Freedom of Speech in a Liberal Democracy
1. Can we develop a viable model of "democratic speech"? Can a detailed legal doctrine be established to provide courts with an applicable model of the "Democratic Theory of Free Speech"?
2. The course's point of departure is the constitutional analysis of Free Speech, the various theories of speech (autonomy, search for truth, and democratic deliberation, i.e. public debate).
3. The monumental cases of the American Supreme Court move us to the next phase of the discussion: is freedom of speech trapped within the Free Speech Tradition, thus being kept hostage by liberalism, and blind to huge changes in media and society?
4. The focus on democratic theory of free speech (centered on collective discourse rather than individual speech) occupies a significant part of the discussion in class: the rationale of the theory, it's flaws and critics, and yet the necessity to establish "conditions of speech", which will accommodate those who have less power and means, hence the need to make the "shift of paradigm" – from the "street corner speaker" to the arena of public debate; from the words of the speaker, to the ears of the listeners; from the individual to the public; from the liberal obsession with individual autonomy to the democratic need for collective self-government.
5. An attempt to develop a model of public debate, which will serve as a basis for a legal doctrine to be applied by the courts under the democratic theory of free speech.
6. Case studies: pornography and hate speech (are they just another manifestation of our model?)