Category Archives: freedom of expression

Quotes of the day

We have two quotes today. The first is from a reader who, commenting on the pervasive campus movement to restrict “offensive” speech, said this, which I see as pretty profound: If we ban offensive speech, how will we know who the assholes are? The second is from an interview in the New York Times with Bob […]

Many Americans, and even more Europeans, favor restricting speech offensive to minorities

A brand-new poll from the Pew Research Center gives a dispiriting result: there’s widespread resistance to free speech in the U.S., and even more so in Europe. Further, within the U.S. itself, younger people favor more restrictions on speech than do their elders. The complete report is here, and I haven’t yet read it, but the […]

Student protests spread to Smith College, which bars reporters from a sit-in

Today is an Onion kind of day, in which the whole world seems to have gone down the rabbit hole. According to, Smith College, a high-class women’s college in Northampton, Massachusetts (I think it’s still all-female except for grad students), is experiencing a student sit-in in solidarity with the protesting students at the University […]

Dawkins has no objection to Church of England’s ad in movie theaters; I disagree

Yesterday I wrote about a one-minute ad, “Prayer is for everyone,” that the Church of England wanted to show in British cinemas. The commercial agency that handles ads for UK movies refused, saying that their policy banned the showing of religious or political ads in theaters. I agreed, for reversing that policy would turn theaters into venues for religious […]

British cinemas refuse to show Anglican commercial; CoE is upset

There’s a religious kerfuffle in the United (?) Kingdom, one that probably wouldn’t occur in the U.S. According to the BBC, many cinemas in the UK are refusing to show a one-minute religious film that highlights the Lord’s Prayer.  The Church of England, which apparently produced the commercial, is miffed: The Church called the decision “plain […]

The Atlantic summarizes all the college troubles, demands, and demonstrations

Reader Cate sent me a link that’s very useful if you are following the protests that are spreading all over the U.S. It’s a big and absorbing collection of Atlantic articles, posts, and readers’ notes appearing under the title, “Debating the campus protests at Yale, Mizzou, and elsewhere.” The behavior of demonstrators at Dartmouth (first bit in […]

Halloween-costume fracas spreads to my university

Well, Halloween is long gone, but the issue of costumes, of cultural appropriation and of offense continues, and is now a big topic in the student newspaper, The Chicago Maroon. A new article, “Apology sparks discussion on role of admin in Halloween costumes,” describes what happens when one student (yes, a single student) wore a Halloween costume […]

Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ Paris

The hunt for terrorists continues in Paris, with 2 suspects dead (one by suicide) and 7 arrested in a raid early this morning in the suburb of St. Denis. All of Europe is on edge, and the recriminations and kneejerk proposals pour in. But the latest Jesus and Mo strip, called “Media,” merely reminds us that this […]

Amherst College students protest free speech, issue onerous set of “demands”

The Daily Beast and the Washington Times both report that students at Amherst College in Massachusetts are, as some students did at Yale, protesting FREE SPEECH. It’s ironic that their right to protest in this way is made possible by laws permitting free speech. As the Daily Beast reports: Students protesting at Amherst College have issued […]

Salman Rushdie, receiving Chicago Tribune literary award, decries college censorship

According to a story in my local paper, The Chicago Tribune (you might have to register, but it’s free), last Saturday Salman Rushdie accepted the paper’s award for lifetime achievement in literature. Despite the fact that security was tight (Rushdie’s still under a fatwa for having written The Satanic Verses) and the event took place at 10 […]


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