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Announcing a New Book: The First Amendment: Essays on the Imperative of Intellectual Freedom

In her new book, Tara Smith explores constitutional protections for intellectual freedom.

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Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or 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.

While “Americans of every persuasion benefit tremendously from the protections afforded by the First Amendment,” observes Tara Smith, “few appreciate the principle that it embodies — intellectual freedom. As a result, the foundations of the First Amendment are being steadily eroded.” 

In her new book, The First Amendment: Essays on the Imperative of Intellectual Freedom (ARI Press), Smith offers a powerful defense of the philosophic foundation of intellectual freedom, a defense shaped by the philosophy of Objectivism. Smith is professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, an expert on Rand’s moral-political philosophy, and an ARI board member.

Smith’s essays explore and unpack crucial issues, such as the actual nature of religious freedom and the pervasive errors regarding key concepts in the free speech debate, including the concepts of “freedom” and “censorship.” The book also contains two chapters by other authors. Onkar Ghate contributes a chapter about the actual meaning and significance of church–state separation (previously published in Foundations of a Free Society), and Gregory Salmieri contributes a newly written chapter, “Free Speech as a Right and a Way of Life,” in which he explores free speech as a moral and legal right and sketches the outlines of an individualistic approach to creating a culture of free speech.

Another two chapters consist of an interview with Smith, Salmieri, and Ghate conducted by Elan Journo, focusing on Ayn Rand’s distinctive view of freedom of speech and on the application of free speech principles to current controversies, such as limitations on speech on social media and “cancel culture.”

Commenting on the book, Floyd Abrams, who has argued numerous First Amendment cases at the Supreme Court, wrote that Smith “carves out a place for herself as a warrior for freedom in the battles that Locke, Jefferson and Madison fought years ago and that require continued support today.“ The book is available for purchase on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.


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Ziemowit Gowin

Ziemowit Gowin, PhD candidate in philosophy, is a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and web editor of New Ideal.

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