If you listen to many academics and commentators, you might be inclined to believe that free speech is a value only recently adopted by the United States.
In his second installment in a short series of blogs for The Huffington Post responding to an article written by Eric Posner for Slate last week, FIRE president Greg Lukianoff replies to this recently popular misconception. Specifically, Greg addresses the claim by Posner, a University of Chicago law professor, that free speech as we understand it is a relatively recent phenomenon, earning “its sacred status only in the 1960s, and then only among liberals and the left.”
Greg points out holes in Posner’s argument by exploring historical records and First Amendment jurisprudence. As he writes:
[I]t’s important to get a sense of the history surrounding freedom of speech. Appreciation for freedom of expression — and the struggle to attain it — stretches back centuries, not decades.
Greg’s blog is an important read and well worth your time. It is the follow-up piece to his first post in a series of posts seeking to address what he likes to call the “inaccurate and other times hackneyed arguments against freedom of speech that have become so prevalent in certain academic circles.” Be sure to subscribe to Greg’s Huffington Post author page to catch the next post in the series.