Today, lived experience is often the trump card in debate. A reference to identity allows an often privileged minority to present themselves as victims and silence opposition. In the media, universities and the workplace hurt feelings routinely justify censorship. Those who offend risk losing their livelihood or even, if accused of hate speech, a police record. On campus, in the art world, publishing and journalism, those who cry loudest about their suffering can wield considerable power.
How has this situation come about? And how do we challenge it to reassert the importance of free speech? Is it fair to brand a younger generation 'snowflakes'? Is being offended really all that empowering?
Joanna Williams and Viv Regan are both lifelong advocates of free speech. Over the past decade, they have experienced the emergence of a more censorious climate in universities and in the media first-hand. In this in-conversation event, they discuss the changing nature of threats to free speech and how best to challenge the cry bullies.
- Joanna Williams, Director of Cieo, author of several books, including How Woke Won and Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity, columnist for Spiked and a regular contributor to The Spectator, The Telegraph and The Times.
- Viv Regan, Managing editor of Spiked (www.spiked-online.com), director of the Young Journalists' Academy
- Prof. David Martin Jones, Director of Research, Danube Institute