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Extreme Speech and Democracy - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Extreme Speech and Democracy

Ivan Hare and James Weinstein


A commitment to free speech is a fundamental precept of all liberal democracies. However, democracies differ significantly when addressing the permissibility of laws regulating certain kinds of speech, especially extreme speech. In the United States, for instance, the commitment to free speech has been held by the Supreme Court to protect the public expression of even the most noxious racist ideology. In contrast, in almost every other democracy governments enjoy considerable leeway to restrict racist and other types of extreme expression. What accounts for the marked differences in attitude t ... More

Keywords: equality, dignity, democracy, hate speech, racist, incitement to terrorism, homophobic speech, Holocaust denial, veiling, the Danish cartoons

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780199548781
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199548781.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Ivan Hare, editor
Barrister, Blackstone Chambers

James Weinstein, editor
Amelia D. Lewis Professor of Constitutional Law, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University

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Part I Introduction and Background

Part II Hate Speech

7 Hate Speech

Robert Post

Part III Incitement to Religious Hatred and Related Topics

Part IV Religious Speech and Expressive Conduct that Offend Secular Values


Part VI Holocaust Denial

Part VII Governmental and Self-Regulation of the Media

End Matter