Campus Censorship Breeds Societal Dysfunction

Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (or FIRE, whose board of directors I chair), has written a remarkable and groundbreaking new book: Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate. In it, he posits that pervasive censorship and disregard for due process on our nation’s campuses have disrupted the gears and self-correcting mechanisms essential for the functioning of our free society. In my latest Forbes.com column, I explain how the mindless totalitarianism that befouls the vast majority of our college campuses helps explain some of the injustices of our legal system. The degradation of important social and legal institutions begins somewhere, and I agree with Lukianoff that a lot of our problems start with what is happening in our sadly degenerated system of higher education.

You can find the piece on my Forbes.com Injustice Department blog.
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Unlearning Liberty Now Available on Amazon

The Draconian restrictions on freedom of speech and thought throughout American higher education are an extraordinarily dangerous but under-appreciated development. This is what motivated me to co-author the book The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America’s Campuses in 1998 and to co-found the Foundation for Individual Rights (FIRE) in 1999, whose board of directors I chair. FIRE President Greg Lukianoff has now taken on the urgently important task of updating the dismal (although in some ways oddly entertaining, if not hilarious) picture in his new book Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate, now available on Amazon.

In Unlearning Liberty, Lukianoff takes readers through the life of a modern-day college student, from orientation to the end of freshman year. He describes various examples from the past 15 years of horrendous (and yet typical) violations of university students’ free speech rights: a student in Indiana punished for reading a book, a student in Georgia expelled for a pro-environment collage he posted on Facebook, students at Yale banned from putting an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote on a T shirt, and students across the country corralled into tiny “free speech zones.” Lukianoff further demonstrates how our universities’ cultures of censorship are bleeding into the larger society and stunting our ability as a nation to engage in rational discussion.

I highly recommend Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate to all those concerned with the future of liberty and open debate in America.   


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Announcing a New FIRE Book: Unlearning Liberty, Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate

FIRE President Greg Lukianoff's book, Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate, is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com. The book will be formally released on October 23, but from now until then, we are spreading the word about the book and the important stories it tells regarding censorship on campus. Getting the message out about how bad things have become on college campuses for once-cherished principles like free speech and due process helps FIRE fight back against campus abuses, and all proceeds from the book go to FIRE to help support our work. Unlearning Liberty is the first book since The Shadow University, written by Alan Kors and me, Harvey Silverglate, to attempt a far-reaching and large-scale exposition of the insane cases of censorship and abuse of basic rights that occur at our nation's colleges and universities. 

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