Features

The Moral Contamination of Free Speech

We find ourselves living in an age where free speech is considered by many as a concept that only right-wingers care about. “You think free speech is important?” I’m asked. When I respond, “Yes,” eyebrows are raised, shoulders tilt away, and through the forehead of my interlocutors I envision some panicked calculations in their minds: Is […]

Read more
Advertisements
Religion | Politics

Glenn Greenwald Still Doesn’t Get Charlie Hebdo

Charlie Hebdo is at the center of controversy — again. The latest fracas swirls around the illustration which depicts flooding in Houston and comes with the caption: “God exists. He drowned all the Neo-Nazis of Texas.” To provide commentary on the matter, Glenn Greenwald, a consistent critic of the journal, recently released an article titled “Charlie Hebdo […]

Read more
Religion | Politics

Why I Am a Free Speech Absolutist

I was recently reading an article by Ulrich Baer, in the New York Times, entitled “What Snowflakes Get Right About Free Speech.”  The author defended the actions of students who disrupted recent appearances by controversial speakers like Charles Murray, Milo Yiannopoulos and Jordan Peterson, by drowning out their voices with loud chanting, megaphones and noisemakers and, in […]

Read more
Features

The Progressive Case for Free Speech

It’s a paradox: The ability to communicate, spread and access information freely across borders and barriers has never been more readily available to people around the globe. Yet the belief in freedom of thought and expression as fundamental values underpinning an uber-connected world seems to be eroding. Even in democracies. Whether its American college students […]

Read more
Features

Who Teaches Students That Words Are Violence?

Last week, Ulrich Baer, a vice-provost and a professor of English at New York University, made an astonishing case against free speech in the New York Times. Baer framed the debate as one of speakers operating to “invalidate the humanity” of others — thus justifying shutting down the speech of speakers students might not be appreciative towards. […]

Read more
Religion | Politics

Shut Up for Free Speech

Freedom of speech, it is said, is our most essential freedom because it reinforces and safeguards all other rights. People will go to great lengths, including dying, to defend this freedom. So, what if I told you that one of the easiest and most effective ways to defend the freedom of speech is to shut […]

Read more
Religion | Politics

On Blasphemy Laws

Walaiha Irafat did not know why they came for her. In Pakistan, during March 2012, she was arrested for allegations of “spitting and sitting on the Koran,” and also “tearing pages and insulting Allah.” After being denied bail, Walaiha spent 43 months in prison — around 24 of those were in solitary confinement. She attempted […]

Read more
Culture | Media, Religion | Politics

The Virtues of Free Speech

Free speech must include the right to offend. Granted, there are limitations upon free speech which do serve valuable and necessary functions — such as the prohibition against incitement to violence, or the prohibition concerning the deliberate causing of a panic that would likely result in imminent injury, etc. — yet such limitations are not a […]

Read more
Review

The Salman Rushdie Fatwah, 28 Years Later

When Salman Rushdie wrote the sentence, probably some time in 1987, in The Satanic Verses, “Now there was no demand for satires — the general fear of Mahound had destroyed the market for insults and wit,” describing the milieu in the fictional city Jahilia which had been conquered by a war-lord, little could he have guessed how prophetic that […]

Read more