Freedom of expression, long an issue that united liberals, now serves to drive them apart. Many feminists demand the banning of pornography; representatives of ethnic groups campaign for curbs on hate speech; liberal reformers work to restrict the funding of political campaigns and to regulate the press. Focusing on such issues, this book examines the collision of the traditional liberal ideals of equality and freedom with modern social structures, and speculates on what role the State might play in furthering public debate. The author analyzes the pressure on liberal thought resulting from such controversies as pornography, Mapplethorpe and artistic expression, the rights of street-corner orators, and the rise of the communications media.
Free speech and social structure; why the state?; silence on the street corner; freedom and feminism; state activism and state censorship; the right kind of neutrality; free speech and the prior-restraint doctrine; building a free press.