice were not welcome.

      1. I see the problem now. I went to her actual website (Not FIRE) and looked at its affiliate links. It’s an absolute dumpster fire of conservative grievance, and anti-CRT paranoia. This is not a serious person. And I’m disappointed but not surprised EV is promoting them as someone opposed to “illiberalism” when by every indication they would just prefer their own illiberalism in the classroom as opposed to another one.

        She says:

        “It is essential that these systems and values be deliberately and explicitly taught in our schools, to prepare successful future citizens capable of self-government. We cannot mandate belief in them, since that would be un-American, but schools must at minimum foster understanding of them. If your child’s school isn’t teaching these foundational concepts, then it’s going to fall on you, the parents (in which case, you’re going to be asking yourself why you’re paying the school to do a job they’re not doing).”

        But then goes on to say:

        “Socialism and communism also enshrine breaking the 10th commandment against coveting your neighbors’ goods and activate the deadly sin of Envy.”

        So there it is. Dr. Anti-illiberalism thinks its essential to teach kids that socialism violates the 10th Commandment. Unreal.

        1. Seriously, EV, why are you lending this partisan hack your platform?

          She is seriously undermining your own credibility, especially to the extent you appear to be endorsing her.

          1. She also did the “CRT is wrong and evil because I only know one MLK quote.” But federal judges with life tenure do that now too, so it’s hardly a disqualifying habit apparently.

        2. This is one site that displays the writing of a woman FIRE has hired to sic on strong, mainstream, public, and/or liberal-libertarian high schools for failing to remain mired in the ’50s (with Prof. Volokh’s endorsement, apparently).

          You may have found a different site, LawTalkingGuy, but I doubt the evidence would differ much. Unadulterated clingery.

          1. Same site. Really surprised this person is associated with FIRE.

            1. Trumpification is more contagious than Covid, I’m starting to think…

              1. If you were a conservative, you likely would be dispirited, disaffected, and desperate, too.

        3. Yeah, this is an embarrassing post, part of me finds it hard to believe EV featured it. When a post starts with a ‘everyone knows’ statement with no citation, hyperbolic language (‘under assault’), etc., we can be mostly certain it’s more in the realm of partisan hyperbole than academic carefulness.

          1. You clowns are actually demonstrating that free speech is not a position the left will defend.

            I mean, damn, you keep making bullshit partisan claims. Slavery whitewashed? I attended grade school in a school that was segregated the first couple of years I was there. We were taught about slavery. That it was bad and cruel and not something to be proud about.

            When I was a kid there were actual klansmen around. A lot more prevalent than now. My best friend bragged that his dad was in the klan, but mostly I remember his dad as just a drunk. But those guys have always had speech rights. As it should be.

            I’d a lot rather have those asshats be able to spew stuff that nobody listens to than I would have people like the Rev and Queen deciding what I can say. Fuck that noise.

            1. I’d say this is a pretty incredible reach, but I think most people know beavis was there all along. Pointing out this lady’s hypocrisy and hyperbole is ‘Queen deciding what I can say.’

              Sure, Beavis. Sure.

            2. Slavery whitewashed? I attended grade school in a school that was segregated the first couple of years I was there.

              And I attended a public school where we were told that the Civil War was not even about slavery, that Lee owned no slaves, etc. The full BS.

              I don’t think either one of us can claim our experience was the same as everyone else’s.

  4. “Rising illiberalism. . . ”

    I had to look up illiberalism;

    By illiberalism, we define a strain of political culture, a set of institutional reforms (such as assaults on an independent judiciary) and broader societal processes (such as declining trust in liberal democratic institutions) that, over the past two decades, has emerged in response to liberalism as experienced by various countries.

    Adherents of illiberalism argue that, in the face of a liberalism that has “gone too far,” it is time to reassert the rights of the collective, or of an alleged silent majority, by restoring national sovereignty in various spheres: politically, by rejecting supranational and multilateral institutions in favor of the nation-state and preferring a strong leader with large powers over a parliamentary system; economically, through at least partial protectionism; culturally, by refusing multiculturalism and minority rights in favor of an essentialist definition of the nation, its members, and its genuine cultural attributes.

    Hmmm….guess Trump is an illiberal.

      1. …and a pickpocket!

        1. Pfft, IKR, he doesn’t put his hands into stranger’s pockets for *money.*

  5. “Taking the Battle for Free Speech to K-12
    Rising illiberalism hits younger students.”

    It is not rising illiberalism that bugs Bonnie Synder, FIRE, Eugene Volokh, Josh Blackman, the Federalist Society, and Republicans . . . to the contrary, it is ascendant (triumphant) liberalism.

    1. Your comment makes it unclear whether you understand what liberalism is. Or maybe you’re being purposefully obtuse.

    2. Kirkland, you wouldn’t know true liberalism if it slapped you in the ass with both hands.

  6. According to your website,

    There are certain elements to our culture that cannot be divorced from our founding documents—which themselves are rooted in Judeo-Christian traditions, and associated Enlightenment thought—or from the systems by which citizens must abide and by which our economy operates, and these include:

    Our political system – Constitutional republic with transparent elections, confidential voting, majority rule and consent of the governed.
    Our economic system – free markets, voluntary exchange, and competition (capitalism) backed up with protection of private (individual) property rights.
    Our culture – Enlightenment individualism, built on the foundation of Judeo-Christian values.
    Our legal system – Individual justice with presumption of innocence, due process and rules of evidence, built on the English common law tradition.
    Our method of advancement – Protestant work ethic and meritocracy.
    Our method of communicating and figuring things out – Free speech (open voluntary exchange of thoughts in the free marketplace of ideas), no compelled speech or censorship, logical reason.
    Our mode of interacting with one another –Equality, live and let live, agreeing to disagree, free to disagree (right to petition, peaceably assemble).
    Our outlook on life – Self-reliance, American spirit, progress, optimism, American Dream, pursuit of happiness (freedom, liberty), resistance to authoritarianism (defiance), assertion of rights (it’s a free country!).

    For what it’s worth, I agree that public schools should be teaching and inculcating these values! But isn’t his in fact arguing that school s should be “partisan [and] enemy of” the anti-American beliefs you oppose. And aren’t you arguing that in fact patriotic Americans should encourage schools to “impose [] ideological discipline” by teaching good beliefs and not teaching bad ones?

    1. Though I can’t find that link, if that’s what FIRE says, they’re trying to have their cake and eat it too.

      1. No this is something from unindoctrinate.com, I think. Although Dr. Snyder works with/for FIRE, it must be unaffiliated organizationally. I don’t think FIRE would ever talk about how we need to teach kids an ideologically loaded list like this.

        1. I’m having some difficulty finding it there, too. But it looks like a quote from *someone.*

          1. https://undoctrinate.org/1065-2/

            Here it is. But, like Noscitur said even if you agree teaching things is good, she obviously views being anti-illiberal as imposing a conservative ideology in American schools, not some forum for the free exchange of ideas. I mean she references and condemns Marx a lot but never suggests actually reading him…only Hayek and Rand.

            1. Ah, I found the somewhat different site unindoctrinate.com, not .org.

              Well, she certainly uses triggering phrases like “Judeo-Christian values,” “American dream,” “English,” “Protestant work ethic,” and “American spirit.”

              But it’s fair to say she throws a few bones the liberals’ way – “Enlightenment individualism,” “progress,” “equality,” “logical reason” – as well as what I assume are consensus positions like free speech and live and let live.

              Liberals still believe that stuff, right?

              1. Sure. But when someone says the first group of terms have been challenges to a lot of people’s conception of the second group of terms what side does she fall on?

                For instance if teacher argues to his students that claiming our culture is based on a post-WWII buzzword called Judeo-Christian values is an attempt to enforce conformity, deny the equality of disfavored groups, and to inhibit progress, then what do you think she would say to that?

                1. At this point, you’d really have to ask her about these details.

                  I’m not committed to her version, though I like the implied acknowledgement that schools (at least below the university level) should teach *something* – if you create a vacuum it will be filled one way or the other.

                  When does liberal/libertarian education leave off and indoctrination begin?

                  1. Probably when you try to demonize critiques of the existing social structure as “illiberal indoctrination” for the purpose of eliminating them from the educational conversation.

                    1. “critiques of the existing social structure”

                      I guess I’d have to know more about these critiques before saying how liberal they were.

                      Some flavors of liberalism have very good ideas, though in my mind, what is good in liberalism is not original and what is original is not good.

                      https://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/06/17/good-original/

                    2. “I guess I’d have to know more about these critiques before saying how liberal they were.”

                      Why would you have to know how liberal they are at all?

                    3. Because you’re a dork?

                    4. Unfortunately for you, I said “”Why would *you* have to know how liberal they are at all?”

                      I don’t think I have to know at all.

                    5. I fart in your general direction.

                    6. I acknowledge your giving up, it was silly what you were going at.

                    7. She was making claims about what was or was not liberal.

                      Fart.

                    8. She was making claims about what was or was not liberal.

                      Fart.

                    9. So if it’s not liberal it should be censored? Or something.

                      I guess you’re too busy farting or something.

                    10. Let me know when your arguments are at least as rational as my farts.

                2. I used to live in a country that “progressed” away from Judeo-Christian values (USSR). It was a seriously messed-up place. I am not looking forward to what we (U.S.) will become once we make the same “progress.”

              2. It’s interesting Cal concedes ‘logical reason’ to liberals while I guess the conservative equivalent is ‘Judeo-Christian values’ or ‘Protestant work ethic.’

                1. Ask Kirkland, he’ll tell you.

                  Or ask the ideologues of the French Enlightenment and Revolution. Were they not exquisitely logical and reasonable?

                  1. I asked no question, interesting you thought that way…

                    1. But you *are* eminently reasonable and logical, aren’t you?

                      I said you *should* ask the Rev. if you have any doubts whasoever, which you don’t.

                    2. So reasonable and logical *are* bad things for you?

                      I can kind of get that I guess….

                  2. …ask the ideologues of the French Enlightenment and Revolution. Were they not exquisitely logical and reasonable?

                    If we cut off enough heads, things will be wonderful! The ends justify the means!

                2. You’re just dodging, you tried to be so cute, but stepped in it.

                  1. Who knows, maybe I *did* bobble the landing on the joke.

                    I still fart in your general direction.

                    1. Oh, so now it’s a *joke.* Bobbled and all.

                    2. When I make an error, I correct it. Why should I double down instead of simply admitting I said something silly on the Internet?

            2. Just read that.

              Quite a rant, and I’m guessing she doesn’t even understand what some her recommended readings say. It’s badly ill-informed.

              (A small point: It’s certainly not true that Mark Twain originated the saying “Familiarity breeds contempt.” Five seconds of Google reveals that it goes back at least to Chaucer.)

              She cites Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall” for the proposition that good fences make good neighbors, though the poem is anything but a celebration of fences.

              I love how “Judeo-Christian values” are the basis of Constitutional government. Guess I missed the day the rabbi described how Moses won the big election. I don’t think David was a Constitutional monarch either.

              There’s more.

              1. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

                You don’t see any connection to Judeo-Christian values? None at all?

            3. Well, glancing at her lists of sources, I’m glad I didn’t endorse her educational program sight unseen. I’m glad she thinks something should be taught, but I’m also glad she won’t have the final word on *what* will be taught.

              If we go beyond the American definitions of liberal and conservative, and looking at the majority of her sources, they are by any definition liberal (plus preliberal or debatable sources which are harnessed for liberal purposes).

              Of course, she’s trying to support that faction of liberals which Americans call “conservative.” Like all family quarrels, the battle between American “conservatives” and “liberals” is especially vicious nowadays, too vicious for the combatting parties to acknowledge their obvious commonalities.

              1. “Well, glancing at her lists of sources, I’m glad I didn’t endorse her educational program sight unseen. I’m glad she thinks something should be taught, but I’m also glad she won’t have the final word on *what* will be taught. ”

                Lol.

                1. See, that’s why you’re reasonable and logical – your arguments are so cogent and rational, there’s no way to refute them.

    2. Isn’t this a book review? Should not the critique be on the book rather than the reviewer’s positions?

      1. The website is hawking her book which presumably states these ideas.

  7. Ah ha now I see why Bonnie Snyder is confused. She seems to think people have a First Amendment right not to incur even “mild social disapproval” based on their speech.

    We’ll Bonnie, I’m going to use my speech to mildly disapprove of you. You are yet another right-wing whiner peddling conservative victimization. Sad.

    Your side is losing the culture war. I understand how that’s frustrating for you. But the First Amendment doesn’t guarantee you a right to cultural ascendancy. It doesn’t even guarantee you a right to be heard (other than by the gov’t itself in case of grievance). If you go around saying disgusting things, you won’t be arrested, but you should expect people to be disgusted with you.

    1. ” I’m going to use my speech to mildly disapprove of you.”

      You indoctrinator!

  8. Is the golden rule part of the Sermon on the Mount? I don’t think so.

  9. By far the biggest single threat to academic freedom and free speech in K-12 these days is the anti-CRT campaign on the right. It advocates actual, government-mandated censorship.

    If Bonnie Snyder were truly interested in K-12 free speech, these laws would be her most urgent target.

    But of course, her goal is simply right-wing indoctrination. No problem censoring left-wing ideas.

    1. Anti CRT is a threat to academic freedom? So teaching my white kids that they’re inferior, inherently evil, and racist is NOT a threat?

      You progressives really are certifiable.

      1. It might be a threat to other things, but not to academic freedom. Bonnie’s stated mission is about ensuring an open debate. Using the gov’t to shut down whole areas of discussion is pretty totally antithetical to that mission. The fact that she’s fine with it proves she’s a fraud.

        “Students who are not allowed to explore subjects fully, vigorously, and honestly would gain only a shallow, cursory grasp of difficult, nuanced topics.”

        “Specious reasoning and internal contradictions would go unchallenged.”

        The right has gotten so desperate that it’s blind to these contradictions. On one hand they complain _nonstop_ about being censored — by Facebook, by universities, by employers, by boycotts — even though all of those things are just disagreements, not censorship. Then they happily push for real government censorship of ideas they don’t like. It’s pathetic and another sign that the right has no principles left at all, just partisanship for its own sake.

  10. Snyder refers to Thanksgiving as “uniquely American.”

    She might want to check with our neighbor to the north.

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