Clear and Present Danger podcast – Episode 27: How Enlightening

June 21, 2019

After a brief detour into the present on our last episode, we return to the Enlightenment in 18th century Europe. As rationality and secularization sweep through the continent turning tradition and authority upside down, here are just some of the questions we’ll try to address in this episode:

  • How the early Enlightenment resulted in greater religious tolerance
  • Why tolerance did not automatically go hand in hand with freedom of speech
  • How the “Dutch Dark Web” spread radical philosophy across Europe through clandestine printing presses and networks
  • How the treatise of “The Three Impostors” shocked Europe
  • How women enjoyed greater “conversational freedom” to discuss science, philosophy, and religion
  • How erotic and obscene literature made headway across the continent
  • Why European states’ book production and consumption coincided with their respective censorship regime

Why have kings, emperors, and governments killed and imprisoned people to shut them up? And why have countless people risked death and imprisonment to express their beliefs? Jacob Mchangama guides you through the history of free speech from the trial of Socrates to the Great Firewall.

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