« The Weeds

Dare to speak freely

2021-08-06

Matt is joined by author and CEO Suzanne Nossel for a discussion about how to reconcile a robust defense of free speech with the advancement of an inclusive and progressive society. They explore the risks associated with a censorious culture, and look at the effects on social media, retail, and school environments.

Resources:

Dare to Speak by Suzanne Nossel (HarperCollins Dey Street; July 2020)

Guest:

Suzanne Nossel (@SuzanneNossel), CEO, PEN America; author, Dare to Speak

Host:

Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Slowboring.com

Credits:

Ness Smith-Savedoff, Producer & Engineer

Erikk Geannikis, Producer, Talk Podcasts

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Accessible, affordable broadband helps communities reached or their american dream for students, lecturers and Chavez means rising above the poverty line and becoming valedictorian of international high school at Langley Park, and thanks to access from eighty ain t, it can help these dreams turn into reality. That's why we're making two billion dollar three year commitment, how close the digital divide? More Americans have a chance to succeed, to learn more visit, HTTP Dotcom, slash! Enacting communities is welcome to another episode of the weeds on the box media podcast network. I Matthew, Iglesias by yesterday
Is it not? So is the ceo of PEN, America, just of the author of a book, called, dare to speak, defending free speech for all, which is out with a new paper back addition, and I wanted to talk to her about that book about free speech about many related topics ancestors and welcome to the show thanks a lot rattling regrettable her. So I don't know this is like such a big. obvious question but like. Why is free speech important today? I mean why what why do a book on this is obviously a topic that has existed in society for centuries, but like what made. You think that, like now is a moment where we needed a new treatment of the free speech issue so safe. For me, the most immediate,
but ass. For writing. The book was a growing concern that I have that we are at risk of losing a rising generation when it comes to the principle of free speech and that free speech has been often pitted against principles and concerns of equity and inclusive ay and diversity that are at the forefront of, in particular, what young people are concerned with and working to drive forward in our society and at times those movements which are and shawl and noble, have come at the expense of free speech and prosper, learn to a kind of censoriousness. Now I dont think intentionally but rather out of super lack, the wonder standing of free speech, principles of why their important two causes on the left and of how it is possible in my You too,
inside the robust defence of free speech with the advancement of an what about an inclusive society? And so when I can't be, worried about was that if things continue to unfold in this direction, that free speech as de all could really be left by the wayside, and I see that is risky for all sorts of reasons. I devote the last trapping To give just a reiteration of why I think, and why here for so many at blocks thinkers constitutional right, lawmakers politicians, philosophers have believed in the principle of free speech as a catalyst. For truth, an engine for the advancement of science as a foundation for creative expression as a way to drive society, and so the book, really is an argument that free speech can
and must come underwrite the next phase of a more equal and inclusive America. So this was absolutely the view. free speech that I was sort of brought up with. I mean not just I think, from my parents when I was in school, which is now I realize a frighteningly long time ago, you know that's the way I was kind of talk things was this famous case where we had the Nazis. They wanted to do this march in a town for Holocaust survivors the easy argue litigate on their behalf, not because nazis are amazing and not be, it's not genuinely injurious to the feelings of Holocaust Rivers decision demonstration, but that by winning the case, you establish a legal precedent, that is now useful for everybody right. If marginalized groups need to demonstrate for civil rights, whatever cause; they want that me. I mean it's
brightly unpopular, often right I mean, when you have a new claim for rights, for some kind of group, typically won't be accepted by most. and so to have a legal precedent that says look even in this. The extreme case you can discriminate against demonstrators based on their viewpoint, is a powerful tool for people working for justice, not just for Nazis spread. I guess it's like an old fashioned free speech view, but it certainly you know the one that I was always schooled in as a person as a writer as as liberal and and that's what you're talking about here rip. Yet that's parliament's absolute way is that you, balance, if you give authorities and particular governments the power, a more aggressive way police speech and to draw a line on the basis of viewpoint and ideology and decide what perspectives are with
and outside of bounds of those affected We're gonna use that power and self serving way are going to use it to suppress descent to silence the critics to elevate their own perspectives, and so the other promised in the first amendment rights and deny that power, even when that power, denied in an instance where it might be used in a way that we would agree with perhaps to silence not these are racist. We might applaud that in the near term, but once that power has been granted your those officials will be. free to use it as they see fit and unbalanced. They will use it and self serving ways. I think that's part of about what I try to addressing the book the ways in which I think that kind of simple, no, that you and I were school dawn has been legitimately challenged in our car as we can wrestle with these next phases of what it
means to realise a more equal society, and I think one aspect that has traditionally been underplayed by free speech advocates. It does relate to them harms of speech. Having free speech advocates historically have been hesitant to cop to the idea that it's not the sticks or stones, they break my bones, but names can never hurt me. You know, in fact, the whole chapter of the book devoted to the harms speech and the fact that the scientific evidence that particularly people who are subject to now, she s menacing speech over the course of their lives. Stereotypes, derogatory depictions, it can inflict psychological heart, It can impair academic performance there even physiological the heart, that are associated with that, and from my perspective I think it's important as a free speech defender to acknowledge that you say
his farms are serious. They need to be taken to counter. We need to remediate them, because once you have acknowledged that you can so then say, and I think it's important to know that they can be exaggerated overstated. Presumed even sometimes manufacture, and so I think we need a reason discussion of what the genuine heart of speech are and what we as a society can do about them. Rather than of tribes sweep that, under the run, the little bed had been the name of free speech. I think one of the most interesting parts of the book, because yeah I mean part of the traditional argument, I think has been to say that, like you, just like not true right that, like hateful speed Tom, speak ball, and you can see that that's not really right. I mean people suffer as a result of certain kinds of speech, particularly when its repeated right, when its seemingly back
up by society, and I think we have a lot of evidence- that what appears The media matters right like what is out there in the culture is actually important to people and their lives and their and their projects, and that led me to wonder what, once you make, that concession How do you maintain this kind of hard distinction between speech must be free, but in all kinds of other spheres of activity like would you regulate, but you can do read like you can just poke me constantly read like I'm will happen that do not have like stick shoved in my body. So what why can't people seek protection from harmful speeches? If we acknowledge that it does cause harms? While I, rule out protection of any sort. You not at all. I think societal, taboos and voluntary restrained are extremely important to keeping spree, speed,
alive and keeping our discourse open. Eyed all advocate hateful speech. I don't think you. No one needs to champion it Ere I really have. The gravest concern is when it comes to empowering partition, the governments, but also to a lesser degree institutions- can be private colleges or corporations to agree the way, mediate and moderate speech and call things out about ban and punish speech, and it goes to that concern but how those powers may be used and abused entered kind line drawing. We want some folks you're or punches you in the stomach. You know that's a pretty caught a concrete act. If the proof is there- and you know, you work back in your seat here we know it happened. We know you we experienced in the same way that I would have experienced it, but when it comes to slurs, an derogatory speech. You know there are some things like you know
say the end were, which is common to controversy, many many times over in six years and hear the reactions that word has changed. I think how people need understand the import of that word has changed so that an extreme example, the stone debatable. You know whether there are any context in which an articulation of that word, maybe prepared near what if it's used as it matter, what the rays of the person is. Does it matter whether its being used and artistic context? And so you don't even with that very exciting, I'm kind of singular slur with its unique position in american history, and I think he s in so many ways: paradigm, Attica harmful speech. There still are contextual factors that the term how we oughta react and so empowering the government to punish every instance of the use of that word. I you know, I think it's easy to see why that would be overreach
you're, never mind all of the lesser gradations of offensive interrogatories speech, your things that really are contested that baby offensive to one person. not whatsoever to another, something that has a a linguist meaning that you have to understand something that is being used satirical, something that's being sat in the car ecstasy insiders and a particular group where they can you no kind of ribbon ridicule each other with language that might otherwise be offensive. And so I think, inviting the government, come in and police. All of that and punish people and bad things go. That's where to me you're really constricted kind of discourse with overweening government born in what's within an outsider, bows Joe talking about the government here, which obviously has an important actor in free speech matters. But I also think
that seems to me to be the area of EAST in America, the cadaver United States, where we have the least disagreement like I don't really see big movements afoot. for Congress to like ban certain words or terms- or I don't like have of censorship regime, m somewhere, I mean. Am I missing that like? Is there a sort of big question in public affairs and about government action there else, adding Similarly, so I'd say you know, for me top of mind. Right now would be this spate of state level bans on the teaching of critical race theory. I mean that ban an ideologically driven viewpoint, based ban on content and expression both secondary schools and in higher add at its been adopted. I think now in seven states there are bills and about it
some more. And so it is sort of a notion in my book that when we think about free speech, we need to think a lot more than just the first amendment, because there are so many arena where these issues are contested, including on college campuses, not all of which are public universities, in particular on social media, where there are some raging debates about where these Europe should lie and how we should interpret the obligations of the platforms when it comes to curbing the harms of speech and enabling open expression. All of that However, we should not lose sight of the first amendment and the danger that government poses to our express rights. We also hear at pen, America Doc meant it over the last couple of years, a really alarming spike in state level, laws for telling protests rights limiting where and when you can protest, enhancing penalties, and so I think that no show which I in some ways it. I think it's a comfortable notion that we live with for a long time, which is that
Our basic free speech, rights in relation to the government are very secure in this country, its being under caught in a. eighty of way, is and principally at state level, and so I think it's deftly not a moment for complacency on that score. So I want to put a pin in that social media question, because that's obviously important but come back to this, because this is the other thing that I kind of Europe wide from people on the left. which is you know. We had this dialogue going back a few years ago, where people we on the right and the centre were saying, You know people on last young people, college students, don't appreciate the value of free speech, and now, six years later we have conservative state legislators and their say Oh you know you can't teach sixty nineteen project essays in your classroom
people? Look at that and they say. Look this whole neutral principles idea is fake and you just have a pie, struggle. There is always society defining what is in bounds and one is out of bounds and what you want to do is try to fight for, but you believe in and we are trying to tug the window of acceptability in one direction. the right to trying to talk the window of acceptability in the other direction. But like going to back for the right of people to say, racists, doesn't accomplish anything and it doesn't stop people from flipping on a dime about these things. You know drawing distinctions white because they will say. Oh you know, Yesterday I was talking about free speech today were talking Curriculum Design and public schools. So I can stinguished the cases there's no hypocrisy here so weird
leave us right now, we're outside the kind of ivory tower of constitutional LAW, Bradley in the real world does standing four neutrality, deliver these kind of benefits, yell you're right, it's nothing new in this sort of or phrase of free speech for me and not for the and the idea that people are much more should grant when it comes to encroachments on free speech in relation to speech, if they agree with your that's age, old, There's a study that I talk about the book about acting out of he's got worse in the Supreme core. Ah, looking at whether Supreme Court judges have sought with the free speech argument in individual cases over time. Unfortunately, we see you serve a mirror of what we are witnessing in society at large is increased polarization injustices appointed by republican president. increasingly likely to sign
More often with conservative speech, when it is challenged, then, with Libya and using that idea, a logical filter, whether their overtly conscious of it or not, the more prominent ball and seeming to dictate how they come out on these. speech cases, and so it's a real problem I would make the argument, though, nonetheless, that the objective principle of free speech is an essential one, and I think we saw this during the tromp years that, even though no that was a president to hand, little or no regard for the first amendment and we suit him in federal court for his attacks against. journalists, his threats and acts in retaliation against journalists and the media, we know it's. The first amendment were in place. He would have gone much further and his punitive impulses would have guided him. Probably RO journalists in jail, and so I think it's exam.
Or of where that neutral principle you're having that enshrined in the constitution have been judges who are obligated to uphold that, even though its imperfect either becomes politicized. It certainly inflicted by politics. I think it would be a huge mistake to I did off particular on the left to say just because there is hypocrisy on the right in relation to free speech that we're ready to cast this principle aside, because if you look historically- overwhelming way. It is those on the forefront of social movements, those and marginalized groups. Those war dissenting and challenging the power structure who rely most heavily on these protections, and so it would really be sorted out I got your nose despite your face. Ok, let's go break and then I want to talk about sort of private actors and free speech, accessible, affordable broadband helps communities reached or their America.
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following discourse in those can be things like you can believe in both of them that I want to live in and inhabit personally institutions that have a lot of free following discourse in place. A lot of value on free speech. But there is also the idea that, like people, allowed to have their own community? Is that decide what their own standards are? Right like? This is my knitting club and you have to follow the rules to be in it and like that is also freedom right, like the freedom to have your group and decide what he wants to do and I feel, like those ideas, come into tension with some of this stuff around social media companies. where does one kind of free speech impulse that says looking twitter is like a kind of digital public square, and so you know what this anonymous company like censoring people and there's enough,
view. That's I know, look like this is a the people who work there and who on it, and the stakeholders like they have the right to do what they want with it and like that's free speech and I see essentially people on both sides of these kind of disputes about digital media sort of claiming the mantle of speech are having some at least a piece of it on their side- and I wonder where you sort of think about that in terms of Do we want out of these technology platforms? Thank you make a very good quite an yeah you're right that people one of the freedoms enshrined in the first amendment of courses, freedom of association and so the ability to create a society or a table at a college, dining hall or a club where there are certain ideological underpinnings that everyone. subscribes jail. Is your very much an act of free expression
and freedom of assembly here, I think, what's important. There is that you enter into those environments follow terribly that you don't sit down at the dining table in the college born only the learned that you know your political opinions are out of bounds and you have to move seeds that should not be. You know the way that it is police. I think, where The tension comes in here, as you point out, is just the scale of these platforms and dominion that they have over such vast source of our public discourse. To the point where You know this is not yet out. Twitter is not an environment where kind of a bunch of people are coming together for a common purpose. It really in a while. We don't call it a public utility. You know in many ways in functions as that, and so does Facebook. And we know that, for example, the run up to an election, a vast portion of
Political deliberation is happening in these arenas, and so I think there is a distinct public interest in what have is there I m Leary of government intervention in here. Oh online content is moderated because I think that the chance of a legislator getting that right is vanishingly small. I think, even if you believe that the European Union, or perhaps the U S, Congress, might be capable in good laws once that present said it's going to empower. Governments all over the world, including an authoritarian settings, to do what need them, are already joined but sharply to limiting online speech. I think that, is a major loss for free speech globally and that you were better off with the principle that governments should largely be hands off, particularly when it comes to kind of content.
and especially viewpoint based discrimination, which is kind of the most sensitive and protected area of speech under the first amendment, at your that leaves, the question What to do, because, nor do I think that unfettered discretion on the part. Silicon Valley, with all of it, junior motives. Pension for secrecy unwillingness to bear a response. ability, lack of accountability, egg to all the flaws and pitfalls that we see we're, leaving it to companies their own devices when it comes to kind of strike. This balance between social media is a neighbour of free speech, which we have to acknowledge, it is unjust. The examples of that are endless and also you know, a brush fire of danger, sweated mine harassment or hateful speech or death. Formation that can corrode democracy, and so this is our epoch struggle of how we get it right. There experiments your on part of one, which is
Facebook oversight board and whether there can be a role for experts in civil society and academia to help mediate. These questions, that is an open question, remains it's an experiment. I don't know how that's gonna turn out We need more experimentation I just I wonder, scale obviously seems relevant to these kind of things. I mean I've been paying some attention to without really expressing a view on this. Speed about Abigail Schreyer, airs book and transgender issues, which a lot of people find very upsetting. They find it very troubling, and there was a move. I believe a successful move to get Amazon to stop carrying it and it will show me, is a bit like before. Amazon went if some bookstore owner didn't want to carry some book because she felt like it was bad. It was bad book for the world. Is,
course. Right, like nobody is under any obligation to sell a book in their store, and you can't for one thing: it fit every book on the shelves of stores. You have to make decisions, and it's like the core of freedom is that you get to decide what you do. Just like. I decide what I published on my website. I decide which guests I host on the show, but then Amazon is so big that it does feel like they are in a censorship, type role, and it also feels like almost a kind of crazy fish all verdict of society- that Certain views are now being put beyond the pale. because it sends a signal to other actors in society right in a way You only give some random bookstore owner in. I don't get up like this, a bookstore in Phoenix and I won't some buck, and it's like even knows about that. Nobody cares.
But the decisions of these big companies have a kind of social impact that goes beyond the sort of little Raul mechanical influence it. have. At the same time I mean people obviously have very strong views about what they do and don't want to be associated with, and I dont know I find it hard to know what to say about this. Ultimately, and I hope you have some wisdom what we protested. The notion that her book should be and from Amazon and our perspective as free Russian organisation is that that is essentially the wrong approach to dealing with ideas. You disagree with, even if you disagree with them vociferously that the effort Expunged them from society is ultimately more succeed. You end up drawing attention to these books, sometimes amplifying the ideas
installing this sense of unjust grievance in those who adhere to those ideas that can feel, although even further, and so we found ourselves more and more in the position of having to stand up for institutions whether its platform, like Amazon or a bookstore, exacting date, has come up increasingly, we ve had bookstores reaching out about protests from their customers like the Ngos but being one example. Where customers, a palace books in Portland, protested the availability of his book on the stores website and to us the notion of trying to impose a kind of ideology, but purely from the outside, and also seen it in publishing houses where sometimes the employees and the publishing House now are some taking up our homes and sensor- are not arms by going out into the streets in some instances and protesting. The decision from
about to publish memoir Some members of the Trump administration- and what I worry about, is that it's gonna drivers toward an even more vulcanised information, our system, which we already have online and on cable news, where your political leanings dictate. Where are you going to find your content? I think book publishing and both stores are really important as remaining places where we kind of come together. Whoever you are. You can wander until bookstore they'll be things you agree with things you disagree with. Maybe they'll be things you discover that you would have written off entirely, but once you pick them up and have a look, you don't. Even if you don't read the book covered a calmer yeah it's more interesting than you would have anticipated, and I think we need to stand up for those, kinds of institutions and society that have encompassing approach to the bright, the views that can be
expressed. Even if some of those views are deeply objection off, we will always have, and I dont objected to the distance of these content per here is where there is a strong ideological lands nothing wrong with that, but I think it would be a mistake to try to drive all of our institutions in that direction. You I need this is what has come be concerning to me as a kind of shift in what we expect as us I I mean I don't, but you didn't care If Andy knows book is on the shelves, powers or not it wouldn't occur to me to go like looking around and hunting for it there. But if people start protesting its availability, their because there has been a success in getting some other bug, out of other stores and then powers pulls the book that then puts pressure on
the other bookstore in America with every other book that ever comes out. To be like well. Are you really going to carry the moon? We used to have a social presumption delegates, just like lots of books will be solved everywhere. publishers will be publishing all kinds of things and Would say well why you publishing this memoir, it's like love where publishing house like we will publish it was memoirs, that's it we do it suddenly. Endorsement Once you start down the road of sort of selectively striking stuff down, it creates the expectation that you'll do it in the right that the decision to carry a book is a form of endorsement, and then you have to be very narrow. As you know I personally I don't know I would only, endorse appear the not that many books that actually come out, but I think it's good that there are lots of bucks. I read books that I don't agree with, and I about them- and I dont always know until I've read it with rapid grew with that are not, and that's part of participants. adding an intellectual society right is you
on a world in which people, just a little open to some given tee and I remember being quite taken aback when I had a buck that was out and I was invited to go on Ben Shapiro. Spawn cast and talk about it and, of course, a guess, because I'm trying to sell books- and you know me The people were complaining to it, I buy you gonna knock, I show is terrible and I was getting it wishes. an mentality to me like the idea that I would have a specific defence for peering on somebody's podcast. When I was invited to talk about a book that I was trying to, promote and I'm sure gets like there is a lie right. There is some hypothetical pod cast out there. That would be so beyond the pale than I go on it, but just like people have popular and people who want to promote ideas, go on their shows and that's just kind of how the world works, and I worry about a society in which
decision about every gassed about every book on the shelves carries out. This wait wait this like how could you agree to do to lose that presumption that we just sort of have books and ideas and guests floating around them. It's usually alien to me again, stream we, I guess it feels very obvious it's a lot of people who are younger than me yeah. I think it is a kind of creeping absolute test. Mental where every decision is sort of an ideological litmus test, and is really not clear how far those you know we know. For example, J K Rolling has become very controversial because of some of the things she said about transition measures is this mean Harry Potter is no longer gonna be carried in bookstores at a certain point you know is mine Hence this memoir going to be banned because as you, while many of us might wanna hear what he
to say how he justifies himself, what it was like to be there. You do inside the chamber on January Sixth, so there other people who believe he was complicit in unconscionable crimes and that that should be reason his book to be expunged or very or relegated to the far reaches of a conservative publishing terrain I am so. I think it so is a real danger and I see it more and more. I hear publishers and editors and talking about that in relation to what goes on the pages of a newspaper, were and are bad page. I think social media fuels it in that it only takes one antagonist somewhere to serve look at something through a particular lands and point out. Why there's something in the writer background that is objectionable or there's a line, that's phrased in a way that could be construed as sex
racist or otherwise offensive and for the whole thing too would have gained momentum and blow up and get other people who are aligned with that cause Kennedy cited about it and in a mood of protest staying, and so I think it's really important fur institutions like America, individuals who have influence to stand up for the breadth of idea, even objectionable Ideas were- and I talk about this at length in the book- to stand up for the expression of unpopular viewpoints when a few disagree with that, it's not easy you do but ultimately yeah that's what creates the spaceport all of us to push boundaries take risks and you know I do here from a lot of people who are worried about doing that. this environment. You know, I think it's important to say that from many people's perspective, this is a right for a kind of corrective and a rebalancing of power
it has a lot to do with historically excluded groups asserted themselves and pointing out that your shirt patterns of speech or ideas that maybe we're long accepted are in fact pernicious that have you no severe problems whence is for people in historic way, fluid add or targeted groups? And yet those consequences need to be brought to light taken more seriously. I think there's some! let it either that I think those perspectives are worth hearing out an reckoning with, but I do worried that were circular workmen at a moment of hope. It's the swing of a pendulum sort of him in the direction of a rather absolutist approach, but that will come back. You know once we ve got for this phase, I there is greater, had a reckoning the situation will come back to a media. There is more space to take risks and even the risk of a fence yeah, I mean
I think a tricky you know subject. For me, Personally, when I try to be reflective right and say you know it, because it is kind of easy for me, I guess to say, as like a white guy, Billig Ass, fine, you now looked like people say like. the harm when you do have you no demographic change in the media, industry and academia. Realms of society in people are making new claims and they're. Saying Guenaud. Will you just you been listening to us in the past and Never a hundred percent sure what to say about stuff like that. You know: I'm, jewish and You know it occurs to me that we do not, I think, tried should like purge culture of you know: old writers who did anti semitic things or had he d smiting views. I was assigned to us Elliot poems in school and I do not like what are you gonna do about that? It seems
can inescapable feature of society. But it also does seem to me that anti semitic speech in the present day has been very, very, very stigmatized and that people, especially non jewish people, tend to sort of walk on eggshells, around criticism of Israel and things like that, and that there is a lot of sensorial ness around those topics which reflects the fact that, not historically but presently in America. Jewish people have a lot of social and political and economic clout and are able to be quiet forceful in sort of pushing back against kinds of speech that they don't like, and I see people who will be sort of free speech, defenders, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, then looking hat where she play, but no hot Omar saving that foreign policy and suddenly it's a lot of you, no troops and second or associations, and you know
dear. You say that kind of standards, and there are people who try to you maintain an even keel about these sort of topics, including when they implicate their group but it feels very hard to me to really get a principled balance like people really are more sensitive when they perceive it as impacting themselves. Personally, and so it matters whose represented again That may ultimately mean that a more diverse short of culturally becomes more sincerity is because you have mutual deference among members of all different kinds. groups and there's something there's a loss to that, but also a gay. And rather we want to have more people represented more voices at the table. But it feels right
difficult to me to do that, I mean took to really authentically have people present without that creating a kind of scolding love role here, aren't I guess, ship the paradigm a little bit from kind of the idea that inclusive power structure would tape. Morrison seriousness to the idea that it requires more conscientiousness, which is really the first principle that I outlined in the book is the notion that living in a diverse society- Eddie where were striving towards equity, does to ban greater com the interest on all of our behalf that you just have to be more cognizant of who is around you? What their sense Charities and sensibilities are how they liked to be described. What might offend the it s a little bit about? Maybe what the historical troops are in relation to different groups, and I think that car
nuisance and awareness and willingness to sort of interrogate are differences. and on earth the context that lies behind and some of our speech, you know I think, ultimately, that's Lucy Bathing and informative and kind of fosters a richer dialogue and a greater ability to connect with other people. Engage and meaningful, given take here Firstly, as a neighbour of speech, rabble, then a constraint on speech. I think yes, it does mean, thereby certain as you know, we may ground saying that seem gonna perfectly normal. Ok to us, as gives that you, we would know, per se. But you to me, that's actually cut up, the evolution of living together in society in striving for a were perfect concept, he'll structure and so You know I was sort of stress that aspect of it. I ultimately think that the opening up of whether its journalism or publishing, where the arts to a greater array,
voices represents a kind of boon to free speech. because if those voices are excluded out of there. Somebody in are sitting in the classroom who feels that, because of their socio economic blocs, round or their gender or their race, or that you know it's daunting to speak up and then this classroom is dominated by people who are you know from a different a sort of origin. Those People are silent and hang back from discussion here. The marketplace ideas loses out, you know their voice is that are not being heard and so creating environment, where everybody feels genuine lays a position and empowered to speak here, for me is a win for free speech. Should I think it's important to you now, as we think about how free speech can work for us in the twenty first century. We have to think not just about the constraints but about the enabler, isn't about the voices that are being heard, and so I ultimately think once we have greater
today, for example, get others lot of transformation under way at the top levels within journalism within publishing. I think that's gonna make space for greater diversity of your points. I think they'll be kind of less hung up on who has the right to tell which stories and who, out of that those stories and more of a sense that these cultural industries are, intellectual industries are equitable and inclusive. then you know whatever that looks like and comes out with, is a fair, representation of various. society. Ok, let's take a look I want to ask you a couple questions about academia specifically. Do you want to be the smartest fan at your watch bar?
do you want to understand the game at a deeper level, then you need to listen to and I fell university. A new weekly episode from the SB nation and apple show every Wednesday our team of professors at any fell university. Teach you the finer points of which one crash course at a time, will break down the. What how and why everything that went down that we subscribe to the explanation and at best show today and become the best fan you can be. So I think the place where, with that kind of tension to me seems most evident, is on sort of college and university environments because they're you have on the one hand like a tradition of academic freedom, which is Of unusually strong culture of free speech right away ten year, unlike its really important for people to be able to say what they want, because that's how we explore the realm of
He is, but you are also teaching young people, often in residential environment, and we are trying to link. We want people to feel comfortable and learn right. I mean it's not say that, like no one should ever encounter difficult ideas, but it's I mean our man college you'd like you, live literally and you're, surrounded by p. I'll. Let you go to these classrooms and some people, it's like their parents, went to the same college and it's very natural, but other people are nervous and You want to make them feel like no. You belong here, you're included, you're part of the process can You should do your homework. I mean You see a play out all the time at this, incredible. Just gap between that function of this is a space for the exploration of ideas, where it's not the job of administrators, to tell people what to say and do, and this
say home for teenagers, and it is absolutely the job they ve been. A stranger is delight makes sure that everybody is having a good experience and the fact that the illegal optical climate is just several text to the left of Americans aside large creates a sort of weird environment where the expression of their but in all ideas can be sort of my eyes as like right wing in a campus context, as someone who is not involved in university if at all, but does like I am, the published work of academics have a sense of what's true about the world, come to really make me worry like, however, eyeball scholarly output, is in a world where people fear, sort of social and administrative consequences for saying things that make people upset near absolutely love a lot of that.
thinking behind dare to speak, grew out of work that we have done over the last four or five years on college campuses at pen, America, we ve done it blood major reports, where the whole website on how to navigate college campuses speech, traverses because of the tensions that you are talking about. The fact that the university is simultaneously home for students who come from increasingly diverse backgrounds, The present levels of racial diversity among collegiate student bodies and present levels of first generation students on campus for the first time, and yet that create new demands in terms of what kind of environment can enable inclusion come across all of those boundaries, and so how do we you'll bring that university about one, that's true, inclusive to our people without compromising inclusive anyone comes to all of ideas and in the work that we have done? I think there are
solutions and ways to approach this. I think of the more work you do to make. The cap is a more comfortable environments and that the human level, and to ensure and Foster Shaw integration and to support students from mental health perspective and to take into account differences in background for the students, have the support they need to succeed. The more leeway than you have in the intellectual around. I think, to introduce difficult ideas to navigate sensitive discussions, to offer professors to publish, even call commercial studies. and theories, and he d have those be absorbed by a campus and in a way that people can cope with. And so I think it's kind of paired responsible. The of the university and get out there trying to do at it, often its imperfect and very much a work in progress, but I think it is a cheap, a ball and that the more inclusive,
camp as need not and must not come at the expense of the open campus. When it comes to academic, freedom and diversity of viewpoint. give a lot of very concrete advice about how to make that a reality when it comes to, for example, Paul's to cancel a controversial speaker, who's been invited to campus, or to decommission a club. That takes a portable viewpoint that some people find offensive or how to react to protest at a campus, and their ways of navigating these things that we kind of spell it all out in a lot of our research and applications that I think can allow the university to be a standard bearer for free speech, but such were serve its own values and values that help make our students feel comfortable, and I mean do you: have it wise to sort
you know individual, like faculty members. You know if you are working somewhere and you you now feel. Ok you you had so I will put it this way. You dont particularly want to be a controversialists like your goal in life is not to be a free speech, martyr who get our rights Wall Street Journal our beds about how the kids today they are losing it, but, like you, some opinions that you think are a little out of fashion and you might want to be able to say them without causing a huge scandal, or an uproar like. Is there anything to be done to sort of when, but those poles of becoming like the notorious the campus speech, person and being someone who is like living, fearful Lee and doesn't think you can have like occasional centre, right views and positions of public interest?
Yes, I've been really the whole balkan sets is devoted to trying to help that person get their ideas out without It avert MR tripping into the terrain of becoming. You know one of these free speech provocateurs the idea, conscientiousness that if you have something that is contested ball, that you want to get across it out the point or opinion. You dont want to stumble into offending somebody on the basis of their identity or using an out of date term, for example, refer to women or algae, be cheek huge students on the way to articulating that contestable opinion. You wanna to be careful group was a boy unintended, honest necessary, unforced offences and sort of earned the credit billowy the say you know what it is that you have to say that you know people are going to disagree with. You want to take into account the count
arguments, said sort of reflect the fact that you have taken them seriously. You ve thought about them. You ve taken them into a cow. You have respect for them, so you can lay that out at the beginning, as a kind of prelude or welcome back as you draw people in to hopefully a willingness to hear out your ideas you want to make points in an environment where people do have the opportunity to push back asked questions reflect a different point of view not to shut that down, to dismiss it, and so I think it can be done, and I give examples in the book of people have talked about. You really serve difficult idea see a racial differences when it comes to you know how and you no other very sore, sensitive third rail kinds of topics that people have able to do this. John to talk about, to publish on because they do
in a sensitive and conscientious way, and I hope that becomes a road map for others, because I think it extremely important that people not give up there are really difficult idea that we have is a society need to continue to be able to talk about whether it affirmative action or you touch on is rough house Stein. You know these are top. It's a break, given that we cannot simply shunted side, because the risk of going there is so great you're gonna get troll you're gonna be harassed might lose your job. So you know the alternative becomes side inside it, that's really dangerous toward discourse to our policy, making tower educating the next generation- and I also you know, institutions and people who inhabit them should think about their social and cultural legitimacy in all directions that I've seen a lot of people sort of baffled, looking at the Trump years. That, like will, why do we get ignored by certain swathes of the population?
You know if you want to as a journalism institution as an economic entity as any kind of it. You should read him, and if you want to be taken seriously by like more conservative people you have to the work of being willing to engage with them right in a way that makes sense and where they are and then by the same token like if want to be an inclusive institution you know we shall ye and- and in other respects like you have to like actually go. Do the right like do some of the work in terms of having diverse leadership and things like right that it. I think, and feel very easy to sort of paid lip service to diverse,
considerations and then shrugged off to the side, and then it can come back to sort of by you in the end, when you don't have the standing too kind, it cannot take a principled stance in favour of ideas and things like that, because you have actually done the work eternally now. I think that's right that's. Why? I am hopeful that, as our institutions become more diverse, that their ability to withstand some of these pressures is going to be enhanced because they will have Credibility in speaking out on behalf of adversity. Your points and they won't be vulnerable to the charge that their positions And play reflects the interests and progress of a kind of very traditional leadership structure. That's never been challenge wreck the exact So I shall let you go here but want to see if he is there any. You know last big point: So you think that people need to now. Obviously we speeches of very low this topic, we didn't even get into the international dimension of this,
we had all, but that is an important part of the picture as well, so yet final thoughts. I would just say: love ass. Americans were very much accustomed to thinking of free speech, as the other work of the courts and lawyers and our constitution and the first amendment, and what we see increasingly on just, but all the issues that you and I have touched on, is that it is going to be up citizens as to whether we continue to have the kind of vibrant, open society where there's a diverse range ideas, there are unexpected and surprising ideas. People are able to push boundaries to challenge orthodoxy. It's gonna depend on and whether we can fashion institutions that are set up to her tolerating even invite encourage that, and so what on urging is for all of us to take more seriously as cut apart or our obligations as citizens as part of what is going to take to sustain,
democracy as its under such heavy pressure to really see ourselves as free speech advocates and think about what that means. You know at the personal love off within the workplace, in the institutions that we inhabit and also on the larger canvas. When we get to questions of large social me companies governments and to these, like Amazon and the dominion that they wheeled over free speech? And so it's a big responsibility, but I think ultimately, as citizens, one that we nature rise to ok, fantastic. Thank you so much Suzanne, also PAN America, thanks as always to our sponsors. Thanks to our new engineer that Smith's avid of producer economic is, which will be back on Tuesday.
Transcript generated on 2021-08-06.