Home > Journals > LAWREVIEW > Vol. 94 > No. 3 (2021)
Free Speech Has Gotten Very Expensive: Rethinking Political Speech Regulation in a Post-Truth World
Protecting free speech has been a foundational principle of American democracy since the nation’s founding. A core element of free speech has long been a prohibition on regulating political speech. The principle behind this protection holds that citizens are free to make whatever political pronouncements they wish and that their speech shall remain free from government suppression. Even within the limited exceptions to unfettered political speech, like defamation or libel, the speech is not banned but may merely result in liability. A premise underlying this view is that competing viewpoints, by being made available to us all, will allow the best ideas to emerge and for truth to prevail over falsehood. Even though such an approach may be imperfect at times, the historic view holds that the risks associated with regulating political speech are far worse: allowing the government and those in power to suppress dissenting voices and thereby consolidate power.