Monday, January 4, 2016

New America Foundation: 'Double Take- Speaking on Freedom of Speech'

Source:New America Foundation- with a look at free speech in America.
"A Yale lecturer resigned from her teaching post after an email she sent to students triggered heated discussions about campus racism. In her email, the lecturer, Erika Christakis, voiced concern that calls to limit expression by censoring Halloween costumes issued by Yale’s Intercultural Affairs Committee may do more harm than good to students still learning about the ways of the world.

Student and faculty groups at Yale and nationally in turn used Christakis’ email as catalyst to justify a problematic stance bordering racial and ethnic insensitivity, claiming protection under first amendment rights. Christakis, they said, acted with the best intentions in mind and is entitled to free speech.

The backlash and other reactions against or in support of Christakis’s email reveal a great deal not just about a popular US (mis)understanding about free speech—primarily defined by a misleading notion that all citizens are entitled to limitless expression—but also expose a deep-rooted inability of institutions of higher learning to engender meaningful discussion capable of dismantling obstacles barraging mutual respect." 

From New America 

"A panel of the nation's leading free speech thinkers including Dr. Stanley Fish of the Cardozo School of Law, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education President Greg Lukianoff, Eric Posner of the University of Chicago Law School, and Jonathan Rauch of the Brookings Institution." 

Source:National Constitution Center- hosting a panel on free speech in America.

From the National Constitution Center

At risk of sounding like a Nationalist,: people right and left have debated whether America is exceptional or not the last ten years or so and debating what is called American Exceptionalism. Is America an exceptional place or not and if we are, are we exceptional in a positive sense. Do we represent as Americans the right values or not. Our First Amendment which of course is our guaranteed constitutional right to Freedom of Speech, is one example of why we are exceptional. Along with our diversity which is across the board and our other guaranteed civil liberties and constitutional rights.

No constitutional right is absolute and that includes both the First Amendment and the Second Amendment. But what it means is that Americans essentially have unlimited free speech and free expression rights and basically and unlimited ability to express ourselves and how we feel about things, places, issues, culture and even people, short of inciting violence, violently harassing people, or falsely libeling people. 

Americans also have a constitutional right to express how they feel about what others are saying and even believe that some people don't have the same constitutional right to free speech as themselves. Which seems to be what the Far-Left and Far-Right both have in common in America, the belief that their free speech rights are more important. 

This means Donald Trump can run his nonsensical reality show disguised as a presidential campaign and say all sorts of garbage (to be nice) about groups of Americans. And the rest of the country has the same right to express out they feel about The Donald: The Captain of Reality TV.

Free Speech, is not a threat to America. The opposite is the truth, which is fascism in the form of political correctness, whether it comes from the Far-Left or Far-Right. That says the political correctness warriors knows best what is acceptable and unacceptable speech. And they’ll decide what people should think and what we can say. 

You can’t have a liberal democracy without free speech and a liberal right to free speech. Put all the views out there and then let the people weigh in on what the speakers and thinkers are saying. Correct the falsehoods, reward the truth tellers and critique the liars. That is how liberal democracy and free speech works. Instead of having some Board of Experts deciding what is appropriate and improper speech in a developed society.

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