Shut Up and Play Nice: How the Western World is Limiting Free Speech

Rayaat Choudhury

21 November 2017

Annotated Bibliography

Block, M. (Host). (2011, March 3). Comparing Hate Speech Laws In The U.S. And Abroad [Radio Program]. In All Things Considered. Retrieved from

Annotation: The laws of France and other Western democracies allow prosecution of hate speech. In European countries, these laws were passed following the Second World War. They did so because it was clear that the hateful rhetoric pf the pre-war era were indicators of what came later- the Holocaust. Canada and Mexico also passed such laws recently. These countries ban speech that advocates or incites hatred based on bias. The speech does not have to carry a threat like in the U.S. to be prosecuted. Mr. Charles Small of Yale University says because the First Amendment protect hate speech, the U.S. has become the base for hate groups to carry out the message. He thinks policymakers need to change the laws.

I used this source to compare our laws with those of other countries that are our friends. This interview provides expert comparison and opinion.

Boegel, E. K. (2016). Keeping Speech Free. America, 215(4), 21.

Annotation: Many countries ban speech that encourages violence and hatred. In the U.S. it is different. The courts do not punish someone for spreading hateful rhetoric even when it is encouraging violence. In this article Professor Boegel uses many court cases to demonstrate how judges rule in favor of the first amendment rights.

I used this article to show even though the author writes in favor of absolute right to free speech, she inadvertently admits how the first amendment is an obstacle for law enforcement authorities to take preventive measures.

Cornish, A. (Host). (2012, August 7). The Thin Line Between Hate Speech and Real Threat [Radio Program]. In All Things Considered. Retrieved from

Annotation: This is an in-depth NPR report following a mass shooting in a Sikh Temple in 2012. The shooter was an infamous white supremacist. For well over a decade prior to the attack he had been expressing his hatred for any and everyone who is not white. However, the law enforcement could not investigate him because there was no concrete threat against anyone in particular.

I used this source to show how difficult it is for the authorities to prevent hate crime. Hatemongers hide behind the First amendment rights.

Heyman, S. J. (2009). Free Speech Has Limits. In R. Espejo (Ed.), Opposing Viewpoints. Civil Liberties. Detroit: Greenhaven Press. (Reprinted from Free Speech and Human Dignity, 2008, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press) Retrieved from

Annotation: The U.S. Constitution guarantees each individual the right to freely express their opinion. Heyman argues that this very right rose from the right of individuals to safety, privacy and self-government. In other words, human dignity is the basis of free speech rights. Therefore, this right does not give one the license to cause harm to others. However, way too many individuals either do not realize the consequences of abusing this right or intentionally abuse the right to cause harm. Heyman suggests regulation to protect society from those that use the right to free speech to carry out their agenda.

Since Professor Heyman teaches constitutional law, I used his article to explain how by abusing the first amendment, people are breaking other basic constitutional rights of citizens.

Lieberman, M. (2008). Hate Crime Laws: Punishment to Fit the Crime. Anti-Defamation. Retrieved from

Annotation: In this article, the author explains why a hate crime is not the same as other criminal acts. A hate crime is motivated by bias and is carried out to send a message to a group. Statistics show hate crimes cause more severe physical damage as well as social unrest and even riots. Therefore, such crimes should be punished more severely. Mr. Lieberman explains that bigots cannot be punished for voicing hatred or acting threateningly according to the laws. He suggests that the possibility of severe punishment will discourage hate crimes.

I used this source because the author explains what a hate crime is and why it needs to be dealt with severely. He uses data and expert opinions to make his point.

Montes, B. (2014). Police investigate graffiti as possible hate crime. Victoria Advocate [Victoria, TX] (2014, August 6). Retrieved from

Annotation: An elderly African American grandmother woke up one morning to find out that her house front has been vandalized with racist graffiti. Her peaceful, middle class community of Victoria, TX was shaken by the incident. However, the police were not able to label it as a hate crime because they could not identify the perpetrator. For that reason, they could not establish the “intent” behind the act, which is necessary to do before a criminal act can be labeled as hate crime.

This article gives evidence of how the victim of hate speech is not just an individual but the entire community the victim belongs to. It also shows how difficult it is for law enforcement to prosecute such criminals. That’s why I used this article.

Rosenbaum, T. (2014). Should Neo-Nazis be Allowed Free Speech?. In L. G. Kirszner and S. R. Mandell (Eds.), The Blair Reader (pp. 172-74)

Annotation: Americans are fixated on free speech and Mr. Rosenbaum believes it has gone too far. He cites studies that prove hateful speech causes long lasting psychological effect on the target. Most western societies have laws in place to protect its citizens from hateful speech. In the U.S. such laws are considered undemocratic. Mr. Rosenbaum urges Americans to change their attitude. He argues that freedom of speech breaks the rules of civil society.

I used this source because it tries to reason with the U.S. public and lawmakers that our laws deal with physical harm only and ignore emotional damage.

Turley, J. (2012). Shut Up and Play Nice: How the Western World is Limiting Free Speech. In L. G. Kirszner and S. R. Mandell (Eds.), The Blair Reader (pp. 159-63)

Annotation: It is becoming more and more difficult to speak one’s mind in the Western World. That is the opinion of many people. Except for the U.S., modern democracies have sanctions on certain kinds of speech. This policy seems undemocratic. But Professor Turley explains in this essay how these sanctions came to be. These laws were not the result of a single big incident. They came to be established because of repeated, often small, acts where people abused their right to free speech to hurt others. Turley explains the main types of speech that are not tolerated in a civil society. These include- blasphemous, hateful, discriminatory and deceitful speeches.

I used these sources to clarify what type of speech should be restricted in the U.S. These cause harm to individuals and unrest in society.

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