Telling Stories for Liberty

43 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2004

See all articles by David McGowan

David McGowan

University of San Diego School of Law


This essay reviews David Bernstein's "You Can't Say That!: The Growing Threat to Civil Liberties From Antidiscrimination Laws." It uses Professor Bernstein's book to explore how a principle of free speech can be reconciled with a harm principle when persons claim that expression harms them. It suggests that reconciling such claims leads to a more utilitarian approach to free speech problems than the book employs. The essay also suggests that the book's narrative (storytelling) strategy is ill-suited to advance libertarian ends, and that no plausible free speech principle can support a general claim for freedom from government regulation.

Keywords: Free speech, antidiscrimination

Suggested Citation

McGowan, David, Telling Stories for Liberty. Available at SSRN: or

David McGowan (Contact Author)

University of San Diego School of Law ( email )

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San Diego, CA 92110-2492
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