freedom of speech

in the United States

has an effect on human rights around the world. in europe ‘scope of right’

key takeaway:

  • difference between speech and action
  • democracy requires suspension of community norms. but requires it first. a ‘person’ requires socialized community norms. self governance precludes community. democracy has to understand the public sphere in which differences are worked out. marketplace as the origin of public sphere. (had to have standard weights and measures). newspapers are the first creation of a public sphere. public sphere, requires respect.
  • broadcast media and internet interfere with socialization by parents of kids.
  • mobility as a measure of democracy (and weakening of community)


what do we mean by speech. every contract is a form of communication, but that is regulated by contract law.

wittgenstein – all words are deeds.

  • cognitive – marketplace of ideas. greater access to truth. all ideas are equal. knowledge and progress. in science there is a distinction of quality.
  • ethical – persons are equal, ideas are not. autonomy. but often we do not let autonomy. we value autonomy when people are equal. that is not always the case. e.g. doctor patient. so autonomy is not a good predictor. a better predictor is when do we ascribe autonomy. that is in the formation of public opinion
  • political – needed for communicative processes essential for a democratic form of government. self government and the general will. formation or participation of public opinion. necessary but not sufficient. perpetual outvote of minority or lack or delay in response by the state.

the right to have rights. hannah arndet.

John Locke (1689) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762) are the most famous philosophers of contractarianism, which formed the theoretical groundwork of democracy. Although the theory of natural rights influenced the development of classical liberalism, its emphasis on individualism and its rejection of the necessity to subordinate individual liberty to the sovereign will stand in opposition to the general tenets of social contract theory.

bad tendency test. eugene debs vs united states. any sppech can have a tendency to cause harm. direct causual. clear nad present danger is a test. this line is moving. in the short-term governement has a tendancy to supress.

community or social norm – an inherit ‘law’ socialized into your personality. law enforces what you already are. chicago in 20th century is a public of many different communities.

‘heckler’s veto’ – your speech will make me riot

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