Free Speech Under Fire

Alan Dershowitz is a lifelong Democrat, but the issues he is most passionate about–free speech and the State of Israel–are more popular on the right than the left, so in recent years he has become something of a conservative hero. The current assault on free speech by the Left, as manifested in universities, social media platforms and elsewhere, is one of the key issues of our time. That is why my organization, Center of the American Experiment, chose Professor Dershowitz to deliver this year’s Fall Briefing. His topic will be the assault on free speech, and what to do about it.

The event is next Monday, October 1, at the Ordway Theater in St. Paul. Some tickets are still available, so if you live reasonably close to the Twin Cities you should consider attending. Here are the details:

You can order tickets here or by calling (612) 584-4557.

There is a story behind this year’s venue, the Ordway Theater in St. Paul. For the last two years, we have held the Fall Briefing at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Last year, with Mark Steyn as our speaker, we sold nearly 1,000 tickets and just about sold out the Guthrie’s main stage. It was a great event:

As he departed at the end of the evening, Mark commented that he loved the venue and would be delighted to return another time. Unfortunately, the feeling wasn’t mutual.

We paid the Guthrie over $40,000 for the venue and food service. One might think they would regard us as a good client. But no: when my development director contacted the Guthrie to inquire about dates for this year’s Fall Briefing, she was told that we were no longer welcome there. Apparently some Guthrie employees heard Mark’s speech and thought he was too conservative. So they told us to take our $40,000 elsewhere.

Like most nonprofits, the Guthrie fundraises aggressively. No doubt they tell donors and potential donors that their contributions are badly needed. It doesn’t look that way, though: if I were a donor who gave the theater, say, $10,000 last year, and I learned that the organization passed on a $40,000 payday for political reasons, I would conclude that the Guthrie doesn’t need my $10,000 as much as I thought. I would find another use for my money.

Free speech: in some venues, you can’t even buy it.

ONE MORE THING: I was remiss in failing to mention that the Guthrie also receives taxpayer money. Why should Minnesota’s taxpayers support an institution that deliberately forgoes revenue in order to advance a political agenda?


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