Summary and Info
In the first chapter, in only fifty-three brilliant pages, we have a sweeping encyclopedic look at the issue, how the current empiric framing of the issue misses the point entirely, and a straightforward argument why we should return to a value-driven approach.
Unfortunately, the book does not end after chapter one.
Having already demolished the arguments of "the other side" by showing the complete irrelevance of their underlying values, he feels compelled to answer their every argument point-by-point. As a result, he spends the next one hundred and fifty pages going back over the material from the first fifty, exhaustively dismantling the statements of his opponents.
In this, he is far more gracious than I. From his rebuttals alone - and the number of times that he must explicitly point out that the right wing's arguments completely miss or obfuscate the point - it becomes obvious that those he is arguing with have completely different goals.
I am reminded of the many times I found myself debating creationists. Rather than simply stating that they had different goals (faith, not science), the most vocal creationists routinely employ linguistic tricks, logical-sounding dodges, and semantic logic traps. Their goal was - and still is - not to compare and test ideas, but to capture the public's mind. Debate, after all, is more a measure of verbal strategy than a test of an idea's soundness.
C. Edwin Baker has apparently not learned this, and believes that his opponents are still acting in good faith. Therefore, he must believe that they are misinformed or mistaken, and so he rebuts all their points. Repeatedly. He has many facts and excellent analysis on his side - but it is the sheer weight of both that is the book's downfall.
More About the Author
C. Edwin Baker (May 28, 1947 – December 8, 2009), the Nicholas F. Gallicchio Professor of Law and Communication at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, was a leading scholar of constitutional law, communications law, and free speech.