Category Archives: freedom of expression

The anti-free speech police ride again

The proliferation of identity politics and the demonization of free speech continues apace on America’s campuses. Speakers with unpopular opinions have their speaking invitations rescinded or are demonized by students whose tender ears can’t bear to hear something challenging, and students continually press for rules against “hate speech,” often construed as “speech that makes me uncomfortable.” For […]

Our letter to the Irish prime minster urging repeal of blasphemy laws

The Guardian published this letter urging removal of the crime of blasphemy from the Irish constitution It was by Atheist Ireland (headed by Mick Nugent) and addressed to Enda Kenny, the Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland. Several of us were asked to sign it, and I did so with alacrity. Kudos to Atheist Ireland for trying to get […]

Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ blasphemy

Today’s Jesus and Mo strip touches on the continuous battle in the United Nations about passing anti-blasphemy guidelines. This drive is, of course, promulgated almost entirely by Muslim states, while the U.S. and other democracies have always opposed such strictures, peace be unto them. While at one time I was really worried that these “laws” would be approved, it now seems as […]

Why freedom of speech?

In the last few days, two respected media outlets have published opinion pieces extolling nearly unlimited freedom of speech—including speech that denigrates or satirizes religion. The first is by Steve Pinker in today’s Boston Globe, “Why free speech is fundamental.”  It’s worth a read since Pinker, as always, clarifies controversial issues with style, panache, and thoughtfulness. He gives three reasons why free […]

A reader writes in defending Muslim wrath

I’m doing science today and, as my brain is busy trying to avoid using the passive voice while writing a paper, I’ll save my neurons for that and put up a few easy-to-write posts. First-time commenter “J. Lee” sent his/her take on a post, and rather than approve it, burying it among comments from several days ago, I […]

Are the French hate-speech laws hypocritical?

Short answer: yes.  It’s forbidden in France to engage in “hate speech,” which includes anti-Semitic remarks. Denial of the Holocaust is a crime across much of Europe, including France and Germany. This week the odious French comedian Dieudonné was arrested for saying that he felt not like Charlie Hebdo, but like “Charlie Coulibaly,” a reference to jihadist […]

My New Republic piece on Charlie Hebdo, the Pope, and free speech

I’ve extensively rewritten and also lengthened the short piece I wrote the other day on Pope Francis’s dumb claim that mocking religion doesn’t count as free speech; it’s essentially a new piece, and has just been published in The New Republic as “Pope Francis is wrong about Charlie Hebdo. We have a right to make fun […]

The censorship spreads: Oxford University Press bans mention of pork and pigs, and more cowardice from Sky News

Just when you thought that Western self-censorship exercised to avoid Muslim wrath couldn’t get any dumber, it has. The International Business Times reports that the prestigious and powerful Oxford University Press (“OUP,” publisher of the UK edition of WEIT!), has put out a notice to its employees and authors that OUP books considered “educational materials” will henceforth […]

The new Charlie Hebdo cover: what does it mean?

Several readers sent me the new cover of Charlie Hebdo (CH), which I reproduce below. It shows a tearful Muhammad holding a sign that says (in translation) “I am Charlie”—the motto taken up by many after the murders—along with the header “Tout est pardoné”: “Everything is forgiven.” The new print run, instead of being the usual 60,000, will […]

Reza Aslan blames Charlie Hebdo massacre on France’s “inability to tolerate multiculturalism”

If your blood pressure is sufficiently low and you’re sitting down, you might want to go to Real Clear Politics and see the video interview of Reza Aslan on the Charlie Hebdo killings. The critical parts are also transcribed on the site. And you can get idea of his theme right out of the gate, for […]


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