Neil Ross of the UK-based spiked magazine published an engaging review today of FIRE President Greg Lukianoff’s recent broadside, Freedom From Speech (available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions).
The review is especially enlightening as it compares Greg’s analysis with recent events in Britain. Discussing Greg’s assertion that students have come to harbor an “expectation of confirmation,” Ross writes:
spiked has clocked numerous examples of this expectation recently. From the banning of lads’ mags and raunchy pop songs on UK campuses, to a London university’s gagging of a Nietzsche club, it seems that on both sides of the Atlantic, striving for emotional protection and a safe and comfortable learning environment is now preferred to a challenging and robust education.
Ross also feels resonance in the concern that reliance on the First Amendment has allowed people to ignore broader issues of free speech:
As a Brit living and working in the US, I am fascinated by the constitution and how it plays a part in daily life. I am also concerned that the First Amendment is used to end debate on free speech (not to mention the other four First Amendment protections). That is, because of the First Amendment, we don’t need to worry about free speech as it is already guaranteed. Lukianoff seems to share my concern: ‘Though often used interchangeably, the concept of freedom of speech and the First Amendment are not the same thing.’
We thank spiked for the review and appreciate its writers’ shared insights into the weakening cultural commitment to free speech and the misguided attempts by some to try and “protect” people from discomfort:
spiked editor Brendan O’Neill recently described these new-age moralists as the offencerati. Lukianoff skewers them, calling them ‘self-righteous censors… who must protect society from the objectionable opinions of the unenlightened masses’.
Offencerati—we love it! Read the whole review at the spiked website.