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Week in Review: Young Radicals in the Age of Trump

September 7, 2019

Is there a cure for the sad state of campus free speech today? Libertarian journalist and former Goldwater Institute intern Robby Soave says that more speech would definitely help fix the problem—not less of it.

Soave, an assistant editor at, is the author of the new book Panic Attack: Young Radicals in the Age of Trump, which looks at millennial and Generation Z activism on college campuses. As part of the research for the book, Soave spoke to young activists from all across the political spectrum, from left to right, to gain a better understanding of what campus activism really looks like—and what that means for the health of campus free speech. Activism isn’t what it used to be, Soave told a packed room at Arizona State University’s Tempe campus this week: These days, activists aren’t learning their craft from their professors, but rather from each other. Social media has made it easier than ever for wannabe activists to find one another. But as Soave writes at the start of his book:

Frustratingly, my conversations with young activists left me concerned that they will struggle to translate their feelings into any sort of cohesive movement that wins undecided Americans to its cause. That’s because they frequently seem almost hysterically opposed to building bridges with potential allies, preferring to settle scores with people who are for the most part already on their side. The college-aged activist of modern times is radically exclusionary and often views the principles of open debate with skepticism, if not outright hostility.

Click here to read more about Soave’s event and stay tuned for an exclusive video interview. To learn more about the Goldwater Institute’s fight to restore free speech on college campuses, visit

Oregon Shouldn’t Force Lawyers to Pay for State Bar’s Politics

The Goldwater Institute took the latest step this week to protect free speech rights: We’ve filed our opening brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in a case challenging Oregon laws that force attorneys to join and pay dues to the Oregon State Bar to be allowed to practice law.

The case, Crowe v. Oregon State Bar, began when the Goldwater Institute’s clients, Oregon attorneys Daniel Crowe and Lawrence Peterson, opened the April 2018 issue of the State Bar’s monthly magazine and saw a statement by the State Bar calling for new restrictions on certain speech believed to incite violence (notwithstanding the First Amendment) and a statement by a group of other bar associations criticizing President Trump for restricting immigration and for allegedly “espous[ing] racist comments” and “cater[ing]” to the “white nationalist movement.”

Crowe and Peterson had long opposed the State Bar’s use of their mandatory dues to advocate for and against public policies and state legislation. The magazine statements were the last straw. They don’t want their dues to be used to fund this or any political speech, whether they agree with it or not.  The Goldwater Institute is fighting to protect free speech rights in multiple states across the country, including in the case of Fleck v. Wetch in North Dakota.

Goldwater senior attorney Jacob Huebert discusses what this case means for all Americans’ freedom of speech in a new article for the In Defense of Liberty blog.

Michigan Governor’s Dazed and Confused Anti-Vape Regulation

Marijuana? Blaze on! Vaping? Hell no!

These dazed, confused, and conflicting messages are coming from none other than Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who this week wielded her mighty pen of regulation and made her state the first in the nation to ban the sale of flavored vaping products. 

Though her goal is noble —to prevent children from vaping —her overly broad solution infringes on the rights of law-abiding adults and the livelihood of business owners, and it could make the problem worse, not better. And that says nothing of the regulation’s seeming arbitrariness, at least seen in the light of the governor’s support for recreational marijuana.

Goldwater director of communications Mike Brownfield examines the problems behind this regulation, why it could cause more harm than good, and how the Goldwater Institute is challenging similar regulations in Oregon. Click here to read more about it.



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