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Happiness is the Wrong MetricFree Speech Versus Safe Space

Happiness is the Wrong Metric: Free Speech Versus Safe Space [The free speech debate in the United States offers a screen against which the profound societal design championed by communitarians is illuminated. Some on the left have implored the federal government to ban “hate speech,” while libertarian voices have cried censorship in response to any measure of backlash against offensive or incendiary speech in public. This chapter argues that, in effect, communitarian informal social controls are well managing this iteration of the struggle between individual rights and the common good. That is, widespread public censure of offensive speech, and the subsequent firings, dis-invitations, and resignations of offensive speakers, has allowed citizens to impose severe costs on harmful speech while avoiding the difficult and potentially dangerous task of trying to legislate it. The discussion of shared moral understandings in Chap. 4 informs the argument that public pressure can be far more effective in shifting attitudes than the coercion of law. The chapter finally, in a discussion of so-called “microaggressions,” warns against informal social controls that push the agenda too far, and encourages a judicious employment of censure.] http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png

Happiness is the Wrong MetricFree Speech Versus Safe Space

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Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright
© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018. This book is an open access publication.
ISBN
978-3-319-69622-5
Pages
153 –160
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-69623-2_8
Publisher site
See Chapter on Publisher Site

Abstract

[The free speech debate in the United States offers a screen against which the profound societal design championed by communitarians is illuminated. Some on the left have implored the federal government to ban “hate speech,” while libertarian voices have cried censorship in response to any measure of backlash against offensive or incendiary speech in public. This chapter argues that, in effect, communitarian informal social controls are well managing this iteration of the struggle between individual rights and the common good. That is, widespread public censure of offensive speech, and the subsequent firings, dis-invitations, and resignations of offensive speakers, has allowed citizens to impose severe costs on harmful speech while avoiding the difficult and potentially dangerous task of trying to legislate it. The discussion of shared moral understandings in Chap. 4 informs the argument that public pressure can be far more effective in shifting attitudes than the coercion of law. The chapter finally, in a discussion of so-called “microaggressions,” warns against informal social controls that push the agenda too far, and encourages a judicious employment of censure.]

Published: Jan 9, 2018

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