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Fighting fire with FIRE

Jun 22, 2022 by Casey Mattox

If you’re reading this, you’re an informed free speech supporter. So you likely already know that you can shout “fire” in a movie theater (with the usual lawyerly caveat of “it depends”).

But did you also know that I recommend fighting fire with fire?

Well, with FIRE, that is.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (a.k.a FIRE) is expanding. After protecting free speech on campus for more than two decades, they’re stepping up to protect First Amendment rights on and off campus. FIRE is now the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression.

As you can imagine, I — and everyone at Americans for Prosperity  — are pretty darn excited about this.

AFP has had a longstanding commitment to free speech, and we’ve spent the better half of the decade advancing campus speech reform in higher education. We’ve seen firsthand the worrying trends toward censorship over civil debate.

While you undoubtedly saw early concerns over free speech first appear on college campuses, those trends have now spilled over into business and into communities. First Amendment freedoms are threatened on both the quad and the town square – and FIRE is more than well-positioned to step in to defend those freedoms.

I mentioned “fighting fire with FIRE” up top, and although it’s true I simply love a good dad joke, I also meant it seriously.

These days, inflammatory (see what I did there?) voices offer extreme “solutions” for our differences – “solutions” that not only wouldn’t be effective but would further polarize our country and potentially trample over others’ civil rights.

However, FIRE can protect Americans’ First Amendment rights and fight back against censorship, cancel culture, and other examples of illiberalism using the tools our country already has in place to right wrongs — litigation and legislation among them — while remaining honest and persuasive.

Want to learn more? Check out National Review‘s story about the expansion.

Civil liberties are the solution to uncivil times. Join the defense of Free Speech:

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