Jonathan Rauch gets down and dirty for the First Amendment

February 7, 2014

Many thanks to Eugene Volokh for letting me blog here this week. I hope to be back. Meanwhile, readers may be interested in my mano-a-mano cage match with Thane Rosenbaum of Fordham Law School, whose argument for hate-speech restrictions I objected to in Tuesday’s post. In our Huffington Post Live debate today, I gave him the Monty Python “Black Knight” treatment. Well, that’s what I thought.

The book is even better than the movie. Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought tries to look beyond the First Amendment to the “constitution of knowledge,” the liberal intellectual regime that makes societies grow smarter and more humane over time. Minorities above all have a stake in protecting it, especially from well-intentioned regulators who would act in our name. The Cato Institute and University of Chicago Press have just brought out an expanded edition that takes my best shot at giving the world’s Thane Rosenbaums the robust and thoughtful rebuttal they deserve. I hope you’ll check it out and join the argument.

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Jonathan Rauch is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

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