The Harm in Hate Speech

The Harm in Hate Speech

Hardback Oliver Wendell Holmes Lectures

By (author) Jeremy Waldron

$24.18
List price $31.16
You save $6.98 22% off

Free delivery worldwide
Available
Dispatched in 3 business days
When will my order arrive?

Additional formats available

Format
Paperback $13.73
  • Publisher: HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Hardback | 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 198mm x 30mm | 399g
  • Publication date: 18 June 2012
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge, Mass
  • ISBN 10: 0674065891
  • ISBN 13: 9780674065895
  • Illustrations note: 1 line illustration
  • Sales rank: 87,747

Product description

Every liberal democracy has laws or codes against hate speech - except the United States. For constitutionalists, regulation of hate speech violates the First Amendment and damages a free society. Against this absolutist view, Jeremy Waldron argues powerfully that hate speech should be regulated as part of our commitment to human dignity and to inclusion and respect for members of vulnerable minorities. Causing offense - by depicting a religious leader as a terrorist in a newspaper cartoon, for example - is not the same as launching a libelous attack on a group's dignity, according to Waldron, and it lies outside the reach of law. But defamation of a minority group, through hate speech, undermines a public good that can and should be protected: the basic assurance of inclusion in society for all members. A social environment polluted by anti-gay leaflets, Nazi banners, and burning crosses sends an implicit message to the targets of such hatred: your security is uncertain and you can expect to face humiliation and discrimination when you leave your home. Free-speech advocates boast of despising what racists say but defending to the death their right to say it. Waldron finds this emphasis on intellectual resilience misguided and points instead to the threat hate speech poses to the lives, dignity, and reputations of minority members. Finding support for his view among philosophers of the Enlightenment, Waldron asks us to move beyond knee-jerk American exceptionalism in our debates over the serious consequences of hateful speech.

Other people who viewed this bought:

Showing items 1 to 10 of 10

Other books in this category

Showing items 1 to 10 of 10
Categories:

Author information

Jeremy Waldron is University Professor, New York University School of Law, and Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory, All Souls College, University of Oxford.

Review quote

A vigorously argued, intelligent challenge to the "liberal bravado" of U.S. First Amendment scholars. In an eloquent reply to free-speech advocates, Waldron moves step by step in building the argument as to why hate-speech laws are good for a well-ordered society...The author argues that the damage caused by hate speech is like an "environmental threat to social peace, a sort of slow-acting poison" that robs the intended victims of their dignity and reputation in society. Waldron's analogy between hate speech and pornography--in terms of the defamation of women--is particularly noteworthy. He responds carefully to the notion of free speech as a necessary part of democracy's "marketplace of ideas" and looks to the Enlightenment philosophes for their views on toleration and defamation. Kirkus Reviews 20120415 [Waldron's] book sheds light on a number of difficult issues, and occasionally exposes the difference between historical fact and fiction...He elegantly and convincingly advocates that our leaders should not only avoid the use of hate speech themselves, but also condemn its use by others...We should all do our best to preserve President Ford's conception of America as a place where we can disagree without being disagreeable. An understanding of the arguments in Waldron's book may help us to do so. -- John Paul Stevens New York Review of Books 20120607 To the (mostly white) liberals who say they hate the content of hate speech, but defend its right to exist under the First Amendment (often while patting themselves on the back for their tolerance), Waldron replies, in essence: easy for you to say. In this brief, eloquent book, he urges readers (at a bare minimum) to think about how hate speech feels from the point of view of its targets...From key court battles Waldron teases out the ideas that matter in deciding how to balance free expression with a free society, one in which everybody can "know that when they leave home in the morning, they can count on not being discriminated against or humiliated or terrorized." -- Kate Tuttle Boston Globe 20120527 This is a wonderful book. It conveys complex ideas in an accessible and convincing way...Jeremy Waldron has put together a clear and compelling rationale for hate-speech laws--the harm that it causes to human dignity. -- Katharine Gelber Times Higher Education 20120531 Waldron...challenges society and its legal system to do something about [the harm done by hate speech]. But the likelihood that something will be done is slim if Waldron is right about the state of First Amendment discourse: "[I]n the American debate, the philosophical arguments about hate speech are knee-jerk, impulsive and thoughtless." Not the arguments of this book, however; they hit the mark every time. -- Stanley Fish New York Times 20120604 The Harm in Hate Speech is the fullest embodiment of arguments that Waldron has been developing for years...Waldron's treatise is primarily a philosophical defense of hate-speech regulation. He argues that hate speech is an "environmental" problem that pollutes the atmosphere of security and dignity that society should provide to all its members...Speech intended to intimidate or malign destroys this assurance...While we should continue to protect the free speech of those we disagree with, The Harm in Hate Speech makes a compelling case that they are not the only ones who need defending. -- Daniel Townshend American Prospect 20120615