Hate Speech, Sex Speech, Free Speech

By Nicholas Wolfson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
INEQUALITY

The modern critics of traditional First Amendment jurisprudence argue powerfully that subjugated groups are incapable of relying successfully on free speech. This is a doctrine that belittles speech as an important basis of free society. It views power relationships in economics, race, or gender as fundamental structures that condition, limit, or systemically distort speech. Hence, speech is derivative, coercive, or manipulative, unless and until the "just" society is created. Until then, speech as a means of peaceably convincing is in reality force, power, or manipulation disguised as speech. One of the common assumptions of this line of argument is that members of the unequal class have lost their autonomy: they can no longer reason or speak as free, independent minds; they have internalized the false ideas of the dominant class. Hence, speech is of no value to them unless and until enlightened elites who favor them "free up" the speech process.

In this chapter we evaluate and criticize the general argument that the demands of equality necessitate a restructuring of First Amendment doctrine. In the next chapter we concentrate on the contention that gender inequality requires censorship of pornography.

The new critics maintain that the victims of racist and sexist

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Hate Speech, Sex Speech, Free Speech
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Notes 7
  • Chapter 2 - Pragmatism and Words That Hurt 11
  • Notes 40
  • Chapter 3 - Hate Speech 47
  • Notes 76
  • Chapter 4 - Inequality 83
  • Notes 101
  • Chapter 5 - Eroticism, Obscenity, Pornography, and Free Speech 103
  • Notes 132
  • Chapter 6 - Conclusion 143
  • Notes 149
  • Bibliography 151
  • Index 161
  • About the Author *
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