Nadine Strossen’s book on free speech arrives at precisely the right time
Reviewed by Carolyn Schurr Levin
These are perilous times for free speech on college campuses. So many invited speakers are being “uninvited” because of their disfavored views that the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) maintains a database of “Disinvitation Attempts.” Students have faced expulsion and faculty members have faced punishment, including dismissal, for talks, online posts, or otherwise expressing disfavored views. College newspapers have been forced to apologize for stories or advertisements labeled as offensive “hate speech.” Some have experienced the theft of newspapers from their racks. And college media advisers are increasingly fearful for their own jobs and the very existence of their media outlets due to their publication of content that might be perceived as unpopular or unwelcome.
Enter Nadine Strossen at precisely the right time with her consequential new book, Hate: Why We should Resist It With Free Speech, Not Censorship. Strossen, a professor of constitutional law at New York Law School and a former president of the American Civil Liberties Union, provides needed elucidation about the grossly misunderstood concept of “hate speech,” not just on college campuses, but in our larger society. Strossen dispels the notion that “hate speech” is not free speech and she vehemently argues that the remedy for speech that might seem harmful to some eyes is more, not less, speech.