Category: Free Speech

Germany Moves To Expand Anti-Free Speech Laws With The Criminalization Of Flag Burning

Recently we discussed how decades of anti-free speech policies in Germany have reduced the expectations of citizens in that country to the level of an authoritarian regime. A survey, conducted by the Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach(and published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) found that only 18 percent of Germans feel free to express their views in public. Undeterred, leaders have called for greater limits on free speech during election periods — a concept that would normally be viewed as counterintuitive outside of the new European model. In addition, Germany just announced that it would expand anti-free speech laws even further to criminalize the burning of flags — an expression of free speech protected in this country.

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Iranian Chess Master Refuses To Return After Being Photographed Without Required Hijab

We recently discussed the defection of Iran’s only Olympic female medalist due to the continuing discrimination and repression of women in that country. Now, Iranian chess master and referee, Shohreh Bayat, 32, has refused to return to Iran after pictures emerged of her without a hijab caused a controversy in the Islamic Republic. The decision is another painful example of the struggle of women under Islamic laws that deny them basic human rights.

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Advertising Authority in the United Kingdom Bans Computer Advert For Only Having Male Actors As Gender Stereotyping

I have previously criticized the new law, enforced by the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), that bans gender stereotypes in advertising. It is the ultimate expression of the “nanny state” phenomenon in the United Kingdom where speech is increasingly regulated and sanctioned by the state along a best values agenda. In 2019, commercials for Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Volkswagen were banned that left many of us speechless, particularly those who wanted to use humor in commercial speech. The latest example of this censorship is UK retailer PC Specialist, which saw an advert banned simply because it showed three men excited over using a PC for gaming. The problem? Women like gaming too. Just having men therefore further a gender stereotype.

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Harvard Professor Lessig Sues New York Times For Defamation

This week seems to be a litigious one for Harvard professors. In addition to the complaint by Dershowitz at Yale, Harvard law professor and liberal political activist Lawrence Lessig is actually suing The New York Times for defamation. While there may be more offered in litigation, the lawsuit on its face seems dubious in establishing that the New York Times ran “false and defamatory” information for him as “clickbait” for readers.

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Dershowitz Complains To Yale Over Professor’s Criticism Of His Claims Of A “Perfect Sex Life”

I have repeatedly objected to the dubious diagnosis offered freely by Yale psychiatrist Dr. Bandy Lee of President Trump, including recent statements that seemed to combine her political and professional views of the subject. As I discussed in a prior column on the demise of the Goldwater rule, these efforts to diagnose Trump from a distance raise highly disturbing ethical issues. Now Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz has reportedly complained to Yale University after Lee suggested that he, and Trump supporters, display a “shared psychosis” with the president. Dershowitz triggered commentary when, in defense of allegations that he had sex with underaged girls during his association with child molester Jeffrey Epstein, he insisted that he had a “perfect sex life.” (Dershowitz is being sued by a woman who said she was forced by Epstein to have sex with him. It is one of a number of lawsuits currently pending against Dershowitz who has always maintained his innocence). As shown in dozens of prior columns, I oppose efforts to get academics punished or fired at their institutions out of concern for free speech and academic freedom. However, I agree with Dershowitz that Lee’s weaponizing psychiatric evaluations in this political debate is inimical to her school and her profession.

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Antifa Critic Barred From Speaking By University of British Columbia

I have previously written about my criticism to Antifa and its anti-free speech agenda, including academics legitimizing efforts to violently curtail free speech on our campuses. It is tragically ironic therefore that the University of British Columbia has cancelled an event by a critic of Antifa, a decision that carries out precisely the goals of this vehemently anti-free speech organization. Portland journalist Andy Ngo was scheduled to speak on campus when the school, reportedly without notice, canceled the event due to an unspecified “concern about the safety and security of our campus community.”

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Pakistani Professor Sentenced To Death For Blasphemy

Flag of Pakistan

We have yet another example of the perils facing academics in some Muslim countries with a death sentence handed down by a Pakistani court against Professor Junaid Hafeez, 33, because he allegedly posted derogatory remarks against Mohammed on social media. Many of our closest allies routinely flog or kill those who simply question religious dogma.

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Measles Outbreak in Samoa Challenges Free Speech Rights

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Following a doubly-fatal administration of tainted measles vaccination doses to two children and the consequent loss in confidence of much of the public in vaccines generally, a costly outbreak of measles in The Independent State of Samoa led to a return to early 20th century style public health mandates and a crackdown in free-speech liberties on those who advocate abstention from vaccination.

From October until the present, public health officials listed over four thousand new cases of measles among a population of two hundred thousand. This includes the death of sixty persons of which fifty-two were under four years in age. A leading “anti-vaxx” proponent, a self-styled traditional healer of sorts has been remanded to custody, and faces up to two years imprisonment, for reportedly denouncing vaccination efficacy and accusing the government of causing death among the Samoan People.

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Harvard Study: Only 35 Percent Of Young Republicans Feel Comfortable Sharing Their Views On Campus

The Institute of Politics at Harvard University has released a poll that once again highlights the failure of universities to protect free speech on our campuses, particularly for religious and conservative students. The poll found that only 35 percent of young Republicans felt comfortable sharing their political opinions on campus. That is called a “chilling effect” and is the manifestation of a hostile environment to free speech.

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SUNY Students Shut Down Leading Economist In Latest Attack On Free Speech

I have previously written about the curtailment of free speech and the refusal of both faculty and students to allow opposing views to be heard on campuses, including the recent move by students to keep both students and faculty from hearing remarks (and have a dialogue with) former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The latest such denial of free speech occurred at the State University of New York at Binghamton where protesters stopped others from listening to Arthur Laffer. Laffer is sometimes called the “father of supply-side economics” and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in June. The videotape shows how the “heckler’s veto” has taken over our campuses — the same week that a new poll shows most Republican students are uncomfortable in expressing their views on campuses.

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Impeachment Moves Into High Gear . . . At The University Of Florida

Those of us covering or listening to the Trump impeachment hearing yesterday may have missed the “other” impeachment story this week. At Gainsville, Florida, students are seeking to impeach student president Michael C. Murphy due to the invitation to Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend (and Trump campaign adviser) Kimberly Guilfoyle to campus for speeches on Oct. 10. The couple was paid $50,000 for the speeches. There are even allegations of “collusion.” Student senator Ben Lima declared that “Public records show that Michael Murphy colluded with a member of the Donald Trump campaign” on the event. However, a student newspaper is also reporting that Murphy also sought to have Bernie Sanders appear on campus.

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Stanford Students Attempt To Silence Another Conservative Speaker In Latest Attack On Free Speech

The fight over free speech on campuses has again erupted in California where a speech by conservative author Ben Shapiro triggered demands that he be barred from campus. The doublespeak used to justify the denial of free speech is particularly chilling. The students insisted that allowing people to hear Shapiro put them at risk: “WE are tired of Stanford Administration’s complicity in putting Black, Brown, Trans, Queer, and Muslim students at risk by allowing SCR to bring Ben Shapiro to campus” On the other side, editors have called his flier anti-Semitic. While these students are intolerant and anti-free speech, but I do not believe that they intended any anti-Semitic message from using this image.

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“I’m Fixing To Get Rowdy”: Baby Trump Knifed In Alabama

In another example of our age of rage, Hoyt Hutchinson, 32, took a knife to the famous “Baby Trump” protest balloon that has followed President Donald Trump from England to the United States. Hutchinson reportedly stated on a video that “I’m going down here to make a scene, so y’all watch the news. This is pathetic. I’m fixing to get rowdy.” In a sign of our times, people have donated money to support him in this property destruction. Many now believe that they have a privilege to stop others from speaking. Conservatives have rightfully objected to such disruptive acts on campus, but this is a conservative who is being heralded for his own anti-free speech act. A similar act of destruction was committed by a woman in London who was upset with the protest balloon’s appearance.

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No, The U.S. Does Not Need European-Style Hate Speech Laws

Below is my column in USA Today on the latest calls for limiting free speech and imposing censorship on political speech. Last week, we discussed the refusal of students to allow former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to speak at Northwestern University and a New Yorker writer calling for the curtailment of free speech. These attacks are coming largely from the left where speech criminalization and censorship has become an article of faith for activists and some Democratic members.

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New Yorker Writer Joins Growing List Of Liberals Calling For Censorship

My column in the USA Today concerns the growing movement among Democrats in seeking to limit free speech and embrace censorship. This trend was vividly on display this week when University of California-Berkeley sought to feature a speaker on free speech. The choice was a reporter who seeks to limit free speech and opposes those of us who advocate for the right as “absolutists.” New Yorker staff writer Andrew Marantz is actively seeking to convincing free citizens to give up this core freedom in the name of controlling extremism. Of course, all of the examples of extremism cited by Marantz seem to be found on the right.

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