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Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate Hardcover – October 23, 2012
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"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 MeBut Not for Thee
"Here's a book full of sunlightthe 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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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....Read more ›
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.
P.S. This is a great book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great read. I used this for a paper I wrote on free speech. Another must read for college students.Published 3 months ago by Bee
Excellent book! If you even care in the slightest about where the "free speech debate" is right now, and especially if you think there are valid times where things like... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Kharisma
Very insightful literature on an important topic that is quickly eroding freedom of expression and thought on our nations college and university campuses. Good book.Published 4 months ago by Christa
Many of the accounts presented by Mr. Lukianoff border on the absurd. In one sense the book is disheartening look at freedom of speech at today's universities, and in another sense... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate is a provocative look at the rise of speech codes on college campuses, but I am not sure it's a convincing... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Neil McGarry
Great book, a must read for anybody going to or working at a college. Also, necessary for anybody that want to understand the basic idea of what it means to have freedom of speech.Published 12 months ago by Ben Beshwate
There is a lot of surprising information in this book about how many college campuses are actively suppressing ideas they don't agree with. A very good read.
I brought this book for my politic class, I end up enjoying it more than I thought and I will be recommending it to my niece.Published 15 months ago by Yesenia Aguirre