Description - Free Speech in an Open Society by R Smolla
Should we tolerate speech designed to spread intolerance? As we grope for a response, we find our constitutional and moral imperatives for tolerance and equality in conflict with the equally imperative value of free speech. This is but one of the many such pressing issues dealt with in this timely, important book. Exploring the question "What should freedom of speech mean in a democracy?, " Rodney Smolla argues that it is a value of overarching significance. Freedom of speech, he says, is not merely an aid to self-governance, but is uniquely connected to all that defines the human spirit--to imagination, creativity, enterprise, rationality, love, worship, and wonder. In a complex modern society, freedom of speech is constantly threatened by other social interests and values, which often seem more important in the short term: national security, personal reputation and privacy, eliminating racism and sexism, instilling values of decency and tolerance in children, controlling the corrupting influences of money on the political process, and bringing order to global electronic communications--all worthy social interests. Smolla shows how even seemingly reasonable regulation of speech tends to progress inexorably toward censorship. He takes on the difficult issue of Who Decides, and he analyzes symbolic and violent dissent, and the "clear and present danger" doctrine. He probes the disturbing issues of hate speech, obscenity, tolerating intolerance, and truth and falsehood in political campaigns. He looks at personal confidentiality, ponders the possible criteria for creating an objective definition of newsworthiness and public speech--especially with reference to governmental funding of thearts, education, and broadcasting--and explores the implications of the Noriega case, Persian Gulf censorship issues, attempts to export the American concept of free speech, and the challenge of new technologies. Throughout, the discussion of pros and cons is balanced, yet Smolla
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(203mm x 133mm x 30mm)
Publisher: Random House USA Inc
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Book Reviews - Free Speech in an Open Society by R Smolla