Thursdays, July 27, August 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 from 6 pm to 8 pm
Few topics on the political left arouse more passion and trigger more discord than free speech. One tradition, tracing back to the 1930s, says, “No free speech for fascists.” Today, it would also silence racists, anti-Semites and Islamophobes, misogynists, lookists, and homophobes. When protesters at Berkeley prevented a rightwing provocateur from speaking in February of this year, President Trump threatened to cut federal funding of the university. A second tradition traces back to Karl Marx’s credo De omnibus dubitandum (To doubt everything). It opposes any silencing of opinion on the grounds that, on the one hand, you can never be certain that you possess truth and, on the other hand, the only way to reach truth is by a “standing invitation to the world” to prove you wrong. The last quoted phrase comes from John Stuart Mill’s classic and unrivaled exposition, ON LIBERTY. This six-week class will be devoted to Mill’s essay. It will not be a lecture class but, instead, will be based on a close, interactive reading and analysis of salient passages in Mill’s text, as it simultaneously engages current controversies.
Register for this course online starting Thursday, July 13
The instructor, Norman G. Finkelstein, himself got embroiled in a high-profile free speech case exactly a decade ago when he was denied tenure in 2007. The course promises to be a provocative and inspiring occasion, where the heat it generates will, hopefully, be surpassed by the light it sheds.
Presented in the first floor Willa Cather Community Room. All courses and events are free and open to the public.
- Audience: Adults