The Free Speech Recession (w/ Jacob Mchangama)
We all love free speech... for us, not them.
Jacob Mchangama — author of Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media, lawyer, and founder and director of the Copenhagen-based think tank Justitia — has uncovered an unfortunate, though not too surprising, historical pattern, across cultures and societies: the second we feel under threat in a society, free speech (that supposedly sacrosanct value) goes swiftly by the wayside. In this conversation, Jacob takes us back in time and traces the history of free speech all the way from Ancient Greece to the EU’s recent banning of Russian propaganda — and we unpack a whole lot of hypocrisy along the way.
On the agenda:
-Adaam’s big mistake [0:00-7:44]
-Self-censorship and its consequences [7:45-14:51]
-The pro-democracy podcast coalition [14:52-20:15]
-On cartoons and Milton’s curse [20:16-25:13]
-Free speech through the ages: Greece & Rome [25:14-37:51]
-Free speech through the ages: the Middle Ages [37:52-44:18]
-Free speech through the ages: from Reformation to Revolution (stopping on Spinoza along the way) [44:19-55:47]
-American culture vs. American law [55:48-1:09:21]
-A golden age or a free speech recession? [1:09:22-1:13:26]
-Banning Russian propaganda [1:13:27-1:22:22]
-Liberal democracy: why does it matter? [1:22:23-1:29:30]
Uncertain Things is hosted and produced by Adaam James Levin-Areddy and Vanessa M. Quirk. For more doomsday rumination, subscribe to: uncertain.substack.com.