Speech Restriction Stories I Have Read in Just the Last 24 Hours

NY state attorney general (and others) pursuing potential criminal and civil charges against ExxonMobil for its climate change advocacy

US Virgin Islands AG (really) going after non-profit CEI for its climate change advocacy

Elizabeth Warren wants the SEC to ban companies from "saying whatever they want about Washington policy debates," a demand inspired by her frustration that financial firms are publicly disagreeing with her on the impact of her desired regulations

California AG Kamala Harris demanding non-profit donor lists, presumably so she can harass and intimidate the ones she does not like

California AG Kamala Harris has raided the home and seized video footage of an independent advocated/journalist  who did secret sting videos of Planned Parenthood, the exact same sort of advocacy journalism pursued legally (without legal harassment) by any number of Leftish groups in California and elsewhere  (I doubt Ms Harris plans to raid the home of PETA activists who trespass on farms to secretly film chicken and pig breeding).

It turns out there are strong speech protections in this country, except when you are a professional, and then there are none.

And of course, I still am fighting against a libel lawsuit meant to force me to remove this product review.

Update, add this one:  Tenured Marquette professor faces termination based on blog post with which University disagrees

When the student replied that he has a right to argue his opinion, Ms. Abbate responded that “you can have whatever opinions you want but I can tell you right now, in this class homophobic comments, racist comments and sexist comments will not be tolerated. If you don’t like that you are more than free to drop this class.” The student reported the exchange to Marquette professor John McAdams, who teaches political science. Mr. McAdams also writes a blog called the Marquette Warrior, which often criticizes the Milwaukee school for failing to act in accordance with its Catholic mission.

Mr. McAdams wrote on his blog that Ms. Abbate was “using a tactic typical among liberals now. Opinions with which they disagree are not merely wrong, and are not to be argued against on their merits, but are deemed ‘offensive’ and need to be shut up.” His blog went viral, and Ms. Abbate received vicious emails. She has since left Marquette.

But now Marquette is going after Mr. McAdams. In December 2014, the school sent him a letter suspending his teaching duties and banning him from campus while it reviewed his “conduct” related to the blog post. “You are to remain off campus during this time, and should you need to come to campus, you are to contact me in writing beforehand to explain the purpose of your visit, to obtain my consent and to make appropriate arrangements for that visit,” Dean Richard Holz wrote.

Lol, the university is going to prove he was wrong to write that universities avoid dialog in favor of saying "shut up" by telling him to  ...  shut up or be fired.

By the way, since nowadays it seems that supporting someone's free speech rights is treated the same as agreeing with that person, I will remind folks that having led a pro gay marriage ballot initiative briefly in Arizona, I am unlikely to agree with someone who thinks it should be banned.  But so what?  I would have absolutely no problem arguing with such a person in a rational way, something that faculty member Ms. Abbate seemed incapable of doing.  While I might disagree with him on any number of issues, Professor McAdams was totally right to call her out.  Besides, is the Left's goal really to take all opinion with which they disagree and drive it underground?  Force folks underground and you never know what will emerge some day.  Things like.... Trump supporters.

It is amazing to me that universities have become the least viable place in the US to raise and discuss controversial issues in the light of day.




  1. A Commenter:

    So, Mr. Schneiderman (from the article linked first), now that we've established that “The First Amendment, ladies and gentlemen, does not give you the right to commit fraud”, can we get some hard time for the political class? That seems like a group that has an extremely high (proven) prevalence of the very same (alleged) practices of XOM's that serve as the basis of your inquiry -- advocacy contrary to known facts.

    Let's start with the equivocators responsible for "You can keep your plan ... You can keep your doctor" (2009), "the entire North polarized cap will disappear in five years" (2008), and "... my personal email use was fully above board. It was allowed by the State Department, as they have confirmed." (2015). Behind them, there's a long line of D's and R's who are entitled to an orange jumpsuit.

  2. Joe -:

    Now you can see why the left really hates Citizens United. It never was a case of banning corporate speech, it was about banning speech the left did not like.

    Stevens dissent in CU is remarkably consistent with his dissent in McDonald . In both cases, Steven wrote that the constitution gives the Court (leftists ) the ability to determine which of the BOR to uphold based on whether they like the result.

  3. jhertzli:

    A belief in censorship used to be only found on the Right just as anti-market bias used to be only found on the Left. Much of today's politics can be explained on the assumption that censorious people who would have been conservatives a couple of generations ago have joined the Left and anti-market people have joined the Right.

    At least there's some resistance to the anti-market people on the Right. I hope there is a similar resistance to the censorship people.

  4. Nehemiah:

    The progressives do not tolerate speech that does not flow from their worldview.

  5. tommy ex thom w ex tomw:

    Warren:It is amazing to me that universities have become the least viable place
    in the US to raise and discuss controversial issues in the light of

    But but but ... Tenure!

    Tenure is espoused as a protection of freedom of expression and to encourage discussion of ideas that may be unpopular.
    Well, if freedom of expression is no longer viable, then, it follows that tenure does not work, nor add value, and should be discontinued. Those having tenure should give it up as they have allowed controversial issues to be muzzled, and therefor have verified its uselessness. They have their freedom to disagree with this position...