Find Truth and Set it Loose in the World

President Joe Biden got to the heart of the matter when he said, in his inaugural address, that there is a difference between truth and lies. Lies, he said, told “for power and for profit.”

The “deep state,” the “election steal,” and the QAnon conspiracy are all lies. We have seen, in the terrible attack at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, how lies can be used to manipulate our citizens and to strike at the very foundation of our democracy.

When he wrote in 1903 that the Club would “propose to find the truth and set it loose in the world,” the Commonwealth Club’s founder Edward F. Adams set out the Club’s nonpartisan mission to present information and perspectives that would help citizens cooperate for the common good, despite inevitable differences over strategy and political affiliation.

Those words ring so true today, and the Club recommits itself to our purpose of educating, informing and stimulating dialogue, in the common interest. We are honored to answer President Biden’s call to “end this uncivil war,” including through the Club’s K–12 civics education project, which mentors a new generation of Americans to participate positively in civil society.

We are proud to be a progressive organization. Progressivism is the idea that the human condition can be improved by human effort and public policy, based on facts, data, analysis and dialogue. It is a nonpartisan approach, originating in a movement originally led by Republicans like Theodore Roosevelt. To conflate progressivism with socialism or as somehow contrary to liberty and private enterprise is another lie.

Today, as never before, the Club seeks to present the truth, from a broad range of political and social perspectives. We will not be a platform for lies, even under the banner of free speech. Too much harm has been done by those who have manipulated lies.

The Commonwealth Club is a big tent, with room for many views. But we are a platform for free speech, not hate speech, and that is reflected in our choice of the people and issues we cover.

We look forward to an era now, as when the Club was founded 118 years ago, when Republicans and Democrats and those across a range of viewpoints will collaborate for the common good, and we commit to being an active part of the healing and progress our nation needs.

Gloria Duffy
President and CEO
The Commonwealth Club of California