"The contributors include many of the illustrious names in contemporary free speech scholarship, and the quality of the contributions is on the whole high," writes Lawrence R. Douglas in his review "Save the Ugly" in the Sept. 4 issue of TLS.
Published by Oxford University Press, Extreme Speech and Democracy features a forward by Ronald Dworkin, and contributions from John Finnis, Robert Post, C. Edwin Baker, Dieter Grimm, and Eric Barendt, among other prominent authorities on free speech. It considers the legal responses of various liberal democracies toward incitement to terrorism, homophobic speech, Holocaust denial, and veiling controversies, among other forms of extreme expression.
The authors' selection of those topics, writes Douglas, reveals much about the present state of free speech debates. He notes that just two decades ago such a volume likely would have dealt with the problem of pornography, as seen through the writings of scholar and activist Catharine MacKinnon. "Instead, a different set of hot-button items take centre stage: the publication of cartoons satirizing the prophet Muhammad in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, the wearing of headscarves in French schools, the posting of Holocaust denial materials on German websites," Douglas writes. He adds that in "discussing these controversies, the volume helpfully works to bridge the gap between American and European perspectives."
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