Author speaks on free speech at Iowa State


Olivia Nuckles/Iowa State Daily

Author P.E. Moskowitz spoke about their new book on free speech at Iowa State on Oct. 1.

Olivia Nuckles

Author P.E. Moskowitz came to Iowa State Tuesday to discuss their new book, “The Case Against Free Speech.”

Moskowitz was asked by an audience member at their lecture whether they believe there will ever be true free speech in the United States.

“I think that we have to increase economic and racial equality in this country to have any chance of true free speech,” Moskowitz said. “For example, the person who can’t afford a meal has less free speech than I do, and I have less free speech than a Koch brother. So to me free speech isn’t about changing one law or another law, it’s about increasing economic equality.”

Moskowitz has now written several books, including “The Case Against Free Speech”as well as “How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality and the Future of the Neighborhood.”

Not only has Moskowitz written two books, but also they have also created an online network called Study Hall for social media workers who are searching for help in finding jobs. This group has over 1,500 members and is still growing.

According to Moskowitz’s website, they have written for “The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Nation and Vice, Wired, OUT Magazineand others.”

Moskowitz discussed the issue of privacy during their lecture.

“The FBI began figuring out how to break up activist groups they didn’t like,” Moskowitz said. “[The FBI] knew they couldn’t just jail everyone, so instead they came up with these sketchy tactics like making everyone feel like they were being watched, surveilling each other, planting fake news stories.”

The government doesn’t need to jail people to break apart social movements if people are concerned those around them are informants and people do not know who to trust, Moskowitz said.

Moskowitz said they became curious about freedom of speech through the influence of other Amendment rights, such as the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

“In the same way that we know that a politician is influenced by the NRA when they speak about the Second Amendment, I thought there must be something going on when we talk about the first amendment,” Moskowitz said.

Moskowitz said after this realization they then proceeded to write their book on free speech in America.

“To me, there can be a different definition of free speech,” Moskowitz said. “I would never say free speech is bad. As of now, I think it is a little meaningless. We have to put materiality back into free speech, we have to put reality back into free speech.”