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Delivered Tuesdays & Thursdays
Intelligence Squared is the world’s leading forum for debate and intelligent discussion. Live and online we take you to the heart of the issues that matter, in the company of some of the world’s sharpest minds and most exciting orators.
Occasional special in place of Insighton News Station
9am & 8pm
Is independent political speech the linchpin of our democracy or its Achilles' heel?
For democracy to work, some say, citizens (and corporations, and unions, and media outlets, and other voluntary organizations) must be allowed to express their views on the issues, candidates, and elections of the day. This proposition, they say, is exactly why the First Amendment protects the freedom of speech and of the press.
On this view, restrictions on independent political speech undermine and subvert our constitutional structure. But others take a different view: If everyone can spend as much money as they like to express their political views, then some voices will be amplified, magnified and enhanced — while others will be all but drowned out. On this view, it is this inequality of influence that subverts our constitutional structure — and restrictions that level the playing field actually enhance rather than abridge the freedom of speech.