Free Speech

Jacob Mchangama: How Hate Speech Laws Punish Minorities

In the new book Free Speech, the Danish activist defends radical self-expression from Socrates to social media.


In Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media, the Danish activist and scholar Jacob Mchangama argues there has always been a tension between "elite speech" and "egalitarian speech" and that today's battles over Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are the latest in a long line of attempts by the powerful to silence the masses.

The 43-year-old founder of the think tank Justitia tells me how the "Danish cartoon controversy" intensified his commitment to free speech, why hate speech laws empower authoritarians and hurt the people they are designed to protect, and why he's optimistic that the current global "free speech recession" will be eventually be beaten back.