Free Speech Essay

Free Speech Essay-70
When students express concern and discomfort about speech that is hateful, racist, or noxious in other ways, they are doing nothing unreasonable or historically unprecedented.A number of other democracies take a less absolute view on this topic—yet remain democracies.These speakers encountered varying degrees of student protest, an essential feature of a true free-speech environment that not only welcomes but relishes contentious debate.

When students express concern and discomfort about speech that is hateful, racist, or noxious in other ways, they are doing nothing unreasonable or historically unprecedented.A number of other democracies take a less absolute view on this topic—yet remain democracies.These speakers encountered varying degrees of student protest, an essential feature of a true free-speech environment that not only welcomes but relishes contentious debate.

Reporters were routinely intimidated by the implied or actual threat that powerful actors would retaliate by filing libel suits.

That changed when the Court established the “actual malice” standard, which holds that for press reports about public officials to be considered libel, a journalist or publisher must have made knowingly false statements or acted in reckless disregard of the truth.

Conor Friedersdorf: Camille Paglia can’t say that Americans should not confuse a First Amendment that is codified with a First Amendment that is calcified.

In landmark case after case, the First Amendment has continued to evolve as new threats to the exercise of free expression have emerged.

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump signed an executive order requiring colleges and universities that receive federal funds to do what they’re already required by law to do: extend free-speech protections to men and women on campus.

The executive order was a transparent exercise in politics.From flag burning to Holocaust denial, Americans of all ages have been grappling with basic questions about offensive speech for decades and will continue to do so for as long as the country strives for this ideal of openness and freedom of expression.Exchanges over the boundaries of campus speech should therefore be welcomed rather than reviled when they take place.Tom Nichols: Don’t let students run the university Because I am of the view that one such disinvitation is one too many, I have said that I will personally introduce controversial figures who were rejected elsewhere.Nevertheless, I understand when members of our university community raise alarms that certain individuals, based on their track record, cross the line from merely controversial to offensive.The conservative political commentator, author, and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, after his talk, remarked on the civility of the discussion he encountered in his visit to Morningside Heights.The conservative commentators Ann Coulter and Mike Cernovich also spoke freely at Columbia, as did Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon.I have served for more than two decades as a university president, the past 17 years leading Columbia University.I am also a lifelong First Amendment scholar and have written books and essays to try to understand and explain why our laws and norms have evolved as they have.Still, the surest evidence of censorship or the suppression of ideas on college campuses is the disinvitation of controversial speakers.There are more than 4,500 colleges and universities in the United States, and each year they host thousands of speakers of all political stripes.

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