Unlike a Scotch Egg
- BuyThe Harm in Hate Speech by Jeremy Waldron
Harvard, 292 pp, £19.95, June 2012, ISBN 978 0 674 06589 5
‘You are a totalitarian asshole.’ It’s probably not the sort of email that often drops into an All Souls professor’s inbox but, as Jeremy Waldron tells us, some people take the doctrine of free speech literally, and cut up rough when they think it has been slighted. All the same, one assumes that the sender of the email would defend to the death Waldron’s right to question the doctrine, or even (though Waldron goes nothing like this far) to reject it. Free speech is nothing if not a platform for totalitarian assholes.
Vol. 36 No. 1 · 9 January 2014
Glen Newey’s injection of a negative reference to ‘press barons’ into his review of Jeremy Waldron’s book on hate speech seems puzzling (LRB, 5 December 2013). The barons he cites as hounders of Private Eye – Maxwell, Rowland and the Barclays – were notoriously litigious long before they acquired national newspapers. Actually, as far as Private Eye is concerned, Rowland was best known for offering to bankroll the Eye’s efforts to fend off James Goldsmith, whose name is missing from Newey’s list despite his being the Eye’s most vindictive adversary. Of course, over the decades, the Eye’s preferred baronial target has been Rupert Murdoch, who is famous for never suing, however inaccurate Eye stories might be.