BOSTON (CBS) — Leave it to the by-now notorious PC police over at Newton North High to once again make news about free speech, in this case, the saga of the Newton North senior on an exchange program with a school in China who had the nerve to write pro-democracy comments in a Chinese classmate’s notebook, infuriating some of his hosts and getting him barred from his prom.
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Apparently, writing that “democracy is for cool kids…don’t believe the lies your school and government tell you” and “it’s right to rebel” were egregious violations of the code of conduct demanded by this school, a fact that raises questions about why Newton North would want to be associated with it.
But the story jumps out at me because I’m just back from two weeks in Turkey, a fantastic country with wonderful people who have a problem when it comes to free speech – they don’t grasp the concept.
Turkish law includes vaguely worded prohibition of criticism of the state or religion, and unsurprisingly, zealous, politicized prosecutors wield their power broadly. Turkey has more journalists in its prisons than some of the world’s most repressive governments, such as Iran and China.
On my trip I met a high school student whose father is serving two years, hard time for the cardinal sin of writing blog posts critical of some of these taboos. All the kid in Newton lost was some prom photos, but plenty of people sacrifice a lot to stand up for free speech. Their cause isn’t made any easier when clueless fat cats in the west cave like a sandcastle at high tide when confronted with the reprehensible standards of police states.
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