Free Speech in an Open Society

Front Cover
Vintage Books, 1992 - Law - 429 pages
0 Reviews
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

What people are saying - Write a review

FREE SPEECH IN AN OPEN SOCIETY

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A superb exposition of the significance of free speech and an analysis of how to preserve it in our increasingly complex society. Smolla (Law/Marshall-Wythe School of Law at William and Mary College ... Read full review

Contents

The Shortcomings of All Simple Answers
18
A Model for Freedom of Speech
43
FREE SPEECH AND THE POLITICAL
67
Personal Reputation and Privacy
117
Tolerating Intolerance
151
Public Funding of the Arts Education
170
Money and Politics
220
NEWSGATHERING IN
241
The Challenges of New Technologies
321
Toward an International Marketplace
343
NOTES
369
INDEX
415
Copyright

Other editions - View all

About the author (1992)

Rodney A. Smolla is Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

Bibliographic information