A few weeks ago in Los Angeles, Reason celebrated its 50th anniversary. To mark that milestone, we hosted a series of discussions taking the measure of how far the world has come since 1968 in relation to a bunch of topics that we've long been interested in. I'm happy to share with you a panel titled "The First Amendment in the 21st Century."
Arguably, nothing is more fundamental to Reason's commitment to a libertarian world of "Free Minds and Free Markets" than the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment: freedom of speech, assembly, religion, and redress. Yet today's world seems to be filled with paradoxes when it comes the First Amendment: Thanks to technology and the breakdown of gatekeeper institutions, we're freer than ever to say what we want, yet expression everywhere seems haunted or blocked by hate-speech laws and formal and informal codes. Recent attempts by different levels of government to force businesses to provide birth control or wedding cakes in ways that run counter to the faith of owners have been rebuffed, but in the narrowest of terms. Is the First Amendment flourishing or floundering?
What follows is a wide-ranging and freewheeling conversation about all that and more, featuring a slugger's row of participants and moderated by me. The participants included:
- Nadine Strossen, a professor at New York University Law School, the former president of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the author most recently of Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship;
- Stephanie Slade, the managing editor of Reason magazine, who writes frequently about religious liberty, and;
- Eugene Volokh, a professor at UCLA's law school, a frequently citied First Amendment scholar, and the creator of the popular law blog, The Volokh Conspiracy.
We'll be releasing more podcasts from Reason's 50th anniversary over the coming weeks.
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