Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 12 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
General News   

Free Speech Just Isn't That Complicated

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     (# of views)   5 comments
Author 76576
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Thomas Knapp

The Problem with Censorship is XXXXXXXXX, Budapest, Hungary
The Problem with Censorship is XXXXXXXXX, Budapest, Hungary
(Image by gruntzooki)
  Details   DMCA
- Advertisement -

It's hard to believe we need to have this conversation in this day and age. But if we don't keep having it, at some point we might not be allowed to have it.

Question: What is free speech? Or, rather what is NOT free speech?

In 2017, former Vermont governor, presidential candidate, and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean informed the American public that "[h]ate speech is not protected by the first amendment." That's one variation of the "hate speech is not free speech" claim.

- Advertisement -

Yes, "hate speech" is free speech (and yes, it's protected by the First Amendment).

On July 12, speaking at a White House "social media summit," President Donald Trump opined that "free speech is not when you see something good and then you purposely write bad. To me, that's a very dangerous speech, and you become angry at it. But that's not free speech."

Yes, calling something "bad" that Donald Trump calls "good" is free speech too (and yes, it is also protected by the First Amendment).

- Advertisement -

This shouldn't even be an "issue." It's just not that complicated, folks. But for some reason we're still MAKING it complicated.

Ever since the framers enshrined freedom of speech in the Constitution, Americans have struggled with what, if any, limits can be legitimately placed on that freedom.

The law and the courts have carved out limited exceptions for things like speech "directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action," "true threats of violence," and knowingly false speech aimed at defaming a person's character or defrauding others in a commercial sense (e.g. "I'm selling you one ounce of gold" when it's actually one ounce of lead with gold paint on it).

There are plenty of reasonable arguments to be had about what, if any, exceptions to unfettered freedom of speech might make sense.

But when it comes to matters of opinion, the only reasonable position is that you're entitled to have opinions, and to express them, period.

Even if Howard Dean thinks they're "hateful."

- Advertisement -

Even if Donald Trump thinks that he's "good" and that you're making him look "bad."

Even if they make someone feel angry or, to use the latest non-specific catch-all complaint, "unsafe."

We don't have to agree with others' opinions. We don't have to like the manner in which others express their opinions. We don't even have to listen to other people when they express their opinions. But we don't get to stop them from expressing their opinions. Not even if we're Howard Dean or Donald Trump.

In anything resembling a free society, that's just not negotiable. And no politician who argues otherwise should ever win an election to the position of dog-catcher, let alone governor or president.

 

- Advertisement -

Must Read 2   Well Said 2   Valuable 2  
Rate It | View Ratings

Thomas Knapp Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.


Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Hypocrisy Alert: Republicans Agreed with Ocasio-Cortez Until About One Minute Ago

Finally, Evidence of Russian Election Meddling ... Oh, Wait

Chickenhawk Donald: A Complete and Total Disgrace

The Nunes Memo Only Partially "Vindicates" Trump, But it Fully Indicts the FBI and the FISA Court

Aircraft Carriers: Give Truman and Ford a Burial at Sea

Political Parties Should Say What They Mean. The Libertarian Party Does.

Comments Image Post Article Comment and Rate This Article

These discussions are not moderated. We rely on users to police themselves, and flag inappropriate comments and behavior. In accordance with our Guidelines and Policies, we reserve the right to remove any post at any time for any reason, and will restrict access of registered users who repeatedly violate our terms.

  • OpEdNews welcomes lively, CIVIL discourse. Personal attacks and/or hate speech are not tolerated and may result in banning.
  • Comments should relate to the content above. Irrelevant, off-topic comments are a distraction, and will be removed.
  • By submitting this comment, you agree to all OpEdNews rules, guidelines and policies.
          

Comment Here:   



You can enter 2000 characters. To remove limit, please click here.
Please login or register. Afterwards, your comment will be published.
 
Username
Password

Forgot your password? Click here and we will send an email to the address you used when you registered.
First Name
Last Name

I am at least 16 years of age
(make sure username & password are filled in. Note that username must be an email address.)

4 people are discussing this page, with 5 comments  Post Comment


P.Brooks Mcginnis

Become a Fan
Author 513518

(Member since May 8, 2019), 1 comments
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

No More War

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 13, 2019 at 4:07:06 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (3+)
Help
 

P.Brooks Mcginnis

Become a Fan
Author 513518

(Member since May 8, 2019), 1 comments
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 13, 2019 at 4:24:20 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (2+)
Help
 

Kitty Antonik

Become a Fan
Author 6434
Follow Me on Twitter
(Member since Jun 13, 2007), 1 fan, 27 articles, 30 quicklinks, 204 comments, 9 diaries
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

"Even if they make someone feel angry or, to use the latest non-specific catch-all complaint, "unsafe."

"We don't have to agree with others' opinions. We don't have to like the manner in which others express their opinions. We don't even have to listen to other people when they express their opinions."

Words, written or spoken, are NOT equal to physical force, even tho many individuals claim falsely that words are equivalent to physical weapons. While all people will bleed when cut, it is evident that all people will NOT react to the same words in the same manner. The feelings/emotions a person experiences when reading/hearing particular words is under his/her control via the values s/he holds.

Don't like what someone says verbally or in writing? Examine for yourself why that is. How do the words oppose your values? Maybe there's something to be learned. Don't think so? Don't listen/read any further. It's as simple as that!


Submitted on Saturday, Jul 13, 2019 at 5:29:32 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (2+)
Help
 
Indent

June Genis

Become a Fan
Author 52919

(Member since Aug 31, 2010), 6 fans, 2 articles, 34 quicklinks, 909 comments
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to Kitty Antonik:   New Content

The cure for bad speech is more good speech.


However we also need to distinguish between this new "unsafe" speech and direct threats of physical force. The latter should certainly be illegal and actionable.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 13, 2019 at 7:23:48 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
 

Devil's Advocate

Become a Fan
Author 500650

(Member since Nov 9, 2014), 9 fans, 2895 comments
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

Amen, Thomas!

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 13, 2019 at 7:00:02 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
 

 
Want to post your own comment on this Article? Post Comment