Free Speech: And Why It Matters
Author: Andrew Doyle
Category: Democracy, Religious History of Christianity, Political Science
Each book is sold with a signed bookplate
(Publication Date – 25th Feb 2021)
The Keystone of Civilisation
Free speech is one of the most important issues of our time. With increased political division, more and more are calling for greater restrictions on our ability to speak our minds. In this incisive and fascinating book, Andrew Doyle addresses the most common concerns of free speech sceptics, and offers a timely and robust defence of this most foundational of principles.
Over the past decade, many people have detected a pattern of minor changes in our culture. A new identity-based conceptualisation of ‘social justice’ has brought with it a mistrust of unfettered speech, appealing for greater intervention from the state. And yet without free speech, no other liberties exist. In the age of identity politics – with the collusion of Big Tech enabling some voices to be heard and silencing others, such as Parler – defenders of the concept run the risk of being accused of complicity with those considered repellent. But there is no contradiction in holding individuals in contempt for their repugnant views and simultaneously defending their right to express them. We all have a right to incivility, just as we have the right to opinions that are considered to be beyond the purview of permissible thought. Likewise, those who wish to criticise such forms of dissent are free to express their disapproval however they see fit within the law. This is the liberal system, and it works.
Andrew Doyle believes the concept of free speech is nothing less than the keystone of our civilisation. Readers may have reservations about this view. Readers may believe that unlimited speech enables the worst elements among us to commit harm. But a society that abandons freedom of expression risks exacerbating the very problems about which many of us are rightly concerned.
‘Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.’
– John Milton, Areopagitica
Andrew Doyle is a writer, broadcaster and satirist whose commentary on political and cultural issues is regularly published in the national press. He is a panellist on The Moral Maze (BBC Radio 4) and often appears on Sky News. In 2019, he toured the UK with his stand-up show Friendly Fire. He is the author, as Titania McGrath, of the satirical books Woke: A Guide to Social Justice and My First Little Book of Intersectional Activism. He has a doctorate in Renaissance literature from the University of Oxford, where he also worked as a stipendiary lecturer. He was formerly a Visiting Research Fellow at Queen’s University, Belfast.