Tag Archives: free-speech

The First Amendment Your Protection from Government Bob …

Posted: January 15, 2017 at 12:49 pm

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

There is no more precious freedom we have than that of free expression. The first amendment to the constitution isnt telling you what you can do, it is telling the government what they cant do. The founding fathers believed that the rights in the first amendment were inherent or understood to be true. Those 45 words, about twice as long as a standard tweet, were written to make sure they could not be taken from you.

The first amendment guarantees five rights.

Now, there are some things you cannot do, but the list is relatively short, for example. You cannot maliciously defame someone, you cannot spread hateful talk and you cant yell, Fire in a crowded theater (unless there is one).

Free expression is not a principle common to most countries. A recent Freedom House survey found that only 16 percent of the worlds inhabitants live in countries with a free press. And many of them dont have the broad protection our first amendment offers. Many governments restrict the information their people can get by disallowing foreign news programs, the internet, publications and often even discussions. Even our friends in England, do not have the protection that Americans do. The English have no document like our First Amendment.

While there are five guarantees in the amendment, Im going to focus on just one today, the guarantee of a free press.

It is a given throughout history that Governments that do business under the watchful eye of the media are likely to go about their business more honestly than they would otherwise. The news media, also known as the fourth estate, keeps tabs on the three branches of government. Without that scrutiny or the threat of it, we would not have a clue as to what was happening with our tax dollars or what elected representatives were doing.

Even if you dont like the news media and think they are biased, unfair and inaccurate it is still in your best interests to support their continued existence because without them we become just another dictatorship where the people are kept in the dark about everything.

Almost everyone agrees that a free press is necessary but there is always a but. For example, the norm in this country is to be a Democrat or a Republican and either a Christian or Jew. Few will argue that they should be restricted. But, when we deviate from the norm and allow a communist to speak freely, the Ku Klux Klan to hold a rally, and the Islamic faith to establish itself thats when many people will make exceptions to the guarantees of the First Amendment. And thats when Congress shall make no law, comes in. You either have free expression or you dont. We must protect Congress shall make no law with all of our energy even when to do so hurts a little. One of the very special things about the first amendment is it balances itself. It says we have a right to free speech and a free press and often the free speech is critical of the free press, and thats as it should be.

Having a free press means we have to take the bad with the good, and sometimes thats hard. But even if on occasion we must suffer their criticism, we are still better off for it. Often, the media in their competitive arena will balance a story by offering several perspectives on the same issue. To be fair, if you are going to judge the news media, then it must be done on a macro basis rather than looking at one or two members and concluding they are all that way.

The first amendment is a clear, bold and loud restriction on Government power and it must be protected at all costs. Without freedom of expression, we have no freedom at all. Thomas Jefferson said, Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.

Journalism is an inexact business because it depends entirely on what other people, who have no obligation to be honest, tell the reporter. There is a huge difference between a journalistic inquiry and testimony in a court of law. In the courtroom there are penalties for lying, you must appear in court if ordered to do so and you are required to answer the questions. In a news interview the subject appears voluntarily, can lie if he or she wants to and can refuse to answer questions. The entire news gathering process depends on people volunteering honest information.

The late and great Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Washington Post, David Broder described a newspaper this way;

a partial, hasty, incomplete, inevitably somewhat flawed and inaccurate rendering of some of the things we have heard about in the past 24 hours distorted, despite our best efforts to eliminate gross bias by the very process of compression that makes it possible for you to lift it from the doorstep and read it in about an hour. If we labeled the product accurately, then we could immediately add: But its the best we could do under the circumstances, and we will be back tomorrow, with a corrected and updated version.

If youd like to know more about the first amendment and the constitution this link offers some excellent information.https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/amendments/amendment-i

And from where I sit, thats the truth

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Hate Speech on Campus | American Civil Liberties Union

Posted: January 10, 2017 at 2:53 am

In recent years, a rise in verbal abuse and violence directed at people of color, lesbians and gay men, and other historically persecuted groups has plagued the United States. Among the settings of these expressions of intolerance are college and university campuses, where bias incidents have occurred sporadically since the mid-1980s. Outrage, indignation and demands for change have greeted such incidents — understandably, given the lack of racial and social diversity among students, faculty and administrators on most campuses.

Many universities, under pressure to respond to the concerns of those who are the objects of hate, have adopted codes or policies prohibiting speech that offends any group based on race, gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.

That’s the wrong response, well-meaning or not. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects speech no matter how offensive its content. Speech codes adopted by government-financed state colleges and universities amount to government censorship, in violation of the Constitution. And the ACLU believes that all campuses should adhere to First Amendment principles because academic freedom is a bedrock of education in a free society.

How much we value the right of free speech is put to its severest test when the speaker is someone we disagree with most. Speech that deeply offends our morality or is hostile to our way of life warrants the same constitutional protection as other speech because the right of free speech is indivisible: When one of us is denied this right, all of us are denied. Since its founding in 1920, the ACLU has fought for the free expression of all ideas, popular or unpopular. That’s the constitutional mandate.

Where racist, sexist and homophobic speech is concerned, the ACLU believes that more speech — not less — is the best revenge. This is particularly true at universities, whose mission is to facilitate learning through open debate and study, and to enlighten. Speech codes are not the way to go on campuses, where all views are entitled to be heard, explored, supported or refuted. Besides, when hate is out in the open, people can see the problem. Then they can organize effectively to counter bad attitudes, possibly change them, and forge solidarity against the forces of intolerance.

College administrators may find speech codes attractive as a quick fix, but as one critic put it: “Verbal purity is not social change.” Codes that punish bigoted speech treat only the symptom: The problem itself is bigotry. The ACLU believes that instead of opting for gestures that only appear to cure the disease, universities have to do the hard work of recruitment to increase faculty and student diversity; counseling to raise awareness about bigotry and its history, and changing curricula to institutionalize more inclusive approaches to all subject matter.

A: Free speech rights are indivisible. Restricting the speech of one group or individual jeopardizes everyone’s rights because the same laws or regulations used to silence bigots can be used to silence you. Conversely, laws that defend free speech for bigots can be used to defend the rights of civil rights workers, anti-war protesters, lesbian and gay activists and others fighting for justice. For example, in the 1949 case of Terminiello v. Chicago, the ACLU successfully defended an ex-Catholic priest who had delivered a racist and anti-semitic speech. The precedent set in that case became the basis for the ACLU’s successful defense of civil rights demonstrators in the 1960s and ’70s.

The indivisibility principle was also illustrated in the case of Neo-Nazis whose right to march in Skokie, Illinois in 1979 was successfully defended by the ACLU. At the time, then ACLU Executive Director Aryeh Neier, whose relatives died in Hitler’s concentration camps during World War II, commented: “Keeping a few Nazis off the streets of Skokie will serve Jews poorly if it means that the freedoms to speak, publish or assemble any place in the United States are thereby weakened.”

A: Not so. Only a handful of the several thousand cases litigated by the national ACLU and its affiliates every year involves offensive speech. Most of the litigation, advocacy and public education work we do preserves or advances the constitutional rights of ordinary people. But it’s important to understand that the fraction of our work that does involve people who’ve engaged in bigoted and hurtful speech is very important:

Defending First Amendment rights for the enemies of civil liberties and civil rights means defending it for you and me.

A: The U.S. Supreme Court did rule in 1942, in a case calledChaplinsky v. New Hampshire, that intimidating speech directed at a specific individual in a face-to-face confrontation amounts to “fighting words,” and that the person engaging in such speech can be punished if “by their very utterance [the words] inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.” Say, a white student stops a black student on campus and utters a racial slur. In that one-on-one confrontation, which could easily come to blows, the offending student could be disciplined under the “fighting words” doctrine for racial harassment.

Over the past 50 years, however, the Court hasn’t found the “fighting words” doctrine applicable in any of the hate speech cases that have come before it, since the incidents involved didn’t meet the narrow criteria stated above. Ignoring that history, the folks who advocate campus speech codes try to stretch the doctrine’s application to fit words or symbols that cause discomfort, offense or emotional pain.

A: Symbols of hate are constitutionally protected if they’re worn or displayed before a general audience in a public place — say, in a march or at a rally in a public park. But the First Amendment doesn’t protect the use of nonverbal symbols to encroach upon, or desecrate, private property, such as burning a cross on someone’s lawn or spray-painting a swastika on the wall of a synagogue or dorm.

In its 1992 decision inR.A.V. v. St. Paul, the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional a city ordinance that prohibited cross-burnings based on their symbolism, which the ordinance said makes many people feel “anger, alarm or resentment.” Instead of prosecuting the cross-burner for the content of his act, the city government could have rightfully tried him under criminal trespass and/or harassment laws.

The Supreme Court has ruled that symbolic expression, whether swastikas, burning crosses or, for that matter, peace signs, is protected by the First Amendment because it’s “closely akin to ‘pure speech.'” That phrase comes from a landmark 1969 decision in which the Court held that public school students could wear black armbands in school to protest the Vietnam War. And in another landmark ruling, in 1989, the Court upheld the right of an individual to burn the American flag in public as a symbolic expression of disagreement with government policies.

A: Historically, defamation laws or codes have proven ineffective at best and counter-productive at worst. For one thing, depending on how they’re interpreted and enforced, they can actually work against the interests of the people they were ostensibly created to protect. Why? Because the ultimate power to decide what speech is offensive and to whom rests with the authorities — the government or a college administration — not with those who are the alleged victims of hate speech.

In Great Britain, for example, a Racial Relations Act was adopted in 1965 to outlaw racist defamation. But throughout its existence, the Act has largely been used to persecute activists of color, trade unionists and anti-nuclear protesters, while the racists — often white members of Parliament — have gone unpunished.

Similarly, under a speech code in effect at the University of Michigan for 18 months, white students in 20 cases charged black students with offensive speech. One of the cases resulted in the punishment of a black student for using the term “white trash” in conversation with a white student. The code was struck down as unconstitutional in 1989 and, to date, the ACLU has brought successful legal challenges against speech codes at the Universities of Connecticut, Michigan and Wisconsin.

These examples demonstrate that speech codes don’t really serve the interests of persecuted groups. The First Amendment does. As one African American educator observed: “I have always felt as a minority person that we have to protect the rights of all because if we infringe on the rights of any persons, we’ll be next.”

A: Bigoted speech is symptomatic of a huge problem in our country; it is not the problem itself. Everybody, when they come to college, brings with them the values, biases and assumptions they learned while growing up in society, so it’s unrealistic to think that punishing speech is going to rid campuses of the attitudes that gave rise to the speech in the first place. Banning bigoted speech won’t end bigotry, even if it might chill some of the crudest expressions. The mindset that produced the speech lives on and may even reassert itself in more virulent forms.

Speech codes, by simply deterring students from saying out loud what they will continue to think in private, merely drive biases underground where they can’t be addressed. In 1990, when Brown University expelled a student for shouting racist epithets one night on the campus, the institution accomplished nothing in the way of exposing the bankruptcy of racist ideas.

A: Yes. The ACLU believes that hate speech stops being just speech and becomes conduct when it targets a particular individual, and when it forms a pattern of behavior that interferes with a student’s ability to exercise his or her right to participate fully in the life of the university.

The ACLU isn’t opposed to regulations that penalize acts of violence, harassment or intimidation, and invasions of privacy. On the contrary, we believe that kind of conduct should be punished. Furthermore, the ACLU recognizes that the mere presence of speech as one element in an act of violence, harassment, intimidation or privacy invasion doesn’t immunize that act from punishment. For example, threatening, bias-inspired phone calls to a student’s dorm room, or white students shouting racist epithets at a woman of color as they follow her across campus — these are clearly punishable acts.

Several universities have initiated policies that both support free speech and counter discriminatory conduct. Arizona State, for example, formed a “Campus Environment Team” that acts as an education, information and referral service. The team of specially trained faculty, students and administrators works to foster an environment in which discriminatory harassment is less likely to occur, while also safeguarding academic freedom and freedom of speech.

A: The ACLU believes that the best way to combat hate speech on campus is through an educational approach that includes counter-speech, workshops on bigotry and its role in American and world history, and real — not superficial — institutional change.

Universities are obligated to create an environment that fosters tolerance and mutual respect among members of the campus community, an environment in which all students can exercise their right to participate fully in campus life without being discriminated against. Campus administrators on the highest level should, therefore,

ACLU Executive Director Ira Glasser stated, in a speech at the City College of New York: “There is no clash between the constitutional right of free speech and equality. Both are crucial to society. Universities ought to stop restricting speech and start teaching.”

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First Amendment Foundation – – Protecting Your Right to …

Posted: January 8, 2017 at 7:47 pm

The First Amendment Foundation is a highly visible and accessible source of authoritative information, expertise and assistance to the public and news media.Founded as a non-profit organization in 1984 by The Florida Press Association, the Florida Society of Newspapers Editors and the Florida Association of Broadcasters to ensure that public commitment and progress in the areas of free speech, free press, and open government do not become checked and diluted during Floridas changing times.

Floridas Sunshine Laws guarantee our right to open government, but government officials can get downright creative to keep their decision-making in the dark. Like the state agency that demanded $3,200 to copy a single page of a public record, or the city commissioner who accidentally dropped her government phone in the toilet after a reporter asked her to see her text messages. And of course, you, the taxpayer footed the $1.3 million legal tab to keep our Governor and his cabinet out of court over secret emails. Fortunately, we have the Florida First Amendment Foundation fighting on our side. I urge you to support the First Amendment Foundation and keep Florida government by the people, for the people and in the Sunshine.

Carl Hiaasen, Miami Herald columnist and author ofSkin Tight,Strip Tease, Skinny Dip, Nature Girl, Star Island,Bad Monkey, Razor Girl and many more.

Thepurpose of the First Amendment Foundation is to protect and advance the publics constitutional right to open government by providing education and training, legal aid and information services. Funding is based on voluntary contributions from various organizations and concerned individuals.

You know, the critical research of my book would not have been possible without access granted by law via Floridas longstanding Open Government laws. Without Sunshine, stories like the injustice I uncovered in Central Florida could not have come forward. The Florida First Amendment Foundation has been protecting your citizen right to know for the past 31 years. Support the First Amendment Foundation. Support Open Government. It pays dividends.

Gilbert King, February 2016. Pulitzer Prize winning author of Devil in the Grove Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America

Our actions get results. In the past year, we led a broad coalition of open government advocates anddefeated a billthat would have made it harder to hold agencies accountable for public records violations. In dozens of courthouses and government offices around the country, citizens with FAFs help won access to the recordsand meetings.

Still,our job has never been more challenging and,with your help, we will continue to fight efforts to erode Floridas long-standing tradition of open government.

Find out more about the First Amendment Foundation.

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International Law in the Age of Trump: A Post-Human Rights …

Posted: December 21, 2016 at 6:40 pm

The Trump presidency will have a significant impact on international law, including a potential withdrawal from or re-negotiation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Iran nuclear deal.Although those two examples would pit the United States against much of the rest of the world, in other respects Trumps election is consistent with ongoing global changes.To take a well-known example, Trumps opposition to NAFTA appears to align with world-wide populism and hostility to trade agreements, as illustrated by Brexit.

Trumps election is also consistent with other trends in international law.As I argued before the election, we are in the midst of a world-wide decline in international human rights and a related rise in power by China and Russia over the content of international law, a theme discussed last week by Anne Peters here.Liberal intervention on behalf of human rightsopposed by China and Russiawould almost certainly have received a boost from a Hillary Clinton administration.Although it is difficult to predict what direction the new administration will take, it is likely that the U.S. will expend little energy on promoting the international legal protection of human rights (putting aside here international humanitarian law, the law of armed conflict, and other related areas of international law).

We are, in other words, probably already in the post-human rights era of international law, meaning that the enforcement and expansion of human rights through binding international law will decline. Fortunately, thanks in part to the historic successes of the human rights movement, there are many other ways to advance the cause of human rights, including regional human rights institutions, soft international norms (such as the historic Helsinki Accords), and domestic or transnational political reform and activism.Promoting civil liberties and human rights at home and abroad should be an important objective in the coming years, all the more so with Trump as President, but perhaps not through the enforcement of binding international law.

The Trump administration should use the post-human rights era as an opportunity to promote a different international law agenda:a strong core of international law dedicated to protecting international peace and security. The pursuit of human rights by the West through international law has weakened other norms of international law. Kosovo is an illustration.President Clintons 1999 humanitarian intervention in Kosovo lacked the authorization of the U.N. Security Council and violated international law; the intervention ultimately led to the creation of the new state of Kosovo over the bitter opposition of Russia and Serbia. The Kosovo precedent was used by Russia to support the right to self-determination for South Ossetia and Crimea.More broadly, doctrinal innovations like universal jurisdiction and the lifting of immunity for human rights violations can generate regional tensions and disagreements.

Quite simply, the West has lost its bid to promote human rights as politically neutral standards binding upon all nations as a matter of international law. That effort foundered most visibly on the shoals of selective, coercive enforcement, including in Iraq, but also including the use of force to effectuate regime change in Libya and the limited effectiveness of the Human Rights Council. A turn away from using international law to promote human rightswhether or not the first best choice in an ideal worldcreates an opportunity to strengthen other vitally important norms of international law.

Political science research (examples here and here) tells us that border and territorial disputes have historically been especially likely to lead to militarized armed conflict and to war.Indeed, the long peace may be as much a territorial peace as it is a democratic peace. Accordingly, a priority under the new administration should be to strengthen international legal rules which may reduce conflict over territory and borders such as Article 2(4) of U.N. Charter. Territorial conquests declined during the 20th century as the international rule limiting the use of force hardened. The norm began to emerge after World War I, as reflected in the Charter of the League of Nations and in mandate systems of the interwar period, which replaced the traditional system of simply awarding territory (including colonies) to the victorious states.The hopes of territorial conquest by (and the scope of territorial disagreements between) the Russian, Qing, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Japanese Empires at the beginning of the 20th century vividly illustrate how international laws permissive posture toward violent territorial acquisition led to conflict and war. The prohibition on the use of force for territorial conquest was strengthened in the U.N. Charter and became the cornerstone of the post-World War II international legal order.Geopolitically, concern about territorial and border disputes today means we need to remain focused on the South China Sea, the Ukraine/Eastern Europe, and the Turkish/Syria/greater Kurdistan border as especially potent threats to international peace and security (as well as to other U.S. interests).

Institutionally, we should seek to return in some respects to the immediate post World War II settlement with the U.N. Security Council focused on protecting international peace and security.For better or for worse, recent global developments, including the deployment of Russian military power and Russias growing alliance with China, have put the Russian-Chinese-U.S. relationship at the center of global importance when it comes to international law and to international peace and security. The veto-wielding members of the United Nations Security Council may not be broadly representative of the worlds countries, but the growing importance of the relationships among those five countries gives the Security Council a renewed significance.It is an important forum for the advancement of U.S. medium- and long-term interests.Turning our back on the United Nations would be a mistake.

During the Trump Administration, the United States and the world will need to focus on protecting civil liberties, the rights of minorities, free speech, and other rights from violation by individuals own governments.Thanks in part to the international human rights movement and to generations of activists, today we have a variety of legal tools to help us do so. But the enforcement of binding norms of international law through the United Nations or foreign domestic courts may not always be an effective means of doing so, especially in light of todays political realities.In a post-human rights era, binding norms of international law are often better used to pursue other objectives such as the maintenance of international peace and security.

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : War on …

Posted: December 15, 2016 at 6:43 pm

A major threat to liberty is the assault on the right to discuss political issues, seek out alternative information sources, and promote dissenting ideas and causes such as non-interventionism in foreign and domestic affairs. If this ongoing assault on free speech succeeds, then all of our liberties are endangered.

One of the most common assaults on the First Amendment is the attempt to force public policy organizations to disclose their donors. Regardless of the intent of these laws, the effect is to subject supporters of controversial causes to harassment, or worse. This harassment makes other potential donors afraid to support organizations opposing a popular war or defending the rights of an unpopular group.

Many free speech opponents support laws and regulations forbidding activist or educational organizations from distributing factual information regarding a candidates positions for several months before an election. The ban would apply to communications that do not endorse or oppose any candidate. These laws would result in the only sources of information on the candidates views being the campaigns and the media.

Recently the Federal Election Commission (FEC) rejected a proposal to add language exempting books, movies, and streaming videos from its regulations. The majority of FEC commissioners apparently believe they should have the power, for example, to ban Oliver Stones biography of Edward Snowden, since it was released two months before the election and features clips of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump discussing Snowden.

The latest, and potentially most dangerous, threat to the First Amendment is the war on fake news. Those leading the war are using a few viral Internet hoaxes to justify increased government regulation and even outright censorship of Internet news sites. Some popular websites, such as Facebook, are not waiting for the government to force them to crack down on fake news.

Those calling for bans on fake news are not just trying to censor easily-disproved Internet hoaxes. They are working to create a government-sanctioned “gatekeeper” (to use Hillary Clintons infamous phrase) with the power to censor any news or opinion displeasing to the political establishment. None of those wringing their hands over fake news have expressed any concern over the fake news stories that helped lead to the Iraq War. Those fake news stories led to the destabilizing of the Middle East, the rise of ISIS, and the deaths of millions.

The war on fake news has taken a chilling turn with efforts to label news and opinion sites of alternative news sources as peddlers of Russian propaganda. The main targets are critics of US interventionist foreign policy, proponents of a gold standard, critics of the US governments skyrocketing debt, and even those working to end police militarization. All have been smeared as anti-American agents of Russia.

Just last week, Congress passed legislation creating a special committee, composed of key federal agencies, to counter foreign interference in US elections. There have also been calls for congressional investigations into Russian influence on the elections. Can anyone doubt that the goal of this is to discredit and silence those who question the mainstream medias pro-welfare/warfare state propaganda?

The attempts to ban fake news; smear antiwar, anti-Federal Reserve, and other pro-liberty movements as Russian agents; and stop independent organizations from discussing a politicians record before an election are all parts of an ongoing war on the First Amendment. All Americans, no matter their political persuasion, have a stake in defeating these efforts to limit free speech.

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Ayn Rand Student Conference 2016

Posted: December 2, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Its not uncommon to hear that free will is an illusion that belief in free will is incompatible with science.

Yet, the existence of free will lies at the heart of every important issue in your life. Understanding precisely what is and is not within the power of your free choice is crucial to your pursuit of knowledge, values, personal relationships and happiness.

Join us November 4 to 6 in Atlanta, GA, at the Ayn Rand Student Conference 2016 (#AynRandCon) for an in-depth exploration of the concept of free will from the perspective of Ayn Rands philosophy of Objectivism. Rand the novelist, philosopher and cultural icon famous for her bestselling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged developed a new account of free will, one that underpins the distinctive view of good and evil and of heroism that runs through her novels.

Rejecting the false alternative of nature vs. nurture, Rand advanced a radical view of man, which holds that you are a being of self-made soul, capable of exercising fundamental control over your own thinking, actions and character. Far from viewing belief in free will as a superstition incompatible with science, Rand argued that the facts support the existence of free will and that its unscientific as well as disastrous personally and culturally to dismiss free will as illusory.

At #AynRandCon youll hear leading experts on Rands philosophy discuss the nature of free will and its implications for your life and for a range of current controversies, from inequality to free speech to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Youll hear from practitioners inspired by Rands message to take control of their fates and build the kind of career and life they wanted. Youll meet other students who love Rands novels and are learning how to apply her ideas to their own lives. And youll have the chance to network with speakers, professionals and students.

The conference is brought to you by the Ayn Rand Institute in collaboration with STRIVE (STudents for Reason, Individualism, Value pursuit, and Enterprise) and is made possible by the generous support of the Michael and Andrea Leven Family Foundation, as well as by the support of the Charles Koch Foundation, Ellen and Harris Kenner, Chris J. Rufer, and Loren and Kathy Corle, RELCO LLC.

Thanks to these donors, students are able to attend this conference at little or no cost. All students will receive a scholarship covering their travel, lodging and registration expenses.

Apply to attend by October 10, 2016!

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Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World …

Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:59 am

Admirably clear, . . . wise, up-to-the-minute and wide-ranging. . . . Free Speech encourages us to take a breath, look hard at the facts, and see how well-tried liberal principles can be applied and defended in daunting new circumstances.Edmund Fawcett, New York Times Book Review

A major piece of cultural analysis, sane, witty and urgently important.Timothy Garton Ash exemplifies the robust civility he recommends as an antidote to the pervasive unhappiness, nervousness and incoherence around freedom of speech, rightly seeing the basic challenge as how we create a cultural and moral climate in which proper public argument is possible and human dignity affirmed.–Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, and former Archbishop of Canterbury

Timothy Garton Ash aspires to articulate norms that should govern freedom of communication in a transnational world. His work is original and inspiring. Free Speech is an unfailingly eloquent and learned book that delights as well as instructs.–Robert Post, Dean and Sol & Lillian Goldman Professor of Law, Yale Law School

“A thorough and well-argued contribution to the quest for global free speech norms.”Kirkus Reviews

“There are still countless people risking their lives to defend free speech and struggling to makelonely voices heard in corners around the world where voices are hard to hear. Let us hope that this book will bring confidence and hope to this world-as-city. I believe it will exert great influence.–Murong Xuecun, author of Leave Me Alone: A Novel of Chengdu

“Garton Ash impresses with fact-filled, ideas-rich discussion that is routinely absorbing and illuminating.”Malcolm Forbes, The American Interest

“Particularly timely. . . . Garton Ash argues forcefully that . . . there is an increasing need for freer speech . . . A powerful, comprehensive book.”Economist

Timothy Garton Ash rises to the task of directing us how to live civilly in our connected diversity.John Lloyd, Financial Times

Free Speech is a resource, a weapon, an encyclopedia of anecdote, example and exemplum that reaches toward battling restrictions on expression with mountains of data, new ideas, liberating ideas.Diane Roberts, Prospect

Illuminating and thought-provoking. . . . [Garton Ashs] larger project is not merely to defend freedom of expression, but to promote civil, dispassionate discourse, within and across cultures, even about the most divisive and emotive subjects.Faramerz Dabhoiwala, The Guardian

“Timothy Garton Ashs new book Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World is a rare thing: a worthwhile contribution to a debate without two developed sides. Ash does an excellent job laying out the theoretical and practical bases for the western liberal positions on free speech.”Malcolm Harris, New Republic

“An informative and bracing defense of free speech liberalism in the Internet age . . . In a world where free speech can never be taken for granted, Garton Ashs free speech liberalism is a good place to start any discussion”David Luban, New York Review of Books

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Freedom of Speech Essay – 2160 Words – StudyMode

Posted: October 15, 2016 at 5:23 am

Freedom of Speech

With varying opinions and beliefs, our society needs to have unlimited freedom to speak about any and everything that concerns us in order to continually improve our society. Those free speech variables would be speech that creates a positive, and not negative, scenario in both long-terms and short-terms. Dictionary.com defines Freedom of Speech as, the right of people to express their opinions publicly without governmental interference, subject to the laws against libel, incitement to violence or rebellion, etc. Freedom of speech is also known as free speech or freedom of expression. Freedom of speech is also known as freedom of expression because a persons beliefs and thoughts can also be expressed in other ways other than speech. These ways could be art, writings, songs, and other forms of expression. If speaking freely and expressing ourselves freely is supposed to be without any consequence, then why are there constant law suits and consequences for people who do. Freedom of speech and freedom of expression should be exactly what they mean. Although most people believe that they can speak about anything without there being consequences, this is very untrue. One of those spoken things that have consequences is speaking about the president in such a negative way that it sends red flags about your intentions. Because of the high terrorist alerts, people have to limit what they say about bombs, 9/11, and anything they may say out of anger about our government or country. In the documentary called Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore spoke of a man who went to his gym and had a conversation with some of his gym buddies in a joking way. He made a joke about George W. Bush bombing us in oil profits. The next morning the FBI was at his front door because someone had reported what he freely spoke. Although the statements might have been derogatory, they were still his opinion, and he had a right to say whatever he wanted to about the president. In the past seven years there have been laws made that have obstructed our freedom of speech, and our right to privacy. Many of us have paused in the recent years when having a conversation because we are afraid that we are eavesdropped on. Even the eavesdropping would not be a problem if it were not for fear that there would be some legal action taken because of what you say. As mentioned in TalkLeft about the awkwardness in our current day conversations, We stop suddenly, momentarily afraid that our words might be taken out of context, then we laugh at our paranoia and go on. But our demeanor has changed, and our words are subtly altered. This is the loss of freedom we face when our privacy is taken from us. This is life in former East Germany, or life in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. And it’s our future as we allow an ever-intrusive eye into our personal, private lives. Because of tighter security and defense by the United States there have been visible and invisible changes to the meaning of freedom of speech and expression. One wrong word or thing could lead to a disastrous consequence.

Another topic that has been limited for a long period of time is religion. Speaking about religion in certain places is severely frowned upon. One of those places is schools. Since I could remember, schools have always had a rule that certain things could not be spoken of related to religion. If they were, that person could receive consequences. As a young child I could never understand why students and staff members could not openly express their love for God. I also thought that prayer was not permitted in schools when they are. Prayers are permitted in school, but not in classrooms during class time. Also wearing religious symbols or clothing is banned in schools. If we are free to speak our thoughts and feelings, then how are we banned to do these things? It is like saying that we are free to speak whatever we want, but we may not say anything. In the article A…

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The Phony Debate About Political Correctness – ThinkProgress

Posted: September 8, 2016 at 6:40 am


By Erica Hellerstein and Judd Legum

In 1991, New York Magazine published an influential cover story, titled Are You Politically Correct? The headline was splashed across the glossys front page in bold red and white letters, followed by a list of supposed politically correct questions:

The article opened with what appeared to be a heated exchange between students and a Harvard professor, Stephan Thernstrom, as he made his way through campus. As John Taylor, the author of the piece told it, Thernstrom was anonymously criticized by students in the Harvard Crimson for racial insensitivity in an introductory history course he taught on race relations in America. As word of the criticism spread throughout campus, Thernstrom quickly found himself embroiled in controversyand the target of an angry group of students. The first paragraph describes Thernstroms reaction in vivid detail:

Taylors opening certainly painted a dramatic picture. But there was only one problemit wasnt exactly true. In a 1991 interview with The Nation, Thernstrom himself told reporter Jon Weiner that he was appalled when he first saw the passage. Nothing like that ever happened, he quipped, describing the authors excerpt as artistic license. What eventually happened was perhaps unsurprising: Thernstrom decided not to offer the controversial course again. Although it was a voluntary decision, the professors story soon turned into a famous example of the tyranny of political correctness. The New Republic declared that the professor had been savaged for political correctness in the classroom; the New York Review of Books described his case an illustration of the attack on freedom led by minorities.

These claims ultimately proved to be greatly exaggerated. Weiner tracked down one of the students who complained about Thernstrom; she explained that their goals werent to prevent him from offering the class, but to point out inaccuracies in his lecture. To me, its a big overreaction for him to decide not to teach the course again because of that, she said. A professor of government at Harvard went a step further, concluding that there is no Thernstrom case. Instead, a few student complaints were exaggerated and translated into an attack on freedom of speech by black students. The professor called the episode a marvelous example of the skill of the neocons at taking small events and translating them into weapons against the pluralistic thrust on American campuses.

Back in the 90s, the conversation around political correctness was largely driven by anecdote that could easily be distorted to support a particular point of view. Last year, the same magazine that published Taylors 1991 story returned to the topic, this time publishing a treatise on political correctness by Jonathan Chait. The piece, Not a Very P.C. Thing to Say, describes a resurgence of the P.C. culture that flourished on college campuses in the 90s, even more ubiquitous now thanks to the rise of Twitter and social media. This new movement of political correctness, Chait argues, has assumed a towering presence in the psychic space of politically active people in general and the left in particular. He describes it as: a system of left-wing ideological repression that is antithetical to liberalism itself. P.C. ideology can be seductive to some liberals who can be misled into thinking that this is liberalism, Chait told ThinkProgress. And I think we need to understand that its not.

Its a depiction thats made its way outside of coastal media commentary to rhetoric on the campaign trail. Criticism of the illiberal strain of political correctness has found an eager audience among a range of GOP presidential hopefuls, many of whom readily invoke P.C. as a leftist bogeyman. At a recent Republican Jewish Coalition Conference, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) declared that the politically correct doublespeak from this administration has gone beyond ridiculous.

Cruzs proclamations coincide with a string of recent student protests denouncing institutional racism on college campuses throughout the country. At Yale and Georgetown, students have asked that buildings named after white supremacists and slaveowners be renamed. At Claremont-McKenna College in California, the dean of students resigned after students criticized her response to complaints of racism on campus, and at the University of Missouri, the president resigned from his position after failing to respond to several racist acts against students, including an incident where a student drew a swastika with feces in a university bathroom.

There have also been recent student protests at Amherst, Brandeis, Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, and Ithaca College, among others.

The protests have earned plaudits and harsh condemnation. The Atlantic denounced The New Intolerance of Student Activism. On Fox News, Alan Dershowitz claimed that a fog of fascism is descending quickly over many American universities It is the worst kind of hypocrisy. The National Review argued that the notion that students need a safe space is a lie. They arent weak. They dont need protection Why would they debate when theyve proven they can dictate terms? Pathetic.

Others, meanwhile, are quick to point out that these angry responses often come from people who hold more institutional power than the students they critique. Marilyn Edelstein, a professor of English at Santa Clara University who wrote about political correctness in the 90s, said shes been troubled by commentators impulse to dismiss important ideas and and perspectives as simply politically correct.

I think whats going on today is a resurgence of the same kind of fear by privileged white men that other people might have different experiences and legitimate grievances about the way theyre often treated, she explained. A lot of the commentators who are crying, oh political correctness now again are not at risk of actually losing any power. Conservatives are controlling the Congress and Senate and a lot of state houses, and yet they want to mock 18 to 22 year-olds for caring about things like their own experiences of being excluded or made to feel like less-than-welcome members of a college community.

If theres one thing these two camps can agree on, its that censorship does exist on college campuses. But according to those who track incidents of censorship most closely, its impacting students and faculty across the ideological spectrum. Acknowledging the true nature of repression on college campuses is complex and does not neatly fit the narrative of P.C.s detractors, but it shouldnt be ignored. Absent a discussion rooted in reality, we appear condemned to repeat fruitless debate of the 90s.

In The Coddling of the American Mind, a cover story published last year in The Atlantic, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt examine the climate of censorship and political correctness on college campuses. Something strange is happening at Americas colleges and universities, they begin ominously. A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense.

Lukianoff and Haidt describe a number of incidents intended to demonstrate the surge of censorship on college campus. They distinguish the climate on campuses today from that of the 90s, arguing that the current movement is centered around emotional well-being. More than the last, it presumes an extraordinary fragility of the collegiate psyche, and therefore elevates the goal of protecting students from psychological harm.

The authors cite real examples of suppression on campuses, but they blame the rush to censor on students apparent aversion to uncomfortable words and ideas. The ultimate aim, it seems, is to turn campuses into safe spaces where young adults are shielded from words and ideas that make some uncomfortable, they conclude. And more than the last, this movement seeks to punish anyone who interferes with that aim, even accidentally. You might call this impulse vindictive protectiveness. It is creating a culture in which everyone must think twice before speaking up, lest they face charges of insensitivity, aggression, or worse.

This narrative positions censorship as the product of students who seek comfort, coddling, and refuge from challenging ideas. But John K. Wilson, an editor at The Academe Blog and author of the book The Myth of Political Correctness: The Conservative Attack on Higher Education, says that a significant portion of the criticism aimed at students is misguided. Commentators focus on student calls for censorship often ignores the growth of the administrative class, which can have just as profound consequences on speech.

I think that where there is a lot of efforts of repression going on its coming mostly from the administration, Wilson explained. One of the changes that has come about in the structure of higher education in recent decades is you have a dramatic growth in administration. And so you have more and more people whose sort of job is to work for the administration and in many cases suppress controversial activity.

Wilsons point is backed up by the data. The New England Center for Investigative Reporting found that the number of administrative employees at U.S. colleges and universities has more than doubled in the past 25 years. Moreover, the expansion of the administrative class comes as colleges and universities cut full-time tenured faculty positions. According to an in-depth article by Benjamin Ginsberg in the Washington Monthly, between 1998 and 2008, private colleges increased spending on instruction by 22 percent, but hiked spending on administrative and staff support by 36 percent.

Will Creeley, the vice president of legal and public advocacy at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), explained that the growth of college administration has resulted in the creation of new fiefdoms for administrators that previously did not exist. In order to justify their existence, those administrators will occasionally make themselves known by investigating and punishing speech that at public universities is protected by the first amendment or at private universities should be protected by the promises that the university makes about free speech.

As the campus administration expands, there is no doubt that some conservative-leaning voices on university campuses have been censored. Earlier this year, a libertarian student group at Dixie University was blocked from putting up flyers on campus that mocked President Obama, Che Guevara, and former President George W. Bush. At Saint Louis University in 2013, a group of College Republicans was barred from inviting former senator Scott Brown (R-MA) to speak at a campus event over concerns it would jeopardize the schools tax-exempt status. In 2014, the Young Americans for Liberty student group at Boise State University was charged nearly $500 in security fees for a gun-rights event featuring Dick Heller of the Supreme Court guns-rights case D.C. v. Heller.

Then there are examples of suppressed speech deemed hateful or offensive, such as the University of South Carolinas suspension of a student who used a racial slur and the suspension of a student at Texas Christian University for tweets about hoodrat criminals in Baltimore. These instances are where questions involving censorship become more nuanced. For many, the line of acceptable, or even free speech, ends where hate speech begins. The definition of silencing, after all, depends on who you ask. To some, censorship comes in the form of tearing down a xenophobic poster; to others, its the impulse to equate student activism with the desire to be coddled.

But how do you define hate speech? Free speech absolutists say censorship is never the answer to constitutionally protected hate speech, no matter how offensive it may be. There is no legal definition of hate speech that will withstand constitutional scrutiny, Creeley pointed out. The Supreme Court has been clear on this for decades. And that is because of the inherently fluid, subjective boundaries of what would or would not constitute hate speech. One persons hate speech is another persons manifesto. Any attempt to define hate speech will find itself punishing those with minority viewpoints.

Liberals can, and have, gone too far in their calls for suppressing hateful speech. But the excesses of whats been deemed political correctness are not representative of the culture writ large, nor do they signify a broad leftist conspiracy to silence any and all dissenting voices. The reality of censorship on college campuses is more complicatedand less useful to the most vocal critics of political correctness. Left-leaning voices are censored, toothey just rarely seem to provoke the same amount of public outrage and hand-wringing.

When it comes to repression on college campuses, theres really no evidence that theres some left-wing, politically correct attack on freedom of speech, Wilson said. In fact, there are many examples of efforts to repress left-wing speakers and left-wing faculty. Most of the attacks on academic freedom, he explained, especially the effective attacks, come from the right.

You dont have to look far to find examples. Just last week, a professor at Wheaton College in Illinois was fired for claiming that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Last month, George Washington University barred a student from hanging a Palestinian flag outside his bedroom window. In November, the Huffington Post reported that Missouri state Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) attempted to block a graduate student at the University of Missouri from performing research on the impact of abortion restrictions. At the University of South Carolina in 2014, a performance called How to Become a Lesbian in 10 Days was canceled after state legislators expressed concern that it would promote perversion. A professor at the University of Kansas was suspended in 2013 for anti-NRA comments. At the University of Arizona, a professor was fired for conducting research on the effects of marijuana for veterans with PTSD. In 2015, a vegan rights activist at California State Polytechnic University was prevented from handing out flyers about animal abuse on campus. In 2014, campus police blocked students at the University of Toledo from peacefully protesting a lecture by Karl Rove. The same year, adjunct faculty members at St. Charles Community College in St. Louis attempting to unionize were prohibited from gathering petition signatures.

Still, these cases havent really become widely cited or popular talking points. Wilson says thats because conservatives have been more effective at advancing their narrative. The left isnt really organized to tell the stories of oppression on campus and to try to defend students and faculty who face these kind of attacks, he explained. They need the institutional structure out there, organizations that are going to talk about the issues that will counter this media narrative of political correctness thats been around for 25 years now.

Hundreds of years before political correctness made its debut in thinkpieces or the fiery rhetoric of presidential candidates, it appeared in an opinion written by Justice James Wilson in the 1793 Supreme Court case, Chisholm v. Virginia, which upheld the rights of people to sue states. Arguing that people, rather than states, hold the most authority in the country, Wilson claimed that a toast given to the United States was not politically correct. The Justice used the term literally in this context; he felt it was more accurate to use People of the United States.

The Chisholm decision was ultimately overturned and Justice Wilsons phrase slipped into obscurity. Its hard to pinpoint exactly when the expression made a comeback, but, as John K. Wilson outlines in his book, The Myth of Political Correctness, it was mainly used jokingly among liberals in the twentieth century to criticize the excesses and dogma of their own belief system. Professor Roger Geiger wrote that it was a sarcastic reference to adherence to the party line by American communists in the 1930s. Conservatives began to subvert that framing in the 1980s and use it for their own political gain, eventually transforming the term politically correct to political correctness. The latter phrase was used to describe not just a few radical individuals, as politically correct was, but an entire conspiracy of leftists infiltrating the higher education system.

This narrative gained mainstream visibility in the 1990s, but it hadnt come out of the blue. Fears about the radicalization of American universities had been brewing for years. The attacks on colleges and universities that propelled it had been organizing for more than a decade, Wilson wrote. For the conservatives, the 1960s were a frightening period on American campuses; students occupied buildings, faculty mixed radical politics into their classes, administrators acquiesced to their standards, and academic standards fell by the wayside. Conservatives convinced themselves that the 1960s had never ended and that academia was being corrupted by a new generation of tenured radicals.

These concerns eventually found a home in the conservative commentary of the 1980s, of which Wilson provides several examples: A 1983 article in Conservative Digest claiming a Marxist network doling out the heaviest dose of Marxist and leftist propaganda to students had over 13,000 faculty members, a Marxist press that is selling record numbers of radical textbooks and supplementary materials, and a system of helping other Marxist professors receive tenure; philosopher Sidney Hooks proclamation in 1987 that there is less freedom of speech on American campuses today, measured by the tolerance of dissenting views on controversial political issues, than at any other recent period in peacetime in American history; and Secretary of Education William Bennetts assertion in 1988 that some places on campus are becoming increasingly insular and in certain instances even repressive of the spirit of the free marketplace of ideas.

The media soon latched onto this narrative. Many of the articles published were almost uniformly critical of the Left and accepted the conservatives attacks without questioning their accuracy or motives, Wilson wrote. By using a few anecdotes about a few elite universities, conservatives created political correctness in the eyes of the media, and in herdlike fashion journalists raced to condemn the politically correct mob they had discovered in American universities.

Fast-forward 25 years and not much has changed. Back in the 90s, the P.C. buzzwords were speech codes and multiculturalism; now, theyre trigger warnings and microaggressions. Whether or not you agree with microaggressions and trigger warnings, they dont constitute an existential threat to free speech. Just because a person finds them frivolous or unnecessary doesnt mean theyre censorious.

The term microaggression, for example, is often used to highlight subtle biases and prejudices. The point is to open up a dialogue, not to censor students. Nevertheless, microaggressions and trigger warnings are often used as examples of campus illiberalism. Chait wrote that these newly fashionable terms merely repackage a central tenet of the first P.C. movement: that people should be expected to treat even faintly unpleasant ideas or behaviors as full-scale offenses.

But is there any evidence that the P.C. movement on campuses has gotten worse, or even exists at all? We asked Chait how and why he determined that political correctness, once again, was an issue worthy of exploration. He didnt offer any concrete examples. The idea for the story came from my editors, who noticed it, he replied. When I started to research the issue thats when I started to see something happening on campus that at the time wasnt getting that much attention. Now, in the months since, people are starting to pay attention. But I think its happening much more often.

Wilson offered a different take. I dont think theres really a crisis of any kind like this. Things are not that much different than they have been in the past. You have professors who get fired for expressing controversial views on Twitter, you dont have professors getting fired for microaggressions or for failing to give a trigger warning, he said, referring to the Steven Salaita casea professor at the University of Illinois who lost a promised tenured position over tweets that were critical of Israels invasion of Gaza in 2014.

Creeley did say that FIRE has seen an increase in case submissions, but he noted that isnt necessarily an accurate gauge of how much censorship is occurring on campus. He did point out that calls for speech limitations appear to be coming increasingly from students, a trend he described as new and worrying. He added that there seem to be a worrying number of instances where students are asking the authorities to sanction or punish speech that they disagree with, or to implement some kind of training on folks to change viewpoints they disagree with.

But if people who criticize these efforts are genuinely concerned about censorship, they should also worry when it comes from other sides of the political aislenot just when it neatly fits into a caricature of campus liberalism run amok. Creeley said that FIRE was disappointed to find that the case of Hayden Barnes, an environmentalist who was expelled from college for posting a collage against a proposed parking garage online, didnt take off in the media the way that other explicitly partisan cases did. It did not capture the sense of where those kinds of efforts to censor those types of students came from, he said. Its disappointing to me to see free speech be cast in partisan terms because I think that it turns the issue into a much more binary, much less nuanced, and much less thoughtful discussion.

The Missouri state senators proposal to block a students dissertation on the impact of abortion restrictions, for example, would appear to be just the kind of case that raises the ire of free speech proponents. But it doesnt appear to have gained much attention beyond coverage from a few predictably left-leaning sites. Furthermore, neither Chaits nor Haidt and Lukianoffs pieces mention the Salaita case, despite evidence suggesting punitive measures, including administrative sanctions and censorship, have been taken against Palestinian rights activists. A recent report from Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights detailed more than 150 incidents of censorship and suppression of Palestinian advocacy in 2014 alone; 89 percent of which targeted students and facultycausing speculation about a Palestine exception to the free speech debate.

ThinkProgress asked Chait about how censorship driven from the right fits into his analysis of political correctness as the province of progressives. I think thats a separate issue than the phenomenon Im describing, he answered. If you look at my original piece, very few of the examples are formal censorship. I think youve got something much deeper which is a bigger problem for people on the left, which is a broken way of arising at truth on race and gender issues. That can happen and does happen in non-censorship ways.

It doesnt take a thorough examination of the medias framing of political correctness to realize that the conversation is fraught and prone to exaggeration. Thats partially due to a lack of research on the topic. Because theres not much data available, anecdotes are often elevated as evidence; people choose the sides that best confirm their preexisting political biases and worldviews. So how does political correctness actually impact creativity? A team of researchers decided to put this question to the test with hundreds of college students.

The researchers randomly divided students in groups of three and asked them to brainstorm ideas for new businesses that could go into a vacant restaurant space on campus. Groups were either all men, all women, or mixed. The control was allowed to start brainstorming ideas immediately, but the test group was asked to take ten minutes to think of examples of political correctness on the college campus. Cornells Jack Goncalo, one of the studys researchers, told ThinkProgress that the primer was their way of making P.C. salient to students in the test group. The control group wasnt asked to talk about P.C., so it wasnt on their minds.

Researchers wanted to challenge the assumption that an anarchy approach to creativity is sort of the only way to go or even the best way to go, Goncalo said. Our argument was that although P.C. is dismissed as being overly controlling and sort of the conservative view is that P.C. is a threat to free speech, we actually predicted that P.C. would provide a framework that would help people understand what the expectations are in a mixed-sex group and would reduce uncertainty. And by reducing uncertainty it would actually make people more comfortable to share a wide range of ideas.

Indeed, the researchers found that the mixed-sex groups instructed to think about political correctness generated more ideas and were more creative than the diverse groups that hadnt received the P.C. primer. But that didnt hold true for the same-sex groups. Groups of all men or all women that were told to think about political correctness ended up being less creative than the control group.

Goncalo said those results suggested that talking about political correctness actually reduced uncertainty among mixed-sex groups, making it easier for men and women to speak up and share their ideas. For diverse groups, P.C. can be a creativity booster.

Until the uncertainty caused by demographic differences can be overcome within diverse groups, the effort to be P.C. can be justified not merely on moral grounds, but also by the practical and potentially profitable consequences of facilitating the exchange of creative ideas, the study concludes.

Unfortunately, there arent many scientific papers on the topic of political correctness. The researchers study appears to be the only one that looks specifically at political correctness, creativity, and group activity. And even then, it wasnt easy to get their research published.

It was an uphill battle, Goncalo said. A lot of academics see the whole term political correctness as a colloquial non-scientific, non-academic thing. We had to push really hard to say this is a legitimate thing. It took the team nine years to publish the reportand when it eventually came out, there was push-back. I got emails from angry people who were really pissed off and actually hadnt read the paper or understood what we did or what found, Goncalo remarked. Just knee-jerk reactions to the whole thing. So it was polarizing as you might expect.

To be sure, their paper is just one study on a topic with limited scientific research. But its conclusions shouldnt be ignored; it raises worthwhile points about the impact of speech constraints and communication among diverse groups. After all, the ongoing conversation about P.C. often relies on anecdotal evidence rather than data. This is part of the reason its subject to such vigorous debatepeople like to tailor the evidence to their worldview, not vice versa.

Goncalo also came to an interesting conclusion about the value assigned to political correctness throughout the course of the study, which took nine years to publish. Were exactly where we were in the 80s and 90s, he noted. And I think what that says is that the word is still meaningful and people are still using it in the same way.

For all of the commentary about campus activism and political correctness, theres one group we rarely hear from: actual college students. ThinkProgress visited students at American University to learn about their impressions of the political correctness conversation taking place. Although the responses were from just a sampling of college students, they were telling.

Students at American University overwhelmingly told ThinkProgress they didnt find political correctness to be a pressing campus problem. Only one student we spoke to equated P.C. with censorship, while the rest of the students we spoke with seemed more concerned about hate speech and racist comments posted in online forums. The students quoted below preferred to be identified by their first names.

Azza, a senior at American University, said that much of the commentary aimed at critiquing political correctness fails to understand the experience of being a minority student on campus. Students of minority backgrounds deal with certain issues, they face certain issues, there are things that affect them differently, and when you enter a learning environment that is hostile towards you, you cant learn, she explained. People who are saying that this is suppressing free speech or that people want to be coddled are actually not at all concerned about free speech. The vast majority of people are concerned with a particular type of discourse being fostered on American universities that reflects their particular understanding of American life and society and values.

Azza used the suppression of Palestinian activism on campuses as an example: No one in these groups who are so supposedly concerned with free speech has said anything about that, because they dont actually care about free speech, she remarked. If they did, theyd be speaking on behalf of Palestinian students. What they care about is just not letting minority voices dominate the discourse by trying to get university administrators to create an environment thats safer.

Mackenzie, a senior at AU who was sitting near Azza in a student cafe, added: Just because [the conversation] is different from when [critics] were in college doesnt mean its wrong and that were being babied. We dont want to be babied, its not that. Were fighting for something that is right.

Other students told ThinkProgress they were unsatisfied with the administrations response to offensive messages posted on Yik Yak, an online platform where students have been known to anonymously post racist content. One of the biggest things thats been going around is the racist speech on Yik Yak, and how as an anonymous platform to spread information about other people its been used to threaten and scare students and make certain students feel unsafe, another student, who did not share her name, explained. Hate speech is not free speech. Once that the language that you use infringes on another students ability to feel safe on campus and to feel that theyre allowed to come to class without feeling threatened, that isnt free speech because youre taking someone elses rights away.

Marlise, a junior at AU, said she has encountered students who abuse the system. They use the trigger warnings if they dont want to hear the other side of things, or if they dont agree with something. I think that people on the outside appear to stand in solidarity with Mizzou but theres always going to be those people that say I dont want to hear the other side. Still, she agreed that the content posted on Yik Yak is a big issue.

Students also said that criticisms of political correctness are often underpinned by racial insensitivities on campus. Jendelly, a sophomore at AU of Dominican descent, said she feels as though there is a racially divided hierarchy on campus. My dad works for the county and he works alongside the mayor, she said. And a lot of people who hold those high positions in our town are white. But theyve never made us feel like were second to them or were three-quarters of a person. Coming here, in this school, I do feel like were placed in a hierarchy. And I feel like when I see a white person its like, oh I have to step up my game to reach their level. And I shouldnt have to feel like that.

Its unclear what the multi-decade debate over political correctness has accomplished in aggregate. But there is one group of people who find it incredibly useful: Republican politicians.

The use of the term political correctness, particularly in the Republican presidential primary, does not have a specific definition. Rather it functions like a swiss army knifeit is the answer to every kind of issue that a candidate might confront. Its a get out of jail free card for bigotry, sexism and lying.

When Fox News Megyn Kelly confronted Donald Trump in an August GOP debate with a litany of sexist attacks he made against women, he had a ready answer. I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. Ive been challenged by so many people, and I dont frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesnt have time either, Trump said. The audience applauded.

Trump loves to rail against political correctness on Twitter. He argues that our country has become so politically correct that it has lost all sense of direction or purpose. For example, he is not able to use the word thug without criticism.

Ted Cruz goes a step further. Political correctness is killing us, he argued during a Republican debate in December. On his website, Cruz blames political correctness for 9/11.

Cruz also finds political correctness useful for collecting email addresses.

Ben Carson tweeted that we should #StoPP funding political correctness and PlannedParenthood. What does funding for Planned Parenthood have to do with political correctness? He doesnt really explain, except to say that political correctness is making us amoral.

Carson also uses political correctness to justify his opposition to Obamacare and accepting Syrian refugees.

Confronted with criticism for saying that a Muslim should not be presidenta religious test that would violate the constitutionCarson replied that political correctness is ruining our country.

Why are these candidates so quick to point out instances of political correctness? Like a lot of things politicians talk about, it polls very well. A recent poll found that 68 percent of Americans, and 81 percent of Republicans agreed that A big problem this country has is being politically correct. Even among Democrats, 62 percent agreed.

Poll numbers like these have a snowball effect. The more popular the message, the more politicians will talk about it or use it as a way to divert the conversation away from more troublesome topics. The more politicians talk about political correctness, the more Americans will believe its a big problem. Rinse and repeat.

Is Chait, a liberal who regularly blasts Republican candidates as extreme and incompetent, concerned that political correctness has been co-opted to justify the ugliest aspects of American political life? Not really.

I think its always been misused by conservatives [liberals should] ignore the way that conservatives talk about this phenomenon, completely. And lets just have a debate among people who are left of center Conservatives are trying to interject themselves into it, Chait said.

This might be what Chait prefers but, on a practical level, the far-right has captured the bulk of the conversation about political correctness. Articles by Chait, while purportedly for the left, are promoted voraciously by the right to bolster the argument about political correctness on their terms, not his.

While the exploitation of the term political correctness by Republicans is, on the surface, problematic for liberals, it also serves an important function. Many people on the left prefer to think of themselves as open-minded and not captured by a particular political party or ideology. But over the past several years, the Republican party has tacked hard right. The policies embraced by Republicansincluding a harsh crackdown on immigrants, massive tax cuts for the wealthy and the destruction of critical environmental protectionshave left little substantive common ground with liberals.

By embracing criticisms of political correctness, liberal commentators are able to do something that is somewhat ideologically unexpected, while avoiding embracing substantive policies they might find intensely destructive. Its a painless way to demonstrate intellectual independence.

Bill Maher, a self-described liberal firebrand with his own show on HBO, has touted himself as politically incorrect for years. It makes his show more appealing to a broader audience and allows him an easy way to respond to charges of racism, sexism and other controversies that have plagued his career.

Concluding his piece in New York Magazine, Chait claims that the P.C. style of politics has one serious, fatal drawback: It is exhausting. There is certainly some truth to this. But the debate about political correctness is just as exhausting: Thirty years later, weve broken no new ground.

At its core, the P.C. debate is about something meaningful. It is a discussion about how people should treat each other. The language we use to define it may change, but the conversation will keep going. Still, after more than three decades of repeating the same arguments, perhaps its time to recognize that the current iteration of this discussion has run its course.

A new debate could rely less on anecdote and more on actual data. It could be less about protecting rhetorical preferences and more about prohibiting actual censorship. It could dispense with political grandstanding and become more grounded in reality, without the apocalyptic and shallow narratives.

The end of the phony debate about political correctness will not be the end of the debate about political correctness. But it could be the beginning of something better.

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The Phony Debate About Political Correctness – ThinkProgress

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Political Correctness = Language and Thought Control – The …

Posted: July 12, 2016 at 5:31 am

Political correctness is a Rothschild invention of language control. Like Orwellian Newspeak in 1984, its ultimateaim is to reduce the scope of free thought.

And language control is thought control. Period. The rise of modern political correctness (PC) is a great example of the cunning way in which social engineers such as the New World Order manipulators operate.Political correctness is soft censorship.It is intolerance disguised as tolerance. As George Carlin said, it is fascism pretending to be manners. It is running amok not just in Universities but now almost everywhere in society. Just as Orwell laid out so precisely in 1984, political correctness is the Newspeak which is threatening tolimit our ability to freely speak and think, by reducing the number of available words in our vocabulary.

Truth is stranger than fiction. When you look at the twisted contortions the PC crowd is insisting people go through to rid their language of anything offensive, it has entered the theater of the absurd. Political correctnessdictates what you can and cant say, based on how offensive aword is. Right off the bat there are severalproblems with this. Firstly, who are the commissars,officials or authorities who are granting themselves massive power by getting to decide what ranks as offensive? Secondly, since when did feeling offended or having your feelings hurt become such an important issue that it legally justifies restricting everyones freedom? Last time I checked, freedom of speech was a genuine and legitimate human right (enshrined in the legal documents of many countries), whereas the right to not feel offended is imaginary and non-existent.

The illusory right to feel offended a great way to shame people into feeling guilty for no good reason.

Thirdly and most importantly just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so too is feeling offended in the realm of thebeholder. Words are words; each person is in charge of their own emotions; choose to ignore, respond or react to words how you want, but dont blame someone else for your emotional state. You are in control of your own state of consciousness. To blame someone else because you feel angry, offended or upsetshows an abandonment of responsibility and an utter lack of emotional and spiritual maturity.Since when did we humans become such crybabies that wecouldnt stand hearing or being called a word, a name, a label or a phrase? Grow up, please!

As always, theres more to the story here.Political correctness has roots in marxism and communism. Wikipedia notes that In the early-to-mid 20th century, the phrase politically correct was associated with thedogmaticapplication ofStalinistdoctrine, debated betweenCommunistParty members andSocialists. However, it goes back further to theFrankfurt School (Institute for Social Research) in Germany, which was set up in 1923. TheFrankfurt school was a think tank for social engineering, aiming tospread collectivism (or its offshoots of socialism, marxism and communism) around the world. Asthis article from the Schiller Institute states:

The task of the Frankfurt School, then, was first, to undermine the Judeo-Christian legacy through an abolition of culture (Aufhebung der Kulturin Lukacs German); and, second, to determine new cultural forms which wouldincrease the alienation of the population,thus creating a new barbarism.

It goes on to point out those funding the Frankfurt School:

although the Institute for Social Research started with Comintern [CommunismInternational] support, over the next three decades its sources of funds included various German and American universities, the Rockefeller Foundation, Columbia Broadcasting System, the American Jewish Committee, several American intelligence services, the Office of the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, the International Labour Organization, and the Hacker Institute, a posh psychiatric clinic in Beverly Hills.

Sowe have reference to the Rockefellers funding the Frankfurt School, and it is well known that the Rothschilds funded the rise of marxism:

Nathan Rothschild had given Marx two checks for several thousand pounds to finance the cause of Socialism. The checks were put on display in the British Museum, after Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild, a trustee, had willed his museum and library to them.

Both of these key New World Order families are thus implicated in marxism, the Frankfurt School and political correctness. Interestingly, many researches have pointed out that political correctness is part of a broader movement of cultural marxism,which is the subversion of a countrys culture with collectivist ideology, as opposed to the more direct political version.

Yuri Bezmenov, a former SovietKGB agent, said that ideological subversion would change the perception of reality of every American. He outlined how there was a slow brainwashing process taking place to change the individualistic culture of the West, consisting of:

1. Demoralization (covert, 15-50 years) (basically completed);

2. Destabilization (overt, 2-5 years);

3. Crisis (6 weeks);

4. Violent Change and Normalization (can take years, goes on forever).

All this was with the aim of making the West collectivist. The question is: how much has it worked?

Political correctness vs free speech (1st amendment): who will win?

Whatever good intentions political correctness may have had in trying to stop homophobia, racism, sexism and discrimination of any kind, it has long passed the threshold of absurdity. Consider the following examples of what the PC crowd is trying to make people say with their bias-free language:

seniors, elders, elderly => people of advanced age

overweight, obese => people of size

rich => people of material wealth

American => US citizen

This last one is especially interesting, given that the US Government is a corporation which lays claim to the entire United States of America, whereas American denotes a natural-born individual of the Republic. The PC police also want to eliminate the following words:

male, female, father, mother, too, hard worker, third world,crazy, insane, retarded, gay, tyranny, gypped, illegal alien, fag, ghetto, raghead

and phrases such as I want to die and that test raped me.

Donald Trump recently got heckled for using the termanchor baby by a PC journalist, who wanted him to say the American born child of an undocumented immigrant. What a mouthful. Funnily, enough that PC journalist was breaking his own inane rules, since now were been told that American is disallowed.Remember theban bossy campaign? Grown adults indulging in utter stupidity. More political correctness and languagecontrol. How can you ban a word anyway?

Even Mr. Nonsense makes far more sense than political correctness.

Its not just specific words or phrases that the PC crowd want to obliterate. At some universities, they are banning entire ways of behaving. Check out these ridiculous university rules (taken from the book Choosing the Right College2012-2013), which have moved beyond speech control into total behavior control:

Brown University: banned any speech making people feel angry, impotent and disenfranchised

Colby College: banned any speech leading to loss of self esteem

Bryn Mawr College: banned suggestive looks

Haverford College: banned unwelcome flirtation

University of Connecticut: banne
d inappropriate laughter

West Virginia University: banned theuse of words boyfriend or girlfriend but instead told students they haveto use the words lover or partner.

Look what the Grand Valley State University recommends we do to allegedly remove bias from our language:

Avoiding Racism and Ageism

Mention a persons race or age only if it is relevant to the story. Biased: A strange Black man spoke to me at the grocery store. Better: A strange man spoke to me at the grocery store.

Disability and Disease

Focus on people rather than conditions. Biased: I met an epileptic on the bus today. Better: I met a person with epilepsy on the bus today.

Since when is becoming less descriptive equivalent to less discriminatory?Talk about a perversion of straight and ordinary speech! Political correctness is standing reality on its head. Here is a chilling quote from 1984:

You havent a real appreciation of Newspeak, Winston, he said almost sadlyIn your heart youd prefer to stick to Oldspeak, with all its vagueness and its useless shades of meaning. You dont grasp the beauty of the destruction of words. Do you know that Newspeak is the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year?

Dont you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it

All words are potentially offensive. Everywordcould potentially be associated with something bad, so every wordcould come under the scrutiny of the PCpolice.Slurs, insults and derogatory language have always existed ever since humans could speak. You cant just annihilate them. Even the concepts ofmicroaggression andhate speech are failed notions, trying to make havingyour feelings hurt or getting offended morally orlegally equivalentwith harassment. There is no equivalence! Stick and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me

A message just in for those pushing political correctness and thought control. Please fuck off and I mean that in the most respectful of ways, because I certainly wouldnt want to offend anyone

I encourage anyone whohas even a mild interest in a free humanity with complete freedom of speech, and total freedom of thought, to resist political correctness with every fiber of your being.If you are concerned about hurting peoples feelings unnecessarily, you can always find ways to express something in the right way. In those kind of situations, what really matters is the way you say words, not what you say.

We dont need speech police to tell us what we can and cant say or can and cant think. We dont need to go through convoluted verbal gymnastics and masturbation just to say what we think or express ourselves.

Its time for those hiding behind feeling offended to grow up. Stop demanding those around you change because of your lack of maturity. Stop trying to hijack everyones else freedom because of your timidity. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, offense in the mind, attitude and reaction of the beholder.

Itstime to call a spade a spade. We need the spirit of straight talking. Weneed the courage to speak truth to power, not to go in the opposite direction and become afraid of saying anything.The real agenda of political correctness is to stifle objective investigation and free speech. Ultimately, it is to eliminate criticism of the NWO manipulatorsunder the guise of stopping hate speech and making everything fair and equal.


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Makia Freeman is the editor ofThe Freedom Articlesand senior researcher atToolsForFreedom.com(FaceBookhere), writing on many aspects of truth and freedom, from exposing aspects of the worldwideconspiracy to suggesting solutions for how humanity can create a new system of peace and abundance.










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