The Corner


What Science Doesn’t Tell Us About Free Speech

My latest Bloomberg View column responds to a very poorly thought-through justification for keeping some speakers from coming to campus.

Can science, which has given us so many blessings, also help us settle disputes about free speech on campus?

Lisa Feldman Barrett, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University, thinks so. She argues in the New York Times that science can “provide empirical guidance for which kinds of controversial speech should and shouldn’t be acceptable on campus and in civil society.” It’s a point that she doesn’t prove, and that poses dangers to which she seems blind. . . 

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.