Protecting free speech is the biggest issue of our day by far. This post by Bari highlights how bad things have become. When Dr. Seuss books are deemed a threat to our children, it's time to take action. Please support those (including FAIR) who are fighting back against this type of totalitarianism. It used to be that both classic liberals and conservatives supported free speech--no longer! (P.S. I'm a conservative who still supports a classic liberal like Bari. Please do the same if you agree.)

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I am also a college student and my woke biology teacher has transformed her class into a deep dive into why monuments or landmarks should be renamed from “white colonizers”.

Except this has nothing to do with biology 🙄

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I appreciate what you and your colleagues are doing in organizing FAIR. While this does not seem to be its focus (except incidentally to protect free speech), one thing that would certainly help the cause is to provide a forum for old fashioned debates about controversial topics of current interest.

There is a fairly consistent pattern among leftists in fervently stating that they are promoting the only true path (backed by science and various flavors of righteousness), but at the same time not offering up anyone to actually debate their positions in a neutral forum.

Those who disagree with critical race theory are just racists, pure and simple, and that is all that needs to be said.

The practice of enforcing silence is longstanding (thanks Al) in the area of climate change. Those who want to assess costs and benefits and "science" are deniers, and again that's all that needs to be said.

I have participated in some programs put on by Heartland Institute, in which seemingly sober, soft spoken people in dark suits with gray hair and glasses and PhDs in relevant areas of science (not education or communications) effectively critique the more extreme versions of climate alarmism. Heartland advertises some of the programs as debates, but NEVER has present a spokesperson for the opposing view. That makes it harder for the uninformed observer (like me) to find the truth. I asked why, and they say the opposition is always invited but never shows (or even responds). The media of course provides cover by not calling them out when they dig their heads in the sand.

Apparently, universities won't, or at least don't, fill in the gap by featuring traditional debates on current topics.

What about FAIR? Could it sponsor some structured public debates (stated differently, could it not just promote free speech in the abstract but also be a host)? And with its sponsors' network of contacts and internet billboards, could it not find some informed and rational people willing to debate from the left and right?

What about a debate about the risks and rewards of opening schools between a parent group and a teachers' group?

If not FAIR, then other suggestions for debate host organizations would be welcome.

And to be clear, I'm thinking of the kind of structured debate where each side speaks and the other responds, for an hour or 90 minutes, on prescribed topics or themes that are narrow enough so that they can't be talked around. Example: It is morally right to judge people not individually but based on what group they are in? Are increases in temperature good or bad for the planet? What are the costs and benefits? What is the current best evidence of the extent of global warming?

In any event, not the cable news kind of display where people chosen for their gladiatorial skills talk over each other in a rising crescendo of babble for 2 minutes, and the commentator, pleased with the orchestrated carnage, says "Well I guess this debate will continue" before turning to a commercial flogging a prescription drug for seniors.

Just a thought.

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I am a professor of scientific and technical writing. As I read this article, I kept thinking about how valuable it would be to use in a class discussion about critical thinking, science, and the public. I realize that I cannot do so because even if I preface the discussion by clarifying that these ideas do not reflect my own opinions or the stance of my department, I could face retaliation. I am responsible for financially supporting my household, and I cannot risk my job at a time when the academic job market is stretched so thin. But in my intense frustration, I want to say this:

I am a tenured university professor. I am afraid to share this article. I am afraid to put my full name or photo on this comment. I am deeply concerned by what this indicates about the culture of academia.

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Any country that allows a shopkeeper to determine what it is allowed to read or write is no democracy.

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Thank you! Sounds like a great organization! I’m a longtime fan of your work. My name is Alex and I am a Banker with a large Bank covering the Nonprofit sector of Manhattan providing banking and credit solutions. Would love the opportunity to connect offline and learn more about FAIR’s priorities and needs moving forward and ways we can help you grow and be more efficient.

I also reached out to the email address listed on FAIR’s website if it’s easier to respond to that email.

FAIR is a great example of Jordan Peterson’s maxim: “Opportunity lurks where responsibility has been abdicated.”



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We have given over our freedom for comfort. Anyone who didn't see this coming, wasn't paying attention or (as I suspect for many) doesn't care.

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"I know because I live in blue America, in a world awash in NPR tote bags and front lawn signs proclaiming the social justice bonafides of the family inside."

Thanks for the perfectly captured horror scape of my NYC locale. So true and it's getting worse by the week!

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Congratulations on the new organization and thank you for your work. I’ve been wanting to mention an old but great essay (1959) that anticipated some of today’s issues. It appeared in The Saturday Evening Post and was written by CSLewis. It’s called “Screwtape Proposes a Toast” and appears as an addendum to most editions of his 1941 novel The Screwtape Letters. (If you’re not familiar with the book, it takes the form of a series of letters to a “guardian devil” from his uncle, an undersecretary in hell. The human objects of his tempting are known as patients. With the book’s morality all in reverse, where good = bad, Lewis weaves in witty and incisive observations about human nature on nearly every page.) But, back to the essay, which is easily found online. “Being like stalks,” “democracy in the diabolical sense,” and the result of a hijacked educational system —-there is so much that is prescient. (“The enemy“ refers to God, of course, and he uses the term Pharisee for basically any self-righteous and showily religious person— you could substitute “televangelist” for similar effect.) I’ve thought of Screwtape’s biting words too often of late, and both the essay and the book are worth a read. Thank you so much for what you are doing. I hope you go far in helping to establish those new and wiser institutions you have spoken about.

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Awesome essay as usual. There is no critical thinking anymore or from what I can see, people to afraid to call out bullshit. Was encouraged yesterday when someone I thought was pretty embedded in our left-wing political party announced that he too had walked away due to their 'excessive wokeism'. Stay beautiful... and Nellie's essay was perfection.

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Amazon has now placed on hold the Kindle edition of Thomas Sowell's 1999 book Vision of the Anointed. I guess they will next ban a copy of the Declaration of Independence or a copy of the Bill of Rights. We live not in interesting times, but insane ones.


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"Do ten conservative American academics even exist?"

In medical schools, they do. They are aware and vocal about the fact that male and female biological sexes actually exist, otherwise they can't do their jobs. And we all know that that simple observation is alt-right hate speech that erases someone's "RIGHT TO EXIST!!!!!!!!!!!"

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Bari, I signed up for FAIR as soon as it was launched. Thank you so much (and your fellow travelers} for this effort. I wish FAIR much success but I have friends and family who still think the ACLU and SPLC are what they were before and support both with considerable donations. Since they think I am now right-wing because I don't spout the required orthodoxy, my mention of FAIR would be counterproductive. My guess is that there are many out there who would support the goals of FAIR but think they are already doing so by supporting the ACLU, SPLC, et al. How to reach the old school liberals who don't understand what is actually going on (because they are still wedded to their legacy media and aren't fully cognizant of the changing landscape).

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Thank you for the Natan Sharansky link. Powerful piece. His lived experience is a valuable lesson for people in the west today. We must stand up, each individual, no matter what our own social position might be, and refuse to place the yoke over our own shoulders.

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I love FAIR and will volunteer. Can you believe this, in the U.S.?

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I am on of those individuals who self-censors for fear of losing my job (although that didn't work). And I have yet to hear of anyone of the left (other than you) who has lost their job for criticizing, often with extreme language, their political opponents (that's not what they actually consider them, it's what they should consider them).

FAIR is a good idea that may have worked 8 years ago. Unfortunately, I think we are past a point of no return. When one side demonizes you for simply having a different thought, I have little hope of any reconciliation. They don't want debate, they don't want to win with ideas, they don't want compromise - THEY WANT THE RIGHT GONE - LITERALLY. I figure one of two things will happen. Either the country will split into 3, or there will be an civil war with only one side emerging.

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