Bob Froehlich and I are going to take up that really uncomfortable discussion about free speech vs. social justice. We are going to use the hour to frame the issue for a future discussion involving two activists of color with very different views. Tomorrow our discussion will focus on some of the recent campus events, what the First Amendment protects, and what/who it protects from. As always, 7:00 p.m.

This is our draft framework:

On college campuses some professors, as well as other students, have been subject to administrative sanctions, resulting from ideas presented or opinions given, that upset other students. Also, controversial speakers have been prevented from speaking by demonstrators or the institution has been forced to disinvite or cancel events that featured controversial speakers. New terms like “trigger warnings”, “safe spaces”, and “cultural appropriation” have become common place and old terms like “Race Traitor” and “Gaslighter” (after the 1944 mystery-thriller film about a woman whose husband slowly manipulates her into believing that she is going insane) have been revived. The common denominator to these events is the very dramatic tension between Free Speech and Social Justice- the topic of tonight’s show.

  • The extreme of the Free Speech position is: any communication should be allowed except that which has been specifically excluded from First Amendment Protection by legal interpretations– for example “fighting words, etc. (Slogan = “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”)
  • The extreme of the Social Justice Position is: any speech that upsets any individual should not be allowed. Quote: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”-Maya Angelou ( American poet and civil rights activist.)

Somewhere in the show define what is and what is not protected by the the first amendment and what constitutes “Hate Speech.” 

KMUD

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