More than 40 prominent scholars, freedom advocates, and policy experts on Tuesday released “The Philadelphia Statement” a public statement affirming the necessity of free speech and civil discourse, while denouncing cancel culture, "hate speech" labelling, and other forms of ideological blacklisting.
CHQ is proud to be part of this public statement and to publicly renew our commitment to standing for freedom of expression.
As our friends at the National Religious Broadcasters reported, “Freedom of expression is in crisis. Truly open discourse—the debates, exchange of ideas, and arguments on which the health and flourishing of a democratic republic crucially depend—is increasingly rare.
Ideologues demonize opponents to block debates on important issues and to silence people with whom they disagree.”
“We must ask ourselves: Is this the country we want? Surely not.”
The ten-paragraph “Philadelphia Statement” highlights the desire and need for America to be a nation in which people “of many different faiths, philosophies, and persuasions can speak their minds and honor their deepest convictions without fear of punishment and retaliation.”
It also recognizes that America’s free speech tradition is not absolutist as it excludes certain, limited categories of speech, such as defamation, obscenity, intimidation and threats, and incitement to violence. But “hate speech” is not among them as it is difficult to define and “is often used by those wielding political, economic, or cultural power to silence dissenting voices.”
Nor is “offensive” content. Nor the “wrong” and “harmful” content from which some corporations say they are “protecting” people through “hate speech” and related policies.
“These policies and regulations assume that we as citizens are unable to think for ourselves and to make independent judgments,” reads the statement. “Instead of teaching us to engage, they foster conformism (“groupthink”) and train us to respond to intellectual challenges with one or another form of censorship.”
According to the statement’s drafters, the hope for the statement is that it will be a catalyst for an ongoing, ideologically diverse movement working to build a culture where the open exchange of ideas is universally respected, and where civil discourse is widely practiced throughout society.
One of the key points the Philadelphia Statement makes that prompted us to lend our name and wholehearted support is this: “That is why we must favor openness, to allow ideas and beliefs the chance to be assessed on their own merits; and we must be willing to trust that bad ideas will be corrected not through censorship but through better arguments.”
Our job at CHQ is to make those “better arguments” on behalf of conservative principles and to boldly take to the public square to explain and argue on behalf of our conservative values, principles, and policy judgements.
We urge CHQ readers and friends to join us in signing the Philadelphia Statement. As of this writing 6,694 people have signed the Statement, please confirm your commitment to freedom of expression by adding your name to the list today.
freedom of expression