Speaking At The Liberty Forum In February

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I've accepted an invitation to speak at the Liberty Forum in New Hampshire in February 2014. The Liberty Forum is hosted by the Free State Project, which seeks to persuade libertarian-minded citizens to move to New Hampshire to pursue more limited governments.

Here's the talk I am giving:

Online Censorship By Lawfare: How Thin-Skinned People Abuse The Legal System To Shut You Up, And What You Can Do About It

The internet gives us unprecedented power to talk about things that are important to us. Our audience is limited only by the persuasiveness of our message and our creativity in spreading it. But some of our neighbors don’t like being criticized online. Across America, everyone from rich corporations to isolated and deranged individuals are taking advantage of a flawed legal system to shut down online speech they don’t like. Regardless of the merits of their cases, unprincipled people can and will sue you to shut you up, and their suits cost time and money. What can you do about it? Ken White is a First Amendment litigator and a blogger at Popehat.com, where he uses the “Popehat Signal” to help beleaguered bloggers find pro bono defense against defamation suits. He’ll explain the flaws in our legal system that allow this abuse, and describe what you can do to protect yourself and make speech more free in America.

I'm also participating in a panel on criminal justice issues.

We all know that the correct response to law enforcement in consensual encounters is "Am I being detained?" and "Am I free to go?" but what happens if you get arrested? What should you expect to happen if you end up going to court? This panel not only examines procedural aspects of the justice system but also deals with how to deescalate law enforcement encounters to avoid arrest and court.

I'm looking forward to meeting fellow speakers I admire like Trevor Timm and Clark Neily, among others. I'm also interested in hearing ideas that challenge me, and trying to challenge others. The Free State Project, and some of the speakers at the event, have views I don't share; I have views they don't share. But I think we all share — or should share — core beliefs about freedom of expression and the dangers of overly powerful and unaccountable law enforcement, and I look forward to exploring those topics. It's a good thing for people from different backgrounds with different views to converge on core values.

I'd enjoy meeting any Popehat readers who are there.

[Early in the new year I've also been invited to give a talk about sexual harassment prevention at a secular event, in case you think this engagement makes me too easy to predict.]

Last 5 posts by Ken White

31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. TJIC  •  Nov 6, 2013 @10:34 am

    > I've also been invited to give a talk about sexual harassment prevention

    Presumably you'll be bringing your own staff members so as to roleplay the "don't do this" scenarios?

  2. shg  •  Nov 6, 2013 @10:42 am

    It sounds rather awkward.

  3. Not Claude Akins  •  Nov 6, 2013 @10:42 am

    Ken! When are you speaking? Do you know yet?

  4. JTM  •  Nov 6, 2013 @11:03 am

    "The Liberty Forum is hosted by the Free State Project, which seeks to persuade libertarian-minded citizens to move to New Hampshire to pursue more limited governments."

    Isn't New Hampshire awfully cold? In the immortal words of Patrick Henry, "Give me liberty, or give me comfort! Preferably comfort!"

  5. Ollie  •  Nov 6, 2013 @11:04 am

    I'll see if I can make it down for this; it's about 3 hours from where I'm living in Maine.

  6. Allen Garvin  •  Nov 6, 2013 @11:08 am

    "I'd enjoy reading any Popehat readers who are there."

    Should we bring our own tarot cards?

  7. Spinoza  •  Nov 6, 2013 @11:19 am

    What's the over/under on Clark Neily being the mild-mannered alter ego of @Clarkhat?

  8. Not Claude Akins  •  Nov 6, 2013 @11:29 am

    If there's any kind of reader confab taking place, I'll pledge one domestic light beer to the name of Ken White.

    @JTM – Check out the Wikipedia article. Seems they were considering such desirable spots as Wyoming, as well. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_State_Project#History

  9. Jim Tyre  •  Nov 6, 2013 @11:31 am

    Note to self: send to Trevor full dossier on Ken.

  10. repsac3  •  Nov 6, 2013 @11:32 am

    If @clarkhat has a mild-mannered alter-ego, that'd be news to me (and to him as well, I suspect). I don't imagine he is in any way different in person than he is in print. What you read is what you get, as it were…

    That said, I think he would make a fine addition on any panel discussing something about which he has expertise, interest… …or even just an opinion. (Not that I'd likely agree with him, but he's just so damned eloquent, no matter how right or wrong he happens to be.)

  11. Andrew  •  Nov 6, 2013 @11:52 am

    Will you be participating in the cosplay contest?

  12. SassQueen  •  Nov 6, 2013 @11:58 am

    I'd be interested in hearing a summation of that panel on deescalating law enforcement encounters.

  13. anne mouse  •  Nov 6, 2013 @12:15 pm

    (Too perplexed by the use of "secular" in this context to remember what I originally planned to comment about.)

  14. Clark  •  Nov 6, 2013 @12:31 pm

    @anne mouse:

    Too perplexed by the use of "secular" in this context to remember what I originally planned to comment about.

    I noted that too.

    Someone else I read (Megan McArdle, I think) uses the word that way from time to time. It seems to be a wonkish turn of phrase. I think it means "non partisan" in context, but I've been unable to get a dictionary to corroborate it.

  15. Clark  •  Nov 6, 2013 @12:36 pm

    @Allen Garvin

    "I'd enjoy reading any Popehat readers who are there."

    Should we bring our own tarot cards?

    Ooh, there's a fun game! Come up with the correspondences between Major Arcana cards and Popehat people / concepts.

    The Chariot is clearly a pony reference.

    Strength, perhaps, represents Via Angus. (Self-control – Being solid – Patience – Compassion – Composure – Stability – Perseverance )

    etc.

    "The Magician and The Emperor and below – the Hanged Man. Hmm… the cards seem to be saying that Patrick and Ken banned some jackass."

  16. Clark  •  Nov 6, 2013 @12:38 pm

    @repsac3

    If @clarkhat has a mild-mannered alter-ego, that'd be news to me (and to him as well, I suspect). I don't imagine he is in any way different in person than he is in print. What you read is what you get, as it were…

    I've had varying reports when e-acquaintances meet me. They run the gamut from "not remotely as much as an asshole as I expected…a nice guy, actually!" to "WHAT AN ASSHOLE!"

    As I told Ken in twitter, I don't think I'll be up in Keene freezing my ass off this winter…but if I do show, I'll wear an Anonymous mask. So if you're there, please, go up to the first guy you see so dressed and kick him in the balls.

  17. XS  •  Nov 6, 2013 @1:24 pm

    @ Clark

    From the Urban Dictionary:
    secular
    Intelligent; One who uses common sense and deductive reasoning to come to the conclusion that religion is a joke.
    I think, therefore I am secular!

  18. mcinsand  •  Nov 6, 2013 @1:33 pm

    Hey! Before you guys start dumping on New Hampshire, remember that this is the home of Smuttynose Brewery. I have never been to NH, but I refuse to write a state off that can produce this great of a beer!

  19. anne mouse  •  Nov 6, 2013 @1:53 pm

    Actually, the problem with Keene is it's too far south. February is ice climbing season, but you're not going to find anything good around Keene. Have to head up to Rumney at least.

    Next winter, can you speak in Keene, New York?

  20. ChicagoTom  •  Nov 6, 2013 @2:27 pm

    I'll pledge one domestic light beer to the name of Ken White.

    What do you have against Mr White?

  21. Ken White  •  Nov 6, 2013 @2:35 pm

    Domestic light beer is definitely not going to get me drunk enough not to laugh during the Ayn Rand readings.

  22. CJK Fossman  •  Nov 6, 2013 @2:37 pm

    @Ken

    Will there be transcripts videos?

  23. Clark  •  Nov 6, 2013 @3:12 pm

    @XS

    secular – Intelligent; One who uses common sense and deductive reasoning to come to the conclusion that religion is a joke.
    I think, therefore I am secular!

    This strikes me as an example what Mrs. Clark refers to as "110 Island" cleverness.

  24. Steve  •  Nov 6, 2013 @3:20 pm

    I would totally buy Ken a churro from the local Costco if i wasn't going to the Mouse that weekend.

  25. SPQR  •  Nov 6, 2013 @3:52 pm

    "[Early in the new year I've also been invited to give a talk about sexual harassment prevention at a secular event, in case you think this engagement makes me too easy to predict.]"

    Good, I am opposed to sexual harassment prevention at secular events too.

  26. Nicholas Weaver  •  Nov 6, 2013 @3:58 pm

    Hey, be sure to pick up a couple of Bitcoins while you are there…

  27. melK  •  Nov 6, 2013 @4:13 pm

    Hmm… the cards seem to be saying that Patrick and Ken banned some jackass.

    Probably for equine sympathies.

  28. OngChotwI  •  Nov 6, 2013 @4:19 pm

    Non microbrewer domestic beer = slug bait according to some. Sounded like someone was going to present Ken with some beer battered slugs. *grin*

  29. Aaron  •  Nov 6, 2013 @9:14 pm

    @Clark, The Magician would probably be David, working his magic code and tech in the comments improvements.

  30. Gabriel  •  Nov 7, 2013 @10:25 am

    " The Free State Project, and some of the speakers at the event, have views I don't share"

    Just out of curiosity, what views does the FSP hold which you don't share? Pretty much the only ideology the FSP formally espouses is the idea of voting with your feet and concentrating libertarian (whatever that may mean to the individual) political density in one place rather than being ineffectually diffuse.

  31. Dan  •  Nov 7, 2013 @10:41 am

    Ken, I know you live in Southern California, so I want to give you a heads up. Our barbarous countrymen in the North East celebrate an odd season called "Winter" around that time of the year. In it, they turn up their air conditioners to high and leave the doors open, essentially cooling the entire outdoors. As a result, it gets really, really cold there. Cold like you wouldn't believe.

    So bring a sweater, ok?