Category Archives: freedom of expression

Reforming language rather than society: a great essay by Nick Cohen on free speech

Until recently I didn’t know of the English writer Nick Cohen (we Americans are so parochial!), but having read several of his pieces in the last few months, I’m becoming more and more impressed. Although I’m told he’s been in bad odor in the UK for having supported the Iraq War (shades of Christopher Hitchens), that is […]

Now Ireland hops on the “offended student” bandwagon

Maryam Namazie, a prolific secular activist specializing in calling out the evils of Islam (she’s the spokesperson for the Council of Ex-Muslims), has now become the most recent victim of the Offended Students Movement—a mindset that has apparently spread to Ireland. According to The Journal ie., which relied on posts from Namazie’s own website (see also here), she was supposed to […]

Judith Shulevitz on the breathtaking inanity of college “safe spaces”

I could be accused of being a curmudgeon when I decry the proliferation of “safe spaces” on college campuses (including mine)—spaces designed to protect people from “hate speech” that, broadly construed, means “speech that I don’t like.” When I posted about the Columbia University flyers proclaiming student dorm rooms to be “safer spaces” because they weren’t […]

Racism in Oklahoma: should the offending students be expelled?

When I saw the videos of the members of the University of Oklahoma’s ΣAE fraternity singing racist songs on a bus, I was thoroughly appalled. Not only were they singing about how they’d never have a black person in their fraternity, but, using the “n” word, they sang about lynching, saying that “you can hang them [blacks] from […]

Jeffrey Tayler: Let’s offend religion more often

I continue to be amazed and impressed by Jeffrey Tayler’s anti-theist writings at Salon (see here, here and here for earlier examples). And I’m nearly as amazed that Salon, the bastion of New Atheist bashing, publishes this stuff. Tayler, a contributing editor at The Atlantic who lives in and reports about Russia, and has written many books about […]

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 Speakers with unpopular opinions have their speaking invitations rescinded or are demonized by students whose tender ears can’t bear to hear something challenging, and students continually press for rules against “hate speech,” often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 […]

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