Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pornography and the Freedom of Speech

I teach a course on the Freedom of Speech, which focuses primarily on the First Amendment.  Each year, I struggle with the presentation of the cases and debates about obscenity and pornography.  On the one hand, I am moved by limited state, slippery slope, "counterspeech, not regulation", civil-libertarian arguments.  On the other, I am deeply unsatisfied by the view that pervades so much of our talk and thinking about regulating expression, i.e., "speech does not cause harm, and even if it does, pornography does not cause harms of a type that the government ought to be permitted to forestall through regulation."  Of course speech causes harm; we simply choose (as, in my view, we usually should) to assume the risk of that harm, or to employ means other than regulation to prevent and redress it.

Anyway . . . check out these two thought-provoking essays, over at "Public Discourse", by Roger Scruton and James Stoner, on the matter. 

https://mirrorofjustice.blogs.com/mirrorofjustice/2009/02/pornography-and-the-freedom-of-speech.html

Garnett, Rick | Permalink

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