Boston Globe Blog Examines Levmore & Nussbaum's New Book
"Information wants to be free." The Internet visionary Stewart Brand first said those words in 1984, and ever since they've been an unofficial slogan for the online world. For many people the Internet is defined by freedom, especially freedom of speech: it's the one place in our society where anyone can say anything. Most of the time, we think of that freedom as a good thing.
Now a distinguished group of philosophers and legal scholars begs to differ. They're calling that assumption into question in The Offensive Internet, a new volume from Harvard University Press. The volume is edited by two eminent professors at the University of Chicago Law School, Saul Levmore (who was until recently the dean) and Martha Nussbaum, and includes essays from scholars who, the critic Stanley Fish notes, "are by-and-large free speech advocates." It's filled to the brim with examples of internet bullying, rumor-mongering, and harassment.