TED Radio Hour: The Right to Speak

Should all speech, even the most offensive, be allowed on college campuses? And is hearing from those we deeply disagree with ... worth it? On this week's show, TED speakers explore the debate over free speech.

In college, Zach Wood joined a group that invites provocative speakers to campus, hoping to spark dialogue. But he soon learned not everyone wants to hear from those with whom they disagree.



Political scientist Jeff Howard says democracies should allow all types of speech -- even if they're hurtful. The key, he says, is to respond with conversation rather than confrontation.


Novelist Elif Shafak has witnessed the dismantling of democracy in Turkey. She says all democracies depend on the right to openly exchange diverse, even oppositional, ideas.




When James Kirchick was in college, someone he found deeply offensive spoke on campus. Rather than protest, James attended the talk. He says free speech benefits everyone, especially the powerless.