39. On Liberty | Joshua Forrester | Safe From Harm Concept Creep And The Threat To Liberty


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This week, legal scholar Joshua Forrester joins us to discuss how words like harm and safety have been redefined by political activists to attack fundamental freedoms. Citing no less authorities than Plato and Confucius, he argues that 'concept creep' has undermined not only our language, but our politics. Emblematic of the dangers of redefinition is the warping of John Stewart Mill's classically liberal 'harm principle' to cover hurt feelings and justify the creation of 'safe spaces'. Join us as we explore the importance of language for practical politics. Should words be as elastic as the concepts they cover? Was Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking Glass right? Do words mean just what we choose them to mean? How did the 'harm principle' lead us to the creation of 'safe spaces'? Is the activists' commitment to preventing harm any more than 'skin' deep? And what would Mill make of all this? Joshua Forrester is a PhD candidate in law who has published academic work on freedom of expression and the implied constitutional freedom of political communication. He is the lead author of No Offence Intended: Why 18C is Wrong and co-editor of Fundamental Rights in the Age of COVID-19, published by Connor Court.

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