EP 350 Can the First Amendment Withstand Many Pressures in Today’s America?

The answer to the question is ‘yes’ as long as you understand the limitations of the doctrine of free speech and how its elasticity applies in the case of issues like campus speech, hate speech and fake news. Our guest, Stanley Fish, one of the great public thinkers on the American stage today was dis invited to speak at Seton Hall University. You might think that he would take umbrage at that and consider it an assault on free speech. In fact, he said ‘I have no right to speak at Seton Hall and I have not been silenced because I was dis invited’. In our podcast, the author of many books, including his latest, ‘The First’ goes on to explain his position. While the First Amendment deals with a number of our liberties his primary focus is on free speech which permeates and informs the other First Amendment touchstones. Fish believes that this fundamental right eludes certainty, as it shape shifts to serve the purposes of its advocates. Have you ever heard a First Amendment scholar say that too much speech is not necessarily a good thing or that it relies on censorship as a precondition to its existence? It’s a provocative, thoughtful and reasoned discussion, which, no matter the era, remains the best end result of the protections afforded us by the First Amendment.