Defending Free Speech: “Safe Spaces” vs. Free Speech

We have all witnessed the sad spectacle of college students preventing individuals from exercising their right to free speech by disrupting debates, physically blocking audiences from attending public speeches and demanding “safe spaces” and “speech codes” to shield them from “offensive” ideas.

What is going on? To help people better understand this hostility toward free speech at college campuses, ARI recently published Defending Free Speech, edited by Steve Simpson. In the book, Simpson notes that “the primary threat to freedom of speech is not existential, but philosophical,” and he makes the point that “Defending free speech takes more than the argument that speech doesn’t hurt anyone. . . . To defend freedom of any variety requires defending reason and the other Enlightenment ideas as positive and irreplaceable values of human life. It also requires us to reject and condemn irrational ideas from any quarter.”

Get educated and join the battle for free speech — order your copy of Defending Free Speech today.

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What are others saying about Defending Free Speech?

“The Ayn Rand Institute’s director of Legal Studies, Steve Simpson, has put together a powerful set of short essays that, taken together, powerfully demonstrate the ways in which freedom of speech is essential to the survival of our Western civilization as we’ve come to know, but too often under-appreciate it. For those who have been asleep or imprisoned in a mind-set of wishful thinking, this collection speaks with burning intensity and powerful logic to the urgent and solemn duty of those of us still awake to redouble our efforts to turn the tide before it is too late.” — Harvey Silverglate, civil liberties lawyer, co-author of The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America’s Campuses (The Free Press, 1998), and co-founder of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (

Read more about the book here.

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