Thursday, September 13

Aseem Trivedi and the death of free speech in California's universities

I'll start by thanking Canada's Blazing Catfur blog and the American blog ZenPundit for featuring my post on Aseem Trivedi's arrest.  BC and ZP are big free-speech advocates from way back.

Aseem was released on bail on Wednesday; his case will be heard later this month in the Mumbai high court.  Initially he'd refused to put up bail. That was his way of protesting the government's draconian sedition law, which it's repeatedly used to shut down legitimate dissent. But he probably underestimated the speed of the domestic and international outcry that built in reaction to his arrest.

In any case, once he found himself with a big public platform he was wise to use it, rather than rotting in jail to make the point that he shouldn't be considered a traitor to his country for drawing cartoons that lampoon rampant corruption in India's government.

Anyone who assumes that Aseem's showdown with the Indian government is only an Indian thing should listen to John Batchelor's Wednesday interview with Peter Berkowitz about the death of free speech in California's universities.

During the past quarter century, freedom of speech has come under increasing fire across the entire American university system. But it's now so bad in California that it's turning into Little Stalingrad over there.  Practically all that's missing is men in cheap leather coats with bulges in the armpits herding professors and students who engage in hate speech into reeducation camps.

As to what constitutes hate speech, Berkowitz sums it well:  It's any speech that the ruling clique of university administrators and professors hate.

Free speech advocates who track the issue in America won't be surprised by any of Berkowitz's points, but he and Batchelor turn the 10 minute interview into a tour de force that hits every important marker.  It's gorgeous.  Here's the link to the podcast, and the flash play gizmo. The interview segment is the second one in the 11:00-midnight part of the show.

For more on the escalating attacks on freedom of expression in the USA, check out this video, which ZenPundit posted in his Recommended Reading and Viewing for this week:

1 comment:

mayura said...


This is the funny thing about Government of India headed by UPA...They appoint a confirmed supporter of sedition Dr.Binayak Sen who dined and wined with maoists, to the planning commission and jail a cartoonist who is showing a mirror to their face and exposes their wrong doings.