About | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline

64 U. Cin. L. Rev. 1277 (1995-1996)
After the Death of Discourse

handle is hein.journals/ucinlr64 and id is 1293 raw text is: AFTER THE DEATH OF DISCOURSE

Loyal Rue
The m3st exhilarating and memorable flight of my life happened
during my college years when a friend took me for a ride in his new
Cessna. The take-off was smooth and graceful. Despite his youth my
friend was an expert pilot. As we ascended above the treetops, I began
to acquire new insights into a familiar landscape. The relations and
proportions of old landmarks were clarified as my friend conducted a
systematic tour of the city below. It was clear that my experience of
the city was being forever transformed. Then my friend decided that
we should see how things looked from a higher altitude, so we started
another ascent. But as we did so, the aircraft stalled out and gravity
took its ominous command. Suddenly, what had been an elegant flight
became a confused tumble through space as my friend struggled to
regain control. As it happened, our good fortune prevailed.
A similar experience lies in store for readers of The Death of Dis-
course, a soaring and insightful tour of the First Amendment landscape
by Ronald Collins and David Skover.1 More than a constitutional
treatise, The Death of Discourse offers a penetrating critique of the
American mind and its lack of restraint in pursuit of liberty, prosper-
ity, and pleasure. In the course of this pursuit, the argument goes,
traditional First Amendment values have been debased by sophistry.
Disingenuous liberal rhetoric has guaranteed First Amendment protec-
tion for trivial, manipulative, and self-indulgent forms of expression,
thereby engendering a popular cultural milieu in which the old sub-
stantive, informative, and civic-minded standards of discourse can no
longer be consistently applied. We are left with a contradiction be-
tween traditional First Amendment principles and contemporary First
Amendment practice. The question is: how shall we resolve the
There are, it appears, three options. One is to backtrack to the high
road of reasoned discourse, which might entail a denial of First
Amendment protection to trivial forms of entertainment, image-based
advertising, and the rising tide of pornography. A second option is to
leave matters stand as they are, but to countenance the contradiction
with theories about the practicality of noble lies and social hypocrisy.


What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing thousands of academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.

Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline.

Contact us for annual subscription options:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?

profiles profiles most