Thursday, January 19, 2017

Nat Hentoff

We lost jazz critic and free-speech activist Nat Hentoff this month. He remains one of my stalwart heroes -- a true individual: liberal on many issues, but not afraid to shake up left-wing orthodoxy when he deemed it appropriate. For instance, this pivotal story from 1992 demonstrates that attacks on free speech often come from the left and not the right. In fact, while this story is coming up on a quarter-century old, and yet it foreshadowed what has become all too common on our university campuses (and, we'll probably see, presidential inaugurations), where conservative speakers are regularly shouted down and their would-be audience members physically restrained from entering the venue, all because they hold different opinions.

Hentoff was credited with the phrase, "Free speech for me -- but not for thee," to criticize those who enrobe themselves in the First Amendment while simultaneously attempting to deny that same right for their opponents. Twenty-five years later, the situation's only gotten worse.

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