One of the most frustrating aspects for the free speech community these days is when anti-free speech advocates claim to be champions of free speech before calling for censorship. That was the case last year when Barack Obama bizarrely called himself “pretty close to a First Amendment absolutist” before calling for sweeping censorship and media controls over expression. This week, it was NYU Communications professor Gabrielle Gambrell who prefaced a call for censorship by assuring the audience on Dr. Phil that “I am extremely in favor of the First Amendment.” It turns out that she loves free speech as much as a glutton loves his lunch. She proceeded to carve up free speech as an impediment to self-improvement through censorship.
Gambrell gleefully agreed that people should be fired for expressing “harmful” thoughts and that “we have seen things that happen when social media is not censored.” People should be punished, in her view, when they express thoughts that “can hurt people, where there’s negative intent, there should be censorship.” That includes people deemed to be racist or homophobic:
“In some instances where I see viral videos where someone is clearly racist or homophobic or anything nasty and then the video goes viral, they lose their job, I’m like ‘score’ because that person does not deserve to have this title which can impact certain communities, they need to work on themselves.”
She added a note that sounded like a pitch for people to embrace censorship like the latest self-help fad. It turns out that it can be good for those who are fired and silenced: “What I do truly believe in is redemption. There’s opportunity to learn, to be better, to not harm people.”
She is not the first to make such a pitch. Facebook even tried a massive creepy commercial campaign to convince the public to embrace censorship.
Likewise, other academics have voiced pro-censorship views (though they later denied it). Harvard Law School professor Jack Goldsmith and University of Arizona law professor Andrew Keane Woods declared that “China was right” on the need for censorship of the Internet. They declared that “in the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong.”
Many on the left are seeking to preserve censorship by surrogate on social media and seeking to prevent the publication of books by those with whom they disagree, including a book by Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. With corporate censorship threatened, many leaders like Hillary Clinton are turning to good old-fashioned state censorship.
Indeed, President Joe Biden has questioned how citizens will know the truth without censors framing what the truth is on social media and the Internet.
Gambrell is only the latest cheerful advocate of censorship, seeking to convince citizens that limiting their free speech is a good thing even for those punished for their views. Indeed, being fired for harmful thoughts in her view is character building, almost therapeutic.
Of course, I find professors advocating censorship to be “negative” and “harmful.” Would it be therapeutic for me to launch a campaign to fire Gambrell?
Of course not. It would be an attack on her free speech rights and further reduce the diversity of thought on our campuses. Yet, the left has adopted these rationalizations for their intolerance and orthodoxy.
Many on the left still cannot accept that they are the new censors, the intolerant voices seeking to silence opposing views. They have become the new McCarthyites in seeking to block publications, purge faculties, and control speech. Yet, that is hardly a virtual signaling status. The only option is to pretend that it is not censorship to censor people or that censorship is actually a good and wholesome thing.
Fortunately, the multimillion dollar campaign by Facebook did not produce a call from the public to be censored by their corporate overlords. Rather, not only are users signing up in record numbers, but a recent poll shows a majority of Americans “support Elon Musk’s ongoing efforts to change Twitter to a more free and transparent platform.”
It turns out that the pitch of “a better life through less freedom” is not selling well with the public. However, it clearly is the rage on many faculties.
77 thoughts on ““There Should Be Censorship”: NYU Professor Calls for Censorship for Those Speaking with “Negative Intent””
She would fit right in with liked-minded people in 1930s Germany and Italy, particularly in Italy where denouncing one’s neighbors–or even family members–for expressing opinions not approved by the government was common and lucrative.
This tendency of the left to censor speech they disagree with is best addressed by through lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit.
One need only to know a little history of the 20s and 30s in Europe to understand the dangers lurking ahead for our free republic, and the world by extension. One thing to have loony academics and politicos to champion censorship of speech and (bizarrely) thought, but when the masses start to accept it, we’re in deep doo doo.
Many on the left still cannot accept that they are the new censors, the intolerant voices seeking to silence opposing views.
I have an alternative theory. The Left does accept it, and concludes it now has a stranglehold on the media, since that is true. They have no interest in being “tolerant voices.” Whether you like the Left or not, the reality is that it controls virtually all of the print media, all of the networks, almost all cable, virtually all of academia, all of Big Tech, and all of Hollywood, not to mention administrative agencies. Basically, all the major ways in which information is propagated to the masses. Given that reality, they act rationally in wanting to make sure their power is not challenged — hence this new trend of calling for ever more censorship of dissenting voices.
It’s analogous to a liberal political commentator in the 1990s (name escapes me) who frequently inveighed against gun ownership, but he owned a gun. That struck me as rational on his part: he benefitted if he had a gun while others didn’t. Rational but not principled. Same with these new left-wing calls for censorship.
And they control most of the government. I’m not speaking of the elected officials who come and go, but the legions of bureaucrats who truly do wield power in America and Europe. It matters not (or not as much as people think) who sits in the White House as long as we have only one ideology controlling the country’s day-to-day operations. We have only to consider Lois Lerner and the power she had within our tax authority.
“NYU Communications Professor Gabrielle Gambrell prefaced a call for censorship by assuring the audience on Dr. Phil that ‘I am extremely in favor of the First Amendment.’”
“It turns out that she loves free speech as much as a glutton loves his lunch.”
– Professor Turley
Stop it, man, yer killin’ me!!!
These antithetical, anti-Constitution, anti-American communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs, AINOs) impeach themselves with extreme prejudice on an hourly basis.
If you doubt the importance of free speech and free thought (which are closely related, since we think in words), please review a recent podcast featuring Jordan Peterson, “The Importance of Being Ethical”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcA5TotAkhs The discussion of free speech/thougth begins at about 26″.
If you do not question what is told to you, you’re most likely a Moron, believing in the gospel of Lemmings, rushing into a heedless future. The True Lemmings of course rushed to their death, todays Lemmings are rushing at an ever increasing pace towards tyranny. They want to create new definitions for most everything, including speech, societal norms and so much more. There is little to no regard or correlation to existing norms. They continually sway their hips, pushing sanity aside in their quest to change America to their Utopian Paradise.
Quoting a few excerpts from George Washington’s farewell Address 1796, obtained from [George Washington.org]
“…I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.
This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.
Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it…”
If Gambrell and her ilk were speaking honestly and clearly, here’s what she would have said:
What I’m advocating is not really censorship. But if it is, it’s good for you. And we, the Higher Authorities with a mysterious means of insight, will decide what’s good for you.
(That noxious idea, by the way, comes directly from Plato. The battle for the West is, ultimately, between Plato and Aristotle. And Plato is winning.)
Simply put: “It’s the Law”.
A public university (or private university receiving taxpayer money) is a “governing entity” and are legally restrained by First Amendment law.
Students are “citizens” with First Amendment rights that cannot be infringed upon by a “governing entity” (university). The governing entity cannot impose their views onto citizens.
What about “constructive-criticism”? Using “negative” means to reach a “positive” outcome? It’s impossible to write censorship laws, even if you wanted to. Even U.S. Supreme Court justices can’t define what “obscenity” is to be censored.
It’s the Law…like it or not!
“ She added a note that sounded like a pitch for people to embrace censorship like the latest self-help fad. It turns out that it can be good for those who are fired and silenced: “What I do truly believe in is redemption. There’s opportunity to learn, to be better, to not harm people.”
This is where Turley fails at comprehension. Professor Gambrell points out a basic truth about free speech that Turley neglects and mischaracterizes. Free speech involves personal responsibility AND accountability. Getting criticized, mocked, ridiculed, insulted, labeled as stupid or dumb ARE consequences of exercising free speech. Turley misleadingly characterizes this as “attacks” on free speech. He calls “censorship” the consequence of being ostracized or ignored or call to ignore someone who expressed a controversial opinion or statement. Even racists and bigots will get ignored or others will call for them to be ignored or denied the recognition of their views as “censorship” by those who are not bound by the prohibitions of the 1st amendment. A private individual can demand another be shut up. On a social media platform that CAN happen legally and constitutionally. Shouting down someone is a form of censorship that is NOT prohibited by the constitution. Getting fired for making racists comments on social media IS legal.
Professor Gambrell’s point is that there needs to be a realization that not everything you believe about the 1st amendment applies to everything. It only applies to government and once you realize that you will learn to be aware that there ARE serious consequences to exercising the right to express your views in the open and there IS a personal responsibility and accountability that everyone must not only realize, but truly understand what it means to have free speech. In this age of social media the instant backlash for what people say or do magnifies her point a million times over and Turley is woefully oblivious to that simple fact.
You lost me at your ad hominem: “Turley fails at comprehension.” It takes a considerable amount of self-importance seasoned with a spoonful of malevolence and frosted with splashes of bitterness to so disparage another person’s sound and reasoned intellect.
You correctly opine that “getting criticized, mocked, ridiculed, insulted, labeled as stupid or dumb ARE consequences of exercising free speech”, but do not acknowledge that losing one’s position and being denied their diversity of opinion ought never be. Do not be among the many on the left who Professor Turley says “still cannot accept that they are the new censors, the intolerant voices seeking to silence opposing views. They have become the new McCarthyites in seeking to block publications, purge faculties, and control speech. Yet, that is hardly a virtual signaling status. The only option is to pretend that it is not censorship to censor people or that censorship is actually a good and wholesome thing.”
Workin’ out my finger
Workin’ out my finger
Svelaz and Gigi are workin’ out my finger
Remember fluff ‘n nutter sandwiches? The trolls here, their comments are like that. No good for you and not really even all that tasty. Broken records have more original thoughts.
Yes, this is a trash comment. Feel free to delete, if it must be so. Still, a salient point of sorts IMO.
In an ideal world I would like to see these people get a taste of their own medicine. They are no different than the Nazis who banned “degenerate art” as well as books and speech that considered unfit for their society. They are totalitarian thugs who must be pushed back as hard as they push forward their advocacy for censorship
Progressives should be laughed at, ridiculed, and ignored. Do not engage clowns that can not intelligently argue their position.
“Do not engage clowns that can not intelligently argue their position”
They don’t debate. They censor, doxx, deplatform and call you slurs.
And yet, all you offer is ad hominem attacks instead of intelligently arguing YOUR position.
The clown is demanding censorship for a statement he disagrees with. The clown has no intelligent response. The clown should laughed at, ridiculed, and ignored – until he responds intelligently to the original statements.
Personally, I believe SCOTUS has pretty much (and correctly) fine-tuned our First Amendment speech rights by requiring consideration of CONTEXT and INTENT when analyzing whether protection is afforded in certain applications.
Let’s just assume, for purposes of stimulating thought, THREE scenarios, as a FLIP SIDE of censorship:
(1) “Republicans are mostly white people who are unintelligent racists and should be removed from the earth” on an Internet blog is protected speech, and the government cannot prohibit this “expression.”
(2)– But spoken from a street corner stage (a “public forum” where “free speech” is generally permitted) -and with attendees bringing their guns in anticipation, “Republicans are mostly white people who are unintelligent racists and should be removed from the earth” can take on new (and likely imminent) meaning….
Same, exact, verbatim words…but with different context and intent.
Most of us can understand the difference.
Now, a PURELY and extremely hypothetical scenario:
(3)—-But what happens when the government itself, through its agents/surrogates/proxies, infiltrates social media as bots/anonymous contributors/commenters, who then publish comments/statements on an Internet blog, that “Republicans are mostly white people who are unintelligent racists and should be removed from the earth.” ????
Bad example, but that’s the best I can offer early in the mornin’
Interesting point of view.
Something to consider and think on.
Lin, interesting thought experiment.
“ 1) “Republicans are mostly white people who are unintelligent racists and should be removed from the earth” on an Internet blog is protected speech, and the government cannot prohibit this “expression.”
On an internet blog it is NOT protected speech. I’ll explain. An internet blog is private. Anything you say on it CAN be unilaterally censored. The government cannot prohibit the expression, but on an internet blog the expression can be prohibited.
It is only speech protected from government prohibition. It’s not protected from prohibition by the blog. An internet blog can choose whether to allow that statement or remove it unilaterally.
“ 2)– But spoken from a street corner stage (a “public forum” where “free speech” is generally permitted) -and with attendees bringing their guns in anticipation, “Republicans are mostly white people who are unintelligent racists and should be removed from the earth” can take on new (and likely imminent) meaning….
Same, exact, verbatim words…but with different context and intent.
Most of us can understand the difference.”
In this scenario the only difference is that the person speaking has a much greater responsibility and accountability for what he is saying because he is NOT protected from the consequences of offending someone, especially one with a gun. Nothing protects him from being heckled, or shouted down. Or have rotten tomatoes hurled at him. He still has the right to speak as much as he wants just as long as he/she can tolerate the risks involved. At some point that person/s will stop speaking when it is clear that the crowd is not receptive to his/her point of view. HOWEVER if he chooses to he/she can continue and accept the consequences and responsibility. He CAN be protected from physical harm, but not from being mocked, heckled, or shouted down, these things you can avoid on a blog or forum on the internet.
Scenario (1) Of course I understand that PRIVATE entities (internet blogs) may or may not restrict/censor. That’s why I used an Internet Blog as an example. Did you possibly notice that I expressly said “government” ???????????
No one is talking about allowable private censorship by Internet Blog administrators. Were you following the earlier blog article about FBI using proxies/surrogates to censor what it could not? This makes your comment moot.
Scenario (2) you entirely missed the CONTEXT and INTENT factors that I ADDED, so no, (1) and (2) are not the same. (And who- other than you- is even talking about someone in the crowd with a gun shooting the speaker????
It should have been clear that I was adding context and intent to query whether the speaker was INCITING the crowd to imminent violence against “Republican racists.” So your second point is also moot.
But thank you for letting me know that the way I worded it resulted in your misunderstanding.
Lin, there is an interesting argument by Yale Law Professor (and husband of Amy Chua), Jed Rubenfeld on how Twitter users can legally sue the Feds. He states the suit would be supported with SCOTUS case history. I hope he is right but matters of law are beyond my knowledge base. Would enjoy your analysis. Thanks!
How to Take the Twitter Files to Court
File a class action against federal agents seeking an injunction against social-media censorship efforts
By Jed Rubenfeld
Jan. 4, 2023
Mr. Rubenfeld is a professor at Yale Law School and a First Amendment lawyer. He has advised numerous clients who have been censored online.
Here is the free link
Thank you for sharing the link.
Estovir: Thanks for link, maybe tomorrow I will have time.
Estovir: Thank you for telling me about the WSJ article and providing the link. I just reviewed it.
Yikes! That’s precisely (the WSJ article) what I said on this site previously (December? November?). Unfortunately, I don’t save my old comments and don’t know how to retrieve them on this site, -maybe you remember when I said that legal “coercion” was not necessary, -just need to show collusive (i.e, joint) activity/ encouragement, promotion, inducement, e.g. by FBI.? S. Meyer says he remembers my comment and responded to it at the time….
From the WSJ article:
“The nub of the “nothingburger” argument is that the Twitter Files fail to show government “coercion” and Twitter therefore never became a state actor. That argument is wrong: A private party can become a state actor through voluntary joint action with the government, which the Twitter Files richly detail.”
Precisely! (as in my previous post). (That doesn’t mean I am right-it just means that the WSJ author and I think alike!)
Finally, as to my personal opinion about the WSJ article (thanks for asking): I;m not sure on the class-action idea, if anything, may be premature–it’s a lot of $$$$ and time to throw into likely protracted litigation- for only the satisfaction of either nominal/speculative damages or a declaratory judgment. But that’s the kind of Social Justice Warrior law firm our country might need! Notwithstanding, evidence developed in the pending Missouri/Lousiana v. Biden case may pave the way for a broader class of plaintiffs in other/future actions.
Thanks for all your cerebral posts and humorous video excerpts.
And now here’s a link that I just found (belated Christmas Present for YOU) regarding the Missouri case I had cited in another (even earlier) previous post. You probably would have more interest in this topic:
Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. As suspected, legal stuff is over my head and since I have huge knowledge gaps, I do not trust my thinking on legal issues. I am preparing for an important presentation tomorrow at John Hopkins, and as usual I am late with my manuscript. I have been working since 3 am this morning. I will read the link you provided next week though, as stated, it will likely be over my head. I am a fast reader, and skim as needed. However I need to know, ignorant as I am, that the source which I am reading is reliable. I hate wasting my time on fluff papers. Most scientific papers are malarkey, many from China and other countries use stolen data from other authors.
I am picky in what I read. Gateway Pundit is a no-go for me, but WSJ sets the standard, at least in my book. I enjoy teaching others as I see it as yet another “translating” exercise: gathering complex data and “translating” it into a language tailored to my audience, e.g. uneducated immigrants like my parents, my in-laws, the poor, the marginalized, etc. So any contributions I make on here are in large part for fun but also it is my feeble attempt to teach others. “To him whom much is given, much shall be required”. Luke 12:48
(1) Methinks you are FAR more capable of reading/comprehending/evaluating written material than many lawyers.
(2) Caveat: the attached link I provided is from a right-leaning source, but I used it anyway because it highlights actual excerpts from the real pleadings, –not media characterizations of them. This does make it easier for the general public to ascertain what really is at issue here-without having to go through all the legal stuff. In other words, you can SKIP OVER THE [potentially biased] OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THE ARTICLE, and just focus on the excerpts from the actual pleadings that explain why each person’s deposition is requested.The court agreed.
I get that you’re trying to show context but your argument fails.
In both cases, the statements would be protected speech.
For the second case to be not protected speech would be if the speaker went further and urged the armed crowd to take action. Like Maxine Waters telling her constituents to get into the face of any and all Republicans and to not allow them the peace of mind or to let them eat at a restaurant in peace. Now that speaker has crossed the line by urging mob action. (That’s what is missing from your example.)
In terms of censorship…
Lets look at Hunter’s laptop.
US Gov agents go to big tech… “You know we need to stop the spread of misinformation and interference in our election process.”
Now they know that the laptop exists, that the Feds are looking at it because of possible tax evasion… but want to quash it because it would nuke Biden’s chances.
So they get 50 former spooks to say that this has the hallmarks of an attempt of espionage. Not claiming it to be espionage, but that it could be something that Russia would do if they wanted to sabotage the election. (Which is actually a factually true statement, albeit misleading.)
Then they go to the tech group who are looking for any way to stop Trump… You have the government bringing this to our attention, and former spooks seem to think it could be Russian misinformation… so it would be wise to censor it.
Note: There was a claim that it violated their ‘hacked materials’ policy, yet the Ellsberg decision (NYT vs US) basically said its legal/protected. And fair to be used.
As others have pointed out. The WSJ op-ed in very interesting.
IanMG: I’m glad I came back on site tonite and found your comment. Thank you for your thoughts.
You disagreed with me and stated, “For the second case to be not protected speech would be if the speaker went further and urged the armed crowd to take action.”
However, I infer that you are judging my statement under only one arm/component/criterion of speech regulation.There is a plethora of other permissible state actions that require(s) no such express speech.
Indeed, I argue that the whole “context and intent” analysis addresses both explicit/express language and/or implied speech. For example, the “arm” of permissible regulation addressing speech that merely “disturbs the peace.” I think I previously cited Chaplinsky, where SCOTUS upheld a statute that prohibited the use of angry, derisive, offensive, etc. speech, in a public place, that was likely to merely cause a breach of the peace; it requires no “urge” to take action.
And while I agree with you (at least if that is what you were implying) that speech which merely advocates violence or illegal action is protected, I disagree that there must be, in all cases, express/explicit language that calls for the crowd to take action. In Scenario 2 (to which you refer), my use of the words “and likely imminent” was to indicate a speaker, knowing that his audience was armed in anticipation of his speech, fired them up in a way that was likely to incite imminent lawless action/violence (he did not have to use express/explicit language “urging” action, he merely needed to have the intention/goal of producing such result). That is where another “arm” of speech regulation comes in to play, e.g., that which regulates breach of the peace. Notice that I did not say it wasn’t protected speech,—indeed, what I actually said was, “can take on new (and likely imminent) meaning.” Again, this is where “context and intent” can be the fulcrum.
If what you argue were true, none of the following examples of speech prohibition would stand muster (this relates to the original “falsely call out Fire” example that started this whole thread and my original comment):
Ohio RC 2917.31 prohibits and punishes speech or action merely “caus[ing] the evacuation of any public place, or otherwise caus[ing] serious public inconvenience or alarm”.
The State of Washington’s RCW 9.40.100, says, ” Any person… who willfully and without having reasonable grounds for believing a fire exists, sends, gives, transmits, or sounds any false alarm of fire, by shouting in a public place or by means of any public or private fire alarm system or signal, or by telephone, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
I immediately found these by search engine, but I know a wide swath of states have similar laws.
(sorry for the long response.)
IanMichaelGumby: Ha, thanks alot, pal ! –I woke up in the middle of night, reviewing Brandenburg in my head/dream!
In any event, I am able to think more clearly this a.m. and I stand by what I said yesterday, but more succinctly:
(1) Brandenburg does not require an explicit “call to action” or an express/explicit “urging” of imminent action (although that certainly would make adjudication easier!) It DOES require an intentional implying or inspiring of same.
(2) If that were true, the Court would not have indicated speech that “is directed toward inciting or producing…” —It would have just said speech that “incites or produces…” (without the “directed toward”)
(3) Indeed, as I said, context and INTENT are imperative for analysis: Brandenburg only requires an INTENT “directed toward inciting or producing” imminent lawless action and the speech is LIKELY to incite or produce same.
(4) “likely to incite or produce imminent action” implies that those involved (i.e., those to whom the speech is directed) have “the ability to immediately act.” I think I saw that in some case law somewhere.
(5) IN SUM: Speaker must INTEND to incite or produce imminent illegal action, and such must be likely to occur as a result of his speech, as in (4) above. No more, no less.
thanks for listening and for the good mental stimulation.