Phi Beta Cons

The Academic-Freedom Movement Evolves

Yesterday FIRE released its latest excellent short feature, called “Portraits of Terror,” describing Joshua Stulman’s case against Penn State University. Joshua created an art exhibit attacking the anti-Semitic and pro-terror culture of much of the Palestinian territories. Unfortunately, Penn State officials were offended (an aside: how pathetic is it to be offended by anti-terrorism art?), and they censored his exhibit.  

Last week, the Alliance Defense Fund, at which I’m the director of the Center for Academic Freedom, released part four of “Hanna’s Story,” our based-on-true-events dramatic series (yes, dramatic series — and I think it’s pretty darn good) about a new student’s struggle to start a pro-life club. Every single one of the absurd demands and restrictions outlined in the series happened in real life — including a college official placing a student’s pro-life speech on a “pyramid of hate.” 

The conservative academic-freedom movement has come a long way in just a few years.  I can remember the good ole days of hardcover books, primitive websites, and using actual Wite-Out on complaints. Now there’s YouTube channels, Facebook pages, and documentary films.

But when historians look back at the turning point in the battle for the marketplace of ideas, will they think of books, websites, dramatic series, or documentaries? Or will they see the turning point as a single three minute animation — a brilliant directorial debut from a little-known, slighty nerdy lawyer?  

The answer is obvious.

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Most Popular

White House

James Comey’s Stellar Windiness

A Higher Loyalty, by former FBI director James Comey, is far more fascinating for its odd omissions than for what it says. For starters, after 277 pages, readers still don’t have a clear picture of what Comey thinks of Hillary Clinton. Early coverage of the book focused on the former FBI director’s ... Read More
White House

The Real Case of Collusion

As the likelihood that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia seems headed toward zero, the likelihood of proof of a different form of collusion seems headed upward toward certainty. The Russia-collusion charge had some initial credibility because of businessman Donald Trump's dealings in Russia and candidate ... Read More
Film & TV

Pro-Life Feminist

My paisana at the Human Life Review are hosting an event in NYC on Thursday, May 3, at the Sheen Center (18 Bleeker Street) for the airing of director Jim Hanon’s half-hour documentary, Pro-Life Feminist. After the viewing, he’ll join the trio of castmates -- Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, Aimee Murphy, and ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Good News for Pompeo

Looks like he's in, as he should be. https://twitter.com/TomCottonAR/status/987050849317867521 But this fight has been a hint of what life will be like for Trump if the Democrats somehow take the Senate -- they'd refuse to confirm anyone for anything. Read More
Culture

What Self-Help Guru Tony Robbins Was Trying to Say

Tony Robbins must have known immediately that he'd made a huge mistake in how he responded to a question about #MeToo. Last month, at one of Robbins's popular, sold-out seminars, audience member Nanine McCool told the self-help guru that she thought he misunderstood the #MeToo movement. You can see the entire ... Read More
Sports

The Dominant-Sport Theory of American Politics

I think it’s safe to assert that President Trump has an unfortunate tendency to do and say (and tweet) embarrassing things. When he does, we all join in the condemnation, and often it’s not so much for the substance as for the style. The president of the United States should be dignified, measured, slow to ... Read More