Weekly News Digest, No. 15

Welcome to the fifteenth installment of the Project on Civil Discourse’s Weekly News Digest, hosted on our Real Talk blog.

Upcoming Event

On Thursday, February 7th, Dr. Alice Dreger will speak at American University about cultivating the virtue of disloyalty. Dr. Dreger, a historian and researcher, will draw from real-life histories to explore ethically productive disloyalty. For more details or to RSVP, click here.


Over the past several years, the National Institute for Civil Discourse has built a multi-faceted approach to achieve its goal of restoring civility in public life. Katie Zezima writes about the Institute’s programming, which includes producing policy papers for citizens on hot-button issues, hosting “civility conversations,” and training people in civil discourse and positive campaigning.

Intellectual Humility

In a recent article for Vox, Brian Resnick writes about intellectual humility and the importance of knowing you might be wrong. Resnick’s argument is grounded in the scientific community and its increased emphasis on publishing retractions and corrections, but it applies to civil discourse too. There are several challenges to fostering intellectual humility, or the “recognition that the things you believe in might in fact be wrong.” These include realizing and acknowledging our cognitive blind spots and creating a culture that accepts the phrase “I was wrong,” rather than mocking or punishing those who say it.

Discourse and Propaganda

Jennifer Mercieca writes that we must communicate as citizens rather than propagandists in order to restore discourse in the public sphere. She notes an increasing distrust in institutions and 2016 Russian propaganda efforts as two parts of this problem. Mercieca writes that we need to “be educated to think, judge, and be critical about the news we post and consume.”

New Book on Free Speech

Two leading First Amendment scholars explore the evolution and future of First Amendment doctrine in America in The Free Speech Century, a collection of 16 essays by legal scholars. It covers a range of salient issues, from hate speech and free expression on college campuses to the boundaries of speech on social media platforms. Read more about the book here.

Thanks for reading!

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