Hate speech law can be found throughout the world. But it is also the subject of numerous principled arguments, both for and against. These principles invoke a host of morally relevant features (e.g., liberty, health, autonomy, security, non-subordination, the absence of oppression, human dignity, the discovery of truth, the acquisition of knowledge, self-realization, human excellence, civic dignity, cultural diversity and choice, recognition of cultural identity, intercultural dialogue, participation in democratic self-government, being subject only to legitimate rule) and practical considerations (e.g., efficacy, the least restrictive alternative, chilling effects). The book develops and then critically examines these various principled arguments. It also attempts to de-homogenize hate speech law into different clusters of laws/regulations/codes that constrain uses of hate speech, so as to facilitate a more nuanced examination of the principled arguments. Finally, it argues that it is morally fitting for judicial and legislative judgments about the overall warrant of hate speech law to reflect principled compromise. Principled compromise is characterized not merely by compromise over matters of principled concern but also by compromise which is itself governed by ideals of moral duty or civic virtue (e.g., reciprocity, equality, and mutual respect).
"The book covers an enormous amount of ground, and Brown culls huge literatures in assembling this vast array of principled arguments both for and against hate speech regulation. Theorists from an array of fields and viewpoints are brought into direct contact with one another and separate but related literatures are here helpfully united. In this way, his book does a real service to the discussion and will be an indispensable contribution to illuminating the vast array of regulations, relevant principles, arguments and types of hate speech."—Mary Kate McGowan, Wellesley College in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
This ambitious book identifies and organizes conflicting values within the hate speech controversies. It aims to synthesize deeper questions about core concepts of liberalism, democracy, personhood, dignity, and tolerance with policy concerns about pragmatics and effectiveness. The most seasoned free speech scholars will find points and angles they had not previously considered.
Eric Heinze - International Dialogue