What Is the Price of Freedom? A Debate

What Is the Price of Freedom? A debate. Thursday, October 3rd 2013, 7.00pm, Free Thinking Zone, Athens.

A debate on “tolerance” at an interesting juncture: The leadership of Golden Dawn, Greece’s neonazi party that holds 18 seats in Parliament, has been arrested and charged with forming and participating in a criminal organization. This debate, set up before these recent developments, aims to address the issue of “tolerance”, framed within a liberal-democratic discourse. It will be challenging to see where recent events take us.


The speakers are: Nicos C. Alivizatos, professor of law; author, What Kind of Democracy After the Crisis? | Geoff Kidder, director, membership and events, Institute of Ideas; convenor, IoI Book Club; IoI’s resident expert in all sporting matters | Dr Theodoros Skylakakis, MEP; member, Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe; president, Drasi | Nikos Sotirakopoulos, PhD student; assistant lecturer in environmental sociology, University of Kent, Canterbury | Dr George Sotiropoulos, lecturer, Department of Political Science, Democritean University of Thrace | Augustine Zenakos, head of editorial team, UNFOLLOW magazine. The debate will be chaired by Claire Fox, director, Institute of Ideas; panelist, BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze.

The debate will be in English, streamed live on the Free Thinking Zone channel. Twitter hashtag is #battleofideas.

The organizers, in a statement written before the recent developments regarding Golden Dawn, describe the premise of the debate as follows: “In Greece some commentators feel hate speech has become an accepted norm of both left and right. The cases of Geron Pastitios and Voula Papahristou in 2012, together with the proposed ‘anti-racist and hate-speech’ law of 2013 signify a general feeling by the political elites that ‘enough is enough’. It is interesting that in different cases, all aspects of political spectrum seem eager to police language. Do they confuse real tolerance with respect and approval? Can we uphold the idea of tolerance while maintaining the right to criticize and judge rather than succumbing to an ‘anything goes’ moral relativism? Is tolerating the vulgar, the offensive, the shocking, not, in part, the price of liberty? Or are such concepts vain and dangerous in today’s very uncertain world?”


What Is the Price of Freedom?, Thursday 3 October, 7.00pm until 8.30pm, Free Thinking Zone, Skoufa 64 str & Grivaion, Athens. You can read more on the debate, here. For those of you on facebook, the event page is here. You can follow The Institute of Ideas on twitter, here, and Free Thinking Zone, here.

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