cover image There's No Such Thing as Free Speech: And It's a Good Thing, Too

There's No Such Thing as Free Speech: And It's a Good Thing, Too

Stanley Fish. Oxford University Press, USA, $27.5 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-19-508018-6

Head of Duke University's English Department and putative flag-bearer for political correctness, Fish here collects a lively and vigorous sampling of his cultural criticism. Notable are his textured essays written for a series of campus debates with conservative Dinesh D'Souza. Fish places such current education controversies as those over multiculturist requirements in historical perspective; scores simplistic critics of affirmative action; suggests self-segregation can be justified as an exercise of autonomy; and observes that political power and `` real political correctness'' is determined by the ``triple threat of money, media domination and governmental regulation.'' His provocative title essay argues cogently that the neat legal definition between speech and conduct breaks down in concrete examples. In more abstruse essays, Fish turns his analytic skills, honed in literarycriticism, to dissect some of the presumptions of legal thought. If the essays do range a bit, they are linked by a skeptical and probing voice. (Nov.)