Speech: Freedom vs. Responsibility?

To speak is to exercise power. History has often been shaped by courageous individuals who opened new worlds of possibility by daring to speak. For the same reason, speech may be suppressed by those unwilling to share some of their own power. Freedom of speech has frequently been challenged in one way or another, which is why defending this right is a never-ending struggle. But our hard-won freedom of speech is not without consequence. We cannot have freedom without responsibility.
 
Free speech is necessary to enhance self, seek truth, refine authority, and embrace difference. Responsible speech, in power or plaint, requires exercise and influence, reason and grace, courage and restraint. As we defend the right of those we deem misguided to speak freely, what are some of the responsibilities that we want to promote alongside that precious freedom? What might the exercise of free speech and responsibility look like at Concordia College and beyond?
 
The 2019 Faith, Reason, and World Affairs Symposium will tackle this and other thorny issues surrounding the freedom of speech. We hope that spirited debate about contested viewpoints will guide us to a deeper understanding of our values, our current social arrangements, and the direction that we want our country and community to take.

Confirmed Speakers

Nadine Strossen

Nadine Strossen is the John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law at New York Law School and past president of the American Civil Liberties Union (1991-2008). Strossen, considered one of the country’s most influential women, has made thousands of public presentation around the world and is a frequent media commentator.

Zachary Woods

Zachary R. Wood is the former president of the Williams College student group, Uncomfortable Learning, author of his memoir, “Uncensored,”and former Robert L. Bentley Fellow at The Wall Street Journal. He is an advocate for open dialogue and free speech and currently works as assistant opinion editor of The Guardian.