Lawyer, historian and journalist Eric Berkowitz explores how dramatically censorship has shaped our modern society, illuminating the power of restricting speech and how it has defined states, ideas and culture.
Dangerous Ideas does reproduce some erroneous ideas ... Mr. Berkowitz is nostalgic for an era when a few anchormen and editors decided what was real news. But after much agonizing, the author ultimately comes down on the side of freedom ... No doubt there are oceans of rubbish on the internet, but how reliable is the mainstream media? ... The marketplace of ideas might actually work, if we let it.
... [a] thought-provoking account ... Berkowitz segues fluidly between historical eras and marshals a plethora of intriguing case studies. Readers will be convinced that policing harmful rhetoric too aggressively 'will cause worse mischief in the long run.'
As much as he champions free expression, Berkowitz sharply indicts social media companies engaged in 'surveillance capitalism,' profiting by allowing racism, anti-Semitism, conspiracy theories, and disinformation to proliferate. Still, faced with this challenge, he reminds readers that 'policing speech too aggressively risks exactly the kind of overbearing exercise of state power that spells the end of a free society.' A timely contribution to an ongoing debate.