Free Speech

FBI Investigated Concerned Parents

Featured image You all remember the story: the Biden Department of Justice coordinated with the National School Boards Association to arrange for FBI investigations of parents who are unhappy about their local schools teaching racism and anti-Americanism (Critical Race Theory) and gender confusion, and requiring masks. The episode was so sordid that many state school board associations dropped their affiliation with NSBA, and most people doubted that the FBI would be craven »

Banner Day for the 1st Amendment

Featured image Aside from Leakgate, the other big legal news from the Supreme Court yesterday was its unanimous ruling that the City of Boston exercised impermissible discrimination against religious freedom with its refusal to fly a Christian flag over city hall while allowing flags from some 200 other organizations. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the opinion, saying “When the government encourages diverse expression — say, by creating a forum for debate — the First »

Disinformation and Censorship

Featured image As Scott noted yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security has established a “Disinformation Governance Board” to combat misinformation ahead of the 2022 midterms. Administration spokespeople have widened the alleged portfolio of this group to include covid, election integrity, and much else. The announcement has been greeted with both outrage and ridicule. In a press conference earlier today, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis took on the Disinformation Governance Board along with a »

Speaking of “disinformation”

Featured image The Axelrod/Atlantic conference on “Disinformation and the erosion of democracy” held at the University of Chicago earlier this month included a rogue’s gallery of purveyors of disinformation. We covered the conference in some detail as renegade students at the Chicago Thinker “staged a media regime takedown,” as the editors put it. The Axelrod/Atlantic conference on “disinformation” was followed by Barack Obama’s April 21 contribution at Stanford University. Obama gave his »

Joshua Katz: Good news & bad

Featured image The good news is that our friends at the New Criterion have appointed Joshua Katz to serve as one of its Visiting Critics next season. Professor Katz is Cotsen Professor of Classics at Princeton. A linguist by training, a classicist by profession, and a comparative philologist at heart, he is the recipient of numerous awards for his teaching and scholarship on the languages, literatures, and cultures of the ancient and »

Elon the Outsider

Featured image Elon Musk has 81 million Twitter followers, and he has used the platform to, among other things, criticize Twitter’s left-wing, anti-free speech practices. So the news that he had become Twitter’s largest shareholder with a 9 percent stake was seismic. It was soon followed by an invitation to join Twitter’s board of directors, which he initially seemed to accept. But on Saturday Musk announced that he was declining the offer »

Can Elon Musk Save Twitter? [Updated]

Featured image I have been concerned for a long time that it might be nearly impossible to build social media platforms that can compete effectively with behemoths like Facebook and Twitter. This is because of network effects, which come into play when the value of a service depends on the number of people who use it. Because of network effects, social media platforms may be natural monopolies like the water company, in »

God & LGBTQ at Yale

Featured image John documented our coverage of Yale University over the years and reminded me of my own reporting from the scene nearly 20 years ago. I happened to be on campus in October 2003 when Navy Judge Advocate General Recruiter Brian Whitaker visited Yale Law School to meet with students interested in serving as Navy lawyers. Virtually every Yale law student had signed a petition vowing that he or she would »

Kate Stith’s tactful dissent

Featured image Kate Stith was a member of the first Dartmouth co-ed undergraduate class. She was among the group of 37 hardy young ladies awarded A.B. degrees along with 809 gentlemen. We were classmates in that class. Kate went on to a distinguished career culminating in her appointment to the faculty at Yale Law School, where she is now Lafayette S. Foster Professor of Law. I had read about Kate in the »

On the YLS debacle

Featured image Peter Wood is president of the National Association of Scholars and a frequent contributor to the Spectator. He is an anthropologist and author, most recently, of Wrath: America Enraged and 1620: A Critical Response to the 1619 Project. My favorite of his books is Diversity: The Invention of a Concept. All are published by Encounter Books, all are still in print, and everything he writes is worth reading. On March »

Dean Gerken’s gabble

Featured image Arriving on the scene a bit late, Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken has disseminated a message to returning students regarding the disruption of the March 10 Federalist Society event on free speech. We noted the disruption here (March 17) and here (March 24). We also took note of Judge Laurence Silberman’s comment on the students involved here (March 17). Dean Gerken’s message is posted online by the law school »

What really happened at Yale?

Featured image Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern undertook to downplay the disgrace of Yale Law School by disruptive protesters at the Federalist Society free speech event last week. We saluted Professor Kate Stith for instructing the disruptive students protesting the event to “grow up.” That is a tall order. Judge Laurence Silberman had a good idea to encourage the process of maturation. We noted it in “A word from Judge Silberman.” Stern attacked »

Free Speech, Ours and Theirs

Featured image The New York Times Editorial Board published a long essay on free speech on Friday, titled “America Has a Free Speech Problem.” It acknowledges the problem forthrightly: For all the tolerance and enlightenment that modern society claims, Americans are losing hold of a fundamental right as citizens of a free country: the right to speak their minds and voice their opinions in public without fear of being shamed or shunned. »

A word from Judge Silberman

Featured image Senior District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Laurence Silberman is easily one of the finest men in our public life. We saluted him this past October when he was honored by The Antonin Scalia Law School’s Gray Center with its first annual Justice Clarence Thomas First Principles Award. I wrote then that the symmetry was perfect. To adapt the phrase Lincoln used in his eulogy of Henry Clay, »

Prof. Kate Stith speaks: “Grow up”

Featured image The Free Beacon’s Aaron Sibarium covers the disrupted Federalist Society event on free speech inside the asylum at Yale Law School (video below). Shut it down! Why? Because one of the speakers was from the Alliance Defending Freedom and the group has somehow offended the cause of the alphabetic sexual grievance groups, or something. Perhaps ADF’s success in the Supreme Court was the ultimate offense to law students not too »

Who’s Afraid of RT?

Featured image Western publics support Ukraine in its war with Russia, pretty much unanimously. But that hasn’t stopped many news outlets from banning Russian “misinformation” about the conflict. RT (which stands for Russia Today, just like BP stands for British Petroleum) is a more or less official mouthpiece of the Russian government, and I don’t doubt that much of what it reports is false. That has caused YouTube, among others, to ban »

Whoopi Goldberg’s suspension

Featured image ABC has suspended Whoopi Goldberg for two weeks as a result of her unfortunate claim that the Holocaust was not about race, but rather about “man’s inhumanity to man.” The basis for Goldberg’s statement was that both the Nazis and the Jews they exterminated were White. As she put it: This is white people doing it to white people, so y’all going to fight amongst yourselves. How edgy! Goldberg’s take »