When Socrates was tried and executed by his fellow Athenians, his speech was found to be outside the acceptable realm tolerated by his polis’ democracy. He was found guilty of heresy. While the Athenians had significant freedom of speech, it was not absolute, it was freedom both granted and taken away by the city state. After losing the Peloponnesian war, the Athenians searched for someone or something to blame. Socrates challenging of cultural norms through socratic questioning was deemed unacceptable and as a result Socrates was executed by being required to drink hemlock.
Chris Berg explains in the first chapter of his book, In Defence of Freedom of Speech” the difference between freedom of speech that is granted by the State (such as in Ancient Athens) and freedom of speech that is a right (Such as in Ancient Rome). The difference is significant, in Ancient Athens freedom of … Read the rest