Hate Speech, Sex Speech, Free Speech

By Nicholas Wolfson | Go to book overview

us with religious faith should not wish to end the dialogue, because we see as through a glass darkly and can profit from argument. Thus, there are powerful religious arguments for a tolerant, pragmatic approach to free speech. We point out that efforts to censor offensive speech as untrue rest upon the dangerous premise that courts can distinguish between genuine areas of controversy and subjects in which the search for verity has ended.

In Chapter 3 we pursue the hate speech controversy and argue that censorship of hate speech will have dangerous consequences for the concept of free speech. We find that efforts to censor hateful thoughts, unless limited to the four-letter word, may lead to censorship of a great swath of learned and sacred works. In Chapter 4 we concentrate on the arguments that speech of the disadvantaged must be subsidized and speech of the powerful chilled, endeavoring to demonstrate how pervasive thought control will ensue from such an approach. We point out the difficulty of determining what groups are subjugated; for example, conservatives claim that the media is tilted against them, and religious conservatives argue that the movie and television industries do not give them an even break. Liberals read the matter differently. In Chapter 5 we criticize efforts to censor pornography and obscenity. We argue that courts and certain interest groups fear the language and images of sex because they involve issues that are, in their opinion, more significant and dangerous politically than dull stuff about tariffs, taxes, and the minimum wage.


NOTES
1.
See e.g., Charles R. Lawrence, If He Hollers Let Him Go: Regulating Racist Speech On Campus, 1990 Duke L. J. 431, 438- 49 ( 1990) ( Brown v. Board of Education justifies regulation of hate

-7-

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