This is a surreal time for freedom of speech. While the legal protections of the First Amendment remain strong, the culture is obsessed with punishing individuals for allegedly offensive utterances. And academia – already an institution in which free speech is in decline – has grown still more intolerant, with high-profile “disinvitation” efforts against well-known speakers and demands for professors to provide “trigger warnings” in class.
In this Broadside, Greg Lukianoff argues that the threats to free speech go well beyond political correctness or liberal groupthink. As global populations increasingly expect not just physical comfort but also intellectual comfort, threats to freedom of speech are only going to become more intense. To fight back, we must understand this trend and see how students and average citizens alike are increasingly demanding freedom from speech.