Interviewer: David Greene
Nadine Strossen is a leading voice for freedom of speech as a scholar and an activist in the US and globally. She is a constitutional law professor at New York Law School, a Senior Fellow with FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, and was the President of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1991 through 2008. She has been a mentor and inspiration to numerous EFF attorneys and remains a trusted advisor.
David Greene: Can you introduce yourself and give us a bit of your background?
My name is Nadine Strossen. I have been a law professor specializing in constitutional law and, in particular, First Amendment [to the U.S. Constitution] issues for most of my adult career. At the end of 2019 I took emeritus status from teaching—even though I have loved teaching—so that I could devote full time to the other aspect of my career, which has been as a volunteer activist and advocate on behalf of civil liberties including, again, with a special focus on First Amendment and in particular free speech issues. Among other things I was, for 18 years, the National President of the American Civil Liberties Union. I continue to be very active on the advisory boards of the ACLU and many other free speech organizations. Recently I have become a Senior Fellow with FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression. And I have been a longtime, proud, card-carrying member of EFF, which does fantastic work and is always my go-to resource whenever I am asked to speak or write about any issue involving digital free speech or privacy.
Greene: Great. When you talk about free speech or freedom of expression, what does that mean? How do you define that? What type of values are we discussing?
I define free speech very broadly, David, as certainly going beyond the guarantees that are provided by the First Amendment or any other source of law. For me, freedom of speech, along with all civil liberties and human rights, are intrinsic rights, inherent rights, to which all of us are entitled by virtue of our common humanity. And the purpose of documents such as the First Amendment or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and so forth is to secure rights to which we are pre-existingly entitled. That also means that I define free speech as going beyond legal guarantees of any sort, to include a cultural and social climate that is conducive to actual, vigorous exercise of free speech by everybody in our society. I think that legal protection is a necessary, but not sufficient, prerequisite for meaningful freedom of speech. Now, what do I mean by meaningful freedom of speech? The right of every individual, no matter who we are, no matter what we believe, to autonomously explore, develop, and articulate our own ideas and our own views on every issue subject only to extremely limited exceptions that are demonstrably necessary in order to promote countervailing goals of great importance. And those countervailing goals would include other peoples’ free speech rights. So speech becomes harassment or bullying or threats or intimidation—not only is that not a protected exercise of your own free speech, but is interfering with what should be somebody else’s free speech rights.
Greene: So, beyond free speech as a legal concept, and maybe even beyond free speech as a set of principles, but more broadly, free speech as a shared cultural norm or cultural value?
Right, and I would say in my more recent advocacy—because I’m always trying to question my ideas, to reject those that are proven to my satisfaction to be wrong or more likely to revise and refine them—the major shift for me in the recent past has been to have a more active concept of free speech. That it’s not enough just for government and big tech corporations and Twitter mobs—or I guess X mobs—to not suppress speech, but that to have meaningful free speech we need affirmatively to provide the education and technology and psychological and other resources that are necessary for everybody equally to have an opportunity to really exercise free speech. So we don’t think of it just as a passive theoretical but an active practice that we are facilitating on behalf of everybody.
Greene: Looking back to when you decided – if it was a conscious decision to work in this area – what attracted you to freedom of speech as an area of interest?
Censorship. Every single involvement that I’ve had with free speech, starting at a very young age, when I was in kindergarten basically, was people in power using that power to stop me and other people from expressing their ideas. You know, nothing like repression to make you not take for granted what you think should be a right! You know I say that kind of kiddingly because I don’t want to deploy more speech suppression as a way of encouraging free speech activism. But I know that you, with EFF’s great work all over the world, have perceived what I have, David, that people who live in societies where they can’t take free speech for granted prize it so much more than people in the United States and other developed democracies tend to do. And my colleagues who are activists in other parts of the world are especially aghast and astounded at how liberals and progressives and human rights advocates in this country are so often contemptuous towards free speech. And their hypothesis often is that, well, if they didn’t have it as a safety net for their right to criticize everything—including free speech itself—maybe they would be more supportive.
Greene: You talked about experiencing censorship yourself. Are there any stories you can share?
Well, I mean the earliest experiences that I referred to would certainly not be legally protected, but would violate my broader sense of free speech. And that is teachers starting at the earliest age punishing yours truly and other students for asking questions, for raising issues, for answering in ways that the teacher disagreed with or criticizing a teacher’s point of view, always respectfully. In fact, maybe that could be a First Amendment issue! Because I always went to public schools and there certainly was viewpoint-based discrimination. When I became a little bit older, when I was a middle school student and beginning highschool student, the Vietnam War was just in its incipient stages. And protests against the war were extremely unpopular, at least in the part of the country where I lived and grew up—suburban Minneapolis.
And a teacher who did a fabulous presentation, just presenting a slideshow of images from the war that did depict civilian casualties and other disturbing images. But there was no textual commentary at all. Now, he played some folk songs in the background, and that led to enormous pressures for him to be fired, to be castigated, to be stopped from teaching students at all, or to be stopped from showing that slideshow. And at the age of 15 I started gathering signatures on a petition to protect him. The local newspaper editorialized against him and so I wrote, I think, my first published letter to the editor supporting his free speech right and the right of the students to receive the information and ideas, of course.
Greene: And you mentioned before, and I think this example illustrates this as well, how you saw censorship as a really potent tool for those in power to maintain power. I wonder if you can talk about that a little more. Is that still a primary value for you? Those of us who do a lot of work in this area, we talk about the power imbalance all the time. I just wonder if you can flush out how you feel about where among free speech values that lies for you.
It’s so important, David. And it does not at all go without saying because such a familiar critique, including on campuses in the US, and certainly on the left end of the political spectrum, is the assertion that free speech primarily benefits those in power. And primarily benefits those who have political or economic power. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Those in power consistently and predictably and logically wield that power to suppress views that are dissenting or critical of them. So, by definition, it is precisely those who lack political, economic, or cultural power who are most dependent on a robust free speech guarantee.
You know, I’ve written a whole book about hate speech, and I know EFF has written prominently about this as well. To the best of my knowledge, everybody who has studied it seriously sees that even laws that are intended to give voice to traditionally marginalized and disempowered people and groups by suppressing hateful or discriminatory speech about them or against them… that those laws are consistently wielded against those very groups when they try to advocate in favor of their equal rights and so forth. And this is not a coincidence. This is exactly why the genius of the First Amendment and other legal protections for free speech is that it is inherently a counter-majoritarian guarantee, right? The framers of our constitution and bill of rights wisely recognized that even democratically elected representatives who are accountable to the majority can and, predictably, will implement what we often call tyranny of the majority. And it happens, unfortunately, all across the ideological spectrum.
Which is why for me, strong as my policy views are and strong as my views are on partisan politics, even more strongly I hold to neutral civil liberties principles. Because I don’t like it when censorship is wielded even by people in power whose policy goals I share. Because I know that that very same censorship, if it’s validated by the legal system, will be grabbed by somebody else when the pendulum swings and somebody whose policy goals I disapprove is in power.
Greene: I wonder if we can talk about some of the difficult line-drawing issues that you’ve touched on already in terms of hateful speech and harassment and cyber-bullying and these things that might have real life effects of silencing somebody—either individuals or even maybe broader communities—and tends to disproportionately affect women and, what we’re seeing right now, trans people. And how we, not even in terms of the law but in terms of free speech principles, how do we think about where the power to speak lies? What do we as a society want to promote, whether through law or through custom, what do we want to promote as a principle where we’re minimizing giving censorial power to anybody, but also maximizing everyone’s speech opportunities?
It is a very difficult issue, I think. Not in principle in terms of the end goal that we’re seeking, but in practice. How do we actually approximate that goal? And a phrase that is often used in American constitutional law, but I think applies to the concept of human rights and free speech even beyond the law, is this concept of a delicate balance. So I wrote a whole book whose title is Hate: Why We Should Resist it with Free Speech not Censorship. As the title of the book indicates and the book itself explicates, I very strongly advocate strong counter-speech against hate speech with the goal of suppressing the hate speech. And you could say that’s a censorial goal. I do defend the right of people to voice hateful expression, but, in the end, I would like to deter them from doing that. I would like to chill them from doing that.
But then we have this phenomenon that is often called “cancel culture” which refers to, I think the best definition I can give – I’ve read every definition that so many people have tried to come up with – and I think the reason you can’t define it is precisely because it involves a matter of delicate balance. Suzanne Nossel, who’s the CEO of PEN, another great free speech organization along with EFF, wrote an op-ed a few years ago. And I thought the op-ed was great, the headline was even better—probably written by somebody on the Washington Post staff—“When Does Counterspeech Go Too Far?” [N.B. That article is available currently under the headline “Sometimes more speech isn’t the solution to offensive speech”] So, my book is defending the classical response to speech we find hateful or that we hate, which is not government censorship but counterspeech. And Suzanne’s essay, which came out right when people were starting to talk about “cancel culture,” explains that sometimes counterspeech can go too far if it has a—and here’s the concept which appears in our legal system and international law all the time, it’s not an objective standard—but it’s the concept of disproportionality. When the punishment for an idea—even an idea that’s considered hateful or misleading or extremist or disinformation, so it clearly can do harm to individuals or to groups or even maybe society more broadly—but, if the penalty is so great that punishing or excommunicating somebody from social, from society, from friends, from peers, even literally expelling students from schools or firing people from jobs, then people are going to engage in undo self-censorship and bend over backwards to avoid saying anything that might be considered by somebody to be hateful or disinformation or extremism. And just as our First Amendment law wisely has many rules that are erring in favor of overprotecting even some speech that is not constitutionally protected that can do harm, but the Court says we don’t want people to be deterred. They may not be sure, they may fear that they’re over the line or some judge or some jury is going to find that they’re over the line.
I think we also have to trim back on counter-speech if it’s going to have an unduly, disproportionate self-censoring impact. And I say that, David, as somebody who truly wants to refute hateful, discriminatory ideas. I’m the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, I certainly could not feel more loathing for and more fear of fascist and white supremacist speech. But I also think that disproportionate counter-speech and cancellation is not going to be an effective way, certainly not to change the minds of the hatemongers themselves. And, I think, not even an effective way to try to persuade those who are flirting with those ideas. I think a more compassionate, empathetic approach works more. Here I’m speaking based on many testimonials that are available from former hatemongers themselves or from people who have actively engaged in trying to wean them away and successfully moved them away from their ideas. And it’s never by treating them with contempt. It’s always by reaching out with understanding, you know—not support for their ideas at all—but not denying them their humanity, listening to them and engaging with a certain amount of respect for their shared humanity.
Greene: I hear you on that. I think one of the responses I hear to that, and from my perspective, it can be really hard to suggest or recommend to somebody who is in conversation with, either directly or in an indirect conversation, with someone who is denying their humanity and saying, “I don’t acknowledge your identity, I think your racial group is inferior,” it’s hard to then ask that they then recognize that person’s humanity. You know, already starting from such a point of imbalance. And I actually think it can be hard for the person—I know it’s been hard for me as an individual—to put your emotions aside and to try to find the humanity in the person who is denying your own.
I’m not at all recommending that this has to be done with every hatemonger and certainly not that it has to be done by a person who is the direct target of the speech. That’s one of the major misconceptions about the concept of counterspeech that I’ve encountered over and over again. People seem to think that those of us who advocate are saying, “You! Once you are subject to hate speech yourself then it’s your responsibility.” Not at all. I think it’s the responsibility of all of us who advocate for equality and dignity and diversity and inclusivity to constantly, affirmatively—and in that sense counter-speech is maybe a bit of a misnomer—to affirmatively, constantly be making that case. And looking for every opportunity that we choose to.
Now some members of disparaged minority groups have said that they have positively benefited from choosing to engage in those conversations. I think the most famous example is Daryl Davis, right? A Black man who has written books and done podcasts and TED Talks about how he has personally had conversations with more than 200 members of the KKK and talked them out of their robes. He said he’s got a collection of more than 200 robes of former KKK members that he’s personally recruited away from their hateful ideas.
Greene: Let me ask you another hypothetical. What do you think of heckling as a form of counterspeech? Is there a time when heckling is appropriate? Is there a time where it’s not? The classic situation is someone is speaking publicly and there might be people heckling inside where the speech is happening, or there might be people outside to discourage people from even coming in. How do we consider that as counterspeech?
Again, these concepts of proportionality and a delicate balance come in. Heckling is an important, protected form of free speech when it is peaceful and non-disruptive. In other words, when it does not substantially interfere with a speaker’s right to convey information and ideas and audience members’ right to receive the information and ideas. Reasonable people, judges, administrators may disagree about when you cross the line between peaceful, non-disruptive heckling and heckling that is so disruptive that it interferes with First Amendment rights. Using examples from countless public events myself, I would say that certainly any kind of silent protest, even if it’s visible, is protected. Standing at the back of the room, holding signs—as long as the signs don’t block the view of the speaker—turning one’s back to the speaker, fairly quietly exiting from an event.
I also defend booing, heckling, audible expressions of discontent, as long as they are short and not sustained. And I practice what I preach. Throughout my own speaking career, which is extensive, when moderators will set the ground rules and say no hissing or booing, I always respectfully dissent and say, “No, I consider that part of the audience’s free speech rights and as long as it’s not so sustained that it really prevents the event from going forward.”
Greene: Do you think someone has to first listen to what the person says before they heckle?
[Laughs] They should. As an educator I would urge that.
Greene: I said “they should have to,” but I wasn’t talking about a legal mandate, just when we’re talking about trying to live free speech.
And to listen. Sometimes people have written or said one thing that opponents will fasten on and reduce their conception of that person’s ideas to one disfavored idea or book. And not be at all interested in what the person has to say on an entirely different topic. This has happened repeatedly with Charles Murray, for example. I must confess I haven’t read his more recent writing, but at Middlebury, for example, where, famously or infamously, he and the liberal professor who was going to be in colloquy with him and who had invited him to speak, Allison Stanger, apparently he was not talking about the controversial book that he had written, The Bell Curve, it was a completely different subject. And for all I know, and what Allison Stanger and others say, that, you know, they assumed if people read the book they wouldn’t find anything objectionable in it.
Greene: I agree with you that I try, I tend not to use the phrase “cancel culture” because it means different things to different people, and I’m not sure I know what I think it means. I’m also not sure that I’m not completely uncomfortable with there being some situations where someone loses what was otherwise fulsome opportunities – what I consider to be disproportionate opportunities to speak – just because their views have been rejected. Or at least highly, highly unpopular.
That’s another really important point that is often overlooked. Yeah we have a right to speak but we don’t have, necessarily, a right to deliver a lecture on campus. There are finite—at least if we’re not talking about a public square on campus, but an invited lecture by the history department or political science department—there’s a finite number of those slots available. There’s an implied endorsement from the inviters that there is some academic benefit to be provided by the speaker. And so it is an exercise of free speech and academic freedom on the part of the faculty member who’s making a judgment about which speakers are worthy of attention just the way you make a judgment about which books to include on your syllabus or which courses to include in your curriculum.
Greene: To me, I have less, I don’t want to say sympathy, but my free speech hackles get up less if the result is not completely silencing somebody, but maybe giving them fewer opportunities than they had. So the example I give is when Twitter kicked Trump off. I think what I said at the time was, “my free speech heart doesn’t bleed for that decision because he has plenty of ways. This is not the person who this was a uniquely powerful way of speaking. He has plenty of ways. People are still going to print everything he says.” And that’s an extreme example, but I wonder, is there a situation where maybe canceling is really just trying to level the playing field in some way and trying to reproportion how much someone gets to speak or how much access they have to distribute what people might consider to be heinous ideas?
You know, as with many free speech issues, the purpose for which the speech restriction is undertaken is really significant in determining the legitimacy of it. So if the purpose is as you describe, I would be very much sympathetic to that for reasons that I discussed earlier about trying to ensure that there’s meaningful exercise of free speech by everybody. And if you have a finite number of slots available, then one way to ensure that is to not overrepresent certain speakers because it is a zero-sum game. You’re going to be excluding other speakers.
Where I find cancellation more problematic is if the purpose is to shield students from ideas that they consider offensive—or, to use the language that is so often invoked—ideas that they find violent or that they believe denies their humanity. Now that’s rhetoric. Maybe there are some speakers who deny the humanity of some people, but that kind of rhetoric is deployed very quickly against somebody who is advocating policies that are not 100% in sync with those complaining. I have heard that rhetoric used against people who simply oppose open borders in the immigration context. Or who have opposed defunding the police, to cite two examples. If the reason for not allowing somebody is the unpopularity of the idea, I would be very concerned about that as an educator.
On the Donald Trump situation, I think we’re in sync, from as far as you made your statement. But I want to add something. And I align myself with the statement that the ACLU issued at the time which was pretty much as far as you went, but then it went on. Yes, our heart doesn’t really bleed for Donald Trump or his audience members who also have free speech rights to hear what he has to say, right? Because, exactly as you say, he’ll find other platforms. But—and I know EFF shares this concern—we are so concerned about the huge, unaccountable power that these private tech companies have to deplatform anybody. At any time for any reason or no reason. And the ACLU went on to say, “we’re really concerned about our Black, Brown, LGBTQ, etc clients, in particular, who do not have access to alternatives and really disproportionately depend on the power of these media to facilitate their causes.” So using it as a way to look beyond the specific individual to the underlying issues. And I think EFF was, probably, to my knowledge, the first canary in the coalmine warning about what was called content moderation or community standards, understanding, I think long before anybody else did, the danger that that really censorial power represented to those who do not have the kind of economic and political resources of a Donald Trump.
Greene: And I did, also when I made my statement, I did follow it up with a “BUT… we need to be very concerned about the power that these companies wield because they don’t just wield it against someone who has ample other ways of speaking—and maybe who has had too many opportunities to speak—they wield it against people who, this might be their only opportunity.” I wanted to use that to talk a little about the role of corporations. Certainly not, but also as long as I’ve been doing this work, which is almost 30 years—so not up at your tenure—but there’s always been some corporate intermediary that’s playing some role that seems to have some outsized influence on speech. How do we think about corporate control of media and how do we address concerns about that?
Probably the most unpopular position the ACLU has ever taken is NOT when we famously or infamously defended free speech for Nazis to demonstrate in Skokie, IL, a town with a large Jewish population including many Holocaust survivors. But, [it was] the ACLU’s defense of corporate free speech rights, even to spend money in advocating for causes and for candidates. So the basic holding of Citizens United—which is such a reviled decision—is supported by the ACLU, I think correctly. This is a huge topic, but let me start with a point that is extremely contested among the public, but not at all contested by the Supreme Court. The Justices disagreed about whether particular regulations did or did not survive what we call the appropriate level of scrutiny, but 100% of them have agreed throughout modern history to this day that corporations have free speech rights. And it grew out of the notion of freedom of association. Interestingly enough, the Supreme Court first recognized that really important, implicit right in the First Amendment in a case involving a not-for-profit—but corporation—the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. At a time when the NAACP’s advocacy against Jim Crow in the South was deeply unpopular. And people were risking their economic well-being and even their physical well-being by advocating against Jim Crow for integration, desegregation, and civil rights. And even to acknowledge that they were members of the NAACP would put them in danger, as the Supreme Court recognized. The Court said, “Look, you can’t have a meaningful free speech right to protest popular government policies, you know, when you’re a member of an embattled minority. You need to have extra tools.” And in one fell swoop the Court recognized the implicit right to band together with others to form organizations, including corporations, and to be anonymous in your participation in those organizations. And interestingly enough, the Supreme Court said, even in that very first case which goes back to the 1940s, that you had a free speech right to form associations, including corporations, for the purposes of advocating on any issue, including economic issues. So I think it would be very dangerous to deny that these entities, including for-profit corporations—I mean, again, many of the legendary free speech cases have involved media corporations, the New York Times, CNN, etc or others. Even when we think of advocacy organizations, the ACLU itself is a not-for-profit corporation, I assume EFF is as well—
Greene: It is.
So, you know that’s something that astonishes a lot of people, and makes them think twice. But I agree with you that we have to get beyond legal technicalities to what are practical realities. And I would be very concerned about any organization, or any individual for that matter, who had such disproportionate power that it was interfering with a meaningful opportunity for other people to participate in the marketplace of ideas. In one of the very first campaign finance cases, the Supreme Court famously said – and this is just a paraphrase—that, “we have never supported the suppression of some speakers’ free speech rights as a means to enhance the voice of other speakers.” Because it’s not a zero sum game, it should not be a zero sum game. How do we increase the opportunity of other people to participate? So, when the ACLU has consistently opposed limits on spending by corporations—and, by the way, all of these laws also apply to labor unions, that’s another piece of the picture that’s often left out—we have always advocated for the underlying goal that is espoused by advocates of these restrictions on spending… namely to open up opportunities for more people to more equally, meaningfully, and impactfully participate in the political process. That’s an incredibly important goal. And that’s one of the reasons why, even before the birth of the EFF, after the advent of the internet, the ACLU so strongly litigated and lobbied against censorship of online expression. Because that is a cheap and easy way for people to organize, including politically. And there are insurgent candidacies that have gotten off the ground thanks to social media that could never have done so when you had to spend gazillions of dollars to use the broadcast media. That’s one of the real virtues of online expression including social media platforms.
Greene: How do we respond to our perception that these companies, which have their own rights to speak, are also exercising this power – and I guess the social media platforms in particular – is it consistent with free speech principles or free speech culture to allow them to pick and choose to curate and edit? I’m asking you hard questions. [Both laughing]
I think it’s a difficult question. As you well know, there are so many proposals out there. I think across the ideological spectrum, to rein in, to have government constraints on the power of these companies through, I think, the most severe limits would be treating them as regulated common carriers and requiring them as a legal matter to not engage in, at least, certain kinds of selection, curatings. I guess that term is even loaded! To me, that underscores that what they’re doing is exercising editorial discretion, which is a protected First aAmendment right. And the Courts are, right now, litigating these issues and there are dozens of proposals pending in Congress. I think we, and to the best of my knowledge people I really respect—including EFF, but tell me if I’m wrong—have not taken a firm position because it’s so complicated and the devil is in the details. Exactly what kind of regulations would be required.
But I do enthusiastically support measures that EFF has blazed the trail on, in collaboration with the ACLU and others, embodied now in the second version or maybe the third version of the Santa Clara Principles. At the very least these companies have to be subject to transparency requirements, right? You need information about what their content moderation policies are and how they’re being enforced. And we certainly need information about the extent to which government is deeply integrated into their content moderation policies. Which the so-called “Twitter Files”—are we now calling them the “X Files?”—and “Facebook Files” have come out with a lot of, to me, very disturbing, concerning evidence that maybe these companies are acting too much under coercive pressure from the government. And that then becomes a very serious First Amendment issue. Again, the devil is in the details, not all the facts are out yet. But enough are out that I think warrant further investigation. Because, certainly as a matter of principle, at some point if the companies really are—and all of the contested content moderation we’re talking about would clearly be unconstitutional if it were engaged in by the government. We’re talking about what’s called disinformation about the elections and COVID that don’t rise to the standard of the very specific categories of false information that the government is allowed to punish as fraud or defamation and so forth. So government should not be able to delegate its censorial banned power to private sector entities. We need much more information about that.
And I think we also need to have some kind of due process kind of concept. Right now—and I’m open to other arguments—but, it doesn’t bother me to propose that these companies should be required to at least live up to their own standards, their own professed standards in terms of giving people basic notice of why their messages are being taken down and an opportunity to contest that. Sort of like procedural type guarantees seem to me to be less controversial. But I’m open to more radical solutions. What is most attractive to me, and I know EFF has proposed this, and I don’t quite have the technical lingo, but the idea of opening up the platforms to be interoperable with other software designers so that ideally each end user could decide what content they want to see or not see on their own, and not be subject to centralized gatekeeping standards by the company itself.
Greene: I have time for one more question, which is the question we ask everybody. But the other thing I didn’t get to if we had time to follow-up on, so if you have a quick answer I can ask it. Which is on the problem of anti-democratic misinformation.
There’s no doubt that democracy is threatened by certain forms of disinformation. But my bottom line is that democracy is even more threatened by giving government the power to decide what is disinformation and what is not. I think that the current categories of fairly narrowly specifically defined categories of false speech that may be punished are what we should stick with. And the illusive, inherently subjective, manipulable, expansive concept of disinformation is even more threatening to democracy than the disinformation itself.
Greene: So that’s one of the situations where the law is what we would look to for line-drawing. Okay! So the final question – who is your free speech hero and why?
If I have to pick one I will pick Salman Rushdie. You know it’s about a year since that terrible attack which has left him debilitated in serious ways. But it has not at all interfered with his ongoing courage and leadership in speaking up and standing up even for the most reviled and controversial speakers and ideas. So, to me, he’s a shining example of courage. I mean, you know, and I’m not saying people have to put their lives on the line, but he chose to do that. And I think that’s incredibly inspiring and that every single one of us who is tempted to say, “oh, free speech is overrated,” or “free speech only perpetuates power for those who already have it”—why would somebody like that be willing to take the risks that he has unless he understands—and he certainly understands – that this is something worth fighting for, even at a very high price?