Those trying to curtail free speech often invoke its very limited exceptions to achieve their goals. For example, they often point to legitimate restrictions of speech based on “time, place, and manner.” This limited legal restriction to free speech allows police to, say, prevent public speech with a loudspeaker from occurring at 2 a.m. because it could keep people awake.
However, administrators at North Carolina State University in Raleigh—as well as many others—try to take this narrow free speech restriction too far by using it to impose a blanket restriction on a student group handing out informational cards on campus.
In effect, administrators have restricted all speech from this student group unless it gets permission first. A federal judge recognized this violation of free speech and ordered NC State not to enforce the policy.
In the Learn Liberty video below, professor Deirdre McCloskey explains that rhetoric—which stems from the Greek word for persuasion—is what underlies free speech. She explains that there is no other acceptable method for getting at the truth than persuasion, and that the only other alternative is violence. She notes:
So a free society is an advertising society. A free society is a rhetorical society. A free society is a speaking rather than violent society.

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