Civil Liberties

Civil Liberties
Due to the breadth of certain topics, three program tracks will offer conversations across both Fest 1 and Fest 2. Additionally, focused attention will be given to four different subjects during each half of the Festival. Spotlight: Health kicks off the week as a focused, two-and-a-half day forum.
An Age of Creativity
Aspen Ideas 2014 Program Tracks
Civil liberties are defined as rights or freedoms given to the people by the First Amendment to the Constitution, by common law, or legislation, allowing the individual to be free to speak, think, and assemble, organize, worship, or petition without government (or even private) interference or restraints. Among these rights granted by our Constitution are the right to privacy, due process, and equal protection under the law.
Despite the intentions of our Founding Fathers in establishing our Constitutional rights, legal interpretation of our civil liberties has fueled substantial debate over the past 100 years. The good news is that numerous protections regarding many aspects of such freedoms as religion, speech, press, and equal protection, for example, have become codified throughout our legal system. Twenty-first century realities, however, are complicating our analyses of what is just.
Acts of terrorism and challenges to national security have propelled us to a perpetual state of high alert. Will we tolerate national surveillance at home and abroad? How will we handle incarceration, detention, and racial profiling? As we struggle to keep pace with technology and the altered state of what falls under the umbrella of privacy, political and philosophical differences continue to divide our electorate. Will interpretations of our individual civil liberties be markedly altered over the next ten years as a result? Will our definition of civil liberties align with those beyond our borders?