SOAR research fellow in Pepperdine Law Review

April 8, 2019

Former history research fellow Gordon Danning’s research paper  — “‘It Ain’t So Much the Things We Don’t Know That Get Us in Trouble. It’s the Things We Know that Ain’t So’: The Dubious Intellectual Foundations of the Claim that ‘Hate Speech’ Causes Political Violence” — has been published in Pepperdine Law Review. Gordon’s research is part of FIRE’s Speech, Outreach, Advocacy, and Research (SOAR) project.

Gordon’s research challenges the argument that “hate speech” is a driving cause of political violence and critiques common arguments used to justify hate speech laws worldwide, in part by arguing that key assumptions underlying this widely held view aren’t supported by the prevailing social science research. The paper also dives into the difficulty faced by social scientists and policy makers in defining hate speech, and explores the policy implications of his findings when applied to actual law.

You can download and read Gordon’s entire article in Pepperdine Law Review here.


FIRE’s Speech, Outreach, Advocacy, and Research (SOAR) Project is an ambitious, three-year campaign aimed at inspiring greater understanding of and appreciation for individual rights. The SOAR Project is made possible by a $2.5 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation.