Category Archives: freedom of speech

The New York Times covers Dawkins’s deplatforming

As we all know, radio station KPFA in Berkeley decided to withdraw its sponsorship of a book talk by Richard Dawkins, cancelling the fundraising even; the reason, they said, was that Dawkins had insulted Islam (see my coverage here and here).  As they explained, “While KPFA emphatically supports serious free speech, we do not support […]

Richard Dawkins deplatformed at a book talk in Berkeley for “abusive speech” about Islam on Twitter

Richard Dawkins was supposed to speak at this event in Berkeley on August 9: a talk about his new book, Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Atheist. As you see, the talk has been canceled. But why? You can guess. The talk was to be sponsored by a Berkeley radio station, KPFA, and […]

Why speech isn’t violence

Four days ago I wrote a critique of psychologist Lisa Barrett’s argument that speech can be violence, an argument made in her New York Times piece “When is speech violence?” Barrett’s answer was that speech becomes violence when it causes sufficient stress over time that the body is damaged. She then proposed banning speakers like […]

The worst argument yet that speech can be “violence”: science can tell us which speech should be banned

I swear that the New York Times and the Washington Post are getting closer and closer to HuffPo all the time. Yesterday I saw this article in the WaPo on human sexual dimorphism, which uses Trump’s sexism to cast aspersions on a well-established body of data on sexual selection. It’s an ideological argument masquerading as a […]

Lindy West writes a confusing column on free speech for the NYT

Apparently Lindy West , identified by Wikipedia as “an American writer, feminist, fat acceptance movement activist, and film criticism editor”, now has at least a semi-regular column in the New York Times, as she’s described there as a “contributing opinion writer”. I think that decision was a mistake. Not only do I not find her funny when she tries to […]

Supreme Court rules that “hate speech” is free speech

On Sunday, by a vote of 8-0 (Gorsuch didn’t rule), the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Matal v. Tam,  which involved a patent application to trademark the name “The Slants,” an Asian band of which Simon Tam was a member. Tam’s attempt to patent trademark the band’s name was rejected by the trademark office, but […]

Canada poised to repeal its blasphemy law

Since 1892, Canada has had an anti-blasphemy law on the books, to wit (from the Criminal C0de): 296. (1) Every one who publishes a blasphemous libel is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years (2) It is a question of fact whether or not any matter that is published […]

Ken White on free speech and hate speech

Ken White, who’s identified as “a 1st Amendment litigator and criminal defense attorney at Brown White & Osborn LLP in Los Angeles” writes a lot at the legal website Popehat. One of his pet issues is freedom of speech, and I call your attention to his new piece in the Los Angeles Times, “Actually, hate speech is protected speech.” […]

CNN cancels Reza Aslan’s t.v. documentary, “Believer”, but for bad reasons

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of Reza Aslan. I dislike his apologetics for and whitewashing of Islam, his osculation of all faiths and false claim that, at bottom, they’re all the same, and his flaunting of his  bogus credentials that he’s a “religious scholar.” His CNN show about religion, “Believer,” which I’ve […]

Latest on the student miscreants at Middlebury and Evergreen State

Just two updates. You’ll remember that students at Middlebury College in Vermont physically attacked both Charles Murray and his host, Allison Stanger, on March 2 (see here and here). Never mind that most of them hadn’t read The Bell Curve, or that Murray wasn’t even talking about that book; it was enough that he got […]