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You Can't Say That!: The Growing Threat to Civil Liberties from Antidiscrimination Laws
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You Can't Say That!: The Growing Threat to Civil Liberties from Antidiscrimination Laws

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  31 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
In a misguided attempt to eradicate every vestige of "discrimination" in our society, activists and courts are using antidiscrimination laws to erode civil liberties such as free speech, the free exercise of religion, and freedom of association. Civil rights laws today are being applied in ways that threaten free speech on campus and in the workplace, the right of local co ...more
ebook, 198 pages
Published October 25th 2003 by Cato Institute (first published September 16th 2003)
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Apr 28, 2007 Gopi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: law, sociology
I loved this book and hated myself. Prof. Bernstein lays out the abridgement of constitutional rights, and the general restrictions that are placed on us by anti-discrimination laws.

As an old-school liberal (these days I'd be called a libertarian), I agreed with most of what Prof. Bernstein says, but I know enough history to understand what life was like before anti-discrimination laws were passed. It sucks when you strongly agree with principles that lead to very bad results.

Nevertheless, the b
Apr 30, 2010 Rick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent discussion of the ways that anti-discrimination laws are being used to trump and violate our Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of speech, religion and association. Though it's written by a legal scholar and discusses the law, this would be a good read for non-lawyers as well. The author doesn't use a lot of legalese, and provides a vast number of real life stories that make you sick to your stomach at how our Constitutional rights are being ignored and brushed aside. I think everybo ...more
Jan 19, 2014 Daniel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting and easy-to-read overview of some of the pitfalls of anti-discrimination policies in the US, however it is let down by Bernstein's myopic analysis and selection of examples. Bernstein clearly opposes these policies and has set-out to expose them, but in doing so he has neglected to examine any cases where they have been employed successfully and his suggestions for improvements feel a little tokenistic.
Jul 22, 2013 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bernstein is to be commended for placing his book and argument in the political middle whenever possible, by warning both right and left that laws that squash their ideological enemies' words can and will be used against them all too soon. He backs up his claims with concrete examples on both sides of the fence. Perhaps the most powerful anecdote is how a radical black feminist professor in Canada was charged with hate speech... against Americans; she barely escaped fines or jail time by the she ...more
Bernstein's book is a strong introduction to the topic of First Amendment erosion from anti-discrimination law, and the book runs the gamut, covering everything from sexual harassment cases to exercise of religious freedom and campus autonomy in the light of Title IX and federal funding. The author does write like the law professor he is though, leading to a dense book full of citations and selections from court cases that may discourage laymen (and laywomen, since we're talking about discrimina ...more
Dec 03, 2016 Chad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good case for civil liberties, even if you don't agree with all his arguments. I left with a greater appreciation for the importance of our First Amendment rights, and a recognition that antidiscrimination laws can potentially violate them. I agree that Americans need to be a little more tough-skinned. We've come to the point where being offended is almost a virtue. We need to tolerate the politically incorrect in order to preserve First Amendment rights for everyone. First Amendment righ ...more
Michael Wheatley
Addresses the conflict between legislative action to curb discrimination and the the first amendment. Argues that in many cases judges have allowed anti discrimination laws to override constitutional rights.
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David E. Bernstein is a Professor at the George Mason University School of Law.
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“Many people are shocked by the idea that any organization— even a pro-racism advocacy group—has a First Amendment right to indulge in race discrimination when necessary to further its message. Yet, as in many other contexts, protecting the First Amendment rights of unpopular, outrageous, and contemptible organizations will ultimately protect the rights of mainstream and forward-thinking organizations as well.” 0 likes
“When the case was appealed to the state supreme court, three of the seven justices voted to affirm the lower court’s ruling. In dissent, they argued that ‘‘[n]either the court nor the Legislature can constitutionally give preference or priority to a so-called ‘right’ of cohabitation over the . . . guarantees of the free exercise of religion.’’7” 0 likes
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