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Lukianoff walks readers through the life of a modern-day college student, from orientation to the end of freshman year. Through this lens, he describes startling violations of free speech rights: a student in Indiana punished for publicly 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” when they wanted to express their views.
But Lukianoff goes further, demonstrating how this culture of censorship is bleeding into the larger society. As he explores public controversies involving Juan Williams, Rush Limbaugh, Bill Maher, Richard Dawkins, Larry Summers—even Dave Barry and Jon Stewart—Lukianoff paints a stark picture of our ability as a nation to discuss important issues rationally. Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate illuminates how intolerance for dissent and debate on today’s campus threatens the freedom of every citizen and makes us all just a little bit dumber.
"Unlearning Liberty is a must read book for anyone concerned about the constitutional future of our nation." — Nat Hentoff, journalist, author of Free Speech for Me—But Not for Thee
"Here's a book full of sunlight—the best disinfectant for campus censorship." — Jonathan Rauch, guest scholar, Brookings Institution, author of Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought
“Destined to be a classic work on freedom in America.” — Donald Alexander Downs, Alexander Meiklejohn Professor of Political Science, Law, and Journalism, University of Wisconsin-Madison, author of Restoring Free Speech and Liberty on Campus
“American universities have been described as islands of intolerance in a sea of freedom. Unlearning Liberty is a meticulous and inspiring guide on how to liberate the islands!” — Christina Hoff Sommers, resident scholar, American Enterprise Institute, author of The War Against Boys
“Lukianoff argues brilliantly and with wit for the importance of free expression in a society that hopes to produce free human beings rather than craven conformists.” — Daphne Patai, professor, Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, University of Massachusetts Amherst, author of What Price Utopia?
“Unlearning Liberty shows why free speech rights on campus are more important than ever, and how controversy is still a great teacher.” — Mary Beth Tinker, plaintiff in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District
“Beautifully written and powerfully argued
an essential wake-up call!" — Nadine Strossen, Professor of Law, New York Law School, former President, American Civil Liberties Union (1991-2008), author of Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women’s Rights
Introduction: The Dangerous Collage 1
Campus Censorship: Alive and Thriving
How Campus Censorship Harms Us All
Beginning Our Journey through the Modern College Experience
Chapter 1 Learning All the Wrong Lessons in High School 15
High Schools and Unlearning Liberty
"Seriously, Why Is Free Speech Important Again?"
The Legal Landscape
Beyond the Law: The Grand Philosophy behind Free Speech
Polarization, and the Special Importance of Free Speech in the Internet Age
J. S. Mill and a Warning to Colleges
How the Road to Censorship Is Always Paved with Good Intentions
The Acceptance of Censorship by College Students
A Personal Aside: How Multiculturalism Demands Free Speech
What High School Students (and Parents) Need to Know before They Go to College
Chapter 2 Opening the College Brochure 37
PC Went to War with Free Speech in the 1990s, and Free Speech Lost
Hidden Speech Codes, Everywhere
What Harassment Is Supposed to Mean
A Short Selection of Examples of Abuses of Harassment Codes on Campus
The Department of Education Muddies the Waters
The Harm of Campus Speech Codes That Are "Just on the Books"
The "Silent Classroom"
Speech Codes, Juan Williams, and the Danger of Honest Talk
Chapter 3 The College Road Trip 61
Quarantining Free Speech
Four Factors That Work against Campus Free Speech
The Price of Bureaucracy and Hyperregulation
An Opportunity for Free Speech on Campus?
Chapter 4 Harvard and Yale 77
All Is Not Well at Harvard and Yale
Yale's About-Face on Free Speech
Fraternities at Yale Make Matters Worse for Free Speech
Harvard's Surprising Cluelessness about Free Speech and Free Minds
Pledging Yourself to Oversimplifying Moral Philosophy at Harvard
Larry Summers, and How Playing with Ideas Teaches Us to Talk Like Grownups
Chapter 5 Welcome to Campus! 95
Residence Life: From Hall Monitors to Morality Police
The University of Delaware "Treatment"
"Us versus Them": The Culture War as Here Narrative
Chapter 6 Now You've Done It! The Campus Judiciary 115
The Student Judiciary and the Criminalization of Everything
Violations of Due Process and Free Speech Often Go hand in Hand
Michigan State University's Surreal Inquisition Program
Campus Justice and Sexual Assault
Step One of Doing Away with Due Process in Sex Cases: Redefine Normal Human Interaction as an Offense
Step Two: Lower Due Process Protections (or, How the Federal Government Isn't Helping)
What's at Stake: A Due Process Cautionary Tale out of Ohio
Campus Justice and Unlearning the "Spirit of Liberty"
Chapter 7 Don't Question Authority 137
Oh Yeah, We Actually Mean Don't Question Authority
Campus Authoritarianism versus Sci-Fi Fans
Facebook and the Risks of Online Dissent
War at Peace College and the Spamification of Dissent
Swear at Your Own Risk (a.k.a. Skip This Section If You Can't Abide Cussing)
How State Governments (Often) Aren't Helping
Colleges Need to Teach Students to Question Authority, if Only for Their Own Good: The Penn State Child Rape Scandal
Chapter 8 Student Activities Fair 159
Stiffing Freedom of Association on Campus
Contrast: The Muslim Students Association at Louisiana State University
Young Americans for Freedom at Central Michigan University and Hostile Takeovers
Christian Legal Society v. Martinez
The Campus Lesbian and Gay Association, and Tolerance for All
The Fallout from Martinez: San Diego State and Vanderbilt
From PETA to Guns: More Causes That Can Land You in Trouble on Campus
Unlearning How to Live with Each Other
Chapter 9 Finally, the Classroom! 185
Mandatory Assumptions and Pleasant Little Lies
Academic Freedom, Free Speech, and Ward Churchill
Mandatory Lobbying for Progressive Causes
The Limits of "Social Justice" Advocacy
"Dispositions" and Political Litmus Tests
"So, Are You Sure I Can Write Whatever I Want in This Assignment?"
Teaching Censorship by Example
Chapter 10 If Even Your Professor Can Be Punished for Saying the Wrong Thing 203
Learning on Eggshells: The Hindley Case at Brandeis
Culture Wars, Censorship, and the Professoriate
Not Letting the Cases Blur Together: The Very Real Consequences of Censorship on Campus
The Outrage Culture, from the Campus to the Real World
Chapter 11 Student Draftees for the Culture War 219
Students Destroying Student Newspapers
Student Government Gone Wild
The "Irvine II": Misunderstanding Free Speech
Student Censorship of the Right
"I Believe in Free Speech ... Except When I Don't Like It": Students Come to Expect Protection from Free Speech
Infecting the Law Schools and Infecting the Law
"Bullying," the "Blame Free Speech First" Attitude, and What It Means for All of Our Liberties
Conclusion: Unlearning Liberty and the Knee-Jerk Society 243
Posted November 24, 2012
An eye-openning book for students about to embark on their college careers as well as their parents. The book documents the erosian of free speech in colleges campuses. As a parent who witnessed radically different free speech experiences in her own college life, it was a humbling to read and realize that our childen do not enjoy or even understand what free speech really means and that, sadly, we are a big part of the problem. It is difficult to envision students of the '60s tolerating creepy "free speech zones" that encompass less than 1% of the college or allowing the power of school administrators to concentrate and grow stronger so that it corrupts and undermines one of the central principles of our American constitution: free speech.
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Posted June 15, 2013
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