Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought, Expanded Edition [NOOK Book]

Overview

“A liberal society stands on the proposition that we should all take seriously the idea that we might be wrong. This means we must place no one, including ourselves, beyond the reach of criticism; it means that we must allow people to err, even where the error offends and upsets, as it often will.” So writes Jonathan Rauch in Kindly Inquisitors, which has challenged readers for more than twenty years with its bracing and provocative exploration of the issues surrounding attempts to limit free speech. In it, Rauch...
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Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought, Expanded Edition

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Overview

“A liberal society stands on the proposition that we should all take seriously the idea that we might be wrong. This means we must place no one, including ourselves, beyond the reach of criticism; it means that we must allow people to err, even where the error offends and upsets, as it often will.” So writes Jonathan Rauch in Kindly Inquisitors, which has challenged readers for more than twenty years with its bracing and provocative exploration of the issues surrounding attempts to limit free speech. In it, Rauch makes a persuasive argument for the value of “liberal science” and the idea that conflicting views produce knowledge within society.



In this expanded edition of Kindly Inquisitors, a new foreword by George F. Will strikingly shows the book’s continued relevance, while a substantial new afterword by Rauch elaborates upon his original argument and brings it fully up to date. Two decades after the book’s initial publication, while some progress has been made, the regulation of hate speech has grown domestically—especially in American universities—and has spread even more internationally, where there is no First Amendment to serve as a meaningful check. But the answer to bias and prejudice, Rauch argues, is pluralism—not purism. Rather than attempting to legislate bias and prejudice out of existence or to drive them underground, we must pit them against one another to foster a more vigorous and fruitful discussion. It is this process that has been responsible for the growing acceptance of the moral acceptability of homosexuality over the last twenty years. And it is this process, Rauch argues, that will enable us as a society to replace hate with knowledge, both ethical and empirical.



“It is a melancholy fact that this elegant book, which is slender and sharp as a stiletto, is needed, now even more than two decades ago. Armed with it, readers can slice through the pernicious ideas that are producing the still-thickening thicket of rules, codes, and regulations restricting freedom of thought and expression.”—George F. Will, from the foreword
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Editorial Reviews

Forbes

“To observe that American political and intellectual discourse has become polarized, intolerant of all but the most predictable ideological nostrums, censorial of anything deemed to be remotely ‘politically incorrect,’ and generally lacking in subtlety, a free spirit of inquiry, or honest quest for truth, has perhaps become trite. Twenty years ago it was less so, and it was then that Rauch wrote a book called Kindly Inquisitors. In retrospect, Rauch was extraordinarily prophetic in his assessment of the evolving state of free speech and thought. [This] newly updated version of Kindly Inquisitors provides an opportune moment to reflect on this extraordinarily deep and provocative essay, a true tour de force of logic, integrity and moral passion.”
Huffington Post Greg Lukianoff

"A modern classic explaining the importance of free speech in society.”
Economist

“An eloquent attack on the advocates of political correctness.”
Chicago Tribune

“Like no other, this book restates the core of our freedom and demonstrates how great, and disregarded, the peril to that freedom has become.”
New York Times Michiko Kakutani

Praise for the previous edition

“Fiercely argued. . . . What sets his study apart is his attempt to situate recent developments in a long-range historical perspective and to defend the system of free intellectual inquiry as a socially productive method of channeling prejudice.”

former governor of Massachusetts William F. Weld

“Stands out as a thoughtful, provocative defense of civil liberties and liberal inquiry. Jonathan Rauch’s unique perspective, derived from personal experience, lends to the poignancy of his thesis.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226130552
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 235,456
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Jonathan Rauch is a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, a contributing editor to the Atlantic and National Journal, and the author of six books, including Government’s End and Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2014

    A Classic

    This is the classic treatment regarding the value of public discourse and the traps associated with the modern movements to suppress, punish, and criminalize speech. This book will never be old.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2014

    Outstanding

    I recommend Jonathan Rauch's revised book "Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought". While a 'popular work about political correctness', Rauch bases his arguments on Plato, Popper and Peirce, going to the underlying epistemological rationale, not just the sociopolitical expedient. An outstanding and very readable thesis on just how we, as individuals and as a society, can know what truth is, and how we can best assure truth wins out in the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2014

    A triumph in every sense of the word.

    Want to learn why hate speech is your best friend? Why anti-hate speech laws do a disservice to the marketplace of ideas? Why that cocky Plato has been on top for so long and it's high time someone took him down? Then split open this fire-cracker barrel of wisdom and let it balloon your brain full of sweet, sweet knowledge.
    Jibbing between practical applications of safety and progress to direct concerns regarding the increasing power of his own party, Rauch expresses for us clear definitions of the freedoms of the First Amendment, when it is misinterpreted and when it fails. Essential for even the casually political, The Kindly Inquisitors is well-researched, strongly argued and so oddly exciting that you'll be able to burn through this thing in two days.
    Seriously, some chapters are so good you'll want to stand up and cheer. No, YOU'RE being hyperbolic.

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