Over several years, beginning with my initial year as Chancellor of the University of Illinois, I found considerable cause to engage with the particularly American concept of Free Speech as laid out in the First Amendment. More than one hundred years of court decisions have underwritten nearly complete freedom of speech, encouraging Americans to hear once unpopular opinions which later won the day-from women’s suffrage, to race equality before the law, to birth control and many others.
Member Writings and Interviews
Well, that didn’t take long.
The Social Justice Warriors have emerged from their safe spaces and begun attacking the University of Chicago’s statement supporting free speech and opposing trigger warnings and safe spaces. They are complaining for a good reason: They don’t want free speech to spread to other campuses.
They reject the ‘naïve delusion’ and ‘propaganda’ they were taught about Israel and Zionism. But Hasia Diner and Marjorie Feld have adopted just as facile arguments and incendiary claims against Zionism.
It’s getting harder to tell the difference between real news about colleges and the Onion’s parodies. Take an incident at the University of Northern Colorado. A couple of professors, eager to promote discussion in class, asked their students to read a popular magazine article, written by two free-speech advocates. “The Coddling of the American Mind” delivers its punch line in the subtitle: “In the name of emotional well-being, college students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they don’t like. Here’s why that’s disastrous for education—and mental health.”
Never before have liberals and progressives had so little in common; indeed, the words themselves are beginning to mean very different things.
The Democratic Party is suffering through a summer identity crisis, courtesy of Bernie Sanders’ now-unwinding insurgency against the liberal establishment. His promises—of universal healthcare, tuition-free state college, and a more aggressive taxation of the top one percent—are forcing liberal Democrats to decide whether equality of outcome, rather than opportunity, is the new rallying cry of the old Left.
Thane Rosenbaum, a novelist, essayist and Distinguished Fellow at NYU School of Law, is the director of the Forum on Law, Culture & Society, and the author of “How Sweet It Is!,” due out in paperback in the fall.
Nothing sells papers or glues eyes to screens like a community in crisis — the indiscreet infighting that exposes the fallibility of a family.
This past Sunday Omar Barghouti blasted Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order No. 157 which directs NY state agencies to counter-boycott those companies that engage in discriminatory pro-BDS business activities.
Last week I was invited by an editor of The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog to contribute an article focusing on the issues surrounding president-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The article, “Trump’s plan to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could help the peace process”, was published yesterday:
Editorial introduction to the Symposium: Perry Anderson’s long essay, ‘The House of Zion’, was published in the November-December 2015 issue of New Left Review, the ‘flagship journal of the Western Left’. Fathom invited Shany Mor,Cary Nelson, John Strawson, Michael Walzer, Mitchell Cohen and Einat Wilf to respond to Anderson’s essay.
Available online, and given the status of an NLR ‘Editorial’, it was the Marxist equivalent of a Papal edict. Anderson was the journal’s long-time editor, and is perhaps the most gifted intellectual historian of his time, author of Lineages of the Absolutist State, Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism, Considerations on Western Marxism, English Questions, The Origins of Postmodernity, and more. In this outing, Anderson serves as episcopus servus servorum Dei, or, the servant of the servants of God (in this case a secular God). Over 14,000 words, he excommunicates the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and anoints an alternative: ‘the demand for one state is now the best Palestinian option available.’