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Sep 21, 1986

Nat Hentoff and David Kelley on Libel Laws: Pro and Con

Nat Hentoff is an American historian, novelist, jazz and country music critic, and syndicated columnist for United Media. Hentoff is also a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and is known as a civil libertarian, an anti-death penalty advocate, and a free speech activist.

David Kelley is a political philosopher, writer, and the executive director of the Atlas Society. Kelley is a strong proponent of objectivism and has published a wide range of literature including A Life of One’s Own (1998) and The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand (2000).

In this video from a 1986 Free Press Association event, Hentoff and Kelley engage in a friendly debate over libel law. Hentoff believes that for journalism to truly flourish, libel law must be done away with entirely, while Kelley maintains that without libel laws, the press would devolve into a sensationalistic mockery of free speech.