The expansion of the Foundation of Individual Rights in Education marks the end of an era, when free speech issues were the sole province of American liberalism
I for one am grateful we have an up and coming organization that believes in the principle of free expression and they are willing to put their money where their mouth is and fight for it.
The left was in favor of free speech when they had sole possession of the microphone via the three networks, publishing houses and the major metropolitan daily newspapers.
The internet (especially when Matt Drudge broke the Monica Lewinsky story) changed all that. This new censorship fetish on the left has been building for quite some time.
I don't think the left can put the genie back into the bottle, but with the backing of Big Tech, they're gonna try.
Wait, liberals have turned against free speech, free thought and free expression??
Nahh that's just a right-wing conspiracy theory, it's only a few kooky kids on campus, nothing to see here, they'll grow out of it when they graduate.
And despite the fact that this phenomenon in no way exists and is simply a Fox News figment, doesn't Justice demand that if you say something that hurts the feelings of a sexual or ethnic minority you should lose your job, career, family and friends? That's simple democratic accountability!
And if you want to publish a book but don't agree to all the suggestions made by your Sensitivity Reader, isn't it only right that your book gets pulped and you get hounded into submission? Who's the real snowflake, now?
FIRE is great but the most important step in the process of dethroning the Woke Puritans is to hold a mirror to their faces to show them what they've become: all that they claim to hate and oppose.
Here's to FIRE (and to Matt and to the rest of us) for holding up that mirror.
What has happened to Ilya Shapiro at Georgetown Law School, Joshua Katz at Princeton and David Sabatini at MIT makes it clear how badly an organization like FIRE is needed. I intent to donate regularly, because free speech is essential to a robust and successful society, which I fear we’re losing at an exponential rate.
I hope there’s a way to teach the week minded but strongly willed brats at universities and HR departments around the country that their crybully ways are coming to a swift end, but I fear things are going to get a lot worse before they get any better.
"The only reason those other issues can rate is because we have our free speech right to discuss them. So freedom of speech is the first right. It’s the matrix. It’s the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom."
This IS the main point. Free speech needs to be as near absolute as practical.
One bit of analysis about the shift in liberal opinions about free speech that does not get enough attention is the combination of a clear indication that decades of liberal policies in government have made a mess of things... and the fact that the Democrats seem to own the mainstream media and big tech. Add those two things together and it explains a bit of political desperation and strategy to control the political narrative. So I see the liberal shift against free speech more just their political tribe sense of political advantage and disadvantage. When Trump won in 2016 it scared the hell out of them that everything was falling apart. Instead of learning what the voters were pissed about, they dismissed it and just doubled down on the controlling strategy. I think it was a very wrong move... and now the pendulum is swinging what will likely be past what Trump signified to them. FIRE is an example of what we will see more of... and it does not play well for the American Democrat party.
The ACLU op-ed in the NYT advocating for vaccine mandates as the path to freedom, which came out well after it was clear the vaccines had failed spectacularly at reducing transmission and the trials concluding otherwise had been revealed as fraudulent, was the point of no return. I can’t ever again take them seriously as a civil liberties organization after that. They are dead to me. They are nothing more than shills for establishment power. Time to get involved with FIRE (though I’d be interested to see where they come down on the ever-expanding “public health” exception to free speech. Will they push back as aggressively in that area?)
If America loses free speech, it's no longer America. It's something else.
I've been a supporter of FIRE for a long time. They are the real deal. Look for them to be assaulted from the left.
Their CEO also wrote a book with Haidt. Very good book
The Coddling of the American Mind.
"So freedom of speech is the first right. It’s the matrix. It’s the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom."
Amazing that Greg Lukianoff had to make that point to a college professor.
Yay! Every once in a while someone writes about something positive. Not sure I can deal with it, but I will try. Many thanks.
FIRE needs to set up shop in Canada. Desperately.
This is what I just told someone. This is a great unsensational article about free speech. I don't really think the ACLU was ever totally about free speech even when they defended the KKK, but that is a line they cultivated to get donations. That said, they have become much more political than they were. As a "liberal," one of the biggest things that has driven me away from Democrats/the new left/whatever, is their support of censorship.
“The only reason those other issues can rate is because we have our free speech right to discuss them.” So freedom of speech is the first right. It’s the matrix. It’s the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom. - EXACTLY! And thank you!
Matt does F.I.R.E. take a position on regulation of social media platforms as "common carriers" that would force them apply First Amendment principles when they moderate content?