Share this

Free Speech Beyond Words: The Surprising Reach of the First Amendment, Mark V. Tushnet, Alan K. Chen and Joseph Blocher

The Taming of Free Speech: America's Civil Liberties Compromise, Laura Weinrib

Reviewed by Ronald K.l. Collins

BUY

 

First contention: Attempts to make the First Amendment safe frequently produce censorship. Take risk out of the jurisprudential equation, and little liberty is left. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. tagged it an “experiment,” this business of reconciling freedom with security. But experiments sometimes fail, which points back to risk. If one does not consent to these terms of our constitutional compact, then no freedom worth preserving will emerge. Or, to put it more cavalierly: yes, sometimes the Bill of Rights can be like a suicide pact—Justice Robert Jackson's 1949 admonition in Terminiello v. City of Chicago (337 U.S. 1) notwithstanding, which returns us to Holmes's Darwinian experiment.

Second contention: Theories of free speech, especially those of the “elevated” or “righteous” kind, lead inescapably to censorship. Take a canonical BIG NORM (for example, truth in the marketplace, self-realization, or democratic participation), link it to the First Amendment, and what inevitably follows is freedom cabined. Know this: the moral reformist and the progressive activist are censorial fellow travelers. Free-speech freedom must stand on its own legs, unfettered by intolerant ideological interventionists.

That conceptual framework provides one way to gauge much of what passes as free-

To continue reading, see options above.

About PSQ's Editor

Demetrios James Caraley

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

Editor’s spotlight

Remembering Fred I. Greenstein

Eisenhower as an Activist President: A Look at New Evidence
Fred I. Greenstein

Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

New APS Book

Continuing Issues in U.S. National Security Policy   CONTINUING ISSUES IN U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS