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298 Shorter Book Reviews Donald L. Smith. Zechariah Chafee, Jr.: Defender of Liberty and Law. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1986. x + 355 pp. What gave Zechariah Chafee prominence in his own time, and has secured hima place in ours, is his pioneering book Freedom of Speech, first published in 1920, and republished in an expanded version with a new title in 1941. All serious writing on free speech in the United States has had to take account of his book, and so Donald L. Smith's scholarly and engaging study of Chafee's work and its relation to his life and times is to be welcomed, especially by Canadians concerned with the implications of the American constitutional experience for their recently-adopted Charter of Rights. The two pillars of Chafee's theory of free speech are known as "the danger test" and the concept of "balancing interests." The first is even more commonly associated with Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who insisted that speech could be restricted if there were a clear and present danger that it would bring about the substantive evils that Congress had a right to prevent. The second was famously expounded by Chafee's teacher at Harvard, Roscoe Pound. According to Pound, law was best understood, notas a metaphysical abstraction, but in terms of the diverse social interests that it sought to protect; and the role of judges was to balance those interests when they came into conflict. Chafee acknowledged his debt to these thinkers, yet he made these doctrines his own. Ultimately, both doctrines seem unsatisfactory: the danger test has simply failed to provide speech with the degree of protection that proponents of the test envisaged, and the concept of balancing interests is so intuitive and subjective that judges have often used it to arrive at whatever conclusions suited them. Yet both doctrines are still advocated by many lawyers and judges, and the concept of balancing interests has already been used by Canadian judges to interpret the Canadian Charter's reasonable limits clause. For that reason alone Chafee' s views will be of interest to Canadians. Canadian civil libertarians can also find other reasons in Donald Smith's study for consulting Chafee's life and work. The dangers inherent in being a civil libertarian are well illustrated by Chaf ee' s career. For although he eventually attained all the eminence and recognition that he could reasonably have wished for, he only narrowly escaped dismissal, early in his career, from Harvard University for his vigorous defence of free speech. And there was another danger that Chafee fought throughout his long academic career: the danger, so real to busy academics, of underestimating the degree to which tolerance and the spiritof inquiry must first be taught in the classroom if they are to live, as Judge Learned Hand once said, ''in the hearts and minds of men.'' Chafee was not only a great civil libertarian, he was also a great teacher who wanted students to think their own thoughts. It was because he saw the connection between the two that he devoted so much of his time to instructing his students, and published, as a result, less than he might have. Civil libertarians are not more popular today than they Shorter Book Reviews 299 were in Chafee's time, and the art of teaching is perhaps less secure now than it ever has been. If more reasons were needed, then these could be offered for consulting both Donald Smith's fine study and Chafee's own works. S. V. LaSelva Department of Political Science York University, Ontario George B. Hutchinson. The Ecstatic Whitman: Literary Shamanism and the Crisisof the Union. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, I986. xxviii + 231 pp. InLeaves of Grass, Professor Hutchinson argues, Whitman enacts a role analogousto ---perhaps even remotely derived from-that held in primitive societies by the shaman. Like the shaman, Whitman devotes himself to the religious and cultural salvation of his society in a time of crisis: he assumes the mask of the healer, enters an ecstatic trance in which he faces ultimate reality, and returns to the world of everyday consciousness, having helped to redeem his countrymen. Shamanism, Hutchinson contends, allows...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-114X
Print ISSN
0007-7720
Pages
pp. 298-299
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Open Access
No
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