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Summer 2002
The Contrarian
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"My claim was that actually the First Amendment was more compatible with the new media than the old media for which it was written," Volokh adds. "There was always this sense that you're free to speak, but you can't speak unless someone publishes you, because of this bottleneck control by editors." Sites like Instapundit, he notes, are closer to the new roll-your-own newspaper he predicted in 1995. Volokh was incorrect in predicting that some sort of centralized service would contract with The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times or The Wall Street Journal to provide readers their preferred mix of news. Instead we have a new world of individual bloggers who on their own bring free speech closer to the First Amendment ideal.

I checked onto Volokh's own blog in April and noticed that he'd posted a math puzzle his father used to pose to him and his brother when they were children. The next day he was musing about how his name was changed when the Volokhs moved to America, from Yevgeniy, "a rather romantic-sounding name in Russian, to Eugene, which, let's face it, is pretty dweeby. On the other hand, I did end up with one of the few names that comes attached to its own scientific discipline, albeit one that's in rather ill repute."

Then it was on to a discussion of the Washington State Civil Rights Act and Volokh's delight that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision forbidding a Seattle school district from considering race when assigning children to certain schools. A few days later it was back to Yevgeniy again. Four lines from Alexander Pushkin's great poem "Yevgeniy Onegin" had, for some reason, been rattling around in Volokh's brain:

We've all received an education
In something somehow, have we not?
So thank the Lord that in this nation
A little learning means a lot.

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