Just as the defamation of a single person may injure that person's capacity to garner the trust needed to interact with others, so utterances and publications that bring an entire group into disrepute may affect the style of peaceful engagement among a society's constituent units. At the level of collective libel, however, distinctive legal and political issues arise. Shall freedom of speech preclude or protect such communications? Must one show that the statements were intended to incite harmful conduct, or is it sufficient to demonstrate that they tend toward that effect? Must one prove actual harm, identify persons or even a small category of people harmed, and if so, should the remedy be civil or criminal? In addition, even if enforcement is rare, does it ...

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