Freedom of Expression and the Liberalism of Fear: A Defense of the Darker MillSkip other details (including permanent urls, DOI, citation information)
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Although many recent free speech skeptics claim Millian credentials, they neglect the more pessimistic elements of Mill's account of human nature. Once we recover the darker elements of Mill's thought, American-style laissez-faire in the domain of expression looks significantly more attractive. Indeed, this paper argues that if Mill is correct about human nature, we have good reason to oppose recent proposed restrictions on expression and to embrace a legal regime that tolerates much speech that is false, obscene, demeaning, and even hateful. While philosophers are right to worry about the substantial moral costs of such regimes, we ought to attempt to address these costs in ways that do not amount to rejecting the regimes themselves.