Vladimir Putin, Tsar of All The Russias, Player with Tigers, and Stacker of Snow, takes deserved stick for the infrastructure shortcomings at Sochi, on the Russian Riviera.  But Trinity College's Thomas S. Harrington directs his gaze closer to home.
Oh, what fun it is to mock Putin and his attempts to present a civilized and modern face to the world.

In the Boston Globe this week, David Filipov who is manning the paper’s "life on the street" beat in Sochi, explains with clear scorn and condescension how, in Putin's Russia, those that want to protest against the government are relegated to doing so in "protest parks" far from the cameras and the crowds.

Funny how in 2004, at the Democratic National Convention in Filipov's home town of Boston, neither he nor anyone at his famously "liberal" paper made much fuss about the "free speech zones"—chain link cages with constant video surveillance—that were set up as the sole place where protestors against the political order could say their piece during that key political event.

Indeed, the "free speech zone," a patently illegal absurdity in the context of the most elemental reading of the US constitution, has become a ubiquitous part of our life in the US, justified, of course, in the name of "security"—or as the more suave disdainers of basic constitutional rights like Obama like to put it, in the name of the "necessary balance" between security and freedom in our society.

The fact that such a liberty for security trade-off has absolutely no presence in the founding legal documents of our Republic, and indeed would have been an anathema to the authors of the Constitution, does not stop Obama and the many human parrots in the media from acting as if it were the most natural and unassailable concept of our legal system.
In Professor Harrington's world, it all comes back to twenty years of Reagan, Bush, and Bush.
Put another way, Filipov and the many others like him in our press have internalized the core presumption of the authoritarian mind: the idea that there is always a force majeure, real or imagined, that can and should trump both their individual rational faculties and our received notions of collective legality.

Where did our press learn to think this way? The answer lies in our post-Reagan political establishment, you know, the group the mainstream press loves to say it holds to account, but whose perceived power and influence it, in fact, venerates. Lusting after this claque’s parcel of power, and learning to imitate their techniques of career advancement for thirty years has finally hollowed out their souls.
There's a simpler explanation, no farther away than the gates of Trinity College.
Trinity College has been given the speech code rating Red. A red light university has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech.
I notice, in researching this post, that the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education have removed the Speech Code Widget I invented.

But, Professor Harrington, "Oh what fun it is to mock the mainstream press for its complicity in the suppression of speech."  Yes it is.  And it's serious work.  But first, consider Trinity's own manifestations of the core presumptions of the authoritarian mind.  Free speech zones are a tool of academic administrators.

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