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Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Renames Itself, Will Broaden Focus

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Renames Itself, Will Broaden Focus

“To say the least, we have not solved the campus free-speech problem, but we started to realize if we wanted to save free speech on campus we have to start earlier and we have to do things not on campus”

It looks like FIRE is angling to become the new ACLU. Good for them, they will probably be better at it.

Politico reports:

Free-speech group will spend millions to promote First Amendment cases

An advocacy group that has spent more than two decades fighting for free expression on college campuses is broadening its efforts to fight so-called cancel culture and other perceived threats to free speech across American society.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is renaming itself the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression and keeping the “FIRE” acronym as it launches a drive to promote greater acceptance of a diversity of views in the workplace, pop culture and elsewhere. Part of the push may challenge the American Civil Liberties Union’s primacy as a defender of free speech.

“To say the least, we have not solved the campus free-speech problem, but we started to realize if we wanted to save free speech on campus we have to start earlier and we have to do things not on campus,” the group’s president, Greg Lukianoff, said.

Lukianoff said FIRE has raised $28.5 million for a planned three-year, $75 million litigation, opinion research and public education campaign aimed at boosting and solidifying support for free-speech values.

“There’s a very strong belief in not just the First Amendment, but a culture of freedom of speech that — black or white, liberal or conservative — that most Americans think you should be entitled to your own opinion and not have to lose your job over that,” Lukianoff said. “The voices that think of free speech as a dirty word on campus or on Twitter are actually a pretty small minority.”

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Comments

henrybowman | June 8, 2022 at 1:49 pm

In the old days, the ACLU was a bargain. For one donation, you could defend the entire bill of rights. Or at least, that was the folklore.

Now patriots are confronted with a Cafeteria Constitution. For every amendment in the Bill of Rights you wish to defend, you have donate to a separate organization.

Well, who can argue with more choice?

    OldProf2 in reply to henrybowman. | June 8, 2022 at 3:56 pm

    The ACLU has never supported the entire Bill of Rights. Thirty years ago, I was considering joining, and I wrote them to ask them if they supported the Second Amendment and what it means. They said they supported it, but that it only applies to the US Armed Forces and the police. Civilians have no Second Amendment rights. Just this month, the ACLU said “Racism is foundational to the Second Amendment and its inclusion in the Bill of Rights.”

    The current ACLU position on the Second Amendment is:
    “Given the reference to “a well regulated Militia” and “the security of a free State,” the ACLU has long taken the position that the Second Amendment protects a collective right rather than an individual right.”
    They are quite opposed to the Heller decision, which gave citizens stronger civil liberties!! They should be retitled The American Civil Liberties only for Progressives Union.

    They might as well take a similar position on the First Amendment, which speaks of the free press, and say that freedom of speech only applies to journalists. In some ways, it seems like they’re moving in that direction, since they announced they will no longer defend free speech that contradicts their narrative.

      Milhouse in reply to OldProf2. | June 8, 2022 at 5:42 pm

      The “press” in the first amendment does not refer to the news industry. It refers to printing presses. “The freedom of speech and of the press” simply means the freedom to say or to print whatever you like.

        Peabody in reply to Milhouse. | June 8, 2022 at 5:54 pm

        That’s what it used to mean—what it meant originally—not what the courts would find it means today.

Go check out FIRE’s website. They have actually done quite a bit more on campus than defend free speech. I don’t think they realize that they really have broadened their focus to cover pretty much everything the ACLU ‘used to do’.

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