Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship

Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship

We live in an era in which offensive speech is on the rise. The emergence of the alt-right alone has fueled a marked increase in racist and anti-Semitic speech. Given its potential for harm, should this speech be banned? Nadine Strossen's HATE dispels the many misunderstandings that have clouded the perpetual debates about "hate speech vs. free speech." She argues that an expansive approach to the First Amendment is most effective at promoting democracy, equality, and societal harmony.

Proponents of anti-hate speech laws stress the harms that they fear such speech might lead to: discrimination, violence, and psychic injuries. However, there has been no rigorous analysis to date of whether the laws effectively counter the feared harms. This book fills that gap, examining our actual experience with such laws. It shows that they are not effective in reducing the feared harms, and worse yet, are likely counterproductive. Even in established democracies, enforcement officials use the power these laws give them to suppress vital expression and target minority viewpoints, as was the case in earlier periods of U.S. history. The solution instead, as Strossen shows, is to promote equality and societal harmony through the increasingly vibrant "counterspeech" activism that has been flourishing on U.S. college campuses and in some global human rights movements. Strossen's powerful argument on behalf of free expression promises to shift the debate around this perennially contentious topic.

Title:Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship
ISBN:9780190859121
Format Type:

About Nadine Strossen

Nadine Strossen was president of the American Civil Liberties Union from February 1991 to October 2008. She was the first woman and the youngest person to ever lead the ACLU. A professor at New York Law School, Professor Strossen sits on the Council on Foreign Relations. She has been hailed as one of the most influential business leaders, women, or lawyers in such publications as the National Law


    Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship Reviews

  • Mary Thompson

    This book does a great job of articulating the reasons why laws limiting free speech are harmful, especially for those groups such laws are meant to protect, and also why they are ineffective at preve...

  • Apar Gupta

    We live in interesting times. Mimicking the architecture of our great cities many yearn for men of steel and stone. Those who can provide us with loud answers to our search for comfort and modernity. ...

  • Linda

    So refreshing to hear this voice of reason. I'm coming off 25 years in higher education and am appalled by First Amendment violations and calls for "hate speech" laws and speech "codes." The Constitut...

  • Zack

    Goodreads Giveaway - What is the optimal way to counteract "hate speech"? Censorship? Legal action? Violence? Or more speech? Nadine Strossen (former director of the ACLU) makes a strong argument that...

  • Taro

    A very clear and well-argued (if redundant) book on how censorship measures like hate speech restriction laws are unnecessary and even detrimental to counter hate speech in view of freedom of expressi...

  • Tiffany Guthrie

    It was nice to switch up my reads for a while, and read something other than the typical fiction. I think this book focuses on something that I believe we have all noticed get worst and worst in the c...

  • Patrick Carpenter

    Now as ever it behooves us to understand what tools we have to defend human rights and democratic institutions. This book makes the clear case that not only must we not sacrifice the latter for the fo...

  • Faith 09

    Very intelligent argument for free speech. It really put things into perspective....

  • elizabeth

    Academic discussion of an important topic. Not necessarily surprising, but I found Strossen's podcast appearances to be more accessible than the book....

  • Andrew

    Filled with countless examples of hate speech legislation that hurt the very people it was meant to protect. If you truly care about discrimination, let hate die in sunlight. It's its worst enemy....