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Freedom of Speech

     A highly esteemed WAISer has written to me that he feels more freedom of speech abroad than in the United States. Philip Howard stressed that point in his recent book The Death of Common Sense, adding that it is ironical this this should happen in the country of the First Amendment. People afraid of being not only politically incorrect but legally exposed to grievance suits.
     The case of the white Washington official who lost his job because he used the word "niggardly" (which has nothing to do with "nigger") has properly aroused both indignation and ridicule. Colin Powell, who is from the West Indies, used the Britishism "Chinaman," (similar to "Englishman", "Frenchman"). He was sharply denounced; bewildered, he apologized. It is impossible to criticize the Israeli government without being accused of anti-semitism, which simply feeds anti-semitism.
     WAIS policy is clear; it practices the First Amendment. Sharp disagreement is welcome, even encouraged. What is not acceptable is gross, insulting and violent language. Two individuals were dropped from the WAIS list for this reason. WAIS remains a civil society.

Ronald Hilton - 01/30/99