Extreme Speech and Democracy

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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 favor 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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 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 tranquility, you will find these contributions a major intellectual resource."
—Lord Justice Laws,
High Court of Justice of England and Wales, Queen's Bench Division

"This is a book of the sort that you feared the internet might have driven off our bookshelves. It is 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 thirty one contributors - an all-star, generally Anglo-American cast but with strong Continental and Canadian input from time to time, the whole presided over by the high priest of liberal values Ronald Dworkin (who contributes an excellent introduction) - generally rises to the challenge. The book is one to be read through from start to finish or enjoyed in bite-sized chunks grabbed as the opportunity arises. Almost all of it leaves the reader with much to savour."
— CONOR GEARTY (London School of Economics)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199548781
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/17/2009
  • Pages: 500
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Ivan Hare is a Barrister at Blackstone Chambers and a former Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

James Weinstein is the Amelia D. Lewis Professor of Constitutional Law at Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University

Eric Barendt
David Bodney
Tufyal Choudhury
Ian Cram
David Edgar
Carolyn Evans
John Finnis
David Fraser
Dieter Grimm
Ivan Hare
Eric Heinze
Ian Leigh
Jose Liht
Maleiha Malik
Dominic McGoldrick
Robert Post
Amnon Reichman
Jacob Rowbottom
Sara Savage
Wayne Sumner
Patrick Weil
James Weinstein
Michael Whine
David Williams

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Table of Contents

Part I: Introduction and Background
1. Introduction, Ivan Hare, James Weinstein
2. Freedom of Speech in a Globalizing World, Dieter Grimm
3. Extreme Speech and Democracy, James Weinstein
4. The International and European Law of Freedom of Expression, Ivan Hare
5. Historical Perspectives on Extreme Speech Regulation in the United Kingdom, David Williams
6. "Extreme Speech": Political Engagement as an Alternative to Legal Regulation, Maleiha Malik
Part II: Hate Speech
7. Analysing Hate Speech, Robert Post
8. Wild-West Cowboys versus Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Some Problems in Comparative Approaches to Hate Speech Regulation, Eric Heinze
9. Incitement and the Regulation of Hate Speech, Wayne Sumner
10. Homophobic Speech, Erich Heinze
Part III: Speech that Promotes Religious Hatred
11. Do-it-yourself radical religious speech: how to assemble the ingredients of a binary world view, Sara Savage, Jose Liht
12. Crosses, Crescents and Sacred Cows: Criminalising Incitement to Religious Hatred in European and UK Law, Ivan Hare
13. Satire, Cartoons and Offensive Expression, Ian Cram
14. The Passionate Expression of Hate: Constitutional Protections, Emotional Harm and Comparative Law in Israel, Amnon Reichman
Part IV: Religious Speech and Expressive Conduct That Offend Secular Values
15. Religious Speech that Undermines Gender Equality, Carolyn Evans
16. Equality Denial: A New Hate Crime, Ian Leigh
17. The Veil Controversies in Europe, Dominic McGoldrick
18. Reflections on the Veil in Schools, John Finnis
Part V: Incitement to and Glorification of Terrorism
19. The UK Government's Response to the Threat of Terrorism, Lord Goldsmith, QC
20. Incitement to and Glorification of Terrorism in the United Kingdom, Eric Barendt
21. Encouraging Terrorism, Tufyal Choudhury
22. A Different Perspective on Incitement to Terrorism, Makhdoom Ali Khan
23. Comment, David Feldman
Part VI: Holocaust Denial
24. "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a Nazi": Some Comparative Aspects of Holocaust Denial on the www, David Fraser
25. Holocaust Denial, Michael Whine
26. The Holocaust Denial Opinion of the German Federal Constitutional Court, Dieter Grimm
27. The Politics of Memory: the Ban and Commemoration in France, Patrick Weil
28. Comment, Robert Post
Part VII: Governmental and Self-Regulation of the Media
29. Shouting Fire: From the Nanny State to the Heckler's Veto, David Edgar
30. An American Perspective, David Bodney
31. Extreme Speech and the Media, Jacob Rowbottom
Part VIII: Conclusions
32. Extreme Speech in Comparative Perspective, Ivan Hare, James Weinstein

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