Classical liberalism and three of its founders: explained

Most people seem to enjoy liberalism and its spin offs, but what is it exactly? Where did the idea come from?

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  • Liberalism, for all its influence, is only a few hundred years old.
  • Many great philosophers formulated the ideology, but their arugments often don't make it into popular discourse.
  • While classical liberalism endures, modern liberalism dominates current political discussions.
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What are the limits of free speech?

7 scholars and legal experts dissect what you can and can't say in America.

  • The free speech debate typically happens at either end of a spectrum — people believe they should be able to say whatever they want, or they believe that certain things (e.g. hate speech) should be censored. Who is right, and who gets to decide?
  • While they acknowledge that speech is a powerful weapon that can cause infinite good and infinite harm, former ACLU president Nadine Strossen, sociologist Nicholas Christakis, author and skeptic Michael Shermer, and others agree that the principle should be defended for everyone, not just for those who share our views. "I'm not defending the Nazis," says Strossen, "I'm defending a principle that is especially important for those of us who want to have the freedom to raise our voices, to protest the Nazis and everything they stand for."
  • However, as Strossen and attorney Floyd Abrams point out, there have always been boundaries when it comes to free speech and the First Amendment. There are rules, established by the Supreme Court, meant to ensure that speech is not used to inflict "imminent, specific harm" on others.
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FOSTA-SESTA: Have controversial sex trafficking acts done more harm than good?

The idea behind the law was simple: make it more difficult for online sex traffickers to find victims.

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  • SESTA (Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act) and FOSTA (Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act) started as two separate bills that were both created with a singular goal: curb online sex trafficking. They were signed into law by former President Trump in 2018.
  • The implementation of this law in America has left an international impact, as websites attempt to protect themselves from liability by closing down the sections of their sites that sex workers use to arrange safe meetings with clientele.
  • While supporters of this bill have framed FOSTA-SESTA as a vital tool that could prevent sex trafficking and allow sex trafficking survivors to sue those websites for facilitating their victimization, many other people are strictly against the bill and hope it will be reversed.
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Study: Militarization of police does not reduce crime

A new look at existing data by LSU researchers refutes the Trump administration's claims.

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  • The United States Department of Defense gifts surplus military equipment and clothing to local police departments.
  • The militarization of police coincides with a significant loss of trust in law enforcement from the American public.
  • Militarized police departments are more likely to interact violently with their communities.
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Three thinkers on when we should call out harmful speech

What speech is harmful, how do we know, and what do we do if we find out?

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  • Modern debates over free speech rage on the internet, but what do experts say?
  • Some think it is easy to go too far in limiting public debate by offending parties, others argue limits are part of normal discourse.
  • While the debate isn't settled, these thinkers can give you some starting points for your next discussion.
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