How Free? Freedom vs. Security

October 5, 2011

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Most discussions about the tension between public security and personal freedom center on a few basic themes: When the public calls for greater security, does the government offer effective solutions? Are the techniques put into place to protect our security doing the job? Do certain security measures violate our civil liberties?

These may seem to be commonsense and responsible questions to explore, but there are also a number of deeper issues that rarely emerge in our public debate: Are security and freedom necessarily in opposition? Does the expression of one entail a contraction of the other? How do we strike a balance between them? And what is this abstraction that we call “freedom?” What exactly do we mean by “security?” On what fundamental premises do these concepts rely?

Over the past year, the Illinois Humanities Council developed The (Un)Common Good Series to promote careful listening, respectful discussion, and informed dialogue about contemporary issues among people of differing perspectives and opinions.

“How Free? Freedom vs. Security” is a unique opportunity for Chicago-area leaders, thinkers and influencers to reflect on the key questions, as well as the deeper premises, behind the ongoing “security vs. freedom” debate. This fourth and final installment features a moderated roundtable discussion among twenty leaders from a range of fields including law, arts & humanities, higher education, and community-based nonprofits, moderated by Alison Cuddy, Host of Eight-Forty-Eight on WBEZ 91.5FM.

Participants included:
Rami Nashashibi
Kristina Valaitis
Patricia Hill
Alice Kim
Squane Lawrence

Colleen Lawson
Dr. Paula Bratish
Adam Green
Carrie Spitler
Kelly Covey
Gerald Vernon
Stephen Engelmann
Ralph Cintron
Tio Hardiman
Jeff Weissglass
Heather Wilhelm
Mary Dean
Veronda J. Pitchford
Mary Davis Fournier
Ricardo “Ric” Estrada

The Illinois Humanities Council invites you to listen and then respond here by leaving a Comment: Are security and freedom necessarily in opposition? Does the expression of one entail a contraction of the other? How do we strike a balance between them?