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Free Speech

Posts: 1748
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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The right to free speech is a misunderstood concept in the U.S. The First Amendment is tossed around friviously , especially in the popular media of all places :

"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."

For purposes of this discussion I would like to focus on the words speech and press . I would also like to hear from our freinds around the globe as to how they percieve these concepts and how their nations guarantee {or not} those rights .

The way I understand this sentence is in context to Natural Rights . Humanity is born with certain rights . The source of these rights is not government . Depending on whether the Founding Fathers were atheists , theists , or Christians the source was refered to as God or Nature . Government cannot give these rights but can only impede them or protect them . So , this sentence clearly states that the government will make no law interfering in free speech or the press . That is all it says .. " shall make no law ..... abridging the freedom of speech , or of the press".

So , does this give people the right to say whatever they want , when ever they want . If you were in my home or a business that I owned and you were spouting off something I disagreed with could I ask you to leave ? Of course . I could ask you to leave for whatever reason I want . It's my home . {Speech , means , of course , the spoken word }.

Freedom of the press means , of course , the media but not necessarily the written word . It means the printing press originally , which is a machine owned by an individual . Now , in modern times , the instruments of mass media owned by individuals . This means that the owners of those machines have the right to print or publish without fear of restriction by the government . If you want to say whatever you want in print or video you must own your own press. Just as in my home , if I owned the press I could forbid you from saying what you will in my publication . That is not censorship , it is editing . I can edit according to my own publishing standards . If I was a left wing democrat , I could see to it that my newspaper had a liberal bias , vice versa .

Recently , in the popular media , this redneck duck hunter made a comment about his beliefs about homosexuality . He was edited heavily by the owners of the press he worked for . America cried out how his first amendment rights were being abridged . They were not . The owners of the press decided to ask him to quiet down or leave , basically telling him they hired him as a reality tv oddity and not as a moral pundit . It was affecting the bottom line . Pipe down or go home . He did and the money began to flow again . He could start his own press if he wished . I think that's how it's supposed to work .

Posts: 2482
Location: FL
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The freedom to speak your mind is unalienable, at least in the US. With this freedom comes responsibility and accountability for what you say. If someone else chooses not to publish your words, that is up to them. The press has no requirement to spread your words.
As for the printing press, the founding fathers well understood changing technology. Perhaps they did not envision television and the internet, but the rights of mankind are not limited to centuries old technology. It's the same way with the 2nd Amendment not being limited to muskets.
wayne stephen
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The concept "inalienable" is where the magic is .
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Location: Bendigo , Australia
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I find the arguments about the issue of free speech amusing at times.
As some realise there are responsibilities which go with it.
In Australia, we recently had a forum member start cursing and abusing almost anybody.
I objected and asked he be restricted.
People were not happy about his language, but they thought I was out of other trying to curtail i.
Sp I presented the case of consequences;
- Most people do not curse in from of their grand mother
- most businesses do not curse and abuse customers on their web sites not in the business premises
- most people are careful who they abuse in a bar or pub as we call them

Why because there are consequences which people choose not to suffer from.

My point is that freedom of speech has consequences and therefore the absolute right to say anything should only be allowed if those consequences are permitted to be carried out.
So obviously in the case of the bar or pub, abusing the wrong person may result in a broken nose, and the person breaking that nose should be immune from prosecution.
The other cases of course would be dealt with anyway by granny or customers and may not need protections of the law to be carried out!
It's just a flesh wound! Or a tiny ad:
Building a Better World in your Backyard by Paul Wheaton and Shawn Klassen-Koop
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