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Author Glenn Greenwald on the Critical Importance of Free Speech

Author Glenn Greenwald on the Critical Importance of Free Speech

Dec 6, 2021

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"Free speech is the primary tool to combat the excesses of tyrannical power," said best-selling author and constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald. He was speaking to Orchid CEO Dr. Steven Waterhouse (Seven) at the Priv8 Virtual Privacy Summit in November.

Glenn said that while defending free speech is critical to our future, it isn't always easy. "As a lawyer, I worked on a lot of free speech cases—including controversial ones. People who have very unpopular views tend to be targeted by censorship. So if you want to defend free speech, you end up defending people with unpopular views."

"To me," replied Seven, "investing in cryptocurrency is a form of free speech—you are expressing yourself through your investments, or through how you spend and donate your money."

Glenn agreed:

"I've increasingly come to believe that the most significant cause is finding the way out of censorship and control—to liberate ourselves from the incredible amount of repression that we face every day.

"Crypto and blockchain have certainly been something that I've become more excited about as a means of returning us to a decentralized form of communication. I think it touches on every aspect of our politics and our culture, and ultimately—more subtly, or perhaps more insidiously—what it means to be a free human being."

Glenn said that without decentralized communication, society is at risk of falling into a reality based on narratives that are tightly controlled by centralized power. "When we can restore decentralized methods of communication, we will know better which of our thoughts are actually our own, versus which ones are directed and manufactured from the outside."

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People are particularly vulnerable to adopting external narratives during moments of crisis, he said. For example, when 9/11 happened in the United States, "it was almost as if everybody—including myself—was willing to give trust to institutions that they might have previously been unwilling to. And within a short period of time, that trust proved to be misplaced.

"In some ways, it feels like we've discovered some important truth—that we've had an epiphany about the nature of politics or the world. But if we start looking backward in history, we can see that we're just rediscovering things that have been uncovered by almost every generation."

You can listen to Seven's entire conversation with Glenn here. And don't forget to subscribe to Priv8 on your favorite streaming service.

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Nov 10, 2020
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