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Sep 25 2019

James Flynn Book on Free Speech Is Suppressed

Intelligence researcher James Flynn wrote a book about the value of freedom of speech in higher education entitled, In Defense of Free Speech: The University as Censor. It was scheduled for publication by Emerald Press. From the synopsis in their catalog, via Quillette:

Freedom to debate is essential to the development of critical thought, but on university campuses today free speech is restricted for fear of causing offence. In Defense of Free Speech surveys the underlying factors that circumscribe the ideas tolerated in our institutions of learning. James Flynn critically examines the way universities censor their teaching, how student activism tends to censor the opposing side and how academics censor themselves…

Publishing companies do the same thing. Emerald canceled publication on the grounds that someone might be offended by a book defending freedom of speech.

From the letter they sent Flynn informing him that his book had been canceled:

By the nature of its subject matter, the work addresses sensitive topics of race, religion, and gender. …

There are two main causes of concern for Emerald. Firstly, the work could be seen to incite racial hatred and stir up religious hatred under United Kingdom law. Clearly you have no intention of promoting racism but intent can be irrelevant.

If a leftist might find it “offensive,” then you can’t say it, or you might get arrested in the land George Orwell called Airstrip One.

Secondly, there are many instances in the manuscript where the actions, conversations and behavior of identifiable individuals at specific named colleges are discussed in detail and at length in relation to controversial events. Given the sensitivity of the issues involved, there is both the potential for serious harm to Emerald’s reputation and the significant possibility of legal action.

Flynn asserts that “every reference to a person is documented by citations of published material or material in the public domain.”

However, it is true that quoting thought criminals like Charles Murray could hurt Emerald’s reputation among the militantly conformist liberal intelligentsia.

Click through for Flynn’s description of his book. It sounds good and certainly deserves to be published.

Flynn sums up the situation:

Discussing why free speech should extend to questions of race and gender necessarily involves presenting views (such as those of [Arthur] Jensen, [Charles] Murray, and [Richard] Lynn), if only for purposes of rebuttal, which upset those who believe that racial and sexual equality is self-evident. If upsetting students or staff or the public is a reason for banning speech, all such discussion is at an end. I end the book by quoting from George Orwell’s original preface to Animal Farm, which was itself rejected by Faber and Faber for being too critical of Stalin: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

You can have liberty or you can have political correctness; you can’t have both.

On a tip from Steve T.

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