Excellent talk given by Yaron Brook on free speech,”an issue that goes to the core of what Western Civilization is about.” During this talk Dr. Brook discusses why free speech is fundamental to what separates Western culture, meaning that culture which originated in, but is not limited to, Western Europe during the Enlightenment, from what existed previously and still exists in some parts of the world. As he puts it in the talk, “The protection of speech is the protection of thinking.” Without the freedom to speak you really don’t have the freedom to think and it is only our ability to think which has allowed human beings to survive when other more physical capable species have not. This connection, between speech, thought and life is summarized in this quotation from the end of the talk:
The right to think, the right to live, is the right to speak.
A major theme of the talk is that free speech is not only under attack by groups such as Islamic jihadists who want to kill people who express ideas they do not agree with, but even more so from government who wants to silence people for communicating ideas that some find offensive. One need only look at the expanding array of hate speech laws in Europe and speech codes on American campuses, to name just two of the issues brought up in the talk, to see how this threat to speech is expanding.
The talk is followed by about 40 minutes of Q&A which are always fun and interesting.