Critique of Benkler’s magical thinking

In my previous post, I critiqued David Pozen’s misguided critique of the marketplace of ideas. It turns out, however, that Pozen’s essay is just one of three contributions in a larger series of essays on the theme of “Lies and Counterspeech” published by the Knight First Amendment Institute. The other essays are by Yochai Benkler, who calls the marketplace of ideas a “myth”, and Amy Kapczynsky, who prefers the label “magical”. Alas, the recommendations made in both of those essays are no more sensible than the call for Internet censorship in Pozen’s essay.

In his otherwise excellent essay, Yochai Benkler, a law professor at Harvard, ends up substituting one set of magical/mythical ideas (the marketplace of ideas) for another (social democracy). To the point, he proposes, and I quote, “building a multi-racial coalition aimed to construct an inclusive social democracy in which people actually have a stake and have reason to trust governing elites.” Seriously? That’s his solution? Putting aside the vagueness of this tired normative plea, this multi-racial coalition already exists — it’s called the Democrat Party! (In any case, even the Republican Party has attracted a growing number of minority voters.)

For her part, Amy Kapczynsky, a law professor at Yale, offers a more specific set of solutions in her contribution to the series (see here). I will review her solutions and respond to them on Monday.

The Origins of Social Democracy - Soapboxie

About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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3 Responses to Critique of Benkler’s magical thinking

  1. Pingback: Review of Kapczynsky (part 1 of 2) | prior probability

  2. Pingback: Three-headed monsters? A critique of Kapczynsky’s Internet-regulation proposals | prior probability

  3. Pingback: Global reply to Pozen, Benkler, and Kapczynsky: the optimal level of misinformation is not zero | prior probability

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