Jonathan Rauch Powerfully Defends Free Speech

“We’re not delicate flowers.”

__________

I like Rauch’s distinction between purism and pluralism: purism, on his account, protects from offensive speech, presuming that the community must be kept clean from the public expression of certain ideas; pluralism protects dialogue, presuming that adults can hear things, and will generally reach better conclusions if they hear things. One is based in anxiety; the other, trust.

I’m with Rauch and pluralism. His position recalls, for me, the last lines of Woody Allen’s Manhattan, which I’ve never quite been confident I’ve heard correctly. Is it:

“Six months isn’t so long. And everybody gets corrupted. You gotta have a little faith in people.”

Or:

“Six months isn’t so long. Not everybody gets corrupted. You gotta have a little faith in people.”

This YouTube clip, near the 7:40 mark, has the closing lines.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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One Response to Jonathan Rauch Powerfully Defends Free Speech

  1. jim hale says:

    I’ve always thought it was “and everybody gets corrupted.” I listen to it over and it can go both ways for me, but how does it connect with “You have to have a little faith in people”?

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