The right to speak freely and to be heard is an indispensable part of equality. Equally indispensable is the community’s receptiveness to ideas: its willingness to listen and hear. This is a daunting challenge in the modern urbanized and suburbanized world, because most of us can never realistically expect to be heard amid the millions of voices in our nation and the billions of voices in our planet. With the economy having become global, this is no mere passing concern. For free expression to mean anything, we must find new ways to make the people’s voices heard in ways that meet the challenges of modern political economies.
Political expression is not the only form of expression. Artistic and scientific expression are also important, and in these, modern technologies have opened the door. The internet makes information accessible instantaneously all over the world. Research and scholarship have leaped forward in the past decade or so because information is readily available to every researcher. What took ten years to research a few years ago may take a year today, and the product is more complete. Perhaps this will serve as a vehicle for the opening of political expression someday.
This part of our narrative finds much of its voice in the negative:
- Edwin Baker, Human Liberty and Freedom of Speech (Oxford University Press, 1992).
- Steven J. Heyman, Free Speech and Human Dignity (Yale University Press, 2008).
- Robert L. Tsai, Eloquence and Reason: Creating a First Amendment Culture (Yale University Press,2008).
- James Boyd White, Living Speech: Resisting the Empire of Force (Princeton University Press, 2006).
- Ivan Hare and James Weinstein, eds., Extreme Speech and Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2009).
- Stewart Justman, The Springs of Liberty: The Satiric Tradition and Freedom of Speech (Northwestern University Press, 1999).
Freedom of the press: on the endangered art and practice of journalism:
- Anthony Lewis, Make No Law: The Sullivan Case and the First Amendment (Random House, 1991).
- Geoffrey Kemp, Jason McElligott, Cyndia Clegg and Mark Goldie, eds., Censorship and the Press, 1580-1720 (Pickering and Chatto Publishers, 2009).
- Cyndia Susan Clegg, Press Censorship in Jacobean England (Cambridge University Press, 2001).
- Cyndia Susan Clegg, Press Censorship in Elizabethan England (Cambridge University Press, 1997).
- Cyndia Susan Clegg, Press Censorship in Caroline England (Cambridge University Press, 2008).
- Alan Rusbridger, Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Now (Farrar,m Straus & Giroux, 2018): “Rusbridger’s anguish over the assault on fact is leavened by rueful recognition that Trump’s abuses, in partnership with social media’s penchant for magnifying them, may carry a pale silver lining.”
- Jill Abramson, Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts (Simon & Schuster, 2019): “She uses her book to mount an expert and passionate defense of old-school journalism. But she overlooks some of its core tenets to do it.”
- Harold Holzer, The Presidents vs. the Press: The Endless Battle Between the White House and the Media – From the Founding Fathers to Fake News (Dutton, 2020): “For all of Trump’s transgressions against the press — and they are many — Holzer’s book offers evidence that he’s not the greatest enemy of the First Amendment to have occupied the White House. He might not even rank in the top five.”
- Katherine Corcoran, In the Mouth of the Wolf: A Murder, a Cover-Up and the True Cost of Silencing the Press (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2022): “The killing of the journalist Regina Martínez prompted Katherine Corcoran to examine both the murder itself and the news media in Mexico.”
Free speech in the arts:
- Laura Wittern Keller and Raymond J. Haberski, The Miracle Case: Film Censorship and the Supreme Court (University Press of Kansas, 2008).
- Laura Wittern Keller, Freedom of the Screen: Legal Challenges to State Film Censorship, 1915-1981 (University Press of Kentucky, 2008).
- Francis G. Couvares, Movie Censorship and American Culture (Smithsonian, 1996).
- Deborah Nadoolman Landis, Hollywood Costume (Abrams, 2013): “Even the slightest shadow that suggested cleavage could suspend production.”
Free speech under attack for political/ideological reasons:
- Philippa Strum, When the Nazis Came to Skokie: Freedom for Speech We Hate (University of Kansas Press, 1999).
- David Cressey, Dangerous Talk: Scandalous, Seditious, and Treasonable Speech in Pre-Modern England (Oxford University Press, 2010).
- Evan Gerstmann and Matthew Streb, Academic Freedom at the Dawn of a New Century: How Terrorism, Governments, and Culture Wars Affect Free Speech (Stanford University Press, 2006).
- Jane Mayer, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals (Doubleday, 2008).
Free speech in the United States:
- Geoffrey R. Stone, Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terror (W. W. Norton & Co., 2004).
- Ronald K.L. Collins and Sam Chaltain, We Must Not Be Afraid to Be Free: Stories of Free Expression in America (Oxford University Press, 2011).
- Sarat Austin, Speech and Silence in American Law (Cambridge University Press, 2010).
- Philip I. Blumberg, Repressive Jurisprudence in the Early American Republic: The First Amendment and the Legacy of English Law (Cambridge University Press, 2010).
- John W. Johnson, The Struggle for Student Rights: Tinker v. Des Moines and the 1960s (University of Kansas Press, 1997).
- Anthony Lewis, Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment (Basic Books, 2008).
- Christopher M. Finan, From the Palmer Raids to the Patriot Act: A History of the Fight for Free Speech in America (Beacon Press, 2007).
- David M. Rabban, Free Speech in its Forgotten Years: 1870-1920 (Cambridge University Press, 1997).
- Richard Polenberg, Fighting Faiths: The Abrams Case, the Supreme Court, and Free Speech (Viking Adult, 1987).
- Joseph Ober, Political Dissent in Democratic Athens: Intellectual Critics of Popular Rule (Princeton University Press,1998).
- Arlene W. Saxonhouse, Free Speech and Democracy in Ancient Athens (Cambridge University Press, 2005).
Free speech in Britain:
- David Colclough, Freedom of Speech in Early Stuart England (Cambridge University Press, 2005).
- Andrew Hadfield, Literature and Censorship in Renaissance England (Palgrave MacMillan, 2001).
Free speech in Asia:
- David Kelly and Anthony Reid, eds., Asian Freedoms: The Idea of Freedom in East and Southeast Asia (Cambridge University Press, 1998).
- Robert Taylor, The Idea of Freedom in Asia and Africa (Stanford University Press, 2002).
Documentary and Educational Films
- Shut Up & Sing, about how the country music group The Dixie Chicks was intimidated, threatened and ostracized for expressing a political opinion
- Afghan Star: how a popular television show began to open Afghani culture to music
- Welcome to Leith: You may be tempted to side with the people opposing free speech. The film can serve as a lesson for the importance of principle, or for the lesson that no principle is perfect.
- Barbara Kingsolver, The Lacuna: A Novel (Harper, 2009).
- Ma Jian, The Noodle Maker: A Novel (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005).
- Jess Walter, The Cold Millions: A Novel (Harper, 2020), is fashioned “out of the free speech riots that erupted in Spokane, Wash., in the early years of the 20th century. The Industrial Workers of the World had attempted to break a system of kickbacks between corrupt employment agencies, which fleeced laborers with bad job leads, and the crew bosses who took a portion of the proceeds to hire and fire workers in an unconscionable churn. Eventually, rowdy Wobblies packed the streets, and 400 people were beaten and jailed in the ensuing conflict.”
From the dark side:
- Celeste Ng, Our Missing Hearts: A Novel (Penguin Press, 2022), “explores a fictional world where Chinese Americans are spurned and books are recycled into toilet paper.”
- Paulo Zerbato, Freedom of Expression
Music: Composers, artists, and major works
- Machine Gun
- Never Too Late But Always Too Early
- “3 Nights in Oslo” set
- “Nipples” album
- “Alarm” album
- “Balls” album
- Tentet + 1
- German Blues
- Jazzfest Berlin ‘95
- “Live at the Empty Bottle” album (1998)
- “Yatagarasu” album (2012)
- “I Am Where You Are” ablum (2013)
- Octet in Nickelsdorf, Austria (2014)
- Live in Budapest, 2016
- Live in Antwerp, 2018
- “For Adolphe Sax” album
- “Krakow Nights” album
- “Goosetalks” album
- “Noise of Wings” album
- “The Damage Is Done” album
- “Born Broke” album
- “Low Life / Last Exit” album
- “Live in Wiesbaden” album
- Mieczyslaw Weinberg, Symphony No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 45 (1950): Weinberg was a Soviet national during the most repressive years of Stalin’s regime. Despite being forced to edit the work to “correct his errors”, Weinberg laced the symphony with humor.
- John Adams, Saxophone Concerto
- Dahl, Concerto for Alto Saxophone (1948)
- Golijov, Ainadamar (Fountain of Tears) (2003): an opera honoring Federico Garcia Lorca and commemorating his martyrdom for the cause of art
- Nick Brignola, “On a Different Level”
- Anthony Braxton, “Wesleyan (12 Altosolos) 1992”
- Rob Brown Quartet, “The Big Picture”
- Lee Morgan, “Live at the Lighthouse”
- Billy Drummond & Freedom of Ideas, “Valse Sinistre” (2022)
If they snatch my ink and pen,
I should not complain,
For I have dipped my fingers
In the blood of my heart.
I should not complain
Even if they seal my tongue,
For every ring of my chain
Is a tongue ready to speak.
[Faiz Ahmed Faiz, “Stanza”]
- Wallace Stevens, “Of Modern Poetry”