The “Bill of Rights Speaker Series” continued in the Fall 2018 semester. Supported by a grant given to Andrew Taylor, a professor in the Department of Political Science, the series brings academics, journalists, and practitioners to NC State to discuss matters related to our Bill of Rights. This year’s speakers were Shane Harris of the Washington Post and Ashley McGuire of the Catholic Association.
Harris delivered his lecture, about the rise of cyberwarfare, on October 29 to an audience of approximately 100 students, faculty, and community members. Much of his focus was on the threats the United States faces from civilian and state-sponsored “hackers” and the privacy questions that arise from greater surveillance of our on-line activities. The talk developed arguments he had made in two books, The Watchers: The Rise of America’s Surveillance State and @War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex. Earlier that day, Harris made a presentation to the John Locke Foundation in downtown Raleigh.
McGuire’s focus was the First Amendment’s “free exercise” and “establishment” clauses. Her talk presented an argument for religious liberty and sketched out some of the challenges to its practice in contemporary American public life. She spoke before a smaller gathering on a very cold and rainy Monday night in mid-November. A feisty but civil question and answer session with students followed her talk.
Professor Taylor has under consideration a proposal to continue the lecture series into 2019. He hopes to have good news about its future soon.