In Response to: Limits to Free Speech

For whatever it's worth at this point, this comment is riddled with errors:
- There is absolutely nothing "antiquated" about the principle of free speech. Speech has always had the potential to be inflammatory; there's never been a period in history when that wasn't the case, or when all "people are swayed by logical argument." Nor is free speech based on the premise that all people *need* to be perfectly rational in their thinking in order for that right to work.
- There are limits to free speech, but they don't include the idea that "Hate speech is not protected as free speech." In the United States, hateful speech absolutely IS protected by the First Amendment, as the U.S. Supreme Court has found in cases, such as Snyder v. Phelps (2011), in which the Court upheld the right of members of the indisputably hateful Westboro Baptist Church to demonstrate outside the funerals of American soldiers killed in combat.
- Nor do the limits to free speech include the idea that "You can't yell fire in a crowded theater," which is a misquotation of a hackneyed excerpt from a century-old Supreme Court case that is no longer binding legal precedent in its entirety. The actual original quote — from Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.'s opinion in the 1919 Supreme Court case Schenck v. United States — stated that you can't FALSELY yell "fire" in a crowded theatre. And in any case, the Brandenburg v. Ohio case partially overturned that precedent 50 years later. People who use that misleading cliche are badly misinformed and are misinforming the public (see, e.g,
President Eisgruber's defense of free speech here is entirely on point. As I witnessed as a student a decade ago (see, e.g., http://akruminations.blogsp..., Princetonians are more than capable — and perhaps more capable than students at many other universities — of handling the expression of offensive viewpoints the right way: By proving them wrong, not by shouting them down or using them as an excuse to engage in violence. See here for my own recent audio-visual tribute to Princeton's culture of free speech:

Akil Alleyne ’08