On Wednesday, November 5, I'll be speaking at Washington, D.C.'s Newseum as part of Spiked Online's Free Speech Now! conference. Go here for details.
Spiked's Tim Black interviewed me last week and the Q&A just went up, under the title "The Best Answer to Bad Speech? More Speech." Here are some snippets that help explain why I'm "nearly utopian" about free expression:
"People have a right to free expression, and they have a right to free speech and free assembly. And that is what undergirds our press freedom. The press should have no rights that the average citizen does not have….
I think what unites the right and the left in stupidity and error when it comes to this broad-based understanding of the media, which is really the sum of the press as well as the entertainment industries, is that they're wedded to an old model, which grew out of the Frankfurt school, whereby the audience is assumed not really to have a mind of its own. It just kind of gets pushed along by whatever it reads and sees. And this argument is wrong, because everyone who watches a TV programme, or goes to a play, is an active participant, a person who processes information, who makes decisions every second about what things mean….
Look at Reason Foundation, which is the non-profit which publishes Reason. You take a non-profit that doesn't have a lot of money, that doesn't have a lot of power or insider connection. And we have come from publishing a monthly magazine and occasionally writing op-eds in newspapers to now, 20 years later, when we have a complete media operation, where we're online everyday and we reach over four million people every month. We have the ability to reach out and engage an audience as well as the people we disagree with that was virtually unthinkable when I joined the staff in 1993. And that's why I'm nearly utopian. And every day, there are new sites of information and expression that were simply not able to exist in any meaningful way a quarter of a century ago."