A major university resurrects the First Amendment....
H/t John Steele Gordon for this gem:
In its Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression, convened in July 2014, the powers that be at the University of Chicago issued this week a three-page ringing reaffirmation of broad free speech rights:
Of course, the ideas of different members of the University community will often and quite naturally conflict. But it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive. Although the University greatly values civility, and although all members of the University community share in the responsibility for maintaining a climate of mutual respect, concerns about civility and mutual respect can never be used as a justification for closing off discussion of ideas, however offensive or disagreeable those ideas may be to some members of our community.
The freedom to debate and discuss the merits of competing ideas does not, of course, mean that individuals may say whatever they wish, wherever they wish. The University may restrict expression that violates the law, that falsely defames a specific individual, that constitutes a genuine threat or harassment, that unjustifiably invades substantial privacy or confidentiality interests, or that is otherwise directly incompatible with the functioning of the University. In addition, the University may reasonably regulate the time, place, and manner of expression to ensure that it does not disrupt the ordinary activities of the University. But these are narrow exceptions to the general principle of freedom of expression, and it is vitally important that these exceptions never be used in a manner that is inconsistent with the University’s commitment to a completely free and open discussion of ideas.
In a word, the University’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed. It is for the individual members of the University community, not for the University as an institution, to make those judgments for themselves, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas that they oppose. Indeed, fostering the ability of members of the University community to engage in such debate and deliberation in an effective and responsible manner is an essential part of the University’s educational mission.
WSJ pundit Peggy Noonan ties Hebdo to Salman Rushdie, who in 1989 found himself under a death sentence "fatwa" (Islamic religious decree) issued by the Ayatollah Khomeini, after Rushdie published a novel satirizing the Prophet Muhammad. PN nails Islamist intolerance and how the West must respond:
A singular feature of extremist Islamists is that they are not at all interested in persuasion. They don’t care about winning you over, only about making you submit. They want to menace and threaten. They want to frighten. They enjoy posing with the severed head.
It is the West’s job not to be overcome by fear, not to give an inch.
Time will tell if we remain vigilant of free speech rights, given that we have shown a penchant to quickly forget terrorist atrocities.
Bottom Line. IF we keep failing tests of resolve and finding excuses to temporize rather than fight back, we will lose--and we will deserve to lose.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, National Security, Conservative Politics