Category: Symposium (When the State Speaks)


Up Next Week: Online Symposium on Corey Brettschneider’s “When the State Speaks, What Should It Say?”

Next week, we will be hosting an online symposium on Professor Corey Brettschneider’s book “When the State Speaks, What Should It Say?:  How Democracies Can Protect Expression and Promote Equality” (Princeton University Press, 2012).  Professor Brettschneider is a Professor of Political Science at Brown University and, in the fall, he will be visiting Fordham University School of Law, joining our very own guest blogger Olivier Sylvain.  The Harvard Law Review’s recent publications authors describe the book in this way:

Free speech scholars note a growing gap between speech regulations in the United States and in Europe. While European democracies criminalize hate speech as a threat to democratic egalitarianism, the United States has clung to a fiercely neutralist approach, protecting free speech rights regardless of the speaker’s viewpoint. Advocates of neutralism criticize prohibition- ists for trampling individual liberties; prohibitionists decry neutralists for protecting hateful speech inimical to their liberal political ideals. In a timely new book, Professor Corey Brettschneider suggests a third alternative: while continuing to uphold protections for individual hate speech in their regulatory capacities, governments in their expressive capacities should engage in a process of “democratic persuasion” that levies the state’s pedagogical, symbolic, and spending powers to pro- mote values of equality and tolerance (pp. 4–5). Avoiding the paralysis of the liberal democracy too committed to neutrality to resist its own ideological enemies, democratic persuasion aims at a political ideal of “value democracy”: a political order that respects individual freedoms while taking a firm expressive stand on its preferred social values (pp. 24–25). Professor Brettschneider’s book tackles a debate at the fore- front of contemporary free speech scholarship with a clarity that should make it accessible to readers outside the legal academy.

We have a wonderful group of scholars joining us (many whose books we recently celebrated at CoOp):

Robin West

Corey Brettschneider

Mark Graber

Helen Norton

James Fleming

Linda McClain

Paul Horwitz

Steven Calabresi