Category Archive 'Free Speech'
24 Mar 2024

Heine on the German Censors

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Heinrich Heine’s Poem “The German Censors”

“The German Censors ————————–




08 Dec 2023

Musk is Eloquent!

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23 Jun 2023

George Babbitt’s Been Replaced by Big Brother

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Face it, America: you’re just too stupid to listen to Jordan Peterson and RFK Jr. talking about COVID vaccines. Your elite Corporate Overlords, the snot-nosed millennials with the piercings, tattoos, and the gender uncertainty, recently fresh out of college, recognize the need for themselves to do the big thinking for you. It simply wouldn’t be right for both sides of the argument to come your way, you might be confused and come down on he wrong side, poor hapless schmucks that you are. That’s why they’re working on those self-driving cars for you!

In the old America, now gone, businessmen (like Sinclair Lewis’s famous character) were timid and cautious about taking public positions on political matters or pubic controversies, recognizing that some of their customers would inevitably occupy positions on both sides of any such divide. They were afraid to come out on one side or the other for fear of losing half their business.

But today, there are all these natural electronic monopolies, Facebook and Twitter and YouTube and PayPal, and there are these gigantic legacy corporate entities, like Disney and Target and Anheuser-Busch and the Los Angeles Dodgers. If good old George Babbitt came out for Prohibition, for instance, the loose-livers and hard drinkers could, and would, just go right down the road to some other realtor. Today’s big businesses have gotten out of the habit of worrying about staying on their customers’ good sides. On the contrary, they feel entitled to tell you what to think.

NBS News:

YouTube said Monday that it had removed a video of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaking with podcast host Jordan Peterson for spreading what the company said was vaccine misinformation. …

YouTube’s policies against hosting false medical information are long-standing.

“We removed a video from the Jordan Peterson channel for violating YouTube’s general vaccine misinformation policy, which prohibits content that alleges that vaccines cause chronic side effects, outside of rare side effects that are recognized by health authorities,” YouTube said Monday in a statement.

20 May 2023

“What Has Yale Become?”

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“The reason no one will talk to you is there is no professional benefit to saying interesting or controversial things.”

HT: The Anonymous Professor.

02 Jan 2023

When Elon Musk Defends Free Speech…

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21 Dec 2022

It Is No Longer the America I Grew Up In

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Our politics has changed. Our ruling establishment has changed. The leadership of our institutions has changed. And entirely everywhere for the worse.

The media, of course, used to be biased, but the bias was unconscious back then. Today, it is calculated, deliberate, and ruthless.

The American establishment was Country Club Republican, liberal but with some moderation and common sense. The establishment today is a Marxist devoutedly treasonous clerisy that hates the rest of America and that has every inclination to impose its positions by force. The liberals have been purged.

Patrick Maines discusses what has happened to Free Speech.

Of the several unwelcome revelations in the past six years, the most politically significant is that liberalism as a political philosophy is dead.

Oh, there may still be some individuals who identify with it, but for the most part they are old, retired, or cowed into silence by the howling mobs of progressives, the “woke,” and the identitarian left.

And how do we know this? We know it by the collapse of colleges and universities as places of open debate and inquiry. And we know it by the abandonment of any kind of honest and principled journalism by the vast majority of the legacy and social media. For decades these two institutions, the press and the academy, have been the white hot center of American liberalism, and their metamorphosis into woke and progressive fortresses signals the end of it.

How else to explain the spectacle of acceptance, if not the promotion, of censoring, shadow banning, and cancelling? Or the spread of CRT concepts in education from elementary school to college? Or the hostility shown toward Elon Musk’s stated goal of reinstating free speech on Twitter? Or the thuggish and uniform media lies regarding stories like the origin of COVID-19 and authenticity of Hunter Biden’s laptop?

You don’t have to admire or share the philosophy to know that liberalism is, or was, popularly likened to virtues like tolerance and broad-mindedness. But none of the examples above reflect any of those qualities. Just the opposite.

In the summer of 2020, Harper’s magazine published an open letter signed by 150 or so people, most of whom would then have been regarded as liberals. In it, the signers made clear their dismay over the attacks on freedom of speech:

    The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted. While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture; an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.

    More troubling still, institutional leaders, in a spirit of panicked damage control, are delivering hasty and disproportionate punishments instead of considered reforms. Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes.

At the time of its publication the letter looked like it might be the beginning of a powerful liberal backlash against the illiberal machinations of progressives and the like. In hindsight it looks like the last gasp of an exhausted stock.


The reptiles and invertebrates running places like Yale today are burdened with inherited commitments to Free Speech dating back to a different time. At Yale, they have not quite nerved themselves up to the point of repudiating the Woodward Report, they only ignore it in practice then obfuscate and pay a little hypocritical lip service to Free Expression that they no longer support. They gave a good citizenship award to one of the Shrieking Students who hounded the master of Silliman College out of office because his wife defended free choice of Halloween costume. Open and frank repudiation of every kind of free speech and expression is just around the corner.

31 Oct 2022

Nobody Censored Elon’s Tweet Response

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24 Oct 2022

Dean Gerken Goes Into Damage Control Mode

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Heather Gerken, Dean and Sol & Lillian Goldman Professor of Law at Yale Law School.

David Lat is cautiously optimistic that the Judges’ Boycott of Yale Law graduates for clerkships has put the fear of God (or, at least, grave alarm at the loss of prestigious career opportunities translating into money and power) into the powers that be at the Yale Law School.

In the wake of the announcement of Judge James Ho (5th Cir.) that he would no longer hire clerks from Yale Law School, a boycott joined so far by Judge Lisa Branch (11th Cir.) and a dozen other judges who wanted to remain nameless, Dean Heather Gerken has been quietly reaching out to prominent conservative jurists. Her message: YLS is deeply committed to free speech and intellectual diversity, it has taken concrete steps to support that commitment, and as dean, she welcomes hearing from judges about what else can be done to promote and protect academic freedom at Yale Law—including Judges Ho and Branch, the progenitors of the YLS boycott.1

A week ago today, on Thursday, October 13, Judges Ho and Branch responded to Dean Gerken’s outreach with a letter (which you can download via the embed above). Here’s how it begins:

Wowzers! I share the judges’ hope that the panel can take place before January 17—because I don’t know if I can wait that long for such an epic event.

Substance aside, I suspect that the reception to Judges Ho and Branch will determine whether they actually push through with their boycott (which both judges have explained doesn’t apply to current YLS students and graduates, only future students—so in a sense it hasn’t really taken effect yet). If Judges Ho and Branch receive a cool but ultimately civil reception from Yale Law’s overwhelmingly progressive student body, then I expect the judges to stand down. But if they get shouted down at YLS, as Kristen Waggoner of the ultra-conservative Alliance Defending Freedom did this past March, that will powerfully prove that Yale’s free-speech problems are profound—and might get even more judges to publicly hop on the anti-YLS bandwagon.

The rest of the judges’ four-page letter—which I urge you to read in full, along with Judge Ho’s forthcoming article in the Texas Review of Law & Politics, Agreeing to Disagree: Restoring American by Resisting Cancel Culture—is an eloquent defense of free speech, open discourse, and civil disagreement. The last two pages respond to a statement by Dean Gerken that was posted on the YLS website last Wednesday, October 12, A Message to Our Alumni on Free Speech at Yale Law School (“Alumni Message”). So I’ll walk you through that statement now, offering reporting and opinion of my own, as well as comments from the Ho/Branch letter. (The Alumni Message was previously covered by Karen Sloan and Nate Raymond of Reuters, Brad Kutner of the National Law Journal, and Debra Cassens Weiss of the ABA Journal.)

Here’s how Dean Gerken’s Alumni Message begins (all hyperlinks in the original):

    Dear members of our alumni community:

    Yale Law School is dedicated to building a vibrant intellectual environment where ideas flourish. To foster free speech and engagement, we emphasize the core values of professionalism, integrity, and respect. These foundational values guide everything we do.

So far, so good. Please proceed, Dean Gerken.

    Over the last six months, we have taken a number of concrete steps to reaffirm our enduring commitment to the free and unfettered exchange of ideas. These actions are well known to our faculty, students, and staff, but I want to share some of them with you as well.

    Last March, the Law School made unequivocally clear that attempts to disrupt events on campus are unacceptable and violate the norms of the School, the profession, and our community.

I don’t view Dean Gerken’s statement on the infamous March 10 protest as making “unequivocally clear” that what transpired was unacceptable; to the contrary, I found her statement rather… equivocating. But instead of repeating myself, I’ll simply incorporate by reference my earlier exegesis of her comments. I would also refer you to page 3 of the Ho/Branch letter, in which the judges similarly criticize YLS’s handling of the March 10 protest and refute the attempt to defend that handling.

Back to the Alumni Message:

    The faculty revised our disciplinary code and adopted a policy prohibiting surreptitious recordings that mirrors policies that the University of Chicago and other peer institutions have put in place to encourage the free expression of ideas.

I will spare you—and me—from a painstaking parsing of the updated disciplinary code, which runs to seven single-spaced pages. For now, here’s a concise explanation of the latest revisions that was provided to me by Professor Claire Priest, who served on the faculty committee responsible for the changes:

    I am writing because it was so disappointing to hear that Judge Ho and other judges called for a hiring freeze on YLS clerks due to the disruptive protests against Alliance Defending Freedom last year. Since last January, I have served on a committee led by Professors Oona Hathaway and Tracey Meares that rewrote the rules of the law school. One of the first revisions we made clarified that “reckless” disruptions of law school events are major violations of the code.

    Since the 1970s, the school has been governed by the Rights and Duties (“R&D”), which was poorly written and vague, and resulted in an environment where the Dean and administrators were effectively in charge of all discipline. After the ADF protest, Dean Heather Gerken constituted a committee to rewrite the rules to make it explicit that reckless disruption of classes, events, and the business of the law school will constitute a major violation of our rules going forward. Unfortunately, we did not feel we could publicize this until September 21, when the faculty unanimously voted for the new code. The revised code also clarifies the procedures we will use and takes much of the disciplinary work out of the hands of our student-facing administrators.

One thing I’d highlight from Professor Priest’s message: the committee that led the R&D revision was appointed last January—after the scandals known as Dinner Party-gate, Trap House-gate, and Antiracism Training-gate, but before Protest-gate, and well before the Ho-led boycott. So while Judge Ho can take credit for highlighting YLS’s free-speech problems and restarting the conversation about them after the summer break, the process of revising the R&D was underway long before that.


Yale’s administrators are very good at wining, dining, and brown-nosing influential squeaky wheels and beyond that, this particular threat definitely impacts Dean Gerken’s own prospects of survival in office, so it may very well be that, at least to some extent, henceforward the power of campus radicals to cancel speech and appearances by public figures they do not like will (for practical reasons, not principle) wind up thrown under the Free Speech bus.

11 Apr 2022

Go, Elon Musk!

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Elon Musk Rejects Offer to Join Twitter Board, Fueling Hostile-Takeover Speculation.

03 Apr 2022

Yale Law School Today

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John Hinderaker at Power-Line:

[L]ast month, a group of fascist Yale Law students successfully shouted down a Federalist Society program that featured a dialogue between a leftist and a representative of the Alliance Defending Freedom. The protest was rowdy enough that police were summoned to maintain order.

Now, more than 400 Yale Law students, representing over 60 percent of the student body, have signed a pathetically weak letter to the law school’s administration protesting the fact that law enforcement was called to keep the peace. The letter would be dumb if it came from a group of 7th graders. The fact that it comes from law students reflects the catastrophic decline of education in America.


19 Oct 2021

Even Rejoinders to the Woke Are Woke These Days

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Andrew Koppelman, John Paul Stevens Professor of Law and professor of political science at Northwestern University.

Professor Koppelman wrote a generally extremely sound essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education (mostly a red rag, full of left-wing stupidity) commenting on some Yale Law School students’ and its Administration’s hysterical response to a student’s Constitution Day Party invitation.

However, the good professor opens the piece with a conspicuous bit of assurance that his head is in the Left Place ideologically. Catch this! (Use Outline link, because of paywall.)

The movement for diversity and inclusion has improved people’s lives in many tangible ways. A few days ago at Northwestern Law School, where I’m a professor, I went into the men’s restroom and saw that the school had provided tampons and sanitary pads on a shelf there. It made me happy. There are people here who menstruate and identify as male. Their needs matter, and the school now recognizes that.

But in other respects…

Jesus, Mary, and Freddie! Obviously hanging out with the loonies and wet ends teaching at contemporary elite universities addles the brain and assimilates even normal, well-educated people into group insanity.

Let me break it to you, Professor Koppelman: “People ..who menstruate and identify as male” need their heads examined a lot more than they need special accommodation in lavatories intended for men who pee standing up.

Where does the group insanity that makes the Modern University a hive of totalitarian crackpottery and the enemy of America, Western Civilization, and even the Liberal Ideal of Free Speech originate? It starts with the moral cowardice that declines to stand up in opposition to any complaint or demand, however absurd, irrational, or insolent, from anyone or any group bullying with the moral jiu jitsu of Victimhood.

But, as I’ve acknowledged, if you excerpt that paragraph of Woke Wankery, its a good essay that hits Yale Law’s nail solidly in the head.


06 Apr 2021

Matt Taibbi on “Content Moderation”

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Matt Taibbi is still a man of the Left, but he wasn’t Woke enough for Rolling Stone, so being a victim of Cancel Culture himself, he’s basically on the right side on Free Speech and Censorship at the hands of Establishment Media and Big Tech. Here’s his latest:

For blue-leaning audiences, news that companies like Facebook and Google had begun shutting down or de-ranking accounts in ways we’d never seen before was, to my initial shock, mostly perceived as a good thing. In the wake of Trump’s election, many Democrats believed something had to be done about “fake news,” Russian trolls, and, especially, inflammatory right-wing speech.

Polls showed 40% of millennials believed the government should be allowed to limit speech offensive to minorities, a number significantly higher than the one for either Baby Boomers (23%) or GenXers (27%). If those levels of support among younger voters existed for outright government censorship, how would that audience ever be convinced to care about private companies zapping political accounts?

The issue was such a non-starter with younger, blue-leaning audiences that when I did a feature about Facebook’s 2018 purges of so-called “inauthentic” accounts, Rolling Stone headlined the piece, “Who Will Fix Facebook?”, as if to disguise what the story was actually about. (I got letters from disappointed readers who’d been drawn in by the headline, hoping to read a story demanding that Facebook wipe out more right-wing/conspiratorial content). After the expulsion of Alex Jones and Infowars from Apple, Facebook, Google, and Spotify, it seemed many younger readers didn’t see a problem with increased content moderation. If anything, Silicon Valley didn’t remove enough obnoxious content.

Conservative readers from the start have been significantly more unnerved by the content moderation movement, for the obvious reason that most higher-profile targets of tech crackdowns have been right-wing figures. After years of decisions like kicking Donald Trump off Twitter, suspending or banning figures like James Woods and Milo Yiannopoulis, and intervening to block access to the New York Post’s expose on Hunter Biden, the censorship issue in conservative media has usually been pitched as being a problem exclusive to them.

After the Hunter Biden story was blocked, Republican politicians like Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker and Colorado’s Cory Gardner hauled tech CEOs to Washington to face accusations of “bias.” At the much-covered hearing in October, Wicker railed at Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. “Mr. Dorsey, your platform allows foreign dictators to post propaganda, typically without restriction,” he said, “yet you typically restrict the president of the United States.” Read the rest of this entry »

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