The Volokh Conspiracy

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Journal of Free Speech Law: "Public Calls for Censorship as Bad Speech," by Prof. J.P. Messina (Purdue, Philosophy)


Just published as part of the "Non-Governmental Restrictions on Free Speech" symposium; the abstract (the article, 2 J. Free Speech L. 87 (2022), is here):

Responsible speakers avoid trafficking in bad speech, that is, speech that they have reason to believe causes or constitutes net harm. Moreover, third parties have prima facie reason to suppress such speech. As recent events have made salient just how harmful speech can be, there has been a corresponding increase in calls to suppress or censor such speech. This article argues that there are three mechanisms by which calls to suppress bad speech themselves tend to cause or constitute harm. Paradoxically, then, those most concerned about the pernicious effects of bad speech ought to be especially reluctant to call for its suppression.