Cafe Inquiry

Tuesday, November 26th 2013 at 7:00 pm
Tuesday, November 26th 2013 at 9:00 pm
Hill Center DC, 921 Pennsylvania Ave SE (Eastern Market Metro), Washington, DC 20003

This event occurs on the Fourth Tuesday of each month except December.

We will be in Walt Whitman Room. Entrance is on 9th St SE. Elevator access available. Overflow room available in case of higher turnout to ensure all attendees receive adequate opportunities to participate.

Cafe Inquiry is our monthly casual get-together to meet people and discuss topics of science and humanism.

This month's discussion: Are there, or should there be, any limits to freedom of speech and expression?

The freedoms of speech, the press, and expression are considered by many to be the primary rights of a democratic society, with many considering them absolute. While authoritarian and totalitarian governments have no respect for free expression, even ostensibly democratic governments impose limitations and prohibitions when it seems rational to them. In the United States, certain forms of false speech are illegal: slander, libel, and fraud are subject to civil penalties, while perjury can result in imprisonment. The Supreme Court established the "clear and present danger" rule to limit speech that clearly threatens the public welfare, often exemplified with the idea that falsely yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater can be punished. Governments have made sedition illegal or otherwise restricted speech and expression in the name of national security. In many countries in Europe, following the horrific experience of WWII, it is illegal to utter speech that promotes fascist or Nazi ideologies. And many countries penalize speech that expresses hate against an identifiable ethnic, racial, religious, or other identity group. 

Should individual expression be absolutely free? If not, what limits should be imposed? Why? How should such restrictions be enforced, and who should do the enforcing?

No outside food or drink allowed. Free and open to the public.

We are also planning to go out for food and/or drinks afterwards. 

Interested in leading a discussion or have someone to recommend? Please contact us at dc[at]

The venue is wheelchair accessible. People with disabilities who anticipate needing accommodations or who have questions about physical access may email sdavis [at] centerforinquiry [dot] net in advance of the event.