Free speech and political stagflation

Gregory Magarian, professor of law


First Amendment Law is distorting public debate. We need the Supreme Court to do better.

Public political debate in the United States seems to have run off the rails. The gulf between Republicans and Democrats in political opinionsviews of the other party, and even factual beliefs keeps growing. Big money dominates the electoral process. Journalists and political dissenters face relentless hostility. In response, public intellectuals lament our political culture’s descent into chaos and yearn for corrective discipline.

From a broader perspective, though, our problem isn’t too much chaos. It’s too much stability.

U.S. political debate circa 2017 is tracking the U.S. economy circa 1974. Before that time, slow growth alternated with high inflation. We learned in the 1970s, though, that economic forces could produce at once the worst of both worlds: slow growth along with high inflation. That economic purgatory spawned a new term: stagflation.

Read the full piece at the Oxford University Press blog.

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