So, the Establishment has decided to address the grievances of people who feel disenfranchised, silenced, and subjected to double standards with much more disenfranchisement, silencing, and double standards. Seems like an on-brand move for the most corrupt, unwise, and incompetent – yet remarkably arrogant – ruling caste America has ever known. Good plan – deny them the right to pick their 2024 president, clap like trained seals as corporate overlords cut off their ability to express themselves, and continue to treat their own supporters well and dissenters much, much worse. That’s sustainable. Say, let’s put out this blazing fire with this handy can of gasoline.
Yeah, they are having fun for now. While the supine GOP is tweeting hack cliches about Muh Not Who We Are, the left is trying to tighten the noose. But we’re woke. Rasmussen puts Trump’s popularity at 51%, rising after the riots. We aren’t blaming Trump for the riots. And we sure aren’t rolling over for these bastards.
Here is Kristie Higgs’s petition that got her fired. (click on the image for larger version)
Toby Young, in the British Spectator, explains how you can lose your job even for anonymous on-line dissent.
Kristie Higgs, a 44-year-old school assistant, didnâ€™t realise that criticising the sex education curriculum at her sonâ€™s school on Facebook would get her fired. For one thing, her account was set to â€˜privateâ€™, so only her family and friends could read it. For another, she was posting under her maiden name, so no one could connect her with her employer. Finally, the school that sacked her for expressing these views wasnâ€™t actually her sonâ€™s, but another one altogether. This seems a pretty clear case of a person losing her livelihood for dissenting from progressive orthodoxy.
Kristieâ€™s case is being heard at an employment tribunal in Bristol this week. The dispute relates to two Facebook posts from two years ago. In one, Kristie urged her family and friends to sign a petition objecting to mandatory new sex and relationship lessons in English primary schools. In the other, she shared an article by an American conservative Christian commentator criticising the promotion of â€˜transgender ideologyâ€™ in childrenâ€™s books. â€˜This is happening in our primary schools now!â€™ Kristie said.
Someone circulated screenshots of these posts to Kristieâ€™s colleagues at Farmorâ€™s School in Gloucestershire, where she had worked for seven years, and predictable outrage followed. Senior members of staff compared her views to those of â€˜Nazi right-wing extremistsâ€™, according to Kristie, and someone lodged a formal complaint with the head, claiming her posts were â€˜homophobic and prejudiced to the LGBT communityâ€™. Kristie was summoned to a â€˜disciplinaryâ€™ at a hotel just before Christmas, where she was cross-examined for six hours by three of the governors, supported by three members of staff. When Kristie tried to explain that her objection to her son being taught that a woman could have a penis was rooted in her Christian beliefs, she was told: â€˜Keep your religion out of it.â€™ After the hearing she was dismissed for â€˜illegal discriminationâ€™, â€˜serious inappropriate use of social mediaâ€™ and â€˜online comments that could bring the school into disreputeâ€™.
There are two free speech issues at stake here. The first is whether an employerâ€™s social media policy, limiting what employees are allowed to say on Facebook and other platforms, can legitimately be extended to private conversations, particularly when the employee has taken steps to disguise her identity. On the face of it, that looks like a breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to privacy. The second is whether Kristieâ€™s comments constituted â€˜illegal discriminationâ€™ as defined in the UKâ€™s Equality Act 2010. Did they create an â€˜intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environmentâ€™ for LGBT colleagues, even though they wouldnâ€™t have known about them if they hadnâ€™t been circulated by someone trying to get her into trouble? Or is she permitted to express such views by Article 10 of the ECHR, which protects the right to freedom of expression?
Kristieâ€™s legal team can also appeal to the Equality Act, which makes it illegal to discriminate against employees for their possessions of various â€˜protected characteristicsâ€™, including religion and belief. Her lawyers will argue she lost her job because she expressed her belief about the immutability of natal sex. However, when Maya Forstaterâ€™s lawyers made that argument in an employment tribunal last year â€” she was sacked for refusing to use trans womenâ€™s preferred pronouns â€” the judge said her gender critical beliefs werenâ€™t â€˜worthy of respect in a democratic societyâ€™.
Kristieâ€™s treatment is -obviously deeply concerning for believers in free speech, but thereâ€™s another aspect of her case that worries me. According to a recent white paper, a Bill will soon be brought before parliament empowering Ofcom to regulate the internet. Under the proposals, Ofcom will be able to impose punitive fines on Facebook for not removing content that political activists find â€˜offensiveâ€™, even if it doesnâ€™t fall foul of any existing speech laws.
Twitter already bans users for misgendering trans people, so it wonâ€™t take much of a push for all the social media companies to ban people for criticising trans ideology. The Free Speech Union has just produced a briefing paper warning of the dire consequences for free speech if the governmentâ€™s internet censorship plans become law, and I urge you to read it. Soon, it wonâ€™t just be Kristie Higgs who is punished for challenging woke dogma. It will be all of us.
Last month, on Facebook, in the course of a heated political discussion, I responded to an interlocutor’s uncomplimentary remarks by referring to him as “a white trash communist.” Facebook immediately took his side and froze my account for 30 days.
There was nothing new here. Pretty much any insult to liberals or liberal shibboleths will incur the wrath of Facebook’s zampolit censors. They start with 24 hours, then give you a week, and after a few offenses it’s 30 Days in the Hole for you.
Like many other outspoken conservatives, I responded simply by rolling up a second pseudononymous account. It only required a second email address and phone number.
My 30-Day suspension runs on until mid-month, and lo and behold! on Monday, I shared the above anti-BLM meme, and my second account was immediately punished with 7 Days for violating Community Standards with “hate speech.”
I’m out of extra phone numbers, and Facebook has evidently gotten wise to dissidents like myself creating alternative accounts. My attempts at creating Account 3 all failed.
All this has had the positive effect of bringing me to my senses. I’ve been wasting a few hours every day creating content for Mark Zuckerberg for free, responding like a laboratory rat to the positive reinforcement of “likes” and comments from friends, and indulging my argumentative disposition by correcting the fallacies of liberals. Not only is Facebook an incredible time sink, supporting it really amounts to accepting tacitly the petty dictatorship of Zuckerberg and his apparatchik nincompoops.
This is it for me. I will, henceforward, skim Facebook for new blog fodder, cynically use it to promote Never Yet Melted by linking posts, and that’s it. I’m otherwise posting, commenting, or sharing nothing. Mark Zuckerberg go screw yourself!
Andrew is bending over backwards acrobatically to be nice about it, but he clearly didn’t fall. He was pushed.
What has happened, I think, is relatively simple: A critical mass of the staff and management at New York Magazine and Vox Media no longer want to associate with me, and, in a time of ever tightening budgets, Iâ€™m a luxury item they donâ€™t want to afford. And thatâ€™s entirely their prerogative. They seem to believe, and this is increasingly the orthodoxy in mainstream media, that any writer not actively committed to critical theory in questions of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity is actively, physically harming co-workers merely by existing in the same virtual space. Actually attacking, and even mocking, critical theoryâ€™s ideas and methods, as I have done continually in this space, is therefore out of sync with the values of Vox Media. That, to the best of my understanding, is why Iâ€™m out of here.
Two years ago, I wrote that we all live on campus now. That is an understatement. In academia, a tiny fraction of professors and administrators have not yet bent the knee to the woke program â€” and those few left are being purged. The latest study of Harvard University faculty, for example, finds that only 1.46 percent call themselves conservative. But thatâ€™s probably higher than the proportion of journalists who call themselves conservative at the New York Times or CNN or New York Magazine. And maybe itâ€™s worth pointing out that â€œconservativeâ€ in my case means that I have passionately opposed Donald J. Trump and pioneered marriage equality, that I support legalized drugs, criminal-justice reform, more redistribution of wealth, aggressive action against climate change, police reform, a realist foreign policy, and laws to protect transgender people from discrimination. I was one of the first journalists in established media to come out. I was a major and early supporter of Barack Obama. I intend to vote for Biden in November.
It seems to me that if this conservatism is so foul that many of my peers are embarrassed to be working at the same magazine, then I have no idea what version of conservatism could ever be tolerated. And thatâ€™s fine. We have freedom of association in this country, and if the mainstream media want to cut ties with even moderate anti-Trump conservatives, because they wonâ€™t bend the knee to critical theoryâ€™s version of reality, thatâ€™s their prerogative. It may even win them more readers, at least temporarily. But this is less of a systemic problem than in the past, because the web has massively eroded the power of gatekeepers to suppress and control speech. I was among the first to recognize this potential for individual freedom of speech, and helped pioneer individual online media, specifically blogging, 20 years ago.
And he’s right: if an anti-Trump, anti-Bush Quizling ersatz conservative, who additionally plays for the wrong team, is not an acceptable token in Establishment journalism today, things have reached one helluva pass. Andrew, of course, needs to sit back and reflect on his own part, in the role of sell-out, in letting matters proceed so far.
Andrew finds himself rather in the position of the late German pastor Martin NiemÃ¶ller:
“They came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
Unbelievable. Not only did they *arrest* a child merely for saying ugly things to a celebrity of color, but they're *bragging* about having arrested a child for words. Ugly words, yes, but words. He's 12 years old. What are you, @wmpolice, the Stasi? https://t.co/z1ENthqT8r
In this time of Cancel Culture, not all exhibitions of self-indulgent racial melodrama win Pulitzer Prizes. This recent Harvard grad posted the above rant on TikTok, and was consequently fired by Deloitte.
Their HR Department, alas! poor girl, took her rather-extreme metaphor literally as a “threat.” I’m sure that she actually had no intention of stabbing anyone, but her personal participation in contemporary group psychosis does have plenty of unfortunate real world consequences.
The African-American pattern of persecution fantasy functions to justify unearned and undeserved favoritism and privilege as “compensation.” It operates as an excuse for the suppression of free speech and honest debate. And it fuels a demented and overwheening self-importance, persuading silly people that they are special and specially-entitled on the basis of historical victimhood, that nobody has suffered as they’ve suffered (and are still suffering!) and nobody else can possibly compete in status and entitlement and nobody else can possibly understand how they’ve suffered (and are still suffering!). Being the ultimate entitled victim and at the same time a haute bourgeois elite Ivy League graduate is nice work if you can get it.
Fueling and participating in this nonsense is intellectually dishonest and socially and politically destructive. This fantasy corrupts society, fosters limitless injustice, and sews bitter divisiveness. Stupid people, even some who did not go to Harvard, will swallow this feel-good, addictive poison and proceed to act on it. Last year, just for instance, 23-year-old Temar Bishop raped and beat a 20-year-old white college student to avenge his historical group grievances.
She was a white girl. She deserved it because us minorities have been through slavery.â€
â€œThis is what they used to do to us,â€ he allegedly told the witness, according to the criminal complaint. â€œThis is what they did to us during slavery. They used to beat us and whip us.â€
The victim suffered a broken nose and teeth, and vomited blood after the attack.
I thought it was sad that she lost her job for a private opinion and because her figure of speech was taken literally, but there is the consolatory thought that she obviously would not feel a bit sorry if the shoe were on the other foot, and some opponent of her Racialist Agitation had his career carpet-bombed due to some social media indiscretion. On the contrary, I have every expectation that she would gloat.
The Heritage Foundation recently published a must-read report on the Left’s widely successful effort to first stigmatize, and eventually to criminalize, speech and ideas it doesn’t like, thus shutting down all discussion and debate over very significant cultural and policy issues.
America is the only Western nation that does not criminalize â€œhate speech.â€ Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and most nations of Europe already do so. The United Nations relentlessly pressures the remaining holdouts to follow suit: â€œAs a matter of principle,â€ says the U.N. Secretary-General, â€œthe United Nations must confront hate speech at every turn.â€
Meanwhile in America, Members of Congress issue their support for speech restrictions, and Big Techâ€™s digital oligarchs, enjoying a disproportionate power over society, continue to impose speech restrictions in exchange for access to their platforms. So are Americaâ€™s colleges and universities more and more governed by an aggressive chorus of students, faculty, and administrators who demand and impose speech codes. These fronts promises to grow in size, strength, and confidence in the coming years.
Leading restriction advocates want not only to banish â€œhate speech,â€ but also to criminalize it. In the words of Mari Matsuda, an influential professor at the University of Hawaii Law School, â€œ[F]ormal criminal and administrative sanctionâ€”public as opposed to private prosecutionâ€”is also an appropriate response to racist speech.â€
Perhaps most surprising, legal precedents that would bring this revolution fully into existence in America are already embedded in two areas of our legal system: antidiscrimination and harassment laws, and Supreme Court rulings favoring sexual liberation that are based on a new view of â€œdignity.â€
If Americans are to resist this growing movement, they must understand the arguments, the demands, and the consequences of outlawing â€œhate speech.â€ No laws of history dictate that America must submit and follow this path.
The debate over â€œhate speechâ€ reveals a fundamental disagreement about the purpose of America. Either it is political liberty, in which case the freedom of speech is essential for presumptively rational citizens to rule themselves politically and to pursue the truth through science, philosophy, or religion. Or it is the equal self-respect and dignity of marginalized and self-created identities, in which case these must not only be publicly affirmed and celebrated, but also shielded from (even well-meaning) scrutiny and criticism, called â€œspeech violenceâ€ or â€œhate speech.â€ These two views cannot coexist. Indeed, restriction advocates admit that Americaâ€™s understanding of speech â€œcomes into tension with the aspiration of equal dignity.â€
They want to eliminate the former to make way for the latter.
â€˜You can talk about anything you like,â€™ said Radu, a young Romanian academic when he invited me to a conference in Bucharest. The theme was â€˜Real liberty or new serfdom?â€™ marking the anniversary of the fall of Nicolae CeauÅŸescu 30 years ago. The audience was made up of Romanian undergraduates.
The keynote speaker, a German federalist, was planning on making the classical liberal case for the EU, which made the title of my lecture â€“ â€˜The classical liberal case against the EUâ€™ â€“ a no-brainer. But I was nervous when I told Radu what I wanted to talk about. Thirty years ago, Romanians had been ruled by a man who literally gave his critics cancer. Would fears of criticising the powerful die hard in Bucharest? I waited for the explanation that there had a been a mix up, that my lecture would be cancelled, andâ€¦ â€˜Excellent!â€™ replied Radu. â€˜Thatâ€™s exactly what we need.â€™
A week later I was preparing to talk to a student politics society at Cambridge and I suggested the same subject. Only this time I did get the explanation. â€˜The problem isâ€¦ weâ€™re looking for something a bit more mainstream.â€™ Mainstream? But this is broadly the view of 52 per cent of the UK population! â€˜Right. Itâ€™s just that we had a pro-Brexit speaker once and it all got a bit uncomfortable, a bitâ€¦ controversial.â€™ Controversial ideas? At a university? Whatever next?
He was quite honest about it. It seemed like his societyâ€™s director had introduced a policy of no-platforming Brexiteers. I spared him the thoughts crystallising in my mind about Cambridge as the scholarly heart of the English Reformation and the Parliamentarian struggle against arbitrary power. â€˜Something on China, perhaps?â€™ he suggested. An authoritarian regime that suppresses free speech. Yes, I can see why that would go down better at Cambridge. …
I have long held the theory that the experience of communism in Eastern Europe has inoculated these countries against socialism today. Itâ€™s not that I romanticise these former Soviet satellites. Their political elites are frequently crooked (and often in hock to EU officials). Many of their citizens will likely wait decades before getting a real choice about EU membership. Most read little criticism of Brussels in their newspapers, just the boiler-plate encomiums. But that is beside the point.
The students in Bucharest were doing what students are supposed to do: hearing each side of the argument. They didnâ€™t show any of the symptoms of intellectual decay that I often encounter among students in the Anglosphere â€“ in particular, using someoneâ€™s dissent from progressive orthodoxy to exclude, purge, persecute, or otherwise gain power over them (I mean no-platforming, social-media mobbing or denouncing in an â€˜open letterâ€™). But there is another malady that afflicts so many of our students, and is often indicative of an authoritarian mindset: they are so boring.
In Cambridge there is a continued failure to uphold free speech, or to grasp what it is to be properly liberal. Because if I can make a case against rule by faceless bureaucrats in a former Warsaw Pact dictatorship but not at one of our finest universities, our culture is in serious trouble. By 1975 Saul Bellow warned that â€˜the universities have failed painfullyâ€™ and in the 1980s Allan Bloom pointed out that â€˜the spirit of scientific inquiryâ€™ that used to animate them is slowly dying. In British universities now, you canâ€™t talk about certain subjects. That sounds like the â€˜new serfdomâ€™ to me.
The YPU’s Liberal Party (dating back to the Union’s founding in 1934, which had McGeorge Bundy, Dick Posner, John Kerry, and Jorge Dominguez for Chairmen) has recently (in a fit of honesty) changed its name to the “Socialist Party,” and its current chairman announced today that it’s quitting the Yale Political Union because the Yale Political Union (O! God! O! God!) allows members of the Party of the Right to say flaming un-PC things, and has no mechanism to punish WrongSpeech.
Chairman Ian Moreau explains why the lefties are seceeding:
The debate over the Unionâ€™s usefulness has long been rumbling within our Party. For years now, the Unionâ€™s debate format has rendered the meaningful development of political beliefs nearly impossible. The quality of student speeches varies wildly and a few unfocused questions at the end of each speech limits direct engagement with a speakerâ€™s arguments. The ideas that members espouse, however, can be even worse. Just last year, members of the Union stood behind a podium to spew blatant transphobia and question whether women should have the right to vote, all without reprimand. In September 2017, the Party of the Right released a whip sheet in which they referred to Indigenous people as savages. Not a single individual was formally censured.
Such incidents have unfortunately become commonplace within the Union and have wrought significant damage on our Party. Members of marginalized communities â€” the people who are crucial to building an authentic Left â€” donâ€™t wish to sit through the needless denigration of their identities nor should they be required to in order to participate in spaces like ours. We have watched as the constant debasement of low-income people, people of color, women and queer folks has led both members and potential recruits to distance themselves from Union and therefore from us. Although our Party has made our concerns explicit and sought reform innumerable times, the structure of the Union itself has made it resistant to change. To be clear, this is not an issue with the current Union leadership; the problem is institutional, not personal.
By leaving the Yale Political Union, we hope to revitalize our Party and construct a better leftist space for future generations of Yale students. We will welcome the people we need to create the networks necessary for thoughtful activism and solidarity-building. We will cultivate a stronger sense of love and community amongst ourselves in order to ensure that our friendships last long after we leave this university. And, perhaps most importantly, we will think, interrogate and theorize as we fight for a better Yale.
We will no longer settle for the detached debate that defines the Yale Political Union. The political nature of our university, of our world, demands to be squarely grappled with. It is not enough to question the Canon, debate the research or criticize the corporation, for intellectual engagement alone will not suffice. Real leftism is bold and unyielding in its battle for greater justice for all people. As conscious inhabitants of this Ivory Tower, we are obligated not only to envision a brighter future, but also to take part in its creation.
I recently completed a book defending free speech. Emerald Press scheduled it for publication but then decided not to proceed. Hereâ€™s what it said about the book in Emeraldâ€™s September 2019 catalogue:
In Defense of Free Speech: The University as Censor
Author James R. Flynn, University of Otago, New Zealand
Synopsis: The good university is one that teaches students the intellectual skills they need to be intelligently criticalâ€”of their own beliefs and of the narratives presented by politicians and the media. Freedom to debate is essential to the development of critical thought, but on university campuses today free speech is restricted for fear of causing offence. In Defense of Free Speech surveys the underlying factors that circumscribe the ideas tolerated in our institutions of learning. James Flynn critically examines the way universities censor their teaching, how student activism tends to censor the opposing side and how academics censor themselves, and suggests that few, if any, universities can truly be seen as â€˜good.â€™ In an age marred by fake news and social and political polarization, In Defense of Free Speech makes an impassioned argument for a return to critical thought.
I was notified of Emeraldâ€™s decision not to proceed by Tony Roche, Emeraldâ€™s publishing director, in an email on 10th June:
I am contacting you in regard to your manuscript In Defense of Free Speech: The University as Censor. Emerald believes that its publication, in particular in the United Kingdom, would raise serious concerns. By the nature of its subject matter, the work addresses sensitive topics of race, religion, and gender. The challenging manner in which you handle these topics as author, particularly at the beginning of the work, whilst no doubt editorially powerful, increase the sensitivity and the risk of reaction and legal challenge. As a result, we have taken external legal advice on the contents of the manuscript and summarize our concerns below.
There are two main causes of concern for Emerald. Firstly, the work could be seen to incite racial hatred and stir up religious hatred under United Kingdom law. Clearly you have no intention of promoting racism but intent can be irrelevant. For example, one test is merely whether it is â€œlikelyâ€ that racial hatred could be stirred up as a result of the work. This is a particular difficulty given modern means of digital media expression. The potential for circulation of the more controversial passages of the manuscript online, without the wider intellectual context of the work as a whole and to a very broad audienceâ€”in a manner beyond our controlâ€”represents a material legal risk for Emerald.
Secondly, there are many instances in the manuscript where the actions, conversations and behavior of identifiable individuals at specific named colleges are discussed in detail and at length in relation to controversial events. Given the sensitivity of the issues involved, there is both the potential for serious harm to Emeraldâ€™s reputation and the significant possibility of legal action. Substantial changes to the content and nature of the manuscript would need to be made, or Emerald would need to accept a high level of risk both reputational and legal. The practical costs and difficulty of managing any reputational or legal problems that did arise are of further concern to Emerald.
For the reasons outlined above, it is with regret that Emerald has taken the decision not to publish your manuscript. We have not taken this decision lightly, but following senior level discussions within the organization, and with the additional benefit of specialist legal advice. I realize that this decision will come as a disappointment to you and hope that you will be able to find an alternative publisher with whom to take the work to publication.
Laurie Santos, new “Head” of Silliman College, famed for teaching an extremely popular course on Happiness.
The Yale Daily News reports that a Yale junior’s Instagram quip has the campus again in a turmoil over Free Speech, with many students demanding punishment, Silliman Head Laurie Santos promising action and then crawfishing, Peter Salovey timidly defending Free Speech, and faculty arguing.
All this ICE but no detention centers in sight,â€ read the caption, beneath an Instagram photo of a Yale junior smiling amid a backdrop of snowy mountains.
Was the gaffe a distasteful joke or an affront to undocumented immigrants? Yale administrators and faculty disagreed. Screenshots of the post â€” a play on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and ice itself â€” quickly went viral on social media. Students denounced the junior for joking about the plight of undocumented immigrants, who sometimes spend weeks and months in border detention facilities. Tweets criticizing the post received thousands of likes and more than 900 retweets. One student said he is â€œglad to see that Yale is still prepping for the future generations of Kavanaughs.â€ Others urged their peers to email the head of the juniorâ€™s residential college, psychology professor Laurie Santos and demanded consequences for the junior. …
As emails requesting the student to be held accountable for his Instagram post inundated Santosâ€™ inbox, the Silliman Head of College responded to at least one studentâ€™s call for action against the junior.
â€œI have now heard about this incident from many, many students,â€ Santos wrote in the email, which was obtained by the News. â€œIâ€™m upset that a member of my community would post something like this and I will take action on it. I will be bringing this up with the proper channels.â€
While some students said they appreciated Santosâ€™ note, many members of the University community voiced concerns about the emailâ€™s implications on whether administrators and faculty members have the jurisdiction to regulate studentsâ€™ speech.
English professor David Bromwich said the idea that the junior â€œshould somehow be punished, or cited to justify a reprimand, seems a clear overreach of authority.â€
â€œ[Of] course the result [of Santosâ€™ email] would be to chill speech generally,â€ Bromwich said. â€œPeople say silly things like this all the time, on campus and in everyday life elsewhere. Will you install microphones in the potted plants and try to catch them all?â€
In an interview with the News, Chairman of the Institute for Free Speech Bradley Smith said Santosâ€™ email is â€œabsurd and anti-liberal.â€ The email sends a message that students now have to be extra careful to not upset others and â€œgives a license to social justice warriors to pick on students they donâ€™t like,â€ Smith said. He added that free speech is not only about a lack of censorship, but also about an open attitude of accepting controversial ideas.
In an email to the News on Wednesday, Santos said in hindsight, she â€œwould have worded things differently to make it clearer that what I wanted to do was gather more information â€” that was the action I had in mind.â€ …
Salovey did not comment on whether he had spoken with Santos about her handling of the matter.
â€œI would like to take this opportunity to underscore that Yale is committed firmly to free expression,â€ Salovey said. â€œTo learn, to create knowledge, to teach and to improve the world, we must engage in the exchange of ideas freely, especially when we disagree with one another. I have always encouraged members of the Yale community to participate in open discussions because the answer to speech that offends us is, most often, our own speech.â€ …
Thomas Kadri GRD â€™23 â€” who is a fellow at the Yale Information Society Project â€” added that while people should have the right to speak freely, free speech does not mean that people cannot criticize others if they dislike what is said.
â€œThat said, it might also be worrying if many students â€˜fearâ€™ the â€˜consequencesâ€™ of expressing their ideas and opinions,â€ Kadri added. â€œQuite how worrying it is would depend on a few things, I think. Are their fears reasonable? What do they actually fear will happen â€” criticism, social ostracism, bad grades on assignments, worse job prospects?â€
American Studies professor Matt Jacobson said that while the University may have some work to do, feeling uncomfortable is â€œemphatically not a â€˜free speechâ€™ issue of the constitutional sort.â€ Self-censorship is different from government censorship, and is in some cases â€œan organic response to the contending interests and the internalized dissonance brought about by social change and societal polarization,â€ Jacobson said.
He added that even if the climate issues on campus are very real and need to be addressed, it is important to recognize that there is a concerted effort on the right to use free speech as an instrument to advance a particular agenda, such as framing discrimination of ethnic, religious and racial minorities as freedom of expression.