'...the contributors include many of the illustrious names in contemporary free speech scholarship, and the quality of the contributions is on the whole high" Lawrence R. Douglas, Times Literary Supplement What are the appropriate limits to freedom of expression in societies that wish to be democratic, multi-cultural, and committed to the human rights of all? Ivan Hare and James Weinstein, a UK human rights practitioner and a US academic, have assembled a dazzling array of talent from a variety of disciplines, jurisdictions, and viewpoints to explain and debate a controversy that is intellectually complex, politically explosive, and as current as today's news. Extreme Speech and Democracy is a mine of information and argument that will be quarried for years to come. This is quite simply the most sophisticated, penetrating, and ambitious study of these issues available. Christopher McCrudden, FBA, Professor of Human Rights Law, University of Oxford The papers in this book bring a penetrating scholarship to the law relating to extreme speech-and to the political philosophy which is the subject's real challenge. Whether you believe in free expression warts and all, or in censorship for the sake of public tranquillity, you will find these contributions a major intellectual resource. Lord Justice Laws compendious, thoughtful, learned and very well produced and laid out. The topic is both provocative and important, being no less than the future of our liberal culture and the task it faces in accommodating itself to the challenge of extremism without destroying all that is good about itself in the process...The book is one to be read through from start to finish or enjoyed in bite-sized chunks grabbed as the opportunity arises...The book's many contributors have various responses to the issue of controlling as well as celebrating speech but it is a tribute both to themselves and to the editors that few deny that the issue is one which needs properly to be addressed. The book is all the better as a defender of free speech (and liberal values) for taking its opponents so seriously. Conor Gearty, London School of Economics, Entertainment Law Review, Volume 20, issue 8, 2009 ...whoever takes whatever stand in a debate so intellectually complex and politically explosive as that about the limits of the freedom of expression, must be able to judge all the arguments for and against, recognise the false justifications on both sides, and formulate a clear position. For once, the flap text does not disappoint: these contributions are a major intellectual resource for that endeavour Chrisje Brants, Utrecht University, The Netherlands, Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights 28.2 ...This book makes for a very valuable and interesting read, not only for those dealing with the legal dimension of 'hate speech', but also for others interested in that crucially important sphere of public life and debate within democratic society. Aleksandra Gliszczynska-Grabias, Polish Academy of Sciences, Human Rights Law Review 10:3 It is rare to see a book full of such deep thoughts expressed with such clarity...the essays are stylish and structured. Rosalind MM McInnes, Principal Solicitor, BBC Scotland
A commitment to free speech is a fundamental precept of all liberal democracies. However, democracies can differ significantly when addressing the constitutionality of laws regulating certain kinds of speech. In the United States, for instance, the commitment to free speech under the First Amendment has been held by the Supreme Court to protect the public expression of the most noxious racist ideology and hence to render unconstitutional even narrow restrictions on hate speech. In
contrast, governments have been accorded considerable leeway to restrict racist and other extreme expression in almost every other democracy, including Canada, the United Kingdom, and other European countries. This book considers the legal responses of various liberal democracies towards hate speech
and other forms of extreme expression, and examines the following questions:
What accounts for the marked differences in attitude towards the constitutionality of hate speech regulation?
Does hate speech regulation violate the core free speech principle constitutive of democracy?
Has the traditional US position on extreme expression justifiably not found favour elsewhere?
Do values such as the commitment to equality or dignity legitimately override the right to free speech in some circumstances?
With contributions from experts in a range of disciplines, this book offers an in-depth examination of the tensions that arise between democracy's promises.