This Supreme Court decision, DeRay Mckesson v. John Doe, is not just a win for the Black Lives Matter movement but for free speech and First Amendment rights across the board.
Election disinformation believers, censored on Twitter but welcomed on Parler, prompt society to consider the value of the unfettered freedom to spread dangerously false information.
“Cancel culture” is becoming synonymous with fragility. Pundits increasingly resent when racial, cultural and sexual norms are enforced in public. They bemoan cancel culture as a form of censorship, despite the fact that no one has actually been “cancelled.” They grieve the loss of free speech when they’re merely being taught a lesson: there is currency in our words and the price paid is accountability.
The protests of 2020 and the tragic and painful hindsight of 20/20 make March a compelling, tragic, and inspiring read as we follow the renewed/continued/ever-more-urgent calls for racial justice in this country and around the world. Telling the story of John Lewis’s unparalleled life as a civil rights activist, March narrates Lewis’s and the U.S. history with the fierce urgency of today.
The problem is not corporate censorship, it’s the idea that we can find all the reliable information we need on the internet with no guidelines or knowledge how to vet information or discriminate fact from fraud. Censorship becomes an issue when government entities start to take part – and this is why eliminating censorship within the construct of libraries is so important.
The media tends to report on politics as if it were sports. It’s A or B, a winner or a loser, a zero sum game. But now, the media covers politics like reality TV. It’s not even about winners and losers anymore. It’s about the spectacle, the outrage, the drama.
Oregon’s new stand-against-hate initiative is, in part, a reaction to the fatal MAX stabbings in Portland three years ago. But asking the government to intervene in our extralegal interactions does more to divide us than it does to unite. Especially when these interventions call for the compiling of data on speech that is of no legal consequence whatsoever.
Lawyer Robert Barnes seeks to prevent the next social media lynch mob by setting legal and cultural precedents for doxing, recording in public, implicit defamation and the ‘of and concerning’ standard, congressional speech immunity under statute, legal jurisdiction in online crimes, and the contours of speech and press freedoms. Barnes represents anonymous clients connected to Covington Catholic High School on matters regarding the 2019 Lincoln Memorial incident, as well as independent media figure Alex Jones of InfoWars.
Ultimately, while there may be arguments about the wisdom of these stay-at-home orders, and perhaps other constitutional arguments to be made, I don’t think the argument that they violate the right to assembly or the right to religion is particularly persuasive. Let’s cross our fingers that these social distancing measures work, and we can all go back to “normal” soon, making this debate a distant memory.
The book is a way to explore the many ways that we can hold true to endowing librarianship to encourage a spirited inquiry and encourage more listening.