Freedom of speech has always been controversial. Today, we debate how far our politicians’ rants can go; how intellectually safe our university students need to feel; how disruptive our protests can get.
Greeks were just as conflicted about what we call an “unalienable right.” Athenians were so proud of their freedoms that they even named some of their ships after them. But they didn’t always live up to their ideals.
The great philosopher Socrates was put to death — supposedly for corrupting the youth and spreading a false religion, but really for exercising the same rights, Athens claimed to give all citizens.
Some view his execution as the end of the classical age, where ancient Greece reached its apex. Are we in similar danger of decline — by giving up on one of our most cherished ideals?
Video courtesy of The National Hellenic Society.