Defending Free Speech
Steve Simpson of the Ayn Rand Institute speaks about his book “Defending Free Speech,” and how attacks on speech are attacks on reason, at The Heartland Institute.
Freedom of speech is indispensable to a free and civilized society, yet this precious right is increasingly under attack today:
■ Islamic totalitarians repeatedly threaten and kill those deemed blasphemers, while our political leaders stand idly by and many intellectuals blame the victims.
■ College students seek “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces” from controversial ideas and fly into fits of rage at the slightest offense.
■ The government harasses Tea Party groups, preventing them from speaking out during an election, and it investigates oil companies and advocacy groups for the “crime” of dissenting from climate change orthodoxy.
Applying Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism to the most pressing free speech issues of the day, the essays in Defending Free Speech reveal the attacks to be the product of destructive ideas – ideas that are eroding Western culture at its foundation.
The writers of these essays expose those ideas and the individuals who hold them – and, importantly, they identify the only ideas on which Western civilization can be sustained: reason, egoism, and individual rights.
In today’s politically charged news cycle, the candidates and the media ignore one of the most pressing issues of the day: freedom of speech. The Ayn Rand Institute cares deeply about this important issue. Defending Free Speech is its latest effort to protect this precious right.
Watch the presentation via the video in the top right of the sidebar.
Steve SimpsonDirector of legal studies at the Ayn Rand InstituteSteve Simpson has been defending freedom of speech for more than 15 years, first as a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice (IJ), where he litigated constitutional cases in courts throughout the nation, and now as director of legal studies at the Ayn Rand Institute, where he writes and speaks on a wide variety of legal and philosophical issues. As a lawyer, Simpson was involved in many precedent-setting free speech cases. He was the lead litigator in SpeechNow.org v. FEC, the case that created Super PACs, and co-counsel in Arizona Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett, IJ’s successful U.S. Supreme Court challenge to an Arizona law that used tax revenues to fund political campaigns. Simpson was also on the legal teams in Swedenburg v. Kelly, IJ’s successful challenge in the U.S. Supreme Court to New York’s ban on the shipping of wine across state lines, and in the landmark eminent domain case, Kelo v. City of New London.
Jim LakelyDirector of Communications, The Heartland InstituteJim Lakely is director of communications at The Heartland Institute, a spokesman for organization, editor-in-chief of Heartland's blog, Freedom Pub, and executive producer of the Heartland Daily Podcast. Lakely often serves as "master of ceremonies" at The Heartland Institute's public events. Prior to joining Heartland in 2008, Lakely spent 16 years in daily-deadline journalism. A former White House correspondent for The Washington Times, he covered Capitol Hill and the re-election campaign of George W. Bush.