First Amendment Case: Food Not Bombs
In a remarkable victory for free speech, in late August three 11th Circuit judges held that the Ft. Lauderdale Food Not Bombs’ weekly outdoor food sharing is expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment. The Florida group is affiliated with the international organization Food Not Bombs, and engages in peaceful political direct action. It conducts weekly food sharing events at Stranaham Park in downtown Ft. Lauderdale, distributing vegetarian or vegan food free of charge. Their message is clear: society can end hunger and poverty if we redirect our collective resources from the military and war and that food is a human right, not a privilege, which society has a responsibility to provide for all. Providing food in a visible public space and sharing meals with others is an act of political solidarity meant to convey the organization’s message.
Guest – Keith McHenry, and seven friends founded Food Not Bombs in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Keith has been arrested more than 100 times for making a political statement of sharing free food in San Francisco and he has spent more than 500 nights in jail for peaceful protest.
The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting up a Generation for Failure.
Over the past five years or so, American colleges and universities have been dealing”quite publicly–with issues related to free speech on campus.
In a widely read opinion piece in the Atlantic in 2016, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt argued that American students are being coddled as administrators cede to their demands for protection from offensive ideas and words. The authors wrote that requests to be shielded from offensive words and behaviors come at the expense of both intellectual rigor, and the First Amendment.
Two years later, professors are still eliminating controversial material from their classes to avoid facing Bias Incident Reports. College administrators are dis-inviting speakers whose viewpoints may make students feel “unsafe,” and many students are afraid to talk or write openly out of fear they will face public shaming.
Guest – Greg Lukianoff, teamed up with Jonathan Haidt once again in writing the newly-published book The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting up a Generation for Failure. The book lays out the continued assault on free speech on U.S. campuses and the disservice it does by treating students as fragile. It also examines how conditions have worsened with polarizing politics. And the authors offer suggestions for change. Greg is also author of the 2014 book, Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate.