you all for your patience I think we’ll go ahead and get started my name is Jennifer Behrens I’m the head of reference services at the Goodson Law Library and I am so pleased to finally welcome you all to the sixth installment of our annual alumni author event this series began in 2012 as a celebration of both National Library Week and the Law School’s reunion weekend which always seemed to happen around the same time our speaker this year is actually both a 2000 law school grad and a 1997 Duke undergrad John Dee inácio the Sally Day Danforth professor of law and religion at the Washington University in st Louis John will be discussing his recent book confident pluralism surviving and thriving through deep difference published last fall by the University of Chicago Press and if you’ve not yet had the chance to read it I do recommend it and copies fortunately for you are available for sale outside after the event before we do get started I want to take a quick moment to thank a few people who helped make this event possible first and foremost the law library’s business manager sue Hicks who has given us so much assistance with the planning and logistics of this event I’d also like to thank the students of the American Constitution Society for co-sponsoring the event and their assistance with promotion thanks also to the Gothic bookshop at Duke for their assistance with the sales table where once again you can purchase copies confident pluralism by John and Ozzie previous events in this series were largely spearheaded by a reference librarian named Marguerite most who retired last year and I’m very thankful for her inspiration as we continue this series going forward so here with us today to introduce Johnny na su and to provide a few introductory remarks about confident pluralism is our own professor Jeff Powell please join me in welcoming both John and Jeff [Applause] sometime in the 1997-98 academic year teaching constitutional law one and I again draw is that one of the students stood out to me not stood out in the sense of he was particularly demonstrative he was quiet although he was willing to talk he seemed very thoughtful very smart all of my students are thoughtful and smart but there was something about him what kind of quality of personality that I came across very strongly when else and I found myself occasionally actually thinking now what is it about him that seems a little bit unusual well maybe he’s unusually courteous he seems like a should be kind person and it turns out I was right because our author today is someone who not just in his personality is a likable kind and courteous person but who’s thought is characterized by those virtues one of the things that’s special about this book and about the ongoing intellectual project that John and Naz ooo is engaged in is the way in which he is thinking charitably in a world in which people are deeply polarized and deeply uncharitable towards one another when they disagree he’s thinking in a way that accepts disagreement and a world that claims to prize diversity but often seems to understand that to be a state of dislike for those with whom one is from whom one is diverse and he’s he’s someone who’s very writing style shows a kind of courtesy towards thought of those with whom he disagrees hi what I didn’t know about this student sort of pegged him right in terms of his personality what I didn’t know is that he’s going to bring these personal virtues into his work as a scholar and another thing I didn’t realize at all was that he’s a person of great intellectual courage because one of the one of the unwritten rules of American academic life is that it’s fine to say splashy and big things so long as you don’t actually challenged underlying assumptions Ronen azu constantly challenges underlying assumptions you can’t fit him into the nice block you want to fit him into is he a liberal well no is he conservative well no is he on the left we’ll know is he on the right no not there either he refuses to fit in he refused to fit into pigeonholing the stereotyping about his thinking and

he invites us to do the same not not to surrender our own deep commitments one of the important lessons of confident pluralism is that John is not trying to paper over disagreement or ask people to set their disagreements to one side he’s attempting to explain to us how it is possible to have deep principled disagreement and to be in community and indeed to be in a community that is partly constituted by the fact that it consists of people who deeply and in principle disagree it’s a very exciting project it’s one that I commend to you and there’s there’s another way in which my my partial recognition in that long off you get an old John it’s a long time ago that long off Conwell one class there’s another sense in which I was right and yet I didn’t see the full truth of what I was seeing John is attempting to show us the deep connections between matters like the personal virtues of Tolerance humility and patience which most of us would probably identify as you know positive things about individual personality the deep connections between these personal virtue and the way in which a pluralistic community can be a community I’m not going to try to take out more time because I want you to be able to listen to John I do want to read you one thing from the book he’s talking about the role of speech in the world that he invites us to live in confident speeches confident pluralism speech imperative is we should take steps to soften our tone and move out of our echo chambers we should choose to avoid the hurtful insult in the conversation stopper living speech even the midst of real and painful differences can be one of our most important bridges to one another and once again he’s saying that not the living speech that is anodyne and that ruffles no feathers but the living speech in which we state from principle positions with which members of our community disagree in principle so please join me in welcoming our author John and aza it’s a real pleasure to be with you today thanks to all who made this possible and especially the library for your sponsorship I ruined my first book that nobody has influenced me more as a lawyer and a scholar than Jeff Powell and that remains true today I’m also grateful to be back here with so many Duke colleagues and friends who Shepherd me along the way into the legal Academy and it’s always fun to be back at Duke for my reunion my wife’s also a Duke grad and she’s from Durham so we love coming back here the only thing that we made it a little sweeter is a different basketball outcome this year but I know that I am in good company with that regret right now I love the library connection for a couple of reasons I spent my first year sleeping quite a bit in the library between classes and then when later when I was back researching for my first book got a lot of more substantive help from the library through Jennifer and others who helped me make some research connections so before I get into the the current book I want to tell you a bit about how I got there and I suppose it starts here at Duke law school you could say charitably that I was a mediocre and somewhat unimpressive law student and I don’t mean that with any sense of false email humility but as descriptive reality I did though discover two passions along the way of being a law student here one was a passion for writing that I didn’t quite realize I had and the other was a passion for the constellation of issues surrounding the First Amendment and both of those developed here first in law school and stuck with me after four years of legal practice at the Pentagon I found myself returning to both of those issues and it happened initially by looking at the text of the First Amendment I was clerking at the time reading the text for a case and stumbled upon the right of the people peaceably to assemble and I thought this is odd I have never thought about this right in three years of Law School in four years of legal practice I haven’t heard much about it what does it mean I also realized it was the only right in the First Amendment that is inherently relational the only one that requires more than one person for its enactment and so I started digging around surely there have been courts and scholars who weighed in on this right of assembly and in fact in the 40 previous years there had been virtually nothing and so entering graduate school and about to start at the dissertation this was a wonderful topic of unexplored research and my first book was an attempt to

recover the significance of the right of assembly in the First Amendment out of that book I spent more time thinking about the political theory and the implications for our polity of the importance of private groups that exist apart from and sometimes in tension with state and majoritarian norms the importance of dissent to our democratic experiments and the significance of nonverbal we might even say non rational forms of expression and existence and that brings me to the topic of pluralism about which I wrote my second book and which I’ll be addressing today now the Atlantic’s Emma Greene recently wrote that pluralism is a word that puts most people to sleep and since I’d like to avoid that the SAP and I want to try immediately to demystify the word and simplify it and talk about two different definitions of the word pluralism the first is descriptive the recognition of our deep differences about race politics sexuality religion and other important matters in society and the recognition that these differences cause deep and sometimes painful divisions among us we see this in the emerging fracture of our national politics we also see and experience it personally when we think about our own reactions positively or negatively to words like conservative or progressive or Muslim or Christian or atheist and recognizing the depths of these differences pushes against the story that we like to tell ourselves as Americans we like to talk about being one nation indivisible and in pursuit of a more perfect union but it turns out that much of our actual existence is characterized more by difference in disagreements than it is by unity we lack agreement about pretty serious matters in this country about the nature of human flourishing about the purpose of this country about the meaning of the common good and these differences affects not only what we think but how we think and how we see the world so pluralism in the first sense is a descriptive fact about the world in our existence in it these differences are not going away which leave us with a practical problem in need of a political solution Rousseau gave us one answer he wrote it is impossible for men to live in peace with those they think are damned confident pluralism insists that Rousseau is wrong that our shared existence is not only possible but necessary and this is the second meaning of pluralism a political response to the reality of our differences instead of the elusive goal of perfect unity confident pluralism suggests a more modest possibility of coexistence that doesn’t entail illusions that our differences disappear but it forces us to pursue a common existence spite of those differences the argument here takes both confidence and pluralism seriously confidence without pluralism misses the reality of politics it suppresses difference sometimes violently and pluralism without confidence misses the reality of people it ignores or trivializes difference for the sake of feigned unity and false agreements confident pluralism allows for a genuine difference to coexist without suppressing or minimizing our deeply held convictions the goal is not to settle which views are right and which are wrong but to propose that the future of our democratic experiment requires finding a way to be steadfast in our personal convictions while also making room for others to disagree instead of shutting down or avoiding those with whom we disagree confident pluralism suggests that we allow space for a meaningful difference and with it the opportunity for mutual persuasion there’s both a legal and a personal dimension to this argument and the two are interrelated the inclination to shed a certain viewpoint or a certain certain kind of person outside of society begins with personal antipathy but ends with legal prohibition their refusal to extend the protections of the law to one’s adversaries and ultimately an effort to turn the law against them our human nature and our own history made clear that despite our best intentions we all too easily embrace these tendencies when we are the ones who grasp power so the question is how do we guard against these impulses let’s begin with two aspects of the constitutional or legal dimension of the argument I’ll talk briefly about the right of Association and the public forum both of these doctrines should exist to protect meaningful spaces for difference in the sense both are deeply distorted in their

present forms so let’s begin with Association the right of Association is not in the text of the Constitution it was first recognized by the Supreme Court about 50 years ago the basic idea underlying associational autonomy is that the private groups that we form in civil society are properly free from government interference absent and extraordinarily compelling justification but the Supreme Court solution falls short of this aspiration shortly after recognizing the right of association this court the court split it into two flavours intimate Association and expressive Association intimate Association turns out to be a legal category without any members it reaches no groups or sets of relationships not already protected by some other fundamental right it does no constitutional work expressive Association also falls short instead of tying groups to the formation of beliefs values and identity it focuses only on their outwardly expressive dimensions hence the name expressive Association this should strike as as odd each of us knows from our own experiences the groups are far more than simply expressive we find meaning and value in belonging we learn by sharing ideas internally and experiencing with others inside of our groups and we make bonds through informal interactions think about the groups that you care about in your own life and how relationships happen and ideas foster if we focus only on outward expression we miss the inherent connections between a groups existence its practices in its messages this right of expressive association also creates an artificial distinction between so-called expressive groups and those that are purportedly non-expressive and non expressive groups receive zero constitutional protection but that misses a distinction where it creates an artificial distinction between expressive and non expressive let me give you an example here the top Hatters motorcycle club is a motorcycle gang in California founded in the mid 20th century by two brothers and in July of 2004 members of the top Hatters Road – Gilroy California to participate in the Gilroy Garlic Festival does anyone know Gilroy anyone ever been there it turns out it’s the garlic capital of the world so a garlic festival is not entirely unsurprising when the top Hatters showed up to the festival they were told by those administering the event that they were wearing gang colors and they were denied admission because of their vests with schools and other other expressions of their motorcycle gang this led to a federal lawsuit with lots of interesting implications but for our purposes the most important fact is that federal courts both at the district court and appellate level concluded the top Hatters was a non expressive Association they had no right on which to base their claim this should strike us as odd the group for example has a website that lists its values and aspirations that its goals are ride any riding and strengthening the Brotherhood in the biker community they share a common musical tastes which they also hold out to the public on their website they host social gatherings charitable events and other shared endeavors is that meaningful or reasonable to conclude that none of these is sufficiently expressive for the top Hatters this version of expressive association weakens and obscures the protections that our Constitution envisioned for the voluntary groups of civil society without stronger protections for these groups we will not have the kind of confident pluralism that meaningfully protects difference we’ve already seen the real-world shortcomings of this doctrine when it comes to groups like Muslim student associations conservative Christian groups and college fraternities and even if you don’t care about those groups the theoretical weaknesses underlying the doctor and mean that its shortcomings will eventually reach the groups that you do care about the second legal doctrine important to confident pluralism is the public forum this is the constitutional protection for citizens to come together to voice their views including their dissents opposition and discontent and to do so in government provided spaces public forums can be actual places like town halls or city parks and they can also be non-physical spaces like student organization forums on public university campuses public forums are essential to our democratic experiments they provide a practical mechanism for citizens to gather express and engage on topics of their choosing and in their own ways and on their own terms

the ideal of the public forum represents one of the most important aspects of a healthy democracy it signifies a willingness to tolerate dissent discomfort and even at times instability these intuitive connections were not lost on the writers of one of my favorite television shows parks and recreation are there other bands out there in season two of Parks and Rec the municipal Parks and Rec Department from Venezuela visits the town of Pawnee Indiana and the delegations leader Raoul expresses dismay upon observing a public forum this is outrageous where are the armed men who come to take away the protesters this kind of behavior is never tolerated where I’m from if you shout like that they put you in jail right away no trial no nothing journalists we have a special place for journalists and we laugh a little and watch the scene in parks in Iraq and yet we’re not as far away from Raul’s version in this country as we’d like to believe the suppression of public outrage in Ferguson Missouri a few miles from my house in the immediate aftermath of Michael Brown’s death including the arrest of journalists who covered the protests there’s only one example of the ongoing violations of the public forum in this country these violations reach across the political spectrum under current law political protesters are relegated to physically distant and ironically named free speech zones labor protector labor picketers confronts overly oppressive restrictions in public areas churches are prohibited from renting generally available public facilities Occupy movement protestors in new york city parks anti-abortion counselors on colorado sidewalks and political protesters in the North Carolina Capitol have all been silenced by government officials overreaching their authority public forum in practice is quite unrecognizable from its ideal and that departure should give us great pause so these are two of the constitutional aspects of Const confident pluralism both which need to be strengthened and reformed we must insist the people we entrust to govern us honor basic constitutional principles that protect difference in dissents the confident pluralism also depends on us and the decisions that we make apart from legal decisions and the shortcomings of our civic practices are ours to overcome want to speak briefly about the aspirations that inform these civic practices tolerance humility and patience tolerance as I understand it as a recognition that people are for the most part free to pursue their own beliefs and practices even those that we find morally objectionable this is no small task for mere mortals as one philosopher has observed the basic difficulty of tolerance is that we need it only for the Intolerable the tolerance does not require embracing all beliefs and viewpoints as good or right instead of an anything-goes kind of Tolerance we can embrace a practical enduring for the sake of coexistence that requires the hard work of distinguishing people from ideas tolerance asks that we treat people with respect it does not mean and could not mean that we respect all ideas each of us here holds ideas that other people find unpersuasive inconsistent or crazy more pointedly everyone in this room holds ideas other people find morally reprehensible the tolerance of confident pluralism does not impose the fiction that all ideas are equally valid or morally harmless it does mean respecting people aiming for fair discussion and allowing for the space to differ about serious matters humility goes a step further and recognizing that others will sometimes find our beliefs and practices objectionable we must also realize that we can’t always prove why we are right in there wrong but differently humility recognizes that some of our most deeply held beliefs and intuitions stem from contested premises that other people don’t share this is based on the limits of what we can prove not on claims of what is ultimately true so it should not be mistaken for relativism humility and confident pluralism more broadly must leave open the possibility of right and wrong and good and evil in ultimate senses and finally patience patience points toward restraint persistence and endurance encouraging efforts to listen understand and empathize we don’t have to accept or affirm as we do so it in fact it might turn out that patience leads us to a deeper realization of the error or harm

of an opposing viewpoint but we can at least assume a posture that leaves open a different possibility that moves beyond caricatured dismissals of other people before we even hear what they have to say these aspirations of tolerance patience and humility can facilitate creative partnerships across difference this doesn’t necessarily mean that we will overcome ideological difference we are unlikely to find agreement on all of the issues that divide us but we can begin to build relational difference we can find common ground even when we don’t agree on the common good but finding common ground begins with acknowledging the reality of our differences without the ability or the avenues to err real disagreement genuine dialogue occurs less frequently and our assumptions go unchallenged tolerance becomes a demand for acceptance humility is supplanted by moral certainty and patience loses to outrage I worry increasingly that our failure to practice genuine dialogue across real difference ultimately deprives us of the capacity to do so today we also confront a crisis of authority that feels relatively new the weakening of major institutions across politics education religion and the media the demise of truly national leaders in any of these sectors and the rise of social media have all contributed to this crisis of authority this fracturing of authority and their related institutions poses significant obstacles to attaining what I have called in the book a modest unity the minimal amount of consensus in a sense of belonging that we the people of this country need in order to make confident pluralism possible so does this leave us any room for hope in this vision well some people have accused me of a kind of naive optimism and the arguments of this book one reviewer who was otherwise fairly positive nevertheless wrote that it was quote doomed to immediate irrelevance because in his view it lacked an audience that could comprehend and respond to it I don’t think that’s right despite the many challenges ahead I do remain hopeful and one reason is that the American experiment in pluralism for all of its failures and shortcomings has actually worked well for much of our nation’s history this is not the first time that we have confronted deep racial tensions divergent views of morality religious differences in course rhetoric in many ways the success of the American political experiment has always required finding and maintaining a modest unity against great odds one challenge that we confront and imagine in our shared future is that some people are still looking to the past you’ve all Elevens important book the fractured Republic describes a deep nostalgia from both left and right that longs for a bygone era I’ll be at different eras for each side in which the world just seemed to work a little better of course many people in this country are not interested in any kind of retrieval project going back to the 1950s is not a great bargain for african-americans going back to the 1940s is not a win for japanese-americans like my father and grandparents interned during World War two going back to the good old days is not a good bet if you’re gender religion or sexuality placed you outside of the political consensus that ruled those times and this tension between those who long for the past and those who have happily transcended it is one of the inherent tensions and pressures of a pluralistic society the more we recognize the actual differences among us the less consensus and coherence we are able to assume but this diversity of groups and ideas and beliefs also comes with an upside it offers the possibility of better and more creative solutions from working across difference and of navigating the challenges of pluralism without succumbing to despair this is in the end I think a relatively modest vision but an important one confident pluralism does not give us the American dream but it may help avoid the American nightmare and that is a possibility for which we should not lose hope thank you again for the invitation to join you and I look forward to the questions that follow question if I may I love the I wouldn’t describe it as naive optimism but there’s a kind of

serenity about about your book which I find very attractive myself but it needs to be operationalized orb is what everybody in this room or most everybody in this room is in some sense connected either to legal education or the legal profession what is it that you think confident pluralism has to say to lawyers and legal education specifically I think I mean in some ways the university more broadly but legal education in particular if we can’t figure it out here where we have the luxury of time and we’re surrounded with in the ideal sense arguments and questions and classes and readings that push us to these questions about difference if we can’t do it here then where are we going to do it right and also if we can’t in some ways if we can’t recognize law however imperfect as it is as much better to the alternatives then we turned to much bleaker alternatives your question Jeff reminds me I was on a panel in New York City last fall with Nick Kristof a New York Times columnist and Tim Keller who’s a pastor in New York City and at the end of the panel the question we were all asked is talk about your profession and your sphere and how does it help or hinder pluralism so I went first and I talked about the law and some of the challenges I saw in the law but also some of the aspirations of the law and then Christoph and Keller went and said yeah the media is has all kinds of struggles and the churches have all kinds of struggles and so by the end of their talk I said well the law is starting to look really good here right the laws has a big upside in this conversation but I do think as a lawyer is in the luxury of both training we get and the access to certain conversations in society that we have that it is incumbent upon us to model this for other people and to model the modeling in the classroom and I think again if we don’t do it here where are we going to do it that’s a great question if you listen carefully you noted that I punted on the word virtues actually humility tolerance and patience I did not call virtues I called them aspirations in the first instance the first draft I was talking about virtues and then I realized for reasons going to the philosopher Alastair MacIntyre I understand virtues as requiring habituated practices rooted in institutions and I’m not sure we have those institutions today and so aspirations is a much easier word because you can always aspire to something but aspirations are going to need to turn into habits and practices at some point or this will be a very short-lived perhaps not immediately irrelevant but shortly irrelevant vision and so we need those institutions and as we look around we have to ask where are those institutions today in the best cases I see them mostly at the local level and part of that is we are forced to be face to face with real people and in the worst cases our social media practices and habits pushes I think exactly in the opposite direction without acquiring the world to change it is interesting because on the local level especially it is the shared experience often of tragedy that brings people together and so when you know when Louisiana gets floods people stop talking about their differences and just to putting out the sandbags and building the houses and and I think at its best we respond to challenges including tragedies by recognizing this common and shared humanity but in an even better sense we could maybe figure out how to do that without tragedy and massive suffering right which would be the preferred alternative and I am this is an important question that I wonder about often what fills the gap what is it what is the glue that holds the us together so I mentioned a modest unity which could be very modest but it has to be something right it can’t be reduced to the American flag and football and responding to disasters right it can’t be the military that we are so what is it that holds us together that’s a question we’ve got have to answer and

keep answering over and over again I do think though there’s something to this reminder in the sense that we’re all just people at the end of the day and I remember I was in the Pentagon on 9/11 and remember in the immediate months following there was far less of a sense of hierarchy and difference and offices fighting each other and just a reminder that were people trying to like make it through the day and so if we could do more of that in the ordinary times we would be better for it yep organizations or groups that you wouldn’t think would have common ground oh there are great examples out there and this is so the question is what are examples of groups or stories of people coming across difference for to find common ground and the problem is we don’t tend to highlight these examples because we like to read about the fracture and the in the disarray and and the hate but but it turns out that there are lots of these examples and I think part of our role collectively is to highlight more of these so just a couple Jim Daly who’s the founder or the current president of Focus on the Family which some of you remember from the 90s and partnered with the head of the gill foundation which is a gay rights foundation and I believe Denver Colorado and Jim went to Ted Trump oh the president of the foundation and said you know what you and I disagree on a lot of pretty significant issues and we’re not going to find the green without those but we we probably agree that Colorado has a massive challenge right now with underage sex trafficking that’s affecting lots of people in the state because of the corridors and pipelines so how about we get our constituencies together and lobby the Colorado Legislature for anti-sex trafficking legislation and so they did in the legislation passed and in the process they became friends now they’re not the best of friends and they retain their very deep differences but they came together to find common ground across those differences and I actually think that in the quieter moment of politics there are other political examples of this as well they’re often not highlighted amidst the fracture but there are people who are trying to work at all levels of governments in friendship for common ground’ purposes and and I think I mean we all experience this kind of intuitively don’t leave when you get to know somebody who you think you’re going to just totally hate or not get along with when you actually are working toward a shared endeavor most not all the time right some people are just hard but most of the time you actually find out that you have something in common in that enterprise yep you mentioned the importance of separating people from ideas how do you see that working in the context of like popular media journalism academia even where we have as individuals where there’s sort of this cult of personality built on them that is really inextricably linked to their ideas almost all the time I’m not gonna say all the time almost all the time we can learn something a little something from everyone and so even even the personas and the people out there we think we detest the most if we can approach them and ask what what is what is it about you that I can learn from or what about our mutually shared existence on this earth can i benefit from now that’s gonna at the limit that’s gonna be really really hard I agree and and I as I if I were asking that question I would have certain people in mind and think I just can’t right I just can’t but but but are there ways to be engaged well actually my friend gay Charles who teaches here and he was not here today but we were discussing a very controversial and highly emotional racial incident that happened a couple of years ago at the University of Oklahoma and he said you know if in the first instance we just recognized that these were everyone in this incident was someone’s kid right and if we looked at them first as rooted in relationships and for all of their challenges and all of their evils and problems that there’s someone’s kid that was it was a really eye-opening kind of first instance about that now that doesn’t get us all the way and social meeting the persona problem exacerbates all of this which is one more reason that we’ve got to figure out a way to change our practices there yeah I’ll say something positive everyone in this room probably has someone in their family who voted for Trump most grassroots level within your

own family talking to your uncle or cousin whoever it is on a very friendly basis and try to see what they are talking about I like the intuition in my experience family can sometimes be the hardest so I might actually counsel to start with a stranger and work up the family you know there’s something to the shared relationship and there’s something about family that maybe crosses the line where it’s almost so intimate that so much is at stake that it raises the stakes I do think you know with a stranger that shouldn’t be the opening question right maybe start with what’s your name and what do you like to do or what’s your favorite movie I went in my classes I are in reading group so we’ll always start with rigor questions and there’s a reason for that right we want to first get to know each other a little bit as human beings before we dive into the controversial texts and so how do we do more of that and then ultimately I think you’re right I mean it would be great if we could talk candidly and compassionately to our family members especially over political divides but I think the proverbial Thanksgiving dinner table was going to remain hard for many people yep so what extent you know you mentioned the importance of this right to gather it’s a communal aspect you’re also referencing virtue ethics but within the American context there’s this interesting resistance to the idea of community sometimes the sort of rugged individualism I’ve done this all by myself in what ways does that provide a challenge to one just understanding any sort of communal gathering as well as to how this can play out constructively I think in two ways so one legally I think that the focus on individual rights particularly in the bill of rights has a lot of upsides to it but one of the downsides is it has caused us I think to undervalue the communal and relational nature of some rights including like I mentioned earlier the right of assembly and when we focus on legal questions and constitutional issues through the lens only of individualism we miss out on not only the doctrines that ought to be there but some of the underlying values and we start to see the law and then see ourselves through those lenses so I think there’s a an important reform effort needed and how we see the law and then the other question that that I think of when you asked about the push toward individualism is and maybe away from the community it goes back to the very important and I still think unanswered question of what holds us together so if at the end of the day the best story we can tell is we’re all a bunch of individuals free to pursue our own interests that’s not a very good story and it’s not a very sustaining story so we have there has to be something there that pushes us toward some greater collective sense of purpose and being and and there are a lot of bad possibilities and candidates for that and so we need to work hard to figure out what the good ones are yes I’m really encouraging interactions I came to know in the past year the former CEO of NPR and in Ken Stern and we agree on some things and we disagree on a lot of things but we in our first conversation we’re just trying to feel each other out but but in talking and and him reading my book and my spending time with him we actually discovered a lot of common ground and he very graciously wrote about this book and his use of it and my sense is if I were to generalize people who have taken the time to read the book have actually responded with with a recognition that there’s something in it for them and there’s something in it that unsettles them almost invariably and I did that deliberately I don’t think anyone should read this book and come away feeling completely validated or vindicated but but that there’s a sense in which this might be possible now there have been a couple people who either haven’t read or haven’t read carefully and the results of that have become clear and some of what they’ve written but that’s been a minority of voices and I haven’t been too upset by what I’ve seen there and if nothing else has given me an opportunity to respond back and say you know if you were to read this a little more carefully or if you were to focus on this particular argument you would see it’s actually not ideologically driven in one particular direction but it’s

trying to argue for broader principles I believe it’s called infidel which is written by a Muslim woman who went to the Netherlands which is it was at that time very tolerant of different practices and so forth and her argument is that setting up separate Muslim schools which allowed then for the practice so the the state said well we should respect your practices and she talked about how bad that was for the female students right and was was very convincing in that respect so let’s just assume those facts that there would be things which would be damaging to individuals and we can all think about what those might be how is it yeah because the whole idea was we we want a pluralistic respectful society but there have to be some limits that’s really the point right is driving towards would be I think her argument was can’t hurt children and in certain ways right so that they drop out of school when they’re 13 and they have to get married and it and I just don’t know how to think about that because obviously we’ve said we might very much respect and like people who are extremely genuine in their beliefs and very honorable people but we think certain conclusions are not only wrong but would be harmful to individuals so can you help me with that the first way to respond is to underscore a premise of your question which is that every society is going to impose limits there’s no such thing as a fully pluralistic society so you’re not going to have the cult of child sacrifice and we’re not going to have the term chapter of al-qaeda and great we’ve all decided that and that’s that is beyond the pale and short of that I think my intuition is usually to say let’s be very very careful about what other groups are practices we put beyond the pale and let’s have a strongly and clearly articulated justification for why we might be so and that is going to mean we tolerate a lot of harms and risks and dangers now on the specific question of the internal norms of groups there’s there’s a vast literature and political theory about how much we allow groups to set their own internal norms and the extent to which exit rights are available particularly with children and those are questions we need to pay quite a bit of attention to but I think actually at this point in our country’s political discourse it seems that we’re too quick to want to push certain groups outside of the bounds and what’s a lot about that from a First Amendment perspective is that the rest of the First Amendment cuts the other way so with the free speech right for example we’ve we have opinion after opinion that talks about how we tolerate speech even the speech we hate even the emotionally damaging and psychologically damaging speech for these greater values that we’ve adopted we the people of this country the Supreme Court and I understand the First Amendment but increasingly once it moves beyond Mayr words to something else and actually today right in many college campus settings even words themselves are being pushed back upon and so we have to have I think you’re a reminder of the importance of allow the discourse and the coexistence that is going to cause harm and we should be honest about those harms they’re real and we shouldn’t diminish or mitigate the felt nature of those harms but we tolerate them as much as we can which is what the best it might be the best view of our civil liberties and our constitutional history suggests to us I’ll just say again in closing thanks so much for being here on this sunny rainy day and thanks to Jennifer and the library for hosting me and it’s great to be back at Duke [Applause]