Isn't it about time for the U.S. wake up and fall in line with the rest of world when it comes to placing restrictions on certain kinds of speech? Why, in a world so volatile and fraught with religious and ethnic tension, does the U.S. stand alone in providing a safe harbor for speech that oozes with hate, incitement and contempt?
In the global race to place restrictions hate speech the U.S. runs dead last, owing to its dogged allegiance to the principle of free expression. Is it possible, in today's post-9/11 world, that dedication to the ideology of free speech is still prudent?
You bet it is. But not everyone agrees.
A New York Times article
by Adam Liptak probes the sensitive issue of the U.S. free-speech stance vis-Ã -vis the rest of the world. Liptak writes:
"Some prominent legal scholars say the United States should reconsider its position on hate speech.
"'It is not clear to me that the Europeans are mistaken,' Jeremy Waldron, a legal philosopher, wrote in The New York Review of Books last month, 'when they say that a liberal democracy must take affirmative responsibility for protecting the atmosphere of mutual respect against certain forms of vicious attack.'"
Waldron wrote those words, Liptak notes, while reviewing "Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment" by Anthony Lewis, a former New York Times columnist.
"But even Mr.
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