Reading Time: 7 minutes There’s been a lot of talk in the last few years about how college campuses are overrun with lefty “snowflakes”—students and professors (and even administrators)—who try to shut down free speech because they can’t handle opinions that contradict their existing beliefs. I believe the naysayers are usually mistaken (yet, not always, unfortunately). But, in my […]
Fox News’ and Trump’s pants are (still) on fire
Reading Time: 9 minutes If doctors practiced their craft like Fox News pundits do theirs, they would long ago have lost their privilege to treat patients. Which brings me right to the point: Why shouldn’t licensing of journalists be required, as other professionals, such as doctors, already are in many states? And why shouldn’t politicians, as well, be legally […]
Rewriting Roald Dahl: Prudish censorship or the arc of progress?
Reading Time: 5 minutes Many classic books, including Roald Dahl’s, teach morals that are repugnant by today’s standards. Can we keep the good parts without dragging along the bad, or does respect for authorial integrity force us to keep them exactly as they are?
What rights do parents have over their children’s education?
Reading Time: 4 minutes Religious conservatives want to impose heavy-handed censorship on public schools. We should reject this, but how much control should parents have over what is taught?
That which must not be seen
Reading Time: 6 minutes Religious people all over the world insist that their beliefs should control what everyone else can say, look at, or know about. The bargain of civilization means that these taboos can’t be enforceable.
It’s a great time to quit Twitter
Reading Time: 3 minutes Elon Musk’s capricious decision-making has ruined whatever potential Twitter had. There are other social media sites that aren’t hostage to his whims.
“I’m a free speech absolutist!”*
Reading Time: 5 minutes Free speech is a thoroughly thorny issue, not just because it is divisive in online and offline debates, but because it is philosophically troublesome and potentially an unsolvable quandary. We all have our own lines about what is and isn’t acceptable. Everyone has a line somewhere. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who thinks […]
Civility and the heckler’s veto: Why yelling is a waste of breath
Reading Time: 4 minutes Civility may seem like a quaint throwback in our current political era. But it is an essential value for those who esteem rationality and nonviolence. Incivility lies on a violent continuum that includes bullying, harassment, and the heckler’s veto. Civility is one of the peaceful virtues, connected with hospitality, generosity, and a spirit of open […]
‘Free speech’ must be reformed before it destroys US democracy
Reading Time: 7 minutes The midterm elections are over. But, in a sense, it doesn’t matter—because the virulent, now-years-long epidemic afflicting American politics remains: cynical Republican mendacity, which is to say, purposeful lying and duplicity—spearheaded by former president Donald Trump. And zero accountability so far for the merchants of this corrosive assault on the nation. Make no mistake, this […]
Blaming the victims: Revisiting one of the lowest moments of Francis’s papacy
Reading Time: 4 minutes One of the greatest failures of Western journalism has been the refusal by major news outlets to hold religious leaders accountable for their harmful actions. The men who claim to speak for the divine are too often taken at their word, and too rarely challenged when their word contradicts reality. This bias has not served […]