Where Free Speech Is Less Free

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 18, 2012 | Go to article overview

Where Free Speech Is Less Free


Byline: Sol Schindler, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Although I disagree with every word you say, I shall defend to the death your right to say it. This stirring proclamation by Voltaire could have been said by Thomas Jefferson - or any of his associates - since free speech, a mainstay of 18th-century Enlightenment, fueled the American Revolution and is incorporated in our Constitution. In the first half of the previous century, a common phrase was It's a free country; I can say what I want. That phrase is not so common today, but free speech is still an American ideal, or so most of us think.

In his new book, Unlearning Liberty, Greg Lukianoff shows that free speech is widely restricted on American college campuses. Tuition costs are no guarantee of protection because even the most expensive and most highly respected colleges fall ill to this disease.

The assaults on free speech take many forms, but perhaps the most common are the widely prevalent and usually awkwardly constructed speech codes. For example, Drexel University told us in 2006 that harassment (which, of course, was banned) includes inconsiderate jokes and inappropriately directed laughter. What is a considerate joke and what would make it inconsiderate?

In 2007, Florida Gulf Coast University banned expressions deemed inappropriate. In 2011, Mansfield University stated that freedom from discrimination prohibits any behavior that would diminish another's self-esteem or their striving for competence, and the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater prohibited obnoxious jerk harassment, including sexual suggestiveness, jokes, catcalls, whistles, remarks, etc. The author's organization, Fire (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), offered awards for the most obnoxious speech code of the month and never had trouble finding candidates.

One of the more tragic examples of university administrative overreach is the case of Charles Plinton. The University of Akron paid an ex-felon $50 for every name given in purported drug transactions. Mr. Plinton was named and went to trial in a criminal court. The case was thrown out after 40 minutes and Mr. Plinton was cleared. However, the university persisted in its own deliberations and expelled Mr. Plinton. Because no other college would take him, he stayed at home musing and torturing himself for a year and then committed suicide.

One should note that in today's universities it is not student bodies or faculty committees that enforce speech codes; it is officers of the administration. It also should be noted that administrative staff is now beginning to outnumber faculty on many campuses, giving a different cast to university life and raising student costs outrageously. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Where Free Speech Is Less Free
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.