Exactly What It Claims To Be. This is a book written by a “Progressive” (not liberal, there is a difference that is crucial in these discussions) that mostly focuses on using the Progressive dog-whistle of their version of “democracy” and showing how fighting Conservatives has “saved” that version of “democracy”. In other words, a balanced look at the whole of the Free Speech issue in America… this is not. But it also never really claims to be, so it can’t really be faulted for this. It just could have been so much better if it *had* been more balanced and thus more complete. Still, progressives will love this version and even those adamantly opposed to the “Progressive” political agenda will likely find useful knowledge here, potentially even some they were unaware of. Thus, this is recommended.
Solid Examination Of The Issues. I’ve read some of the author’s work over the last year in particular on his primary employer’s website (Reason.com), and that is actually how I found out about this book. So I knew roughly what to expect here, and that is pretty well what I got: a fairly solid look at the issues surrounding tech, elections, privacy, free speech, and other related issues from a moderate libertarian (small “L”, to be clear, since these things matter in circles that will likely be most open to reading this book) perspective that is mostly well-reasoned from that particular mindset. As more of an avowed Anarchist (and former Libertarian Party official and candidate, though I myself was more moderate in that era) and software development professional, eh, Soave allows government a bit too much intervention into tech companies than I’m personally comfortable with. Even here, however, most who are more aligned with the left/ right divide in the US are going to be hit fairly equally and largely find various arguments here that they will (and sometimes do) champion and others that they will (and often do) despise. Which in the age of hyperpartisanship and barely-there “reasoning”, is generally a sign of someone who *has* actually seriously and critically thought about the issues he is speaking of. An excellent work that really should be read by anyone trying to urge government action regarding technology companies, and thus one that quite a few should consider as we begin the march into the mid-term elections of 2022 in just a few more months. Very much recommended.
PS: The reason for the star deduction? Light bibliography, at least potentially corrected in a non-Advance Reader Copy version of the book. The ARC, however, had a bibliography that clocked in at just 9% of the text, vs a “more normal” range of 25-33% in my experience across almost 650 books since Jan 1, 2019 alone.
Mostly Solid Explanation of What ‘Free Speech’ Means As Decreed By SCOTUS… And What It Does Not. This is a legal treatise that never once explicitly states the very thing it seeks to define – the particular text of the First Amendment to the US Constitution that reads “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”. It also refers to a famous yet apocryphal “Ben Franklin” quote in its introduction. And yet despite these two flaws, it is still a mostly solid look at what the Supreme Court of the United States of America has decreed “the right to free speech” means over the last nearly 250 years, mostly within the last century or so. The book does a solid job of using an example usually from this Millenium (or even decade) as its starting point for each chapter’s discussion, then going into the history and actual SCOTUS decisions, what they said, and what they mean. Including showing the *rest* of the famous ruling that “you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater”. Well, you can. If there is a fire. 😉 And if you’re interested in the concept of Free Speech in the US for any reason at all, this is a book you’ll want to read. Very much recommended.