I'm currently reading The Emergence of a Scientific Culture by S. Gaukroger. My interest stems from past readings in epistemology as a study of the methodology of science, and, my interest in Mediterranean death cult religions like Islam, Christianity and Judaism as patriarchal control mechanisms, not unlike induced schizo-affective disorders, that come into play in agrarian societies with controlling oligarchies (monarchies) ensconced in developing urban centres. It's my own take on things that's evolved from trying to understand to what extent corruption is fundamental and necessary to democracy. I'm throwing it out in this thread because I think U.K. libel laws are symptomatic of a transition from class structured, shame-face saving patriarchal societies to modern democracies that have successfully tested empirical findings and common law and are putting aside almost Shamanistic believes that words are effectively magical or Gospel.
Cleisthenes in Ancient Greek history is said to have instituted the first democracy. Sketchily put he did it by breaking up the political clout of existing clans by creating voting blocks that abstracted away from the clan bases and instituted time limits on political offices. He also, IIRC, enforced political participation. I'm sure that somewhere in the Federalist Papers there are presumptions that all of us are corrupt, or subject to corruption, and, the American Founding Fathers instituted articles and laws to form a democracy that reflected their belief in the fundamental corrupt character of us all. I'm trying to formulate a view of modern democracy from the underlying idea that as a political institution democracy best addresses corruption. This sort of links up to Churchill's famous dictum that democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others because it best addresses the citizenry and politicians of modern democracies as the worst of all peoples except for all the others, and, this because it best addresses our corruptible natures.
I believe modern democracies with universal suffrage given majority and capacity on the part of it's citizens are the most viable forms of modern government because they've stood the test of history in transitioning from agrarian to post industrial urban societies. British libel laws and things like hate laws have considerable merit but reflect a more industrial/agrarian society where class structure and "face" reflect more primitive belief systems wherein words carry magical import. Going into language goes to far afield but mentioning the "debate" between Newton and Leibniz over the discovery of the Calculus and the tribal wars of industrializing Europe give some character to where I'm trying to go with this stuff.
Archeology has in it's body the idea of a three generation window for viewing past cultures. A generation is somewhere between 20 and 30 years. Three generations give a vivid insight into a culture because grandparents, parents and offspring are a highly sympathetic and even empathetic cluster that transitions cultural values. The U.K., like all viable modern democracies, is transitioning to a new perspective that has as it's foundation empirical findings in Science and tested wisdom in law but still has to deal with the fundamental corrupt nature of our kind.