The Old South Meetinghouse presented Chris Finan as part of the Lowell Lecture Series. He discussed his book "From the Palmer Raids to the Patriot Act: The History of the Fight for Free Speech in America" I was disappointed. He was not a very passionate or moving speaker. It began with an interesting discussion of attempts to crush free speech during and after World War I. Then he moved on to "banned in Boston". But halfway through his time, he jumped to the Patriot Act. Mr. Finan spoke in vague terms...."we" need to fight "them". If "we" stop fighting for our right to free speech "they" will take it away, "they" are just waiting for that opportunity. I've never been big on conspiracies. The Patriot Act was waived around like a big boogie man. Mr. Finan glowingly spoke of Borders Books and Walden Books being on "his" side in their worries about readers privacy.
I could be wrong, but I only heard about one incident where the Patriot Act was used to try to get information from a library and they were slapped down by the library and the courts backed the library. If you didn't know anything about the Patriot Act, you would think it's sole purpose was to track what you read, buy to read and check out of a library. Arguements like this rely heavily on the ignorance of the general public. If you are going to have people say "Hey, that's a small part of the Patriot Act." "Please cite who is in jail because of a book?", "Hey, I've read the Patriot Act and you are exaggerating the threat posed to free speech.".......it doesn't work. But I was tired and hungry. It wasn't a well planned trip. Oh well.
I popped down to P.F. Chang's and had the lemon chicken. I felt much better.
4 years ago