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Heather Mac Donald + Steve Simpson + Dave Rubin Ask:
Are We Killing Free Speech?

February 16, 2018

Berkeley, Calif. — On Thursday, March 8, Heather Mac Donald, Dave Rubin and Steve Simpson will appear at the Hearst Field Annex at UC Berkeley to discuss this critical question. Journalists are encouraged to attend.

Instances of students using force to silence non-conformist speakers have become commonplace on college campuses. In the last year there have been numerous violent disruptions of speakers’ appearances at universities, including Middlebury, Claremont McKenna and UC Berkeley itself, effectively stifling the public voicing of alternative viewpoints.

“The free speech crisis on college campuses threatens the very possibility of a peaceful, civil society,” says American political commentator, essayist, attorney and journalist Heather Mac Donald, “But that crisis is an outgrowth of an even more dangerous problem: the cultivation of a victim mentality in an ever-growing number of individuals and identity-based groups.” 

Steve Simpson, director of Legal Studies at the Ayn Rand Institute, emphasizes that “the purpose of the right to free speech is to protect our right to think for ourselves and to communicate with others, which are two of the pillars of a modern, free society.”

This event, hosted by Berkeley College Republicans and the Ayn Rand Institute will be a lightning rod for those intolerant of politically incorrect voices and promises to be controversial.

Ayn Rand once said that “a gun is not an argument.” “The reverse is also true—” wrote Simpson recently in The Hill, “an argument is not a gun. If we forget the difference, we will end up with guns settling our disputes, rather than arguments.”

Steve Simpson is a constitutional lawyer and director of Legal Studies at the Ayn Rand Institute. He is the editor of Defending Free Speech (ARI Press, 2016).

Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Dave Rubin is an American political commentator, satirist, and talk show host. He is the creator and host of the political talk show The Rubin Report.

About ARI

The Ayn Rand Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that promotes the works and philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. The Institute fosters a growing awareness, understanding and acceptance of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism, to create a culture whose guiding principles are reason, rational self-interest, individualism and laissez-faire capitalism—a culture in which individuals are free to pursue their own happiness.

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Sara Leopold