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Coercion and Persuasion and Speech: A Comment on Corey Brettschneider’s book, When the State Speaks, What Should it Say?

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3 Responses

  1. Brett Bellmore says:

    The fourth alternative is that the hateful, who would never admit even to themselves that they ARE the hateful, use the power to censor ‘hateful’ speech to censor the non-hateful who disagree with them. Because only the hateful would so disagree, in their opinions. And having the power, only their opinions count.

    You’ll frequently see advocacy of color blind policy, of an end to discrimination, attacked as racism. If the advocates of modern racial discrimination, the supposedly good sort, had the power to censor ‘hate’ speech, would they not censor opponents of affirmative action?

  2. AYY says:

    “If the advocates of modern racial discrimination, the supposedly good sort, had the power to censor ‘hate’ speech, would they not censor opponents of affirmative action?”

    I think that’s the point.

  3. Paul Horwitz says:

    Two points in response to that last comment, and for what it’s worth I speak as someone who has pretty clearly been skeptical of Corey’s approach. 1) If the book is clear about anything, it’s that he is not seeking to censor anyone. Whatever one may think about his arguments for “democratic persuasion,” he is quite emphatic about rejecting state censorship. 2) On the specific question of affirmative action, he addresses this and rejects it as an occasion for democratic persuasion (which, again, is not censorship, on the grounds that only clear violations of the principle of free and equal citizenship require the state to speak, and affirmative action is a matter for reasonable disagreement.

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