The Future of Free Speech Law

By R. George Wright | Go to book overview

preference is merely their own current preponderant cultural practice, without any pretension to any deeper warrant. Ultimately, the characteristic sound of Rorty's utopia is likely not that of free and equal debate, but the uniform electronic hum of the gratification machines.

Again, the point of all this is not to show that Rortyianism in particular would jeopardize the future of any recognizable institution of freedom of speech. We have merely singled out Rorty as one of the most sophisticated, sympathetic, and influential mainstream contemporary philosophers. The point is rather that Rorty fairly illustrates the general drift of much of modern moral philosophy, and that the future of free speech is unsafe in the hands of those generations who will be influenced by such philosophers.


NOTES
1.
See, J. M. Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, ch. 24, at 383 ( 1964).
2.
See Boyd, How to Be a Moral Realist, in Essays on Moral Realism 208 ( G. Sayre-McCord ed. 1988). Professor Boyd finds this theistic grounding to be a profound mistake. See id. For a contrary view, see Wright, Legal Obligation and the Natural Law, 23 Ga. L. Rev. 997 ( 1989). See also Neuhaus, The Moral Delegitimation of Law, 4 Notre Dame J. L., Ethics & Pub. Policy 51 ( 1989).
3.
For a sense of the at best limited metaphysical ambitions of many of today's mainstream ethical philosophers, see, e.g., B. Ackerman, Social Justice in the Liberal State 11 ( 1980) ("[n]o reason is a good reason if it requires the powerholder to assert . . . that his conception of the good is better than that asserted by any of his fellow citizens . . ."); D. Gauthier , Morals By Agreement ( 1988) (developing a subjectivist-relativist theory); Harman, Moral Relativism Defended, 84 Phil. Rev. 3 ( 1975); A. MacIntyre , After Virtue 6 (2d ed. 1984) ("[t]here seems to be no rational way of securing moral agreement in our culture"); J. L. Mackie, Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong 15 ( 1977) ("[t]here are no objective values"); Rawls, Justice as Fairness: Political Not Metaphysical, 14 Phil. & Pub. Aff. 223 ( 1985) (disclaiming any ambitious "grounding" of his theory of justice); B. Williams, Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy 22-26 ( 1985) (discussing the difficulty of persuasively undermining the views of the ethical skeptic who wishes simply to consistently opt out of

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The Future of Free Speech Law
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Note xiv
  • 1- Speech in the Constitutional Sense 1
  • Notes 23
  • 2- Hustler Magazine V. Falwell and The Hypertrophy of Free Speech Protection 33
  • Notes 50
  • 3- The Problem of Racist Speech 57
  • Introduction 57
  • Notes 83
  • 4- Free Speech and The Public School Student 95
  • Notes 123
  • 5- Fowler V. Board of Education: A Case Study in the Scope of Public School Teachers' Free Speech Rights 131
  • Introduction 131
  • Notes 148
  • 6 - Defining Obscenity: The Criterion of Value 153
  • Introduction 153
  • Notes 178
  • 7 - How to Decide Close Cases: An Illustration 185
  • Introduction 185
  • Conclusion 207
  • Notes 209
  • 8- The Pathological Complexity Of Free Speech Regulation 219
  • Notes 241
  • Conclusion: The Future of Freedom of Speech 255
  • Notes 263
  • Selected Bibliography 267
  • Index 269
  • About the Author 273
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