On Resurrecting Beauharnais: Jeremy Waldron and Group Libel
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On Resurrecting Beauharnais: Jeremy Waldron and Group Libel

by Terrence Heinrichs

About the Book

You’re a Muslim father walking down a city street with two young kids in tow. You see a sign posted on a wall that says “Muslims Go Home!” You’ve seen signs like this before. How should you react? Jeremy Waldron thinks you should be fearful because such signs evoke memories of the horrible things done to you and your kind in the past. Meanwhile, he thinks, while you are cowering in fear, those who posted the signs are comforted, all the while planning and conspiring with others to do awful things to you and yours if you don’t leave. Moreover, because the signs are legally permitted, other potential hate mongers, currently in hiding, decide to jump in and join the fray. After all, if the messages weren’t OK, the signs wouldn’t be tolerated—would they?

Given the messages sent by such signs, what should be done to protect public order and reassure targeted minorities they are equal citizens? Should we ban the signs or permit them, leaving their worth for private individuals to decide? Why… ban the signs and prohibit the speech, of course! 

So Jeremy Waldron argues in "The Harm in Hate Speech", a book which attacks the reigning American free speech paradigm and attempts to resuscitate arguments for a group libel statute, long dead and buried in America but alive and well today in Europe.

"On Resurrecting Beauharnais: Jeremy Waldron and Group Libel" critically examines the arguments Waldron presents for such a statute as well as relevant views of other writers argumentatively in the same camp.

About the Author

Half Full Publishing
Half Full Publishing

Terrence Heinrichs

Associate Professor, Political Science, York University 

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface: 1

Introduction—Group Libel in America: Cases, Arguments, and Outcomes: 11

I The Argument: 33

II Vulnerability, Security, and Double Standards: 71

III Pornography and Hate Speech as “Causes” of Vulnerability: The “Slow-Acting Poison” Argument: 103

IV State & Society: Private Individuals as State Officials: 155

V On the Wisdom of “Partnering” with State Officials About What We May See, Hear, and Read: 197

VI Waldron’s Civility Argument: 213VII Ending Debate in the Marketplace of Ideas: 231

VIII Hate Speech Versus Good Speech: Line Drawing and Application Problems: 253

IX Canada’s Hate Speech Laws: “Responsibly” Administered? 297

X The Slippery Road From Dignity to Offense: 307

XI Hate Speech and Pornography as “World Defining Activities:” 345

Conclusion: 369 

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