This morning, the Supreme Court ruled that a law that outlaws promoting or advertising -- "pandering" -- child pornography is constitutional and does not interfere with First Amendment freedoms. In the case, United States v. Williams, decided 7-2, the justices declared that there is no free speech right that protects "offers to provide or requests to obtain child pornography," even if (in fact) there is no pornography to be provided.
There is a common misconception that society pays a heavy
price for allowing free speech – emotional harm to members of target groups,
leakage of national security secrets, stuff like that. In truth, the substantial
positives deriving from vigorous free speech are pretty clear, while the negatives
are highly speculative and usually ideologically driven.