Ben Weingarten

Reader. Writer. Thinker. Commentator. Truth Seeker.

Tag: Free Speech (Page 1 of 2)

Legendary Legal Scholar Richard Epstein on Classical Liberalism, the Administrative State, Free Speech, Silicon Valley Regulation


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Professor Richard Epstein is the inaugural Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at NYU School of Law. He previously served as the Peter and Kirstin Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution since 2000. Professor Epstein is also the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law Emeritus and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago where he taught for 38 years. He is a prolific writer who has authored more than a dozen books on topics ranging from private property to torts, and antidiscrimination law to antitrust, a frequent podcaster and one of the most cited legal scholars of the 20th century.

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Penn Law’s Amy Wax on Being Ousted from Her First-Year Class Over Comments on Race, Performance and Bourgeois Values, Attacks on Free Speech, Criticism of Affirmative Action and Diversity, Hard Truths, Anti-Western Colleges

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Amy Wax is the Robert Mundheim Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she specializes in social welfare law and policy as well as the relationship of the family, the workplace, and labor markets. She is the author of Race, Wrongs, and Remedies: Group Justice in the 21st Century.

Professor Wax has become a controversial figure because of her politically incorrect comments advocating in favor of bourgeois values and the WASP culture from which they stem, and in her claims that black students had generally performed at significantly lower levels than other students in her classes in context of a conversation about the downsides of affirmative action — comments that got her ousted from teaching the first year civil procedure class for which she had previously won an award for “teaching excellence.”

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Heather Mac Donald on Corrosive Identity Politics, Multiculturalism and Unjust Criminal Justice

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Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, contributing editor at City Journal and author most recently of The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe.

Mac Donald, the archetype of an unassuming academic, makes for an unlikely counter-cultural figure. She draws protests and outrage on college campuses across the country because she has the gall to challenge the prevailing progressive orthodoxy about subjects like identity politics, multiculturalism and criminal justice.

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My In-Depth Interview with John Yoo on the Future of War, North Korea, Iran, Free Speech and More (Video)

For the first episode of Encounter Books’ new “Close Encounters” video interview series, I spoke with former Bush administration Justice Department official and bogeyman laureate for the Left, John Yoo, on his new book Striking Power: How Cyber, Robots, and Space Weapons Change the Rules for War.

During the interview we discuss the future of warfare given tremendous technological advances in the way of robotics, autonomous vehicles and cyberweapons, how the rules of war help terrorists, Yoo’s views on dealing with Iran Deal and North Korea, how America is losing the “War on Terror,” the state of free speech on our college campuses, and much more.

PragerU’s Free Speech Lawsuit Challenges Silicon Valley’s Anti-Conservative Bias

On the heels of my comprehensive Gatestone Institute analysis on Big Tech’s jihad against counterjihadist speech, PragerU, the purveyor of educational videos on topics ranging from national security to private property rights — which itself has seen its counterjihadist content censored — filed suit against Google/YouTube.

The charge? Alleged ideological discrimination in restricting/disadvantaging PragerU’s content on the basis of PragerU’s conservative bent, in violation of its First Amendment rights.

I analyze PragerU’s case, and argue that lawfare is but one tool among many we must be using to preserve free speech in cyberspace.

Read the whole thing here.

The Social Media Giants’ High-Tech Lynching of Counterjihadists

Apropos PragerU’s lawsuit against Google/YouTube on grounds of discrimination against and censorship of conservative speech, I recently prepared a comprehensive analysis, kindly published by the Gatestone Institute, on the ongoing war on counterjihadist speech by the social media giants.

In the piece, I extensively document the egregious efforts by Big Tech to snuff out and chill any content dissenting from the prevailing progressive orthodoxy regarding Islamic supremacism, while conversely aiding jihadists both directly and indirectly.

It is simply breathtaking both the kinds of messages social media companies will block, and the lengths to which the companies are willing to go to censor ideas they do not like on phony “hate speech” grounds. Absent pressure from the marketplace, i.e. all of us who use these services, things are going to get far worse.

Read the whole thing here.

On Big Tech’s Stifling of Counterjihadist Speech

When one thinks of the embodiment of “hate,” modern-day jihadists are perhaps without equal.

They murder those who refuse to submit to their totalitarian theopolitical belief system in the most vile and horrific ways, they revile and persecute non-believer “infidels” and engage in sex slaverymass rape and pillaging.

But when today’s sophist Left thinks of “hate,” it focuses its sights not on jihadists, but on those who forthrightly discuss the jihadist threat, among other advocates of non-leftist views.

That is the sad reality in light of the emerging story of the blacklisting of such individuals and organizations by major technology platforms, buoyed by purported civil rights organizations (largely funded by leftists) and journalistic institutions (largely composed of leftists) that in effect serve as fronts to legitimize attacks meant to destroy dissenting, largely conservative voices.

In my latest column at PJ Media, I focus on the narrower issue of the Left seeking to figuratively behead counterjihadists like Jihad Watch‘s Robert Spencer by threatening their ability to operate on the internet, whereby tech titans are unwittingly achieving the Islamic supremacists’ stated desire.

Read the whole thing here.

My In-Depth Interview With Hero Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Islam versus the West and Free Speech

The Global Warming Jihadists Seek to Silence the Dissenters

“The world must not belong to those who slander the prophets of Global Warming, Climate Change, or Climate Disruption.”

So said Democratic U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in a fatwa issued in the Washington Post.

Sheldon Whitehouse

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) delivers a speech on the Senate floor on May 18, 2015. (Image Source: YouTube screengrab)

OK — perhaps that was not what he said verbatim, but it might as well have been.

Whitehouse intimated that racketeering charges be considered regarding Big Oil’s support of research challenging the supposed climate change consensus.

Without a hint of irony given the nature and activities of the climate change movement, Whitehouse compared the oil industry – which after the American people will be most harmed by regulations putatively relating to climate — to the RICO-violating tobacco business:

The Big Tobacco playbook looked something like this: (1) pay scientists to produce studies defending your product; (2) develop an intricate web of PR experts and front groups to spread doubt about the real science; (3) relentlessly attack your opponents.

In a point almost beyond parody, Whitehouse relies on a report by a Drexel University professor whose “environmental justice” work has been funded by federal grants worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. A nakedly partisan voice, the “Culture and Communication” department professor lists as areas of research and teaching “Critical Theory,” “Social Movements” and “Social Change,” to go along with the more relevant “Environmental Sociology.”

The professor writes that the “climate denial network”

span[s] a wide range of activities, including political lobbying, contributions to political candidates, and a large number of communication and media efforts that aim at undermining climate science.

None of these activities are illegal, or even unethical – though if Whitehouse gets his way the thought crime of challenging global warming may soon be.

Continue reading at TheBlaze…

Hillary Clinton’s Hypocritical and Totalitarian War on Free Speech

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has suggested that a key litmus test in evaluating prospective Supreme Court appointees would be their willingness to challenge “the right of billionaires to buy elections.”

Presumably, a suitable judge would indicate a desire to overturn the Citizens United decision that struck down a ban on political expenditures by corporations and unions ruled to violate the First Amendment protection of free speech – a case coincidentally centered on Citizen United’s attempt to advertise for and air a film critical of none other than Clinton.

Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to the reporters at United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, March 10, 2015. Clinton conceded that she should have used a government email to conduct business as secretary of state, saying her decision was simply a matter of "convenience." (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to the reporters at United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, March 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

In light of recent allegations swirling around the presidential favorite, Clinton’s support of such a position is highly ironic.

For while the former secretary of State may oppose the rights of the wealthy to spend money on politics, she seems to have no such concern with the wealthy spending money on the Clinton Foundation and her husband Bill – all while Hillary served in the Obama administration.

Would Clinton seek a Supreme Court justice who would protect the rights of the likes of Carlos Slim and James Murdoch to contribute to the favored cause of a politician and shower the politician’s spouse with millions for speaking engagements?

If so, this apparent hypocrisy can be read in one of two ways:

  1. Clinton believes that money does not have a corrupting influence so long as it is funneled through “indirect” channels
  2. Clinton believes that the wealthy and powerful ought to bypass funding elections and simply pay politicians outright.

Appearances of impropriety aside, there are a few substantive questions around political speech that Clinton should be required to address.

Why does Clinton believe that the government has a compelling interest in stifling the political speech of any American, rich or poor?

How does Clinton square her supposed advocacy of human rights with her belief in inhibiting the right to free speech — which facilitates the robust and vigorous debate essential to a liberal society?

More generally, given a system in which millions of dollars are spent on losing causes each election cycle on both the left and right, what have Americans to fear about spending so long as laws are enforced equally and impartially regarding “pay-to-play” schemes and other politically corrupt activity?

Continue reading at TheBlaze…

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