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Tag Archives: free speech

Campuses Want Students to Turn Each Other In for “Offensive” Speech

If only the Founding Fathers had anticipated microaggressions and mentioned them specifically in the Constitution.

From the Washington Examiner:

Universities are the cradle of free speech, where ideologies and ideas clash, where academics and activists can agree, disagree, or be disagreeable. This is particularly true in the United States, where the First Amendment zealously guards against government surveillance and intrusion into free speech.

Yet at hundreds of campuses across the country, administrators encourage students to report one another, or their professors, for speech protected by the First Amendment, or even mere political disagreements. The so-called “Bias Response Teams” reviewing these (often anonymous) reports typically include police officers, student conduct administrators and public relations staff who scrutinize the speech of activists and academics.

This sounds like the stuff of Orwell, although even he might have found the name “Bias Response Team” to be over-the-top.

Obama Attacks Free Speech at Prayer Breakfast

President Obama used the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning to undermine one of the Constitution’s most fundamental rights, suggesting those who demean Islam are abusing the use of free speech.

While acknowledging that Americans have “a legal right” to attack another’s religion, Obama said everyone should question those “who would insult others in the name of free speech,” indicating such insults were a misuse of the right. Similarly, Obama’s called for “civility” – a demand he has issued before but not always abided by himself – suggesting a desire that people censor their own speech.

As has been often said, the Founders’ free speech protections were not designed to safeguard polite conversation. They were exactly meant for speech that might offend.

Obama said:

There’s wisdom in our founders writing in those documents that help found this nation the notion of freedom of religion, because they understood the need for humility. They also understood the need to uphold freedom of speech, that there was a connection between freedom of speech and freedom of religion. For to infringe on one right under the pretext of protecting another is a betrayal of both.

But part of humility is also recognizing in modern, complicated, diverse societies, the functioning of these rights, the concern for the protection of these rights calls for each of us to exercise civility and restraint and judgment. And if, in fact, we defend the legal right of a person to insult another’s religion, we’re equally obligated to use our free speech to condemn such insults — (applause) — and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with religious communities, particularly religious minorities who are the targets of such attacks.

Just because you have the right to say something doesn’t mean the rest of us shouldn’t question those who would insult others in the name of free speech. Because we know that our nations are stronger when people of all faiths feel that they are welcome, that they, too, are full and equal members of our countries.

For Obama to lump himself in with other citizens who might criticize anti-islamist speech is also a dangerous precedent. Obama isn’t just any other citizen. He is the president of the United States, with vast law enforcement resources at his disposal, and his attacks on the speech of others, however offensive the speech is, can have a chilling effect on the right of free expression.

The remarks castigating those who attack Islam also are an indirect criticism of cartoonists at the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, who drew caricatures of Mohammed and were killed for it.

Government Trying to Silence Private Citizen’s Speech

The Democratic Party, in its quest for money and politically correct purity, has reached a new low.

A private citizen made a statement that some would find offensive. Democrats in Congress are trying to put that citizen out of business.

The citizen in question often makes controversial statements. He draws calumny from his opponents. And that is exactly whom the Framers intended to protect by writing the First Amendment.

According to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Rush Limbaugh said this:

How many of you guys, in your own experience with women, have learned that ‘no’ means ‘yes’ if you know how to spot it?

That resulted in a letter Sunday from Sandra Fluke, written on behalf of the DCCC:

As a previous target of Limbaugh’s sexist attacks, take it from me: we need to stand together and call Rush out. The DCCC has a petition to tell advertisers to stop funding this repulsive commentary.

Here’s the petition.

Limbaugh petition

As you can see, as of this morning, the campaign had exceeded its goal of 300,000 signatures.

The DCCC is no ordinary political group. It is, by its own telling “the official campaign arm of the Democrats in the House of Representatives.” It’s chaired by a Congressman, Rep. Steve Israel of New York, and other members of Congress head up its key branches.

I don’t care what you think about what Rush said. I don’t care what Sandra Fluke says about it – she has a right to her opinion.

What I care about is that the DCCC, your government, is trying to put Rush out of business because of something he said.

The subversion of our country and its principles to the agenda of the Democratic Party and its demands for political correctness is far more of a danger than anything Rush Limbaugh can come up with.

Led by President Obama, who writes his own laws out of the Oval Office, the government is getting increasingly habituated to capricious actions that ignore the law and the Constitution because of the idea, which is everything our Founders fought against, that the views of individual rulers can be so important and so “obviously correct” that they can be unilaterally imposed on the nation.

This is the birthplace of tyranny. It is the rationale of the Bolsheviks. Here, in our country.

Whatever we once understood about civics is being forgotten. Be afraid for your children’s future.

President Obama and Duck Dynasty

Political correctness is a threat to the republic. It says, at bottom, that hurt feelings are more important than free speech. That some members of society have a right to mold the thoughts of others. It’s exactly the reverse of what was intended by the first amendment, which sought to protect speech from the anger… Continue Reading

Obama Offers a Strong Defense of Free Speech

President Obama Tuesday minced no words in defending the First Amendment before the world, declaring in a speech to the United Nations that the right to free speech is “enshrined” in our Constitution and that failure to safeguard it leads to oppression. In response to the video denigrating Mohammed that sparked outrage in the Muslim… Continue Reading

Mr. President, Don’t Tell Us to Tone it Down

I can remember that at some point during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, there was news that Henry Kissinger and other diplomats were getting nice and busy trying to bring about a cessation of hostilities. And I remember my mother saying, “Every time the Israelis start winning, everyone starts talking about peace.” I’m reminded of this… Continue Reading

Obama’s Bullying Bully Pulpit

The penchant of the White House to use its huge power and megaphone to slam private industries is one of its most disconcerting features. It distinguishes President Obama from the two other presidents I’ve covered, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. For sure, I remember them railing against their opponents, but not attacking specific private… Continue Reading