Dear readers: Trust me. I’m a long-time criminal defense and
civil liberties lawyer, and I’m telling you that the “war on drugs” has been
an abysmal and wholly destructive failure. Not only has it been responsible for
the erosion of myriad provisions of
the Bill of Rights, but this “war” has
made it significantly more difficult for those interested in promoting healthy
practices, especially among the young, to speak with credibility and
persuasiveness on the dangers of abusing both lawful and illegal drugs.
My Freedom Watch column on the death of parody on American
college campuses, which appears in the Boston
Phoenix ’s August 1st issue, provoked more of a response than
any of my columns in recent memory. My email in-box was jammed with messages,
largely from those who agreed with me, but a few from less-than-convinced (or
at least less-than-happy) readers.
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino treads a shameful, unwise,
constitutionally dubious, and ultimately ineffective path when he orders his
goons to keep the untidy street performers from the plaza surrounding City Hall
and Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Relegating the
clowns, artists and other performers
to a small sliver of territory, outside of the main arena of activity, not only
forecloses more than one performance at a time, but relegates the performers to
an inconsequential status.
“Hide your children! The British are coming!!”
From the mouths of militiamen came the now-famous warning:
the British had invaded, and the time to fight for independence had arrived.
Today, nearly a quarter-millennium after the colonists’
struggle, some citizens see a new threat after the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of
Appeals handed down two key free speech decisions this week.
By Harvey Silverglate,
My wife and I wish to commend the
staff of The New Yorker. They have
finally realized that the level of political rhetoric in this country has
fallen so low that the only appropriate response is satire. There is no way
that I could have possibly responded to my critics and detractors as
effectively as has the artist who drew that cover.
By Wendy Kaminer,
Barack Obama is poised to become “our first president who is a civil libertarian,” Jeffrey Rosen wrote hopefully and not without reason, less than 6 months ago. But it didn’t take long for the audacity of politics to expose the naivete of hope. Today, given Obama’s support for the grossly and gratuitously anti-libertarian FISA amendments (painstakingly explored by the tireless Glenn Greenwald,) civil libertarians are likely to vote for him with a lot more resignation than enthusiasm.
By Harvey Silverglate
Three cheers for Margery Eagan for her July 8th Boston Herald column’s deft skewering of those who have reacted with horror and, even worse, threats of future censorship toward this year’s Beverly Farms Horribles Parade, posted on YouTube. Eagan alone appears to understand the appropriateness of the biting – even crude and vicious – satire directed at the whole brouhaha over whether a group of teenage mothers-to-be in Gloucester got together to plan their deliveries at about the same time.?xml:namespace>
By Wendy Kaminer,
“(M)ost Americans have a non-dogmatic approach to faith,” the Pew Forum happily announced this week. Pew’s widely reported, 2008 “Religious Landscape Survey” found that Americans combine religiosity (92% profess belief in God or a “universal spirit”) with tolerance: “Most Americans agree with the statement that many religions – not just their own – can lead to eternal life.
partially a free speech blog, so we’d be remiss in failing to note the passing
of George Carlin. He failed to convince the Supreme Court of the absurdity of
the Federal Communications Commission’s “broadcast indecency” rules that
scrubbed the airwaves during the day and evening (when, presumably, the kiddies
are awake) of those naughty words that we all hear and (if the truth be told)
many of us use quite regularly.
This morning’s Boston
Globe reports on the criminal prosecution and college disciplinary
proceeding simultaneously pending against two Wentworth Institute of Technology
male students who had the bad sense (and bad grace) to videotape two female
Massachusetts College of Art and Design students having an intimate moment in
bed in a dormitory within all-too-easy sight range.
By Harvey Silverglate
Massachusetts judiciary – and as a result, the people of the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts – are about to lose one of liberty’s most effective
and reliable friends. But just because state Superior Court Judge Isaac
Borenstein will retire from his life-tenured position on the state’s
trial court on September 12th doesn’t mean that he will
disappear altogether from the battle for freedom, decency, and fairness.
In a puritan streak, Harvard University has forced several student groups who were planning on hosting a "Barely Legal" party to change the name -- or they otherwise couldn't hold the party, according to the Harvard Crimson and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). (Disclosure: Free For All writer Harvey Silverglate is Chairman of the Board of Directors of FIRE.