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The Philosophic Death of Free Speech

Robert Garmong

Presented at: TOC 1995

Date: Oct 20, 1995

Free speech was thought to have been established conclusively by the thinkers of the Enlightenment, based on their defense of reason.  Yet today, free speech is increasingly being eroded and attacked.  On campuses, in the entertainment industry, and in the workplace there are increasing calls for censorship, while defenders of free speech weaken.  Free speech, in short, is all but intellectually dead.  This lecture will answer the question:  who killed free speech?  The surprising answer is that it was killed, not by its avowed enemies, but by the thinker known as its greatest defender, John Stuart Mill.  Mr. Garmong will demonstrate how an argument that was intended to provide the case for free speech, in fact lead to its death.  He will show how Mill's lethal premises lead to today's intellectual attacks on free speech.


Parts: 1

Handout: none


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