General Introduction: Free Speech, Democracy, and the Suppression of Extreme Speech Past and Present

James Weinstein, Ivan Hare

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    10 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    In addition to introducing the general topics covered in the volume, this chapter sketches the ambivalent relationship between free speech and democracy that has existed since the birth of modern democracy. From the beginning it was recognized that the right of the people to criticize governments, laws, and social conditions is inherent in the very concept of rule by the people. But also from the outset democratic governments have claimed the power to limit criticism deemed so extreme as to endanger other basic societal values. For instance, in 1798 Congress passed the Sedition Act; during World War I the Allies imprisoned anti-war protestors; and in subsequent decades these democracies suppressed advocacy of anarchism, fascism, and communism. The verdict of history is that most of this speech suppression was contrary to the right of people to express dissenting views in a free and democratic society. Will history render a similar judgment on contemporary suppression of extreme speech? Or is this suppression justified because it aims to protect interests of individuals rather than interests of the state?

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    JournalUnknown Journal
    DOIs
    StatePublished - May 1 2009

    Fingerprint

    Democracy
    suppression
    democracy
    present
    Communism
    History
    World War I
    value
    anarchism
    fascism
    Social Conditions
    Jurisprudence
    communism
    First World War
    history
    allies
    social factors
    criticism
    act
    Parturition

    Keywords

    • Anarchism
    • Communism
    • Democracy
    • Fascism
    • Sedition act
    • World war i

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Sciences(all)

    Cite this

    @article{fe3146eb75ea4e7eb1398c3047af4338,
    title = "General Introduction: Free Speech, Democracy, and the Suppression of Extreme Speech Past and Present",
    abstract = "In addition to introducing the general topics covered in the volume, this chapter sketches the ambivalent relationship between free speech and democracy that has existed since the birth of modern democracy. From the beginning it was recognized that the right of the people to criticize governments, laws, and social conditions is inherent in the very concept of rule by the people. But also from the outset democratic governments have claimed the power to limit criticism deemed so extreme as to endanger other basic societal values. For instance, in 1798 Congress passed the Sedition Act; during World War I the Allies imprisoned anti-war protestors; and in subsequent decades these democracies suppressed advocacy of anarchism, fascism, and communism. The verdict of history is that most of this speech suppression was contrary to the right of people to express dissenting views in a free and democratic society. Will history render a similar judgment on contemporary suppression of extreme speech? Or is this suppression justified because it aims to protect interests of individuals rather than interests of the state?",
    keywords = "Anarchism, Communism, Democracy, Fascism, Sedition act, World war i",
    author = "James Weinstein and Ivan Hare",
    year = "2009",
    month = "5",
    day = "1",
    doi = "10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199548781.003.0001",
    language = "English (US)",
    journal = "Scanning Electron Microscopy",
    issn = "0586-5581",
    publisher = "Scanning Microscopy International",

    }

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - General Introduction

    T2 - Free Speech, Democracy, and the Suppression of Extreme Speech Past and Present

    AU - Weinstein, James

    AU - Hare, Ivan

    PY - 2009/5/1

    Y1 - 2009/5/1

    N2 - In addition to introducing the general topics covered in the volume, this chapter sketches the ambivalent relationship between free speech and democracy that has existed since the birth of modern democracy. From the beginning it was recognized that the right of the people to criticize governments, laws, and social conditions is inherent in the very concept of rule by the people. But also from the outset democratic governments have claimed the power to limit criticism deemed so extreme as to endanger other basic societal values. For instance, in 1798 Congress passed the Sedition Act; during World War I the Allies imprisoned anti-war protestors; and in subsequent decades these democracies suppressed advocacy of anarchism, fascism, and communism. The verdict of history is that most of this speech suppression was contrary to the right of people to express dissenting views in a free and democratic society. Will history render a similar judgment on contemporary suppression of extreme speech? Or is this suppression justified because it aims to protect interests of individuals rather than interests of the state?

    AB - In addition to introducing the general topics covered in the volume, this chapter sketches the ambivalent relationship between free speech and democracy that has existed since the birth of modern democracy. From the beginning it was recognized that the right of the people to criticize governments, laws, and social conditions is inherent in the very concept of rule by the people. But also from the outset democratic governments have claimed the power to limit criticism deemed so extreme as to endanger other basic societal values. For instance, in 1798 Congress passed the Sedition Act; during World War I the Allies imprisoned anti-war protestors; and in subsequent decades these democracies suppressed advocacy of anarchism, fascism, and communism. The verdict of history is that most of this speech suppression was contrary to the right of people to express dissenting views in a free and democratic society. Will history render a similar judgment on contemporary suppression of extreme speech? Or is this suppression justified because it aims to protect interests of individuals rather than interests of the state?

    KW - Anarchism

    KW - Communism

    KW - Democracy

    KW - Fascism

    KW - Sedition act

    KW - World war i

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=80054056365&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=80054056365&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    U2 - 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199548781.003.0001

    DO - 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199548781.003.0001

    M3 - Article

    AN - SCOPUS:80054056365

    JO - Scanning Electron Microscopy

    JF - Scanning Electron Microscopy

    SN - 0586-5581

    ER -