Legal Theory Bookworm: "The Right to Do Wrong" by Osiel

The Legal Theory Bookworm recommends The Right to Do Wrong: Morality and the Limits of Law by Mark Osiel.  Here is a description: Common morality―in the form of shame, outrage, and stigma―has always been society’s first line of defense against ethical transgressions. Social mores crucially complement the law, Mark Osiel shows, sparing us from oppressive formal regulation. Much of what we could do, we shouldn’t―and we don’t. We have a free-speech right to be offensive, but we know we will face outrage in response. We may declare bankruptcy, but not without stigma. Moral norms constantly demand more of us than the law requires, sustaining promises we can legally break and preventing disrespectful behavior the law allows. Mark Osiel takes up this curious interplay between lenient law and restrictive morality, showing that law permits much wrongdoing because we assume that rights are paired with informal but enforceable…

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