Clear and Present Danger - A History of Free Speech

By Jacob Mchangama

On Going since Jan 2018

Why have kings, emperors, and governments killed and imprisoned people to shut them up? And why have countless people risked death and imprisonment to express their beliefs? Jacob Mchangama guides you through the history of free speech from the trial of Socrates to the Great Firewall.

All Episodes

  Direct Link   Download 45 Minutes 05 Apr 2018

In episode 6, we get medieval! Find out why the Middle Ages were as much a period of reason and inquiry as inquisition and superstition. Why was the famous medieval intellectual Pierre Abelard castrated, forced to burn his works, and condemned to silence by the church? How did the combination of Aristotelian philosophy and the development of universities institutionalize reason and science? What are the parallels between clashes over academic freedom in the 13th and 21st centuries? All this and much more in Clear and Present Danger - episode 6! Stay up to date with Clear and Present Danger on the show’s Facebook and Twitter pages, or visit the podcast’s website at freespeechhistory.com.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 48 Minutes 22 Mar 2018

Why did the medieval Abbasid Caliphs have almost all ancient Greek works of philosophy and science translated into Arabic? How did the long list of medieval Muslim polymaths reconcile abstract reasoning with Islamic doctrine? Who were the radical freethinkers that rejected revealed religion in favor of reason in a society where apostasy and heresy were punishable by death? And why are developments in the 11th century crucial to understanding modern controversies over blasphemy and apostasy, such as the Salman Rushdie affair and the attack on Charlie Hebdo? Find out in episode 5 of Clear and Present Danger – A History of Free Speech: The Caliphate. Stay up to date with Clear and Present Danger on the show’s Facebook and Twitter pages, or visit the podcast’s website at freespeechhistory.com.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 59 Minutes 08 Mar 2018

In our first expert opinion segment, Jacob Mchangama talks to Emeritus Professor of Greek Culture at Cambridge University Paul Cartledge. With his intimate knowledge of ancient Greece, we dive deeper into the concepts of free speech and democracy in Athens that were discussed in episode one. What are the differences between free speech in the Athenian democracy and free speech in a modern liberal democracy? What limits did religion set for Athenian free speech? Was Plato a totalitarian? And was the trial of Socrates mostly religious or political? The discussion also explores the differences between Athens and republican Rome, why free speech was alien to Sparta, and the rather condescending attitudes of the American Founding Fathers toward Athenian democracy (shame on you for defaming Pericles, Alexander Hamilton!). Cartledge has written extensively on ancient Athens. His authorship includes among many titles, the critically acclaimed “Democracy: A Life” and “Ancient Greek Political Thought In Practice.” Stay up to date with Clear and Present Danger on the show’s Facebook and Twitter pages, or visit the podcast’s website at freespeechhistory.com. Email us feedback at freespeechhistory@gmail.com.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 52 Minutes 01 Mar 2018

Why did the polytheist Ancient Romans persecute the followers of the new Jewish sect of “Christians” in the first three centuries AD”? How high was the price that Christians had to pay for casting away their ancient religious traditions for the belief in salvation through Jesus Christ? Did Roman Emperor Constantine end religious intolerance with the Edict of Milan? And why did the Christians persecute the pagans – and each other – once Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire? Why were temples and libraries destroyed and the female mathematician Hypatia killed by violent mobs? And did Emperor Justinian really end antiquity when he closed the Academy in Athens? Find out when we discover how religious persecution and violence impacted lives, learning, and liberty of conscience in the period from the trial of Jesus to the age of Justinian. The Age of Persecution. That’s episode 3 of Clear and Present Danger: A History of Free Speech. Stay up to date with Clear and Present Danger on the show’s Facebook and Twitter pages, or visit the podcast’s website at freespeechhistory.com.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 59 Minutes 15 Feb 2018

Rome was the most powerful empire in antiquity. But were the Romans free to speak truth to power? Did history’s first successful Women’s March take place in Rome? And who came out on top when the words of Cicero clashed with the ambition of Caesar and armies of Octavian? Why did historians and astrologers become endangered species when the Republic became an empire? Find out in episode 2 of “Clear and Present Danger: A History of Free Speech”. Stay up to date with Clear and Present Danger on the show’s Facebook and Twitter pages, or visit the podcast’s website at freespeechhistory.com.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 57 Minutes 01 Feb 2018

The democracy of Ancient Athens was the birthplace of equal and uninhibited speech. Or Isegoria and parrhesia to the Athenians. Jacob Mchangama guides you through how oratory was central to the idea and practice of Athenian democracy. What Athenian style free speech entailed for ordinary citizens, comedians, philosophers, and orators. How oligarchic coup d’etats twice drowned Athenian free speech in blood and repression. The extreme methods used by Demosthenes to become the greatest orator of antiquity. And of course: the trial of Socrates: Was he a martyr for free speech or an impious and seditious enemy of democracy? So the following episode is an attempt to bring to life a pivotal but often forgotten period as we embark on the first stop of what I hope will be a long journey together through the history of free speech. Stay up to date with Clear and Present Danger on the show’s Facebook and Twitter pages, or visit the podcast’s website at freespeechhistory.com.. . .

  Direct Link   Download 21 Minutes 24 Jan 2018

Only 13% of the world’s 7,4 billion people enjoy free speech. 45% live in countries where censorship is the norm. Still, more than half the world’s population across cultures and continents think free speech is very important. But why is that? Where does the principle of free speech come from? How has it been developed over time? Why have kings, emperors, and governments killed and imprisoned people to shut them up? And why have countless people risked death and imprisonment to express their beliefs? And what can people in the digital age learn from past conflicts over where to draw the line? In this Prologue, Jacob Mchangama explains his motivation and core beliefs on why and how he will take on this endeavor to explore the history of free speech. Don't forget to subscribe to the series!. . .

Comments