Category Archives: freedom of expression

Oberlin digs in, appealing Gibson’s Bakery case with high-priced legal team and recasting case as “free speech issue”

I’ve followed the case of Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College from the outset, and because there’s now a Wikipedia article on the case, I needn’t review the whole mishigass here.  The upshot is that after Oberlin’s administrators aided students in an unjustified protest against the claimed racism of the bakery (a racism that proved nonexistent), […]

Georgetown University protestors shut down talk by head of Homeland Security

Here’s another instance of deplatforming by the Left, which should be embarrassed since, in the last few years, far more speakers have been disinvited or deplatformed by the Left (traditionally the party of free speech) than by the Right (go back five years in FIRE’s disinvitation database, where the ratio for just this year is […]

Williams students demand more rights to make policy affecting them and to break College rules without being punished

I was at Williams College last week, and had a great time chatting with faculty and students. But during the last academic year, Williams was also a locus of student protest, largely centering on free speech (many students and faculty don’t want Chicago-style freedom of speech). By now, Williams has formulated its own long-awaited free-speech […]

American journalist detained by Customs and Border Patrol until he admitted that he writes “propaganda”

Last Thursday, Ben Watson, a journalist for the national-security news site Defense One, was detained at Washington D.C.’s Dulles Airport by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP).  He was detained simply because he was a journalist and therefore supposedly wrote “propaganda”. You can read the story by clicking on the links at the Washington Post […]

Babylon Bee mocks a NYT “free speech” op-ed

I don’t usually look at the Babylon Bee, a satire site that many have mistaken for “real news”, but maybe I should check it out more often. Today’s column, “Free speech is killing us,” is especially good, because it’s not only a satire of Andrew Marantz’s New York Times column that I discussed yesterday, but […]

Pinker on free speech and academic freedom

Here’s a short Big Think talk by Steve Pinker, much demonized by the success-hating Pharyngula crowd as well as those who make their living by prognosticating the demise and degradation of humanity or our lack of social progress. Here Steve advances the well-known arguments for both free speech and academic freedom, which is simply free […]

Pinker writes to Harvard administrators about University’s new free-speech policy

Yesterday I reported on a new policy of Harvard University that would seem to have inimical effects on free speech: it mandates that Harvard ensure “neutral moderators” for events deemed controversial by the Dean of Students’ office. Further, that Office now requires a month’s notice in advance for controversial speakers as well as “VIPs” and […]

James Flynn’s book on free speech was banned after it was accepted

James Flynn is a well known researcher on human intelligence at University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, and the man after whom the “Flynn Effect” is named. If you don’t remember that term, it refers to the continuing increase in intelligence, as measured by IQ, throughout the world. We don’t fully understand the trend, but it […]

“Free speech but”: Why Harvard’s new free-speech policy isn’t really “free”

In its new student handbook, Harvard University has modified its free speech policy. I haven’t been able to find the new regulations online, but am going by the reports of the student newspaper, the Harvard Crimson. Click on the screenshot below to see its report on the changes: Some of the changes are salubrious, like […]

Nicholas Christakis on “creative abrasion”: Why free speech and inclusion are incompatible

In this Big Think video, Nicholas Christakis, who of course was involved in the Yale Halloween Kerfuffle in 2015, resulting in him and his wife Erika resigning as heads of Silliman College, discusses why the clash of ideas—as clash guaranteed to make people uncomfortable—is not only an inevitable part of being in college, but it […]