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Monthly Free ITPS: Why the Public Square is Important

9 May. 2008 Posted by John Snyder in Monthly Free ITPS Podcast
Patriotic images and the text "In The Public Square"

Hosts John Snyder and Alexandra Berauer discuss the importance of the Public Square in a self-governing community.

To the degree to which dialog and discussion are essential to the political and cultural health of a community, the avenues of political, religious, cultural, and economic discussion must be open and dynamic.

The Public Square is the life's blood of a self-governing community. It is the lungs through which a republic breathes. It must be a place where all people may express their thoughts and opinions without fear of reprisal or marginalization. It follows that if self-governing people must ascertain facts, discuss laws, formulate policies, develop and entertain ideas and construct the informed communities of state, family and church that are necessary for a health community, everyone must be free to speak their mind honestly in a safe and non-hostile place. In such a forum differences must be expressed without ad hominems , invectives and mean-spiritedness.

These are not just nice sentiments-they are central to the success of a civilization and particularly, to a self-governing republic Hence we call these attributes "civility" because they reflect the qualities of self-governing members of a thriving civilization. Civility is a moral principle. It is the necessary cultural antecedent of democracy and the rule of law. The ability to disagree without being disagreeable is fundamental to the success of a democratic-republic. It is also essential for the preservation of familiar, religious and political liberty.

The challenge of the Public Square is that somehow we must be self-regulating. When people use the Public Square to insult and degrade others, even if they have the legal protections to do so, they foolishly threaten to destroy the very invisible order of civility that makes the Public Square and political freedom possible.

Patriotic images and the text "In The Public Square"