A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from October 13, 2009
Battlefield of Ideas (War of Ideas; Marketplace of Ideas)

Entry in progress—B.P.

Wikipedia: Marketplace of ideas
The “marketplace of ideas” is a rationale for freedom of expression based on an analogy to the economic concept of a free market. The “marketplace of ideas” belief holds that the truth or the best policy arises out of the competition of widely various ideas in free, transparent public discourse, an important part of liberal democracy. This concept is often applied to discussions of patent law as well as freedom of the press and the responsibilities of the media. More recently the term has come into use by educators in higher education who have linked the concept to academic freedom.

The concept of the “marketplace of ideas” is often attributed to Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.’s dissenting opinion in Abrams v. United States, 250 U.S. 616 (1919). Interestingly, while Justice Holmes (1919) implied the idea in his dissenting opinion, he never used the term. Holmes (1919) stated:

“Persecution for the expression of opinions seems to me perfectly logical. If you have no doubt of your premises or your power and want a certain result with all your heart you naturally express your wishes in law and sweep away all opposition...But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas...that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution.”

The term “marketplace of ideas” was used in the 1967 Supreme Court decision, Keyishian v. Board of Regents in which the Court stated that “The classroom is peculiarly the “marketplace of ideas.”

Despite these rulings, the concept of the classroom as the “marketplace of ideas” was not born in the twentieth century. As Richard Hofstadter and Walter Metzger (1955) have rightly pointed out, the concept has ancient and nineteenth century roots. The idea can be traced to Socrates and Aristotle. The Socratic Method is the pedagogical embodiment of the “Marketplace of Ideas.” In the modern era, John Stuart Mill (On Liberty, 1859) and Thomas Jefferson, provided their own explication of the “marketplace of ideas.” Making reference to the University of Virginia Jefferson said, “This institution will be based upon the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it” (Letter, Jefferson to William Roscoe, 1820).

In 1813, as part of a correspondence with Isaac McPherson, Thomas Jefferson wrote on the issues confronting patent law: “That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density at any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement, or exclusive appropriation.”

These concepts were based largely on the ideas of John Milton’s central argument for freedom of expression, which was that the individual is capable of using reason and distinguishing right from wrong, good from bad. In order to be able to exercise this reason correctly, the individual must have unlimited access to the ideas of his fellow men in “a free and open encounter.” From Milton’s writings developed the concept of the open marketplace of ideas, the idea that when people argue against each other the better argument will prevail. He wrote, “Let all with something to say be free to express themselves. The true and sound will survive. The false and unsound will be vanquished. Government should keep out of the battle and not weigh the odds in favor of one side or the other.” Milton’s principles of the “self-righting process” and “open marketplace of ideas” were promoted by Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson took it to heart and argued that, “any government which can not stand up to published criticism deserves to fall”.

Further Thomas Jefferson who was highly scrutinized by the press said, “The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.” –Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 1787. ME 6:57.

Google Books
14 June 1862, Once a Week, pg. 695, col. 1:
The lesson was not lost, for, although Michelet, heaven be praised ! never had occasion to take up arms for his country, he has fought valiantly for it on the battle-field of ideas.

Google Books
By Margaret Roberts
Leipzig: B. Tauchnitz
Pg. 256:
Do you think he will not sigh for the battle-field of ideas at Paris?

OCLC WorldCat record
The war of ideas: a poem
Author: John A Heraud; Ohio Library and Information Network.
Publisher: London : Simpkin, Marshall, 1871.
Edition/Format: Book : Poetry : EnglishView all editions and formats
Publication: English poetry database (Online)

OCLC WorldCat record
The war of ideas; an address to the Royal Colonial Institute, delivered Dec. 12, 1916,
Author: Walter Alexander Raleigh, Sir
Publisher: Oxford, The Clarendon Press, 1917.
Edition/Format: eBook : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Judaism in the war of ideas, a collection of addresses
Author: Harry Joshua Stern
Publisher: New York, Bloch Pub. Co., 1937.
Edition/Format: Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
“Books are weapons in the war of ideas.” : A panel discussion sponsored by the council on books in wartime and the New York times, the New York times hall, New York City, Wednesday, May 13, 1942.
Publisher: [New York; 1942]
Edition/Format: Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Books cannot be killed by fire: books are weapons in the war of ideas
Author: Broder, S.; United States. Office of War Information; World War II Posters.
Publisher: Illinois State Library 1942.
Edition/Format: Downloadable 2-D image : English
Summary: Poster, 20 x 28 cm, artist: S. Broder.

OCLC WorldCat record
The battlefield of ideas.
Author: Andrew Berding
Publisher: [Washington] Dept. of State [1958]
Series: Department of State publication, 6663.; Department of State publication., General foreign policy series ;, 127. 
Edition/Format: Book : National government publication : English

A Lady’s Ruminations
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Moving Toward the Guns
My mother got me a Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha today and I quite loved its The Way I See It quote (surprise):

On the battlefield of ideas, winning requires moving toward the sound of the guns.
Newt Gingrich

Thoughts and Misguided Wanderings
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
The Way I See It #290
This little quote was greeting me on the cup of my Starbucks latte (tall, vanilla, skim milk) this morning:

“On the battlefield of ideas, winning requires moving toward the sound of the guns.”
-Newt Gingrich

Head: BECK for August 25, 2009 - Part 1
Sect: News; Domestic
Byline: Glenn Beck
Guest: Phil Kerpen, Stephen Moore, Art Laffer, Michelle Malkin
Spec: Politics; Policies; Government
GLENN BECK, HOST: This week, we are doing a series of special shows. On Friday, I’m going to give you a specific plan of action.

But first, you have to educate yourself. Many people are going to try to make this about anything but what this show is truly about. From a line that I read a long time ago by Thomas Jefferson, Question with boldness. Now, I don’t know how many answers I can give to you this week, but I will flood—as George Washington called it—the battlefield of ideas with questions, honest questions.

Fox News - Glenn Beck
October 12, 2009
The One Thing: 10/12
The real winners in health care reform
(Last 20 seconds of video—ed.)
BECK: President Obama, Anita, and the White House, welcome to the place that George Washington called the battlefield of ideas.

The Glenn Beck Program
Glenn Beck: Rush and Fox News
October 13, 2009 - 15:02 ET
GLENN: From high above Times Square, this is the third most listened to show in all of America. Hello, you sick twisted freak. My name is Glenn Beck.
Then make the case and join me, as George Washington said, on the battlefield of ideas. But they won’t. Why? Because they know you’re against it. Not just talk radio listeners, not just Fox which, by the way, I think we’re two times the ratings of all of the other networks combined. You don’t want to have those people. Those people that watch those shows or listen to these shows, they’re crazy. No. No, we’re not.

Fox News - Glenn Beck
When Is an Extremist Not an Extremist?
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
BECK: When did words and ideas replace fists and bullets as tools of violence? Read a little George Washington, it’s called the battlefield of ideas: If you don’t fight it there, it will be fought with guns. Don’t you see what they are creating? They are leading us to a cemetery. Society cannot survive like this.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Military/Religion /Health • (0) Comments • Tuesday, October 13, 2009 • Permalink