7 votes

Free-speech group will spend millions to promote First Amendment cases

16 comments

  1. [7]
    mtset
    Link
    The only time I've had contact with FIRE was when they threatened to sue my school for allowing students to protest a speaking engagement by a war criminal, so I don't have high hopes for their...

    The only time I've had contact with FIRE was when they threatened to sue my school for allowing students to protest a speaking engagement by a war criminal, so I don't have high hopes for their commitment to protecting free speech.

    15 votes
    1. [6]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      That seems pretty close to what the ACLU used to do. Did you know that in 1978, the ACLU defended actual neo-Nazis in Skokie, Illinois?

      That seems pretty close to what the ACLU used to do. Did you know that in 1978, the ACLU defended actual neo-Nazis in Skokie, Illinois?

      3 votes
      1. [5]
        mtset
        Link Parent
        I'm not sure what you mean. They weren't defending his right to speak, as we weren't preventing him from speaking. They were defending his right to speak without criticism by attempting to...

        I'm not sure what you mean. They weren't defending his right to speak, as we weren't preventing him from speaking. They were defending his right to speak without criticism by attempting to suppress our right to protest.

        Nothing ever came of it, but that's not a pro free speech thing no matter how you slice it.

        (And yes, I did know that.)

        14 votes
        1. vord
          Link Parent
          I'd been trying to place my finger on why FIRE had such a different vibe than ACLU cases, and that's it exactly. ACLU will defend deplorables if there is legit concern about legalized oppression...

          I'd been trying to place my finger on why FIRE had such a different vibe than ACLU cases, and that's it exactly.

          ACLU will defend deplorables if there is legit concern about legalized oppression of free speech. FIRE is more about suppressing the free speech of critics than protecting rights.

          8 votes
        2. lou
          Link Parent
          Thank you for making this very important distinction.

          Thank you for making this very important distinction.

          4 votes
        3. [2]
          skybrian
          Link Parent
          Well, that's your story to tell; I don't know what happened. ("Protest" is kind of vague since it's a whole range of behaviors, anything from holding signs outside to mild heckling to being so...

          Well, that's your story to tell; I don't know what happened.

          ("Protest" is kind of vague since it's a whole range of behaviors, anything from holding signs outside to mild heckling to being so disruptive that it effectively prevents the speech from happening.)

          1 vote
          1. mtset
            Link Parent
            There's a pretty big difference between defending the speaking party in court (the ACLU example you gave) and threatening to sue someone for speech.

            There's a pretty big difference between defending the speaking party in court (the ACLU example you gave) and threatening to sue someone for speech.

            7 votes
  2. [9]
    skybrian
    Link
    From the article: […] […]

    From the article:

    The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is renaming itself the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression and keeping the “FIRE” acronym as it launches a drive to promote greater acceptance of a diversity of views in the workplace, pop culture and elsewhere. Part of the push may challenge the American Civil Liberties Union’s primacy as a defender of free speech.

    […]

    Many of FIRE’s founders and backers are former leaders of the ACLU who have grown disillusioned with the group under its current executive director, Anthony Romero, who left the Ford Foundation to take over the storied civil liberties organization in 2001.

    In 2020, FIRE released “Mighty Ira,” a laudatory documentary film about Romero’s predecessor, Ira Glasser, focusing on the ACLU’s work from the 1970s through the 1990s.

    Glasser, who serves on a FIRE advisory board, said in an interview that he “strongly encouraged” FIRE to broaden its free-speech work in part because the ACLU seems to be abdicating that role.

    “Once the ACLU backs off its traditional role, who else is there?” Glasser asked. “It’s great to have the ACLU fighting for racial and reproductive justice and gay rights. …The notion that you have to reduce your vigor with which you defend First Amendment rights or you will damage the strength of your advocacy for equal rights for women, gays, and Blacks, et cetera is just demonstrably not true and, yet, they’ve done that. It has created a vacuum in the viewpoint-neutral defense of free speech, which FIRE has filled.”

    Romero, the ACLU chief, said Monday that he agrees free speech is under increasing attack in the U.S. and is pleased that FIRE is branching out.

    […]

    Even with the planned expansion by FIRE, the ACLU will continue to dwarf the upstart organization in size and funding. The ACLU enjoyed a massive surge in funding following Trump’s victory in 2016 and now brings in almost $400 million to its coffers each year. FIRE, by contrast, raised under $16 million in its last fiscal year.

    3 votes
    1. [8]
      PapaNachos
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Ugh "diversity of views" is such a thinly veiled euphemism for "let me say bigoted shit without consequence". Their whole vibe reminds me of one of my favorite tweets Groups like this always seem...

      Ugh "diversity of views" is such a thinly veiled euphemism for "let me say bigoted shit without consequence". Their whole vibe reminds me of one of my favorite tweets

      Groups like this always seem to use the same language and the same euphemisms and dog whistles. It makes them easy to spot, but honestly it's pretty tiring

      11 votes
      1. [8]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. [7]
          EgoEimi
          Link Parent
          The 2016 election outcome was severely disappointing to me — but similarly not completely surprising. I tread between two vastly different worlds: one liberal, coastal, cosmopolitan, multiracial,...

          The 2016 election outcome was severely disappointing to me — but similarly not completely surprising. I tread between two vastly different worlds: one liberal, coastal, cosmopolitan, multiracial, and highly-educated, and the other of my upbringing — Midwestern and conservative. I think of some childhood friends who didn't go through traditional college paths and viewed the Clintons with deep mistrust.

          I think the lack of conservative voices and sincere engagement with such voices on college campuses may have created a college-educated social stratum — I think of my college friends and acquaintances who are now in media and politics as journalists or strategists — that's incapable of engaging with the masses beyond simply as data.

          3 votes
          1. [6]
            mtset
            Link Parent
            I'm really tired of these particular lukewarm "college educated elites don't get it" takes. It's not an education divide, it's a fucking class divide. People who profit from owning land they don't...

            I'm really tired of these particular lukewarm "college educated elites don't get it" takes. It's not an education divide, it's a fucking class divide. People who profit from owning land they don't live on, owning large amounts of stock, and owning private businesses - even small ones - are in a completely separate world from people who work for a living, even people who make lots of money. Some of those are college educated, some not, but that is where you'll find your disconnect.

            Those in the capitalist class are the ones who run the government, too. The only difference between the two parties right now is their aesthetics and just how far they'll go in rolling back social progress. The Republicans use the language of bigotry to build a base, while the Dems just passively allow it and dangle progressivism as a carrot for gullible liberals.

            7 votes
            1. [3]
              MimicSquid
              Link Parent
              As someone who owned a small business, albeit a very small one, I take umbrage with claiming that I didn't work for a living and that I inherently was middle- or upper-class because of it. My work...

              As someone who owned a small business, albeit a very small one, I take umbrage with claiming that I didn't work for a living and that I inherently was middle- or upper-class because of it. My work wasn't always the same as the work of other employees, but I still worked because the business absolutely needed the administration work I provided and would never have provided sufficient profits for me to live on. That said, I recognize that once you move out of the smaller, 1-5 employee range the owners very quickly start extracting more value than they provide and are less likely to identify with their workers.

              3 votes
              1. [2]
                mtset
                Link Parent
                That's not what I said - I said people who profit from ownership alone. Owning a small business is fine, anyone who has an LLC technically owns a small business. Making money just because you own...

                As someone who owned a small business, albeit a very small one, I take umbrage with claiming that I didn't work for a living

                That's not what I said - I said people who profit from ownership alone. Owning a small business is fine, anyone who has an LLC technically owns a small business. Making money just because you own something makes you a capitalist.

                5 votes
                1. vord
                  Link Parent
                  A simple example I use: I buy a few shares of Joann fabric, or any other number of companies that pay a dividend. I now get a quarterly dividend (a couple cents per share). I have zero involvement...
                  • Exemplary

                  A simple example I use:

                  I buy a few shares of Joann fabric, or any other number of companies that pay a dividend. I now get a quarterly dividend (a couple cents per share). I have zero involvement with how Joanns runs, and don't care so long as it keeps making money. This is being a small-scale capitalist. I am making money purely by virtue of having enough money to purchase a thing that makes more money without my involvement.

                  A small business owner, whom is actively working on/for their business, isn't inheritly profiting from ownership....but they would be once they hire somebody else to do their job and they just start collecting dividends.

                  My advice to small business owners who don't want to become exploititive as they grow: Transition to a worker cooperative model. Write your incorporation such that the risks, rewards, and decisions are all borne by all employees in a fair way. Democracy in the workplace if you will. If not that, being 100% open about finances with your workers should go a long way toward building trust that you're not just fleecing them.

                  4 votes
            2. [2]
              EgoEimi
              Link Parent
              I think this "proletarians of the world, unite!" way of looking at things misses that there are a lot of people out there who believe that work is virtue, man must earn his daily bread, and that...

              I think this "proletarians of the world, unite!" way of looking at things misses that there are a lot of people out there who believe that work is virtue, man must earn his daily bread, and that honest hard work is core to "being a man".

              I don't believe such, but there are many voters who conceptualize things in a very different way than how liberals do.

              2 votes
              1. mtset
                Link Parent
                Liberals mostly believe that. If they didn't, the Dems would actually implement useful social policy.

                Liberals mostly believe that. If they didn't, the Dems would actually implement useful social policy.

                3 votes