Ayn Rand Institute director will discuss threat to free speech Wednesday | SteamboatToday.com

Ayn Rand Institute director will discuss threat to free speech Wednesday

If you go:

What: "Free Speech and the Battle for Western Culture" with Dr. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute

When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, with after-party from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Where: Strings Music Pavillion, 900 Strings Road; after-party at Ghost Ranch, 56 Seventh Street

Cost: Free, with free entrance to after-party for those who attend (after-party only, $20)

Info: http://www.steamboatinst..., email info@steamboatins..., call 970-846-6013

— Saying derogatory things and offending one another is the foundation of the right to free speech, and that right is in jeopardy, according to Dr. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute in Southern California.

“People have a right to be despicable, and they have a right to free speech,” said Brook, who will present “Free Speech and the Battle for Western Culture” at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Strings Music Pavilion.

Sponsored by The Steamboat Institute, the event is free to attend and those who do can also visit an after-party with Brook from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Ghost Ranch.

The co-author of national bestseller “Free Market Revolution,“ Brook is known for speaking around the world on topics including finance, economics, capitalism and Ayn Rand and her philosophy.

Brook will share the historical beginnings of the free speech movement, which he said included the desire for some to be critical of the Christian church in Europe in the 18th century.

“The whole point of free speech is that we’re going to offend one another,” he said.

Brook will then discuss how free speech is now in decline and threatened.

Threats to free speech began with holocaust deniers, who are harshly prosecuted in Germany and France if they promote or write about their beliefs.

“People are going to jail in Europe for painting paintings or expressing themselves,” Brook said.

Brook will speak specifically about the January attacks on the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, when members of an Islamic terrorist group opened fire on the office, killing 12 people.

Brooks has spoken at Steamboat Institute events in the past, and Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Schubert-Akin said the organization is honored to welcome him back to town.

“Yaron Brook is consistently in the forefront of advocates for liberty,” Schubert-Akin said. “He is not afraid to speak clearly and honestly about the importance of maintaining our right to free speech, even in the face of violent extremists who would destroy this precious freedom.”

Brook said there are signs of threats to free speech here in the United States, including so-called “free speech zones” at colleges.

“The whole campus should be a free speech zone,” Brook said. “We’ve gone way overboard on the issue of verbal harassment in the United States. There seems to be a massive threat to free speech.”

Brook will cite numerous other examples of threats to free speech in the United States and suggest strategies to uphold the right for citizens.

According to Brook, more pressure can be put on politicians to protect the right of free speech, and he said said it’s the government’s duty to defend and protect those expressing their rights, not to discourage them or act indifferently.

“[The government’s] only position is to be here to protect Americans,” Brook said.

At his presentation Wednesday, Brook will encourage the public to publish beliefs, share cartoons, tweet what they please and practice the right to free speech.

“Show the people who are threatening, that you will not cower,” Brook said.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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