Censorship: Left, Right, and Center

WED, MAR 3, 2004 (1:29:47)

Attorneys Wendy Kaminer and Harvey Silverglate, known for their outspoken social criticism and their provocative positions on civil liberties, lead this discussion on censorship. Wendy Kaminer’s most recent book, Free for All: Defending Liberty in America Today, (Beacon Press) reviews perennial threats to free speech and other liberties, focusing on the heightened climate of fear in the post-9/11 United States. Harvey Silverglate’s 1998 book, co-authored with Alan Charles Kors, The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America’s Campuses, looks at speech codes, ostensibly developed to promote civility, as a means for repression of free speech. How has our understanding of inflammatory rhetoric changed? Is any amount of censorship too much?

+ BIO: Wendy Kaminer

Wendy Kaminer, a lawyer and social critic, writes about law, liberty, feminism, religion, and popular culture. Her latest book is Worst Instincts: Cowardice, Conformity and the ACLU, (Beacon Press.) A former Guggenheim fellow and recipient of the Smith College Medal, she is the author of seven previous books, including Free for All: Defending Liberty in America Today; Sleeping with Extra-Terrestrials: The Rise of Irrationalism and Perils of Piety; True Love Waits: Essays and Criticism; It’s All the Rage: Crime and Culture; I’m Dysfunctional, You’re Dysfunctional: The Recovery Movement & Other Self-Help Fashions; and A Fearful Freedom: Women’s Flight from Equality. Her articles and reviews, dating back to the 1980s, have appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, The Wall Street Journal, The Village Voice, The American Prospect, Dissent, The Nation, The Wilson Quarterly, Free Inquiry, Slate.com, thefreeforall.net , and spiked-online.com. Her commentaries have aired on National Public Radio. Before embarking on her writing career, Ms. Kaminer briefly practiced law, as a criminal defense attorney for the New York Legal Aid Society and a staff attorney in the New York City Mayor’s Office. Law has remained one of her primary subjects, and her writings on such apparently disparate topics as feminism, criminal justice, free speech, religion, spirituality, and popular culture are shaped by common concerns for liberty, individualism, ethics, and rationality. A former board member of the American Civil Liberties Union, Kaminer is an ardent civil libertarian and currently serves on the advisory boards of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and the Secular Coalition for America. She does not twitter.

+ BIO: Harvey A. Silverglate

Harvey A. Silverglate is an attorney practicing in Cambridge, MA. He holds degrees from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. Along with Alan Kors he co-founded the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and is a board member of the Massachusetts chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. He has taught at Harvard Law School, Cambridge Rindge and Latin, and in the University of Massachusetts College III program. In addition to his law practice and his teaching, he is also a regular columnist for The Boston Phoenix on matters relating to political, legal issues and civil liberties.

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