Speech in War

24 MB MP3

After a few weeks of “consultation” the British Home Secretary came out on Wednesday with a list of behaviors that “foment terrorism or provoke others to commit terrorist acts.” Any non-UK citzen found guilty of these behaviors can be deported or excluded:

The list of unacceptable behaviours is indicative rather than exhaustive. It covers any non-UK citizen whether in the UK or abroad who uses any means or medium, including:

  • Writing, producing, publishing or distributing material;
  • Public speaking including preaching;
  • Running a website; or
  • Using a position of responsibility such as teacher, community or youth leader to express views which:
  • Foment, justify or glorify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs;
  • Seek to provoke others to terrorist acts;
  • Foment other serious criminal activity or seek to provoke others to serious criminal acts; or
  • Foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.
U.K. Home Office Press release

Is it far-fetched to imagine a similar law being passed here? Would you welcome it?

There are legal issues involved, of course, questions of the limits of the First Amendment, of what constitutes conspiracy, of how you define “fomenting” or the clarity of “clear and present danger,” but the largest questions get to the inherent clash of liberty and security in our free society. In a sentence: What are we willing to say should never be allowed to be said?

Geoffrey Stone

Author of Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime

Professor of law at the University of Chicago

[In a studio in New York City]

Eugene Volokh

Blogger of The Volokh Consipracy

Professor of law at UCLA

[On the phone from California]

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