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The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech Hardcover – May 11, 2015

4.6 out of 5 stars 564 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A searing and courageous indictment of the growing intolerance of the American left—written with passion and eloquence by one of the nation's most principled and fair-minded liberals. An important book on a subject many are simply too afraid to touch."
—Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize–winning syndicated columnist and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Things That Matter

"Kirsten Powers convincingly calls out her fellow liberals for being astonishingly illiberal. A great read."
—Brit Hume, Fox News senior political analyst

"Kirsten Powers explodes and skewers 'The Silencing'—the demonizing and repression of different views, especially conservative views. Here is a liberal calling out other supposedly liberal people who claim to believe in free speech but tell all who disagree with them to shut up. Hallelujah—you are lucky to have this book in your hands!"
—Juan Williams, Fox News political analyst and New York Times bestselling author of Muzzled

"I salute my friend Kirsten Powers for boldly and eloquently breaking the spiral of silence on silencing."
—Eric Metaxas, New York Times bestselling author of Miracles and Bonhoeffer

"Tolerance and free expression are founding values of our republic and yet they're under attack from the extreme wings of the American political spectrum. Shining a harsh light on the 'illiberal left,' Kirsten Powers exposes a grim campaign to silence speech. This is an important book."
—Ron Fournier, senior political columnist and editorial director of National Journal

"In this examination of the multiplying attacks on freedom of speech, Kirsten Powers casts a cool eye on the damages done to politics, academia, and civic discourse by the aggressive assertion of a perverse new entitlement. It is the postulated right to pass through life without being disturbed, annoyed, offended, or discomposed by the expression of anyone else's thoughts."
—George F. Will, Pulitzer Prize–winning syndicated columnist and author of the New York Times bestseller A Nice Little Place on the North Side

From the Inside Flap

Free speech and freedom of conscience have long been core American values. Yet a growing intolerance from the left side of the political spectrum is threatening Americans' ability to freely express beliefs without fear of retaliation. USA Today columnist and Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers calls it "The Silencing."

Powers chronicles this forced march toward conformity in an exposé of the illiberal tactics deployed to shut down debate on some of the most important issues of the day. While preaching tolerance and claiming to hold liberal values, the "illiberal left" works to delegitimize political and ideological opponents in ways that stifle freedom of expression, thought, and religious belief.

In The Silencing, Kirsten Powers, herself a proud liberal--but from a far more tolerant Jeffersonian tradition--exposes the illiberal left. You'll learn:

  • Why the illiberal left has become an Orwellian "big brother," policing what it deems acceptable speech and opinions
  • How the illiberal left is obsessed with delegitimizing Fox News
  • How illiberal left pundits--even self-proclaimed "feminists" (and Powers names names)--engage in outrageously misogynistic and sexist dismissals of their female opponents
  • How illiberal colleges and universities limit freedom of expression to tightly regulated "free speech zones" and ban speakers (even liberals) with whom the illiberal left disagrees
  • How "truth" matters little to the illiberal left, for whom ideology is everything
  • How is it that liberalism, once associated with open-mindedness and reason, has become a vehicle for irrational prejudice, ideological conformity, and the marginalization and punishment of alternative opinions? Kirsten Powers chronicles this troubling trend in perhaps the most important--and chilling--political book of the year.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing (May 11, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1621573702
  • ISBN-13: 978-1621573708
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (564 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Graham H. Seibert TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 11, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kirsten Powers opens up by explaining that she is not a natural conservative. She comes from an Irish, working-class background and considered herself Democratic all of her life. She went to George Washington University and the University of Maryland, one which I attended, the other one just down the street. They are liberal bastions. Her life's experience has made her more conservative.

The subtitle of the book, How the Left Is Killing Free Speech, and her choice of a publisher, Regnery, suggest that this is a radically right-wing book. It is not at all that. It is simply a plea for common sense. Here, already before she has started, her point is made. Liberal orthodoxy has so defined the spectrum of thought in modern America that simply to question it, which is all she really wants to do, is to brand oneself as a right-winger.

Miss Powers is a USA Today contributor and a Fox News contributor. These are both centrist mass outlets, conservative mainly in the sense that they are often smeared as conservative. At 36 she is relatively young. She does not make many historical references. Let me start out with a few.

Saul Alinsky wrote the book on smearing conservatives. He called it “Rules for Radicals.” (NB: I included his rules as the 8th comment below.) The techniques that Miss Powers describes have been used by propagandists for all of my lifetime. I live in Ukraine, and note with chagrin that Russia is extremely effectively applying most of the techniques that she describes in order to vilify Ukraine and turn the Russian people (and American and European libertarians!) into unthinking supporters of Vladimir Putin.

The illiberal liberal camp, her word, champions pet issues which will be familiar to any reader of this review.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Be afraid, be very afraid, because the events described in Kirsten's book are snowballing. I think this should be a candidate for book of the year. Let me explain. I am a professor at a liberal state university, and I see all of the situations in Kirsten's book unfolding first hand. In fact, my university was listed in Kirsten's book as one of the colleges that threatened or derecognized Christian groups for their refusal to say they would not 'discriminate' on the base of belief--and I served on one of those hearing committees!

Anyway, this book exposes a disturbing trend happening in the US and specifically in college campuses in general--the assault on free speech by a growing segment of liberals that Kirsten calls ILLIBERALS (I like this term because it sounds like illogical and liberal juxtaposed).

For ILLIBERALS, free speech is fine, as long as it's the kind of speech they agree with. Anything else must be silenced FOR THE GREATER GOOD. Of course, they define what "the greater good is" and it rarely is good for society as a whole.

ILLIBERALS feel any speech they disagree with is violence against them. And they feel warranted in some cases to use physical violence. Kirsten gave the example of a UCSB professor who >physically attacked< a teenage pro-life activist. Her university hailed her as a hero. Which I find funny because a professor at my university tweeted a post about fat graduate students not having will power, and he was reprimanded, and told to take sensitivity training, removed from committees, and had to issue a public apology.

Kirsten describes two main techniques that ILLIBERALS use to silence free speech, and gives copious examples throughout.
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Format: Hardcover
Like millions of other people, I watch and enjoy Fox News. Kirsten Powers is one of the reasons I enjoy that News Outlet. While many of the Progressives / Liberals on that channel are also fine journalists, some of the Liberal talking heads are there to carry water for their bosses, be it Obama or Hillary or whomever. Kirsten Powers is a person of deep conviction and belief. She comes to her views sincerely and honestly, and I enjoy hearing from people like that.

She grew up as a Liberal child in Conservative Alaska. Her parents were Liberal academics who taught at the local University. Her house mourned when Carter lost to Reagan while their neighbors cheered. During her adult life, she became a professional in various aspects of Democrat political life and eventually she came to Fox News. A few years after that, she became a Christian. Still a sincere Liberal, she also began to see the bubble she had been living in for what it was.

Powers uses this book to point out the problems with the political debate in our Country right now and while both parties have some guilt in the sins she enumerates; the Liberals in academia, the media, and in the highest offices in the land are the most egregious and systematic offenders.

She points out that only about a quarter of adults over 45 think there is too much free speech in America. But over 45% of those 18 to 45 do! That means as those adults mature and become the authority figures in society, free speech is going to be in trouble. We hear many on the Left, including Hillary Clinton(!) saying the first amendment must be changed because it is infringing on too many other rights – the ones she and other Progressives prefer and can’t win if there is open and free debate about them.
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