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The Limits of Freedom: Seeking a Better Balance in America between Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity
September 8 @ 7:00 pm-8:30 pmFree
Join the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities for an enlightening lecture with Victor Tan Chen, an associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, on the dangers of this disenchantment in modern-day American politics.
Americans have long prided themselves on living in a “free” country, one that handsomely rewards a person’s talent and drive and gives every individual an opportunity to achieve their dreams. The broadly resonant ideal of the American Dream captures these foundational national principles of liberty and meritocracy. Yet trade-offs inevitably arise when a society embraces freedom, individualistic understandings of fairness and other viewpoints built upon meritocratic principles.
One of those trade-offs comes at the expense of social equality. Principles of meritocracy can serve the interests of powerful groups, allowing them to hoard advantages and ultimately sabotage the fair competition that a true meritocracy requires. The other trade-off of unfettered freedom comes, ironically, at the expense of individual fulfillment and meaning. Those unable to achieve success may eventually fall into despair and doubt, pushing them to seek a sense of purpose outside of an economic and cultural competition they cannot win.
Professor Chen will discuss these complications of freedoms, identity, meritocracy and much more in our first lecture of the semester. As always, attendance is free. This event is hybrid and will be live in person and simultaneously streamed. Join us in person at the Tyrrell Hall auditorium or online at this Zoom link.