The Philadelphia Statement is the beginning of an ongoing movement to restore free speech and civil discourse in American law and culture.
Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is the Philadelphia Statement? What is it trying to accomplish?
The Philadelphia Statement affirms the uniquely American commitment to free speech. In today’s “cancel culture,” people and groups of good will are too often demonized or blacklisted simply for expressing their views. This needs to stop. In these turbulent and polarized times, we must recommit to principles of freedom that inspire peaceful coexistence rather than division.
Who was involved in drafting the Philadelphia Statement?
The Statement is the result of meetings between a diverse working group of prominent thinkers, scholars, and practitioners.
Why is the Philadelphia Statement needed?
Freedom of speech is a fundamental right and source of strength and unity for our nation, but it is increasingly under assault. The rise in blacklisting and demonizing of those who hold opposing views is steadily eroding the will of Americans to express their sincere beliefs and respect those with whom they disagree. This erosion cannot continue. The Philadelphia Statement seeks to inspire a movement committed to principles of freedom that are necessary for human flourishing throughout our society.
Who supports the Philadelphia Statement?
To be sure, the signatories do. But everyone should. If you believe that truly open discourse is essential to the health and flourishing of our society, we invite you to sign the Philadelphia Statement. We also encourage you to share the Statement with your friends, family, and colleagues.
What future plans do you have for the Philadelphia Statement?
The Philadelphia Statement is a starting point, not a destination. Its purpose is to ignite a lasting movement marked by a commitment to free speech, respect for those with different views, and peaceful coexistence despite differences. We hope signatories and other organizations will promote these principles through their important work and that people all over America will practice and honor them in daily life.
Why do you call it the Philadelphia Statement?
The city of Philadelphia has played a pivotal role in the history of our great Nation. Men of diverse views who often had fierce disagreements with each other gathered in Philadelphia to declare independence from the English Crown in 1776. And again, in 1787, they gathered to debate and sign the Constitution in the turbulent aftermath of the American Revolution. Philadelphia calls to mind the timeless principle of free speech enshrined in the Constitution and carries with it the memory of America’s founders, who despite their significant differences, mutually pledged "(their) Lives, (their) Fortunes, and (their) sacred Honor" to give future generations a chance at liberty.
The Philadelphia Statement calls upon all Americans to preserve the freedom to disagree openly, while maintaining the possibility of a shared future alongside those with whom we differ. This is what the Framers achieved in Philadelphia at the founding, and it is what we must now work to restore amid these challenging times in or country.
What is unique about the Philadelphia Statement?
The Philadelphia Statement is much more than a document, it’s the catalyst for an ongoing, ideologically diverse movement working to build a culture where the open exchange of ideas is universally respected, and where civil discourse is widely practiced throughout our society. Amid increasingly visible threats to these principles, it is encouraging that a growing number of groups and individuals are lending their voice to protect the fundamental value of free speech. The Statement is a clarion call to act on these shared values by prizing free speech and civil discourse, while simultaneously resisting illiberal calls for censorship and blacklisting.