Birmingham Salon

Talking Liberty - The Future of Free Speech

Talking Liberty - the future of free speech

Saturday 12th November
1.00 pm - 3.30 pm
Map Room, Cherry Reds, 88-92 John Bright Street, B1 1BN

Free entry but donations welcome

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This is the first in an occasional series of discussions based on the Letters on Liberty essays published by the Academy of Ideas.

Please join us from 1.00 pm for social time and informal discussion. From 1.45 pm we will introduce and discuss the essay The Future of Free Speech by Jacob Mchangama. You can purchase the essay in booklet format or download a PDF version. You are strongly encouraged to read it to contribute more fully to the discussion, but if you don't we will give a short summary to introduce the key arguments.

Mchangama is the author of Free Speech:a history from Socrates to Social Media, and he argues in this essay that we are in a free speech recession. 

"Free speech is one of the most powerful and transformative ideas ever conceived. It is held as the 'first freedom, the bedrock of democracy, the enemy of tyranny, the midwife of enlightenment and the source of truth...But free speech is far from assured; it has not been the default position in the long arc of history. Thus, after decades of global gains, it has now suffered more than a decade of setbacks."

How far do you agree with these assertions? Does Mchangama set out a convincing case for the importance of free speech? Is it helpful to those who want to defend free speech, or are there significant omissions? 

Following our discussion, we will agree which of the Letters on Liberty to discuss in 2023.

Free speech in the news:

National Secular Society defends free speech at 'Stand with Salman' event

Arrest of protestors prompts free speech concerns

Joanne Harris faces member vote on Society of Authors role amid call for free speech review

John Cleese set to join GB News in a push for 'free speech'

Most students think UK universities protect free speech, survey finds