Hate Speech V. Free Speech: Floyd Abrams, Bret Stephens, Nadine Strossen, Moderated by Thane Rosenbaum LIVESTREAM
Where: 92nd Street Y
1395 Lexington Ave.
212-415-5500 Price: $35
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Free speech, one of the most basic rights guaranteed to US citizens, has become a hot-button issue with phrases like “fake news” and “safe space” entering the national lexicon, and arguments raging over what is and is not acceptable conversation for the public square.
Why do we protect some speech? The very reason for the First Amendment is to allow citizens the freedom to think, speak, write, and worship as they wish, without governmental interference. The fact that the speech of some may make others uncomfortable is the price Americans pay for the protection of their own speech.
But wait. What happens when the free speech of extremists incites others to violence? Doesn’t human dignity count for anything? And what about the evolving neuroscience that shows how injurious—both psychologically and physically—speech that is hateful and threatening can be? The US Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that hate speech is legally protected free speech under the First Amendment. In today’s climate of spiking hate crimes, anti-Semitic acts, and bigotry of all kinds erupting across the nation, is there a free speech breaking point—a line at which the hateful, harmful, or controversial nature of free speech should cause it to lose constitutional protection under the First Amendment?
Join Thane Rosenbaum, whose new book is entitled: Saving Free Speech … from Itself, and a panel of supremely qualified experts—Floyd Abrams, a prominent First Amendment lawyer and a supporter of broad free-speech rights; Bret Stephens, New York Times columnist; and Nadine Strossen, the first woman to head the American Civil Liberties Union—to discuss the meaning of freedom of speech and its implications for our safety, freedom, and democracy.