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Abstract

This paper explores how restrictions on expression – a dimension of US and French counterterror policy – are realized given the socio-political and legal-procedural differences between the two countries. Theoretically, the US – with its strong constitutional free speech protections and its tradition of limited government – should respond less aggressively than France, which has a more flexible constitution and a statist tradition. This paper contends that while France restricts terror-related expression to a greater degree than the US, the US possesses more tools to counter terror-related expression than its constitution suggests. The primary explanation for less forceful US action stems not from constitutional limits, but from a US proclivity for military counterterrorism abroad, which takes focus away from domestic measures to disrupt terrorist propaganda. The policy inconsistencies identified in this paper contribute to not only the theoretical debate on responses to terrorism, but also the practical one playing out on legislative floors today.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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