Help Protect & Advance
Freedom of Thought!
Subscribe to E-Mail News
from the CCLE.
An Important Affirmation of our Long-Term Vision
freedom of thought would be a critical issue in the new millennium led us,
in 2000, to found a non-profit center devoted to cognitive liberty. When we
began, “freedom of thought” was an important but dusty principle buried in
the pages of Supreme Court opinions, and “cognitive liberty” was an unknown
term. The relationship between a person’s thought processes and his or her
underlying neurochemistry was a hot scientific topic, but what this
relationship said about our fundamental legal rights and ethical duties was
almost entirely unexplored. When we began in 2000, no one was talking about
rights of the mind, no one was grappling with “neuroethics,” and no one was
working to advance important principles such as brain privacy, autonomy, and
Almost five years later, this has all changed for the
better. The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics has brought the phrase
“cognitive liberty” into the lexicons of scientists, legislators, legal
scholars, and human rights organizations in the U.S. and around the world.
Through analyzing a wide range of contemporary social issues, we’ve
championed the right to freedom of thought by introducing it into national
and international policy discussions, by presenting it before national
agencies and federal courts (including the U.S. Supreme Court), and by
educating numerous media outlets and other non-profit organizations about
this basic human right.
As we approach the end of our fifth year of operations,
awareness of what we have accomplished, and of what remains to be achieved,
has helped us to clarify our priorities for the next five years.
Today, an increasing
array of drugs and other neurotechnologies are quite literally changing how
we think about rights of the mind. We believe that these new technologies
will change freedom of thought as much as the printing press and the
Internet have changed freedom of speech. Harnessing the opportunities, while
avoiding the pitfalls, will be the challenge of our age. Doing so requires a
far-reaching vision and demands nuanced analysis; we prefer productive
discourse rather than sound bites.
With a core staff of just three people and a
limited budget, it is essential that we restructure our work in accordance
with our long-term goals and in ways that emphasize our strengths. While we
believe that it is important to address immediate social issues, our limited
resources have frequently forced us to choose between advancing our broader
agenda and responding to an endless stream of current and seemingly pressing
issues. While we are proud of the short-term projects that we’ve engaged in
over the past five years, a review of our operations has clarified the
wisdom of recommitting to the long-term vision of helping to craft a future
in which freedom of thought is widely respected, and protected as a
fundamental legal and human right.
In line with this vision, we will endeavor
over the next five years to pursue projects that give preeminence to the
broader scope over the pressure to respond to immediate events. Only if an
issue threatens to block or seriously impede our mission will we allocate
our resources to addressing that immediate concern. Our principle focus will
instead be on advancing freedom of thought at the highest levels, and on
securing cognitive liberty for the long- term.
As we recommit to developing the future dimensions of
cognitive liberty, you may be less aware of our work on a day-to-day basis.
However, we encourage your continued financial support for the unique
mission and work of the CCLE. Rest assured that we will be advancing
cognitive liberty in the most promising, pre-eminent contexts possible. As
we reach major milestones, announcements concerning our work will continue
to be available on the CCLE Web site and to all those who are subscribed to
our e-mail announcements list.