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A Timely Broadside—Ronald K.L. Collins’ Review of ‘Freedom From Speech’

By September 10, 2014

Legal blogger and influential First Amendment lawyer Ronald K.L. Collins has written a glowing review of Greg Lukianoff’s new broadside Freedom From Speech, released yesterday in paperback and Kindle editions. On the Concurring Opinions blog, Collins notes the timeliness of the book against a rising tide of censorship:

The time for public debate on censorship versus comfort, on individual liberty versus collective norms, and on freedom of speech versus freedom from speech is long overdue. Whatever one makes of Mr. Lukianoff’s broadside, it is just the sort of provocative and thoughtful work needed to launch a debate among ten-thousand voices … and more.

Collins also celebrates the book’s straightforward message, calling it “as American as blue jeans”:

If you want a turgid academic read, avoid this work. So, too, if you want everything from the obvious to the obfuscated documented by a long string of fancy footnotes dotted with case names and the like. And if you yearn for a work that merrily balances away individual freedom of speech in the name of some professorial parlor norm, Lukianoff’s pamphlet will not be your cup of tea. Just common sense and plain speech are served up in this pamphlet in defense of free speech.

Collins also confirms Greg’s assertion that politically correct censorship and comedy are natural enemies. “If you doubt it,” he notes, “try playing some of Lenny Bruce’s more edgy comedy and see what happens.” As Torch readers and First Amendment fans may know, Collins’ book (with co-author David Skover) The Trials of Lenny Bruce: The Fall and Rise of an American Icon and his activism were instrumental in the posthumous pardoning of Lenny Bruce for the crime of obscenity.

Read the full review over at the Concurring Opinions blog!