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Self-Regulation and Human ProgressHow Society Gains When We Govern Less$
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Evan Osborne

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780804796446

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804796446.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM STANFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Stanford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

The Less Unsaid the Better

The Less Unsaid the Better

Self-Regulating Free Speech

(p.61) Chapter 4 The Less Unsaid the Better
Self-Regulation and Human Progress

Evan Osborne

Stanford University Press

The question of how much free expression to tolerate hardly came up until the modern era. The creation in Europe of the printing press changed that and made expression a threat to long-standing social institutions. The nature of the new technology made it impossible to fully control the flow of books, pamphlets, and other printed material, but European governments tried. The argument in favor of a free press ultimately emerged, and the practice itself was institutionalized, mostly in Great Britain and northwestern Europe. The chapter emphasizes the self-regulating argument for free communication, that ideas beyond science would be improved if they must be subject to readers’ scrutiny. Particular attention is paid to Milton, Struensee and John Stuart Mill. The arguments made in favor of the broad protection of freedom of speech that prevail in much of the world are shown to have significant self-regulating components.

Keywords:   freedom of expression, First Amendment, John Stuart Mill, Oliver Wendell Holmes, U.S. Supreme Court

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