Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Rhetorical Bestiary: Free Speech is Censorship

Alan Dershowitz:
I would bet anything that 99 percent of the people who are demanding that [Salaita] be restored tenure would be on the exact opposite side of this if he’d been making pro-Israel but equally uncivil statements.
Hypocrisy about free speech is universal. Even among Supreme Court justices, who are supposed to be non-ideological, Epstein, Parker, and Segal found a strong tendency to support the free speech rights of their ideological brethren and oppose the free speech rights of their ideological opponents. No doubt your average Joe is even less principled than Scalia, Ginsburg, or Kennedy.
If free speech hypocrisy is so banal, why make so much of it? The argument goes something like this:
  1. Supporters of X's right to say p claim they care about free speech rights.
  2. Were X saying ¬p, X's current supporters would not defend his free speech rights.
  3. Therefore, censorship is good! P.S., I am not a crackpot.

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