Hate Speech, Sex Speech, Free Speech

By Nicholas Wolfson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
CONCLUSION

In the end, the arguments of the new critics of traditional liberal defenses of the First Amendment turn on power. Elite white groups possess power; subjugated minority groups and women lack power. Speech is merely the epiphenomenon of power, to use the language of the older Marxist left. Free speech is merely a cunning device by which the dominant hierarchies cultivate and preserve their dominance. Culture, books, plays, cinema, history, and philosophy are products of the ruling elites. They possess no truth or value outside of their instrumental value to the elites. It is a grim world.

They argue that law (including First Amendment doctrine) is merely the product of power-group lobbying and influence. The very scope of First Amendment doctrine turns and twists with the influence of interest-group politicking. Ideas of truth, democracy, beauty, autonomy, or legal reasoning are largely irrelevant (or more accurately, radically subjective), at least until the right group, namely the new critics, reach power. Thus First Amendment doctrine is viewed as merely the product of lobbying and maneuvering of groups whose economic interest will be satisfied by new twists in the doctrine. The more powerful the group, the more certainly it will get the proper constitutional doctrine.

-143-

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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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