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Most modern democracies punish hate speech. Less freedom for some, they claim, guarantees greater freedom for others. Heinze rejects that approach, arguing that democracies have better ways of combatting violence and discrimination against vulnerable groups without having to censor speakers. Critiquing dominant free speech theories, Heinze explains that free expression must be safeguarded not just as an individual right, but as an essential attribute of democratic citizenship.
The book challenges contemporary state regulation of public discourse by promoting a stronger theory of what democracy is and what it demands. Examining US, European and international approaches, Heinze offers a new vision of free speech within Western democracies.