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Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship
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Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  159 ratings  ·  32 reviews
We live in an era in which offensive speech is on the rise. The emergence of the alt-right alone has fueled a marked increase in racist and anti-Semitic speech. Given its potential for harm, should this speech be banned? Nadine Strossen's HATE dispels the many misunderstandings that have clouded the perpetual debates about "hate speech vs. free speech." She argues that an ...more
Hardcover, 232 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Oxford University Press, USA
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Mary Thompson
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: current-events
This book does a great job of articulating the reasons why laws limiting free speech are harmful, especially for those groups such laws are meant to protect, and also why they are ineffective at preventing harm. Anyone who has considered advocating for stricter limits on speech in the United States should read it. I was disappointed that the book did not contain any notes. The author mentions case after case without a single citation. This flaw severely limits the usefulness of the book.
Lubinka Dimitrova
There are many things I feel grateful for; among them, one are the friends who help me become a better person; another, the open-mindedness which helps me recognize my own occasional small-mindedness. This fabulous book gave me the opportunity to appreciate the friend who instead of deriding my ossified views on important matters, kindly guided me towards the resources which would shift my perspective and push the small-minded ideas a bit further back.

So, in a nutshell, this book is good, and
Apar Gupta
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
We live in interesting times. Mimicking the architecture of our great cities many yearn for men of steel and stone. Those who can provide us with loud answers to our search for comfort and modernity. Such authoritarian yearnings often call upon decisiveness, but their course is routinely divisive. Such paths often see the rise of authoritarian leaders who voice and endorse speech considered dangerous to a multi-cultural society. At this point, Nadine Strossen's "Hate: Why We Should Resist It ...more
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I was hoping it would be more technical, to help fix my ignorance of legal issues, but I can't blame the author for choosing straightforward common sense arguments. My only complaint was how many sections relied on the same few principles.
Paul Taske
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
A lovely and concise defense of free speech in the face of hate. Strossen lays out, in straightforward language why countries ought to defend speech rights even for those speakers they find deplorable.

While Strossen is a fierce lawyer she keeps the legal discussion to an impressive minimum and only uses it to set her framework but not do do all the heavy or showy lifting. Rather, she sets up a contrast between the approach adopted in the United States and the approach adopted by many European
Georgina Lara
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's wrongly assumed by many that hate speech is not (or should not be) protected by the First Amendment in the USA. Strossen makes the case that laws to curtail "hate speech" are vague, difficult to implement, subject to interpretation and often could lead to penalize the very same minorities it tries to protect. Strossen argues instead for education, growing a thicker skin and more free speech to counter the hate speech so as to make it evident and counteract it. It makes you think and it has ...more
Edward Sullivan
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Strossen offers a concise, cogent defense of Constitutional-protected free speech and explains why any attempts to undermine those protections, however well intention, will lead to perilous consequences.
Oct 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Really liked the points she made and the examples and quotes. Some things I already agreed with, some things new to me. However, it could be a little hard to read. I feel like a law background would have helped in the first third, and the middle third felt very repetitive. Last third was better, though, I'd say chapter 7 was particularly more clear.
Joseph Stieb
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
A compelling argument against hate speech legislation that I overwhelmingly agree with...and yet...I had some problems. Let me start with the beefs. Strossen focuses overwhelmingly on hate speech in terms of insulting/using racial slurs/lying about a particular person or group. I think she skips over a crucial question, although I'm not totally sure if this is a hate speech question: What about fake news?To expand this point: what about the onslaught of propaganda disseminated by hostile or ...more
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
A very clear and well-argued (if redundant) book on how censorship measures like hate speech restriction laws are unnecessary and even detrimental to counter hate speech in view of freedom of expression.

Like other reviewers note, when so many good examples are used to make points, the lack of notes and citations becomes a major shortcoming and limits the usefulness of the book, which would have been a great reference for further research into the topic.

While free speech absolutism presented by
Peter A
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an important book, written with passion and clarity. As the author makes clear at the onset, her mission in writing the books is to “refute the argument that the United States, following the lead of many other nations, should adopt a broader concept of illegal “hate speech”, and to demonstrate why such a course would not only violate fundamental precepts of our democracy but also do more harm than good.” (page 3).

The book gives a throughout review of he US Constitution’s first
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
A necessary book that appropriately reasserts the value of freedom of speech in our democratic society.

The book could have benefited from switching the conclusion chapter to the start, thereby beginning with the reasons why the author decided to write.

Some of the arguments were repetitious, and forty pages likely could have been removed without harming the points made.

I recommend for all who want to engage with the foundational pillars of our democracy.
Cole Whetstone
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Type: Legal Argument (Amicus Curiae)
Unity: Hate Speech laws fundamentally undermine Free Speech. Moreover, they are ineffective and downright dangerous.

3 Prompts:
1. Why are Hate Speech laws a bad solution to the problem of hate speech? They are ineffective and they have huge externalities. Also they are fundamentally prohibited by the constitution.
3. What don’t college kids (who have a large role in banning speakers/getting professors fired for speech infringement, and who are among the
Roo Phillips
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Maybe 4.5 stars. A fantastic review by law professor and former president of the ACLU. Her experience clearly gives her many interesting perspectives and stories to tell. The focus is on government/public censorship of free speech/expression (misogyny, racism, pornography, bigotry, etc.). Most of the censorship examples are (thankfully) from other countries. I got the feeling that the USA has done a great job at not limiting constitutionally protected speech in the legal sense (at least so far). ...more
TammyJo Eckhart
Oct 21, 2018 rated it liked it
If you want to get a political disagreement going in our house it is tough to do. We generally see issues nearly the same way, we might argue about details or strategy. Except for the issue of Hate Speech laws. I was hoping this book would allow my hubby and I to read and then discuss the issues. However the language used is both too professional yet too repetitive to really give us a a smooth enough reading to encourage us to keep reading. Reading each chapter, heck something paragraph by ...more
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Goodreads Giveaway - What is the optimal way to counteract "hate speech"? Censorship? Legal action? Violence? Or more speech? Nadine Strossen (former director of the ACLU) makes a strong argument that it is the later - the best option for addressing constitutionally protected "hate speech" is more speech. Through numerous examples, from both the United States and abroad, she argues that laws, regulations, and policies designed to limit "hate speech" actually do the exact opposite and magnify ...more
For me, the most convincing reason she gave for not having hate crime laws is that they tend to be abused in fact against marginalized people because, well, they are marginalized.

What bothered me the most is that this is yet another analysis of free speech that assumes the most words can do is make sensitive people feel stressed, and maybe they should be exposed to more stress so they toughen up. So sure, if hate speech isn't really so bad in the first place, then the potential negatives when
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This comprehensive book discusses the pros and cons of limiting speech, simply because we do not agree with it. What I enjoyed most was learning why censoring some speech but not others damages our democracy. I also learned the importance of civil discourse in a diverse society, why it is important, and that our society needs to engage at this level to improve the human condition for all people.
Patrick Carpenter
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Now as ever it behooves us to understand what tools we have to defend human rights and democratic institutions. This book makes the clear case that not only must we not sacrifice the latter for the former, but so doing leaves us all worse off, especially the disadvantaged groups censorship laws seek to aid. A worthwhile read I recommend to anyone.
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
I had hoped for a more philosophical treatise on the subject rather than a legal brief. This was not a bad book by any means, but one that wasn't what I expected. Of course, the author cannot be faulted for not writing the book I wanted to read, but I could not, in good conscious, recommend it for someone interested in the topic.
David Rubenstein
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Quite long for the content. The ideas are solid, but the writing hammered and hammered and hammered home the legal points that government can't restrict the content of most speech. This would have been a better magazine article. Still, the author is a terrific person and reaches conclusions that are valid.
Tiffany Guthrie
Jun 18, 2018 rated it liked it
It was nice to switch up my reads for a while, and read something other than the typical fiction.

I think this book focuses on something that I believe we have all noticed get worst and worst in the current world. The author does a great job of getting to the point and explaining why.

This is not a quick read, but definitely something worth picking up.
Finlay Balfour
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A terrific presentation of the counter-argument to mainstream commentary regarding hate speech legislation; Strossen advocates for an alternate approach to curbing free speech. An essential read for those interested in the free speech ideal or of the practical implications of speech legislation.
Jan 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Kind of a slog to read, but very valuable content.
Aug 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Academic discussion of an important topic. Not necessarily surprising, but I found Strossen's podcast appearances to be more accessible than the book.
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Vital topic, but repetitious.
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Filled with countless examples of hate speech legislation that hurt the very people it was meant to protect. If you truly care about discrimination, let hate die in sunlight. It's its worst enemy.
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So logical and motivational.
Faith 09
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very intelligent argument for free speech. It really put things into perspective.
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Concise, clear analysis of the importance of free speech in the maintenance of just and equal societies and the pitfalls of well-meaning, but ultimately dangerous, hate speech laws. When we give the government the power to restrict speech we open the door to the suppression of all ideas and the potential quashing of political opposition with little to gain, as according to Strossen, there’s no evidence that restricting speech lessens violence and discrimination.

My only quibble with the idea
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Nadine Strossen was president of the American Civil Liberties Union from February 1991 to October 2008. She was the first woman and the youngest person to ever lead the ACLU. A professor at New York Law School, Professor Strossen sits on the Council on Foreign Relations. She has been hailed as one of the most influential business leaders, women, or lawyers in such publications as the National Law ...more
“More speech can be the best way to reach out to individuals, changing what they think and not merely what they do.” —2011 UN Expert Workshop on the Prohibition of National, Racial, or Religious Hatred” 0 likes
“Freedom has its risks. Suppression of freedom, I believe, is a sure prescription for disaster.” 0 likes
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