Cedar Riener is a professor of psychology at Randolph-Macon College in Virginia. In this post, he debates the dilemmas of free speech. What stance do you take when confronting fascists? Do you ignore those who bully the vulnerable in public? He uses the example of a rightwing provocateur who humiliates a transgender student at the University of Wisconsin by displaying photographs of her as part of a public lecture. Should hate speech be protected? Should incitement to violence be protected?

These are issues that once seemed antique. They no longer are.

As a reader pointed out recently, I wrote a book called “The Language Police,” which is a strong affirmation of free speech. I believe in the free marketplace of ideas. But, as this angry reader told me, I block content on this blog that uses certain four-letter words, that insults me, and that I find offensive. I am walking a fine line here.

Cedar Riener tries to redefine the line. We are in new times. Should we protect the speech of fascists? Racists? Misogynists? Issues we once thought were settled no longer are.