Home -> Law Blog Directory -> Legal Commentary Blogs -> Prawfs
(866) 635-2689 for Personal Injury or (866) 635-9402 for Criminal Defense
Find a Local Lawyer
Divorce (866) 635-6190
Personal Injury (866) 635-2689
Criminal Defense (866) 635-9402
Legal Commentary: Prawfs
More on censorship, and freedom, in Canada
By Dan Markel, Ethan Leib, Rick Garnett, Matt Bodie, Paul Horwitz , Steve Vladeck, and Orly Lobel
The Other Rick posted the other day on censorship, free speech, civility, liberalism, slippery slopes, and other things, setting off some interesting comments and reactions elsewhere. For what it's worth, I think it's reasonable and welcome to question, now and again, if only to keep us sharp, the "my expressive liberty trumps your offense, dignity, etc., always and necessarily, because otherwise . . . McCarthy wins" sentiment that sometimes characterizes discussions in America about free speech. Speech can harm, and we're kidding ourselves (a) if we think that our fairly libertarian free-speech stance is costless and (b) if we think there are not (at least) questions worth asking about whether those costs are distributed appropriately.
That said, I am not nearly so sanguine and cheery about what Rick calls our northern neighbors' "experiment" in censorship. This editorial, which one of my Mirror of Justice colleagues posted the other day -- and which Rick also acknowledges in his post -- make me nervously skeptical about Rick's sense that free speech is "doing just fine up north." With all due respect, it is not much comfort to me -- and I'm not sure why it should be much comfort to others who think the meaningful freedom of religion includes the freedom to, now and again, challenge currently-dominant values and norms -- to hear that "the Canadian who speaks with the usual Canadian circumspection and courtesy will . . . escape unscathed from the Commission?s thought police."
Now, if I thought that the end-game of Canada's "experiment" was just "politeness", maybe I'd be more comfortable waiting for the results. My sense, though -- I have not, I admit, made a thorough study of this -- is that "politeness" is going to have substantive -- not merely "please" and "thank you" -- bite, and in a one-sided way. Dan? Paul? Paul Shaffer? Set us straight!
Search Blog Directory: