From 1947 to 1960, the United States experienced the sustained repression of free speech and the right to dissent in the name of national security. Thousands of Americans who belonged to organizations deemed "un-American" lost their livelihoods, and hundreds were jailed or driven into exile. Self-censorship and the threat of FBI investigations enforced a narrow consensus on issues of war and peace in school, universities, and the press.
Sixty years later, in an increasingly polarized country, are we at risk of again calling some Americans "un-American?" Will new demagogues arise to label their political opponents "traitors," as Senator Joseph McCarthy did with great success and the support of many other leading politicians in both parties? What are the moral and historical consequences of staying silent in an age of fear?
Presenter: Ellen Schrecker, Professor Emerita, Yeshiva University
Moderator: J. Richard Gray, Mayor of Lancaster
11/13/2017, 7:00 PM, Roschel Performing Arts Center