The classic “compelling defense of free speech against its new enemies” now in an expanded edition with a foreword by George F. Will (Kirkus Reviews).
“A liberal society stands on the proposition that we should all take seriously the idea that we might be wrong. This means we must place no one, including ourselves, beyond the reach of criticism; it means that we must allow people to err, even where the error offends and upsets, as it often will.” So writes Jonathan Rauch in Kindly Inquisitors, which has challenged readers for decades with its provocative analysis of attempts to limit free speech. In it, Rauch makes a persuasive argument for the value of “liberal science” and the idea that conflicting views produce knowledge within society.
In this expanded edition of Kindly Inquisitors, a new foreword by George F. Will explores the book’s continued relevance, while a substantial new afterword by Rauch elaborates upon his original argument and brings it fully up to date. Two decades after the book’s initial publication, the regulation of hate speech has grown both domestically and internationally. But the answer to prejudice, Rauch argues, is pluralism—not purism.
Rather than attempting to legislate bias and prejudice out of existence, we must pit them against one another to foster a more vigorous and fruitful discussion. It is this process, Rauch argues, that will enable our society to replace hate with knowledge, both ethical and empirical.