Ithiel De Sola Pool Quote

β€œIt is within the police power of the state to prohibit public use of fighting words that create a danger of breach of the peace, but simply to prohibit public use of fighting words is too broad. Those words may sometimes be used in situations where there is no danger.”

~ Ithiel De Sola Pool

Technologies Of Freedom: On Free Speech in an Electronic Age, 1983

Ratings and Comments


cal, Lewisville, Texas

I remember a bill in the Texas legislature in the 1960's against cussing in a parking lot. Governor Connolly vetoed it.

E Archer, NYC

Prohibition of anything by a group upon the rest is the beginning of the slippery slope to authoritarianism. Freedom means just that -- not freedom except drinking, cursing, gambling, sex, food, and generally spending money on whatever one pleases. The do-gooders become the evil-doers for the common good. I don't see this dynamic ever going away, it is something the free man has to deal with. Freedom isn't free, it has a cost and requires some work. Freedom is not an 'end' it is the 'way.'

jim k, Austin

Right on , E Archer.

Mike, Norwalk

Technically, from a jurisdictional perspective, the statement has some flaws and is a bit misleading. The concept as a whole is accurate enough when couched in the context of "fact & law" and situational remedies. Technically, it is the County Sheriff that has the ultimate policing authority(s) in the country but, that doesn't define the State's parameters. At common law (the de jure law and foundation of this nation's jurisprudence - most local to international) the law states clearly, 'where there is no victim, there is no crime'. All codes, ordinances, regulations, rules, statutes, etc. that are set forth as greater than common law, they are not addressing constitutional law / the law of nature or of nature's God, etc. but rather, specific jurisdictions covering statist theocracy and corporate patrons.

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