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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Larry Flynt v Andrea Dworkin

For John, BLUF:  Another advocacy of Free Speech.

Professor Stephen L. Carter, a law professor at Yale, is a Bloomberg columnist.  In a piece titled "How Muslim Extremists Can Learn From Larry Flynt", he tells the Muslim extremists (and perhaps the Administration) that the First Amendment isn't going anyplace.

However, I think it is really about what they can learn from Author and Feminist Andrea Dworkin.  It starts with Mr Larry Flynt saying of Ms Dworkin that she "advocates bestiality, incest and sex with children".  This being the United States, she sued.

She lost.  The Supreme Court of Wyoming noted:

Ludicrous statements are much less insidious and debilitating than falsities that bear the ring of truth.  We have little doubt that the outrageous and the outlandish will be recognized for what they are.
If the outraged Salafists sue in Wyoming they will end up like Ms Drowkin.

I don't know if I agree with Proessor Carter's characterization of the following as the "best" First Amendment statement of the rule (Law Professor Ann Althouse doesn't) but I think it is pretty good:

The best statement of our constitutional rule remains the one announced by the U.S. Supreme Court 40 years ago in Police Department of the City of Chicago v. Mosley:  “To permit the continued building of our politics and culture, and to assure self-fulfillment for each individual, our people are guaranteed the right to express any thought, free from government censorship.”  The government, said the court, “has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content.”
The author concludes:
…speech is only free if we protect it when we hate it.
And, besides, the early condemnation of the video turns out to have been a case of fire first and aim later.  One for Romney.

Bonus Info:  Professor Carter is the author of The Violence of Peace:  America’s Wars in the Age of Obama, and his most recent novel is The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln.

Regards  —  Cliff

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