The Case Against Free Speech: The First Amendment, Fascism, and the Future of Dissent

The Case Against Free Speech: The First Amendment, Fascism, and the Future of Dissent

by PE Moskowitz


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A hard-hitting expose that shines a light on the powerful conservative forces that have waged a multi-decade battle to hijack the meaning of free speech—and how we can reclaim it.

There's a critical debate taking place over one of our most treasured rights: free speech. We argue about whether it's at risk, whether college students fear it, whether neo-Nazis deserve it, and whether the government is adequately upholding it.

But as P. E. Moskowitz provocatively shows in The Case Against Free Speech, the term has been defined and redefined to suit those in power, and in recent years, it has been captured by the Right to push their agenda. What's more, our investment in the First Amendment obscures an uncomfortable truth: free speech is impossible in an unequal society where a few corporations and the ultra-wealthy bankroll political movements, millions of voters are disenfranchised, and our government routinely silences critics of racism and capitalism.

Weaving together history and reporting from Charlottesville, Skokie, Standing Rock, and the college campuses where student protests made national headlines, Moskowitz argues that these flash points reveal more about the state of our democracy than they do about who is allowed to say what.

Our current definition of free speech replicates power while dissuading dissent, but a new ideal is emerging. In this forcefully argued, necessary corrective, Moskowitz makes the case for speech as a tool—for exposing the truth, demanding equality, and fighting for all our civil liberties.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781568588643
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 08/13/2019
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 489,961
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

P. E. Moskowitz is the author of How to Kill a City. A former staff writer for Al Jazeera America, they have written for publications including the Guardian, New York Times,, New Republic, Wired, Slate, Buzzfeed, Splinter, and Vice. A graduate of Hampshire College and the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, they live in New Orleans.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part 1 Where We Are Now

Chapter 1 The Line 9

Chapter 2 Are We All Snowflakes? 29

Chapter 3 Campus Wars-Middlebury 43

Chapter 4 Campus Wars-Evergreen 65

Chapter 5 Pushing the Line 83

Pant 2 Where We're Going

Chapter 6 The Shadow Campus 113

Chapter 7 Speech and the Streets 143

Chapter 8 Whose Speech Matters? 163

Chapter 9 Free Speech in the Panopticon 185

Conclusion: Toward a Smarter Definition of Free Speech 205

Acknowledgments 211

Notes 213

Index 237

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