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Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate Hardcover – October 23, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (October 23, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594036357
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594036354
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #552,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Lukianoff is an engaging exposer of the shocking repression of free speech on campus, combining good storytelling with clear principles and a serious purpose with a light touch." — Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, author of The Blank Slate and The Better Angels of Our Nature

"Unlearning Liberty is a must read book for anyone concerned about the constitutional future of our nation." — Nat Hentoff, journalist, author of Free Speech for Me—But Not for Thee

"Here's a book full of sunlight—the best disinfectant for campus censorship." — Jonathan Rauch, guest scholar, Brookings Institution, author of Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought

“Destined to be a classic work on freedom in America.” — Donald Alexander Downs, Alexander Meiklejohn Professor of Political Science, Law, and Journalism, University of Wisconsin-Madison, author of Restoring Free Speech and Liberty on Campus

“American universities have been described as islands of intolerance in a sea of freedom. Unlearning Liberty is a meticulous and inspiring guide on how to liberate the islands!” — Christina Hoff Sommers, resident scholar, American Enterprise Institute, author of The War Against Boys

“Lukianoff argues brilliantly and with wit for the importance of free expression in a society that hopes to produce free human beings rather than craven conformists.” — Daphne Patai, professor, Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, University of Massachusetts Amherst, author of What Price Utopia?

“Unlearning Liberty shows why free speech rights on campus are more important than ever, and how controversy is still a great teacher.” — Mary Beth Tinker, plaintiff in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District

“Beautifully written and powerfully argued … an essential wake-up call!" — Nadine Strossen, Professor of Law, New York Law School, former President, American Civil Liberties Union (1991-2008), author of Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women’s Rights

About the Author

Greg Lukianoff is an attorney and president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. His writings on campus free speech have appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe, in addition to dozens of other publications. A regular columnist for the Huffington Post, he has frequently appeared on television, including CBS Evening News and Stossel. He received the 2008 Playboy Foundation Freedom of Expression Award and the 2010 Ford Hall Forum’s Louis P. and Evelyn Smith First Amendment Award on behalf of FIRE. Lukianoff is a graduate of American University and Stanford Law School.

More About the Author

Greg Lukianoff is an attorney and the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). He is the author of "Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate" and his writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Boston Globe, in addition to dozens of other publications. He is a regular columnist for The Huffington Post and has appeared on television shows, including the "CBS Evening News," "Fox & Friends," "The Today Show," CNN's "New Day," C-SPAN's "Washington Journal," and "Stossel." He received the 2008 Playboy Foundation Freedom of Expression Award and the 2010 Ford Hall Forum's Louis P. and Evelyn Smith First Amendment Award on behalf of FIRE. He is a graduate of American University and Stanford Law School.

Customer Reviews

Some will make you mad, some will make you cry.
K. Freberg
To his credit Mr. Lukianoff defends everyone's right to free speech, including Christians, even though he is an atheist.
John Bean
Very well written and researched, and told with good humor and insight.
David Jesmer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Peter on October 23, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Can't say it any better than Ken at Popehat.com (awesome free speach legal blog).

In Unlearning Liberty, Greg reviews the different occasions and excuses for censorship in modern American universities, marshaling a bewildering array of case studies. Some were familiar to me: the ludicrous reaction to posters at University of Wisconsin-Stout, the legal threats to critics of the administration of Peace College, and the entirely repellent tale of Indiana University punishing a student worker for reading a book about struggles against the Klan in front of coworkers. Many others were new to me -- and I follow FIRE fairly closely. Greg has a talent for describing instances of censorship in a way to outrage me anew even if I have heard of them before. (For instance, I defy anyone to read about the University of Delaware's frankly Stalinist reeducation program for frosh without feeling disgust and contempt; Greg offers new details that led me to put the book down and go take a walk for a while.)

But this is not merely a compilation of cases. Greg traces the history of campus censorship after the "political correctness" disputes of the 1990s, and weaves the incidents of censorship together to explain how different vaguely defined ideas (like "harassment" and "disruption" and "civility") are used in an unprincipled manner as trump cards to shut people up. Moreover, Greg rather convincingly illustrates how university censorship impacts the attitudes and tolerances of students, and explains why we should fear that students taught to submit to censorship and due process violations will not be reliable supporters of free expression or due process as voting adults.
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By K. Freberg on October 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book "UNLEARNING LIBERTY" is an insightful look into academia today and although Lukianoff points to the many administrators that have run an 'underground railroad' of sorts to funnel abused students and faculty to legal remedy... there are far too many administrators and faculty who feel that it is their right to restrict the rights of others, punish the guilty without due process and destroy the careers and lives of the innocent.

The book chronicles many of the cases of FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) over a ten year period. Some will make you mad, some will make you cry. This book should be given to every freshman entering a college or university today... so they know what their rights are... where they can appeal if they find themselves unfairly under the administrative boot... and, most importantly, that they are not alone.

So, whether you are on the left or the right of the political spectrum, you will find this book quietly disturbing.... and a must read.

Roger Freberg
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Free Speech Lover on October 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Greg's book is important because it establishes convincingly that American institutions of higher education are teaching intolerance of dissent and acceptance of various forms of censorship. The cases Greg describes show that this is not a partisan issue -- the words and ideas being suppressed are being attacked from all sides of the political spectrum, and sometimes out of non-partisan hostility towards criticism. Young adults educated in modern American universities can't be expected to support freedom of expression as adult citizens if they are taught to disdain it as students.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Greg Lukianoff is one of the key figures in a 'watchdog' group called FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education). Similar to a group like the ACLU, fire is devoted to protecting students' speech and due process rights on college campuses. The fact is that most people don't seem to know - or are not concerned about - the extent to which many schools do censor student speech: from relegating student speech to small "free speech zones," to painfully ambiguous speech codes that ban everything from insensitive jokes to "inappropriately directed laughter," to out-and-out residence life programs designed around imbuing students with the "correct" political messages. This book not only profiles dozens of such cases, but makes a strong argument as to why all of us - whether in college or not - suffer as a result.

These chapters are organized in a sort of 'chronological order' based on a student's academic career. So, the first chapter focuses on student rights in high schools (which FIRE doesn't per se deal with, but are important for setting up the rest of the book). The next several chapters focus on things like the 'residence life programs' mentioned earlier - like the one at my current university, the U of Delaware. (I won't explain it here; you can easily find out more online.) Later chapters focus on how free speech and expression is often stifled in the classroom and how, in some cases, students have been made to engage in political acts with which they may not disagree as a condition for passing a class or graduating a program! Lastly, we focus on issues where professors have been removed from departments for speech that someone somewhere judged to be offensive (like the history professor who was asked to resign for using the word 'wetback' in class....
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By David Rubenstein on October 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Shhh.

This is a great book, but it criticizes college administrators. If they find out I liked it or considered it to include important ideas, I might get into trouble. And my children might not even get into college.

Oh, heck, I don't care. I'll shout it from the rooftops: WE ARE THROTTLING STUDENT VOICES AND THEREBY THROTTLING NEW IDEAS AND TEACHING OUR BRIGHTEST NEW THINKERS TO STOP THINKING.

I feel much better now. See you in detention.

- Dave

P.S. This is a great book.
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