Free Speech for Me--But Not for Thee: How the American Left and Right Relentlessly Censor Each Other

Nat Hentoff, Author
Nat Hentoff, Author HarperCollins Publishers $25 (405p) ISBN 978-0-06-019006-4
Paperback - 978-0-06-099510-2
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Hentoff's guiding principle in this casebook is that the First Amendment's protection of free speech must be given to all, even to those whose views are repugnant. It is not only right-wingers who have censored free expression, he argues, but anti-porn feminists, blacks who attempt to ban Huckleberry Finn from schools (because the novel includes the word nigger), gays who supported a blacklisting of Anita Bryant, and other enforcers of political correctness. Hentoff, a syndicated columnist and Village Voice regular, endorses American Nazis' right to march in Skokie, Ill., in 1977, arguing that hatred should be brought into the open and confronted with the truth. He supports flag-burners' First Amendment rights and opposes anti-bigotry speech codes on campuses, maintaining that politically correct'' students and professors have stifled debate. He also criticizes the harsh limitations imposed on picketing anti-abortion groups. Hentoff's fierce consistency in this libertarian manifesto will draw the wrath of critics. Author tour. (Oct.)
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