Stanley Fish's The Harm In Free Speech

527 Words3 Pages

In the New York Times article “The Harm in Free Speech”, Stanley Fish argues that it would make no difference if Jeremy Waldron’s book, “The Harm in Hate Speech,” was titled “The Harm in Free Speech”. While providing an insightful review of the novel, Fish promotes the ideas depicted in the novel. Fish argues that American society is obsessed with using the First Amendment to say outwardly offensive statements. Fish asserts that “hate speech” is not simply expressing an opinion, but rather a way to belittle members of society a person deems unworthy. Americans hide behind the First Amendment and use it as a justification to spew hate speech. There is a difference between having hurt feelings when two people simply differ on views of a matter and what is deemed as “dignity harms”, which is when people are deemed as unworthy of respect. Fish believes that the First Amendment is indifferent to the effects on society.
Meanwhile, in the article “Hate Speech and Free Speech, Part Two”, Jeremy Waldron responds to the …show more content…

Americans use the Free Speech argument when it appeals to their needs. However, when people with opposing viewpoints express their opinions, the former group acts as if these people are not valid in expressing a viewpoint. There is a scene in the movie Trumbo where Dalton Trumbo, played by actor Bryan Cranston, is passing out copies of the Constitution and telling protestors to read the First Amendment. Trumbo, a member of the American Communist Party who was a blacklisted screenwriter, was passing out these copies to enraged protestors who then refused to look at the Constitution. Americans use the argument of Free Speech when it appeals to their needs, but when people express opposing viewpoints, such as Dalton Trumbo, their arguments are labeled as “unworthy” and without a solid basis for

Open Document