Why in the world would anyone defend a book like The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover’s Code of Conduct?
A number of people asked me this during the recent controversy over Amazon.com’s decision to sell the book. (The book is no longer available from Amazon.) When I was quoted in an AP story saying the book appeared to be neither obscene nor child pornography and was therefore protected by the First Amendment, several outraged people wrote to me and members of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression board to complain. How could we defend a book that hurts children?
Of course, it was never a question of defending the book. I was attempting to explain that people have the right to purchase any constitutionally protected work.
via Bookselling This Week – The Challenges of Free Speech. A way to common confusion is thinking that defending free speech means defending the actual speech material itself. Defending those things that are the most controversial is the essence of free speech.