Author delivers lecture on free speech

first_imgDr. Keith Whittington never expected to write on the topic of free speech. As Whittington introduced himself before his lecture on his new book, “Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech,” on Thursday afternoon, he explained that he set aside projects more related to his specialty in constitutional interpretation to focus on an issue he could no longer ignore.“I think it’s critically important that we collectively think seriously about what it is we want universities to do and what that implies about how we ought to conduct ourselves on campuses and what we ought to tolerate and engage in on college campuses,” Whittington said.Whittington spoke as part of the Constitutional Studies’ effort to delve into American society’s conflicted attitude toward free speech and how it affects the conversations on college campuses. Whittington said that the issue of free speech is not a new one but that the American people have been grappling with its implications for as long as public opinion surveys have been used in research.“Regardless of what kind of audience you ask, whether it’s the mass public or lawyers or college students or the like, overwhelmingly Americans tend to say that they value free speech, they value the First Amendment, they value tolerance, they think all those things are very important,” he said. “But then when you start pressing them on, ‘Well, what about this particular example of speech that you find particularly repellent?’ well, then they start trying to carve out exceptions.”This dilemma, Whittington said, is part of the challenge of living in a liberal democracy, and it requires us to accept that supporting free speech means tolerating speech that is at times troubling. Whittington said this tolerance is especially important on college campuses, where the pursuit of knowledge is tantamount.“In the context of a university in particular, we’re particularly concerned with trying to press forward to better understand the world,” he said. “And pressing forward to better understand the world means leaving lots of space open for people to make mistakes, for people to ask hard questions, for people to come to uncomfortable answers in response to those hard questions. Universities lose a lot of their value if they can’t get to that anymore.”Throughout his lecture, Whittington discussed the importance of having an open environment conducive to what he called “robust intellectual inquiry,” which means issues of free speech and universities are intimately connected both for that reason and for the danger of allowing universities any power that could be used to suppress speech.“I think campus officials will do what they’ve always done, which is try to suppress speech they find particularly embarrassing and that they think might provoke public controversy and might draw unwanted news attention,” Whittington said. “That will stretch across a wide range of different conversations. That will sometimes mean silencing speakers on the right but also mean silencing speakers on the left. It will sometimes mean silencing minority speakers and sometimes it will mean silencing other kinds of speakers.”An attack on any kind of free speech, Whittington said, is an attack on all free speech; a speaker with views outside the norm can still have something to contribute to the conversation. Yet controversy for controversy’s sake, Whittington said, should never be the goal of inviting a speaker to campus.“When we’re making decisions about whom to invite to campus to speak, the goal should be neither to stack the deck with our closest allies nor to sprinkle in the most extreme provocateurs,” Whittington said. “The goal should be to make available to the campus community at large thoughtful representatives of serious ideas.”That responsibility to choose speakers wisely lies with both faculty and students since students deserve to have power over the debates in which they engage. Whittington said protest is a form of intellectual exploration and advocacy and that students have a right to protest, as long as their efforts do not destroy the free speech of others.“It’s perfectly reasonable to protest those ideas, to complain about those ideas, to have a public conversation about whether or not the given speaker has good ideas or bad ideas, whether or not it’s a good idea to invite a given speaker to campus and the like,” Whittington said. “But disruptions, disinvitations, tearing down signs, throwing out papers are all efforts to quash the communication of ideas and shut down the free exchange of ideas among students and others on the college campus rather than to advance that free exchange of ideas by advancing better ideas in their stead.”Ultimately, Whittington argued, university administration, faculty and students must allow themselves to be challenged in order to continue the debates integral to the purpose of the university.“If students are to prepare themselves to critically engage the wide range of perspectives and problems they will encounter in the world across their lifetimes, they must learn to grapple with and critically examine ideas they find difficult and offensive,” Whittington said. “ … Recognizing and respecting the principles of free speech is challenging, but there is no alternative if we are dedicated to pursue truth. And ultimately, to pursue truth is the noble and important mission of the modern American university.”Tags: Free speech, keith whittingtonlast_img read more

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Canada shows that assisted suicide is a cliff, not a slippery slope

first_imgMedia Release – Secretary Care Alliance 22 April 2016Family First Comment: Dr Kleinsman says the Canadian experience shows there is no logical limit once you start legalising assisted suicide. “Taking the single, fateful step of believing that assisting suicide is a legitimate response to suffering puts you in free fall. You simply cannot withhold it from some if you allow it for others.”John Kleinsman, Chair of the Care Alliance, says that Canada is providing a stark warning that “assisted suicide is a cliff, not a slippery slope”.The Canadian government last week submitted a bill that would legalise ‘medical assistance in dying’ in response to the Supreme Court’s judgment last year in Carter v Canada.The National Post columnist Andrew Coyne has highlighted that the chief complaint of euthanasia advocates about the bill is that “it does not include children and the mentally incompetent.”What once was unthinkable is now indispensable. The extraordinary step of authorizing doctors (and nurse practitioners: another innovation), sworn down the centuries to save lives, to take them instead, has been swallowed and digested as if it were nothing. The debate has moved on to its next inevitable stage.Dr Kleinsman says the Canadian experience shows there is no logical limit once you start legalising assisted suicide. “Taking the single, fateful step of believing that assisting suicide is a legitimate response to suffering puts you in free fall. You simply cannot withhold it from some if you allow it for others.”He noted that David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill proposes legalising euthanasia and assisted suicide for anyone over the age of 18. “If Mr Seymour truly believes it is compassionate for the State to kill adults, why on earth would he withhold such ‘compassion’ from children? Belgium, the Netherlands and now Canada show that is exactly where this thinking leads you, and Mr Seymour should at least be honest about it.”ENDSlast_img read more

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CARICOM agency rebukes French president

first_img Tweet 45 Views   no discussions Share CARICOM flag. Photo credit: flags.netBASSETERRE, St Kitts (CUOPM) — The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) has rebuked French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s characterisation of three CARICOM states as “tax havens.”In a statement the COTED said, “The member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), like Europe, are seeking to re-ignite growth, create jobs and ensure financial stability.”“We are therefore deeply concerned by the recent statements made by the president of France at the end of the G-20 Summit last month which identified Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago as “tax havens,” the statement said.According to the COTED statement, “In particular, CARICOM states consider the remarks made at the G-20 Summit press conference by the president to the effect that the 11 countries identified by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes are regarded as ‘tax havens’ to be at variance with the spirit conveyed in the official declaration by the G-20.“The president’s remarks fail to recognize the efforts being made by the CARICOM states identified to bring their legal and regulatory framework into compliance with the global standard.“The indiscriminate characterisation as a result of these remarks has brought the good reputation of these states into question.“To be absolutely clear, the Global Forum has not, in fact, published a list of 11 ‘tax havens’, and it has certainly not identified any of these jurisdictions as a ‘tax haven’.“Given our member states’ ongoing collaboration and cooperation with the Global Forum in order to ensure that their legal and regulatory framework meets the global standard, such characterization of CARICOM states is subjective and completely without basis.“We therefore categorically reject the president’s assertions with respect to CARICOM states.“CARICOM member states acknowledge the outcome of the peer reviews and have been taking action both in respect of our national legal and regulatory framework, as well as in respect of the Intra-CARICOM Double Taxation Agreement (ICDTA), which has been in existence amongst our countries since 1994.“In this regard, we are amending the ICDTA to bring the exchange of information provisions in compliance with the global standard.“The Global Forum is intended to be a collaborative and cooperative process rather than the adversarial relationship with the OECD that had prevailed in the past. CARICOM states acknowledge and recognize and will continue to support the Global Forum process.”Caribbean News Now Sharing is caring!center_img Share NewsRegional CARICOM agency rebukes French president by: – December 9, 2011 Sharelast_img read more

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Dodgers at Padres (Saturday): Starting pitchers, TV, times & more

first_imgTHE PITCHERSDODGERS RHP BROCK STEWART (0-0, 3.38 ERA)Vs. Padres: 0-0, 0.00 ERAAt Petco Park: 0-0, 0.00 ERAHates to face: Yangervis Solarte, 1 for 1 Loves to face: Hector Sanchez/Allen Cordoba, 0 for 1, 1 KPADRES LHP CLAYTON RICHARD (6-13, 4.96 ERA)Vs. Dodgers: 7-6, 4.15 ERAAt Petco Park: 28-26, 3.31 ERAHates to face: Austin Barnes, 5 for 9 (.556), 2 doubles, 1 HRLoves to face: Curtis Granderson, 1 for 10 (.100), 3 KsDODGERS at PADRES, Game 2When: Today, 7:10 p.m.Where: Petco ParkTV: SportsNet LATHE PITCHERSDODGERS RHP YU DARVISH (8-10, 3.88 ERA)Vs. Padres: 1-0, 3.21 ERAAt Petco Park: 1-0, 2.25 ERAHates to face: Matt Szczur, 2 for 2, 1 doubleLoves to face: Cory Spangenberg, 0 for 3, 3 KsPADRES RHP JORDAN LYLES (0-2, 6.94 ERA)Vs. Dodgers: 0-3, 7.71 ERAAt Petco Park: 0-2, 5.82 ERAHates to face: Austin Barnes, 4 for 4, 1 double, 1 tripleLoves to face: Curtis Granderson, 0 for 3, 1 K DODGERS at PADRES, Game 1When: Saturday, 12:40 p.m.Where: Petco ParkTV: SportsNet LAcenter_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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