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Table of Contents: Foreword Introduction Chapter 1: Should Offensive Speech Be Censored? Chapter Preface Yes: Offensive Speech Should Be Censored Racist Hate Speech Should Be Banned by Alexander Tsesis Hate speech presents a serious threat to the dignity and safety of minority groups and to the social and political stability of the United States as a whole. In light of this threat the United States should pass laws that prohibit hate speech. Speech That Incites Religious Hatred Should Be Banned by Julian Baggini Muslims are subject to serious discrimination just as racial minorities are, and just like racial minorities they deserve legal protection. Giving Muslims that protection will help to improve strained relations between Muslims and the wider community by reassuring Muslims that secular critics of Islam as a religion do not hate Muslims as individuals. Protests at Funerals Should Be Banned by the Columbus Dispatch Banning protests at funerals is a reasonable restraint on speech that does not violate the First Amendment. Limiting protests to appropriate times and places is not censorship. Banning the Desecration of the American Flag Would Not Be Censorship by Steven Lubet Flag desecration is not a serious danger to the United States, but there would be no harm in banning it. An anti-flag-burning amendment to the Constitution would not prevent people from expressing any viewpoint; it would only make illegal one method through which a viewpoint could be expressed. No: Offensive Speech Should Not Be Censored Racially and Sexually Offensive Speech Should Not Be Banned in the Workplace by David E. Bernstein Many employers place significant restrictions on employees' speech in an attempt to avoid expensive harassment suits. Such restrictions are an unacceptable violation of employees' First Amendment rights. Speech That Criticizes Religion Should Not Be Banned by A. C. Grayling Laws forbidding religious hatred are vague, open to abuse, and are likely to discourage important discussions about the roles of religion in Western societies. Existing laws that forbid threats and violence regardless of the perpetrator's motivation are adequate to protect those who are harassed based on their religion. Protests at Funerals Should Not Be Banned by Michelle Cottle Holding anti-gay protests at funerals is disgusting, but that does not mean that such protests need to be made illegal. Americans should be self-reliant enough to counter offensive speech by themselves without asking the government to step in and ban it. Desecrating the American Flag Should Not Be Banned by John W. Whitehead Flag-burning is an offensive act to many, but it is a rare act that is not a serious threat to the United States. Restricting free speech by banning such offensive actions, on the other hand, would threaten America's democratic values and traditions. Chapter 2: Should High Schools and Universities Censor? Chapter Preface Yes: Educational Institutions Should Censor High Schools May Ban Speech That Attacks Other Students by Justice Stephen Reinhardt Students' free speech rights are important, but it is more important to make sure that students' speech does not infringe on the rights of other students to be free from harassment and from verbal and psychological assault. This is particularly critical when the students being harassed are from disadvantaged groups, such as racial and religious minorities or gays and lesbians. Universities Should Censor Anti-Semitic Speech by Susan B. Tuchman Anti-Semitic speech is a serious problem on many American college campuses. This speech is often experienced as harassment and intimidation by Jewish students, and as such it should not be tolerated by college and university administrators. Schools Should Ban Sexually Harassing Speech by Bernice Resnick Sandler and Harriett M. Stonehill Sexually harassing speech is unacceptably common in schools. Such speech harms students, violates the law, and should not be tolerated. School Libraries Should Restrict Students' Access to Controversial Books by Mike Masterson Sexually explicit books should not be made available to schoolchildren without their parents' consent. Requiring a student to get parental permission before reading explicit books is not censorship; it is upholding parents' rights to raise their children as they see fit. No: Educational Institutions Should Not Censor High Schools May Not Ban Speech That Offends Other Students by Eugene Volokh The recent court decision in Harper v. Poway Unified School District, which said that schools can legally ban students' speech if that speech is harmful to minority students, was profoundly misguided. Schools may need to restrict disruptive speech on some occasions, but they should restrict all disruptive speech equally instead of banning students from expressing only certain views. Universities Should Not Institute Speech Codes by Greg Lukianoff Free speech is sharply limited on many American college campuses. Speech codes, overly broad anti-harassment policies, censorship of student newspapers, and related policies threaten the ability of students and faculty to have open, honest debates about political and social issues. Universities Should Encourage Open Debate by Judith Rodin Free speech is a valuable part of campus life that should not be banned just because it makes some students uncomfortable. Instead of banning hateful speech, universities should teach students how to counter that speech with their own arguments. School Libraries Should Not Restrict Access to Any Books by Chris Crutcher Many young adult novels contain harsh language and painful scenes, but this is not a valid reason to ban those books. Real life is harsh and painful for many adolescents, and teenagers have the right to read novels that examine the issues that they face. High Schools and Universities Should Not Censor Student Newspapers by Mike Hiestand Recent court decisions have given high school and university administrators extremely broad powers to censor student newspapers. Such censorship has dangerously eroded students' understanding of the importance of the First Amendment and of freedom of the press. Chapter 3: Should Pornographic and Violent Material Be Censored? Censoring Pornographic and Violent Material: An Overview by Henry Cohen The Supreme Court has declared that some kinds of speech are not guaranteed complete protection under the First Amendment. Obscenity, speech that may harm children, child pornography, and television and radio broadcasts are among the types of speech that may legally be restricted or banned. Yes: Pornographic and Violent Material Should Be Censored Indecent Broadcasts Should Be Censored by Brent Bozell The public owns the broadcast airwaves, and the public is overwhelmingly in favor of preventing indecent material from being broadcast over those airwaves. Therefore, in a democratic country such as the United States the government should listen to the voters and restrict broadcasts of indecent material. Internet Pornography Should Be Restricted by Phyllis Schafly The Supreme Court has consistently overturned laws that were intended to protect minors from Internet pornography. These overturned laws were passed by the democratically elected Congress and addressed the clear dangers that Internet pornography poses to children. Because such anti-pornography laws are so desperately needed, Congress should act to prevent the Supreme Court from overturning any more pornography-related laws. Virtual Child Pornography Should Be Banned by Ernest E. Allen The Supreme Court's decision to overturn a law banning virtual child pornography puts children at risk for sexual abuse. The decision will make it much harder to prosecute cases where real children were abused in making child pornography, because advances in image manipulation technology make it almost impossible to tell real images from computer-generated ones. In addition, even completely virtual child pornography places children at risk by fueling pedophiles. The Government Should Help Parents Shield Children from Obscene and Violent Material by Kevin W. Saunders The First Amendment should apply differently to children than it does to adults. Children are more likely to be permanently harmed by exposure to pornography, violence and hate speech than are adults, since children are still developing psychologically. No: Pornographic and Violent Material Should Not Be Censored Indecent Broadcasts Should Not Be Censored by Marjorie Heins The Federal Communications Commission's rules on broadcast indecency are censorship and ought to be declared unconstitutional. Writers and directors should have complete artistic control over their creations, without being second-guessed by a panel of politically appointed commissioners. Libraries Should Not Use Internet Filters to Block Pornography by Daniel H. Bromberg, Charles R. A. Morse, and Joshua A. T. Fairfield The Children's Internet Protection Act, which requires most libraries to use Internet filters on their public computers, is a violation of the First Amendment. Internet filters block large amounts of material that is not obscene or harmful to minors and that library patrons have a Constitutional right to access. Virtual Child Pornography Should Not Be Banned by Ambika J. Biggs The PROTECT (Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to End the Exploitation of Children Today) Act, which bans virtual child pornography, is unconstitutionally broad. Supporters of the act say that virtual child pornography can lead to the sexual abuse of actual children, but the evidence for this is unclear. Congress cannot ban virtual child pornography-which is protected speech under the First Amendment-just because that pornography might in the future help a pedophile to abuse a child. Parents Should Be Responsible for Monitoring Their Children's Television Viewing by Adam Thierer Government censorship is the wrong way to shield children from violence in the media, because that censorship would prevent all Americans, including adults, from viewing the material that the government declares inappropriate for children. Instead, individual parents should decide for themselves what is too violent from their children and should be responsible for preventing their children from viewing that media. Chapter 4: Should Speech about National Security Be Censored? Yes: Speech That Could Endanger National Security Should Be Censored The Press Should Not Publish Leaked Classified Material by Pat Buchanan It is illogical that government officials who leak classified information are punished, but that the reporters who publish this leaked information are awarded with prizes for distinguished journalism. Reporters who endanger national security by publishing leaked classified information should be censured, not praised. People Should Be Barred from Entering the United States If They Have Spoken in Support of Anti-American Terrorism by Steve Emerson The United States should not give visas to foreigners who advocate for or condone attacks against the United States or its military. Denying visas to such people is not censorship; it is a prudent move to help prevent terrorist groups from operating within the United States. Scientific Information That Could Help Terrorists Should Be Restricted by Mitchel B. Wallerstein The needs of scientific openness and national security must be carefully balanced in relation to the current threats facing the United States. At this time the largest threat comes from terrorist groups with limited resources. Those groups are likely to be drawn biological weapons, which are relatively easy to create. Given this threat, scientists should refrain from making certain types of biological information widely available. No: Censorship Is the Wrong Response to National Security Issues Punishing Reporters for Receiving Classified Information Threatens the Practice of Journalism by Paul K. McMasters Recent court cases that have questioned journalists' rights to protect the confidentiality of their sources and to report on classified information that is leaked to them are a serious danger to American journalism. Americans have a right to be informed about programs that present a threat to their freedoms, even if the government wants those programs to be kept secret. Journalists Have a Duty to Fight Government Secrecy by Pete Weitzel Since September 11, 2001, the federal government has declared that vast amounts of governmental information are to be kept secret from the public. Such governmental secrecy threatens America's democratic tradition and the freedoms of individual Americans, yet, shamefully, most journalists have not fought for the right of access to this information. People Should Not Be Barred from Entering the United States Because of Their Anti- American Speech by Caroline Frederickson Since the September 11 terrorist attacks the U.S. government has used immigration laws to deny entry to the United States to foreigners who have criticized America's foreign policy. This "ideological exclusion" is an unconstitutional breach of the American people's right to exchange ideas with non-citizens who hold differing viewpoints. Not All Scientific Information That Could Help Terrorists Should Be Restricted by Gary S. Guzy The United States government collects and makes available to the public large amounts of information about potential threats to public health from industrial accidents and other man-made catastrophes. Although this information could help terrorists to plan attacks against industrial targets, many Americans-including environmental and community activists-have legitimate needs to access that information as well. Therefore, access to that information should not be completely restricted.
Library of Congress Subject Headings for this publication:
Censorship -- United States.
Freedom of expression -- United States.