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In this dialogue, Gregory Salmieri and Devon Westhill have a conversation about the tensions between those who see themselves as advocates for free speech and those who see themselves as advocates of social justice. How are these ideals and the movements for them best understood? Why do they often seem to come into conflict? Can they be reconciled?
Devon Westhill is president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity. He speaks about civil rights and related issues in the media and at events across the country. Mr. Westhill’s writing has been published in numerous outlets including SCOTUSblog, Newsweek, National Review, and The Wall Street Journal, and he has provided expert testimony to both houses of Congress and the EEOC. Mr. Westhill served as the top civil rights official at the United States Department of Agriculture in the administration of President Donald J. Trump. He has also worked at the United States Department of Labor, Federalist Society, and as a criminal trial lawyer in private practice. After an enlistment in the United States Navy, Mr. Westhill earned his B.A. in philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his J.D. from the University of Florida.
Gregory Salmieri a senior scholar of philosophy in the Salem Center, where he holds the Brigham Fellowship for the Study of Objectivism. He is also director of the center’s Program for Objectivity in Thought, Action, and Enterprise. Dr. Salmieri is the co-editor of A Companion to Ayn Rand (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016) and Foundations of a Free Society (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019), and author of numerous articles on philosophy, many of them focusing on aspects of Rand’s philosophy or of Aristotle’s. After completing his graduate work at the University of Pittsburgh in 2008, Dr. Salmieri taught in the philosophy departments at The University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), Boston University, and Rutgers University (New Brunswick), before joining the Salem Center in 2020.