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CDZ Freedom of Speech in a Barbaric Society

DonaldFG

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Our U.S. Constitutional right to freedom of speech has been in the news a lot lately. There has been a lot of discussion about what this freedom entails, even in the courts and their decisions. Currently the social norm for the definition of this freedom is that we can say anything that comes to mind, without limit. Maybe at first thought, that is what we all believe. But in practice, things are much more complicated than that.

According to the Merriam Webster Law Dictionary, freedom of speech is defined as:

“the right to express information, ideas, and opinions free of government restrictions based on content and subject only to reasonable limitations (as the power of the government to avoid a clear and present danger) especially as guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.”

Does this actually mean we can say anything, literally anything? The subject of “reasonable limitations” is mentioned. If we talk about information for example, it better be true and factual. Otherwise, it is useless. Ideas and opinions about any subject can run the gamut without factual information. Thus factual information is critical for forming valid ideas and opinions.

It seems pretty clear that any civil discussion must allow for the introduction of valid information by all sides. Where in this space is a breakdown of civility allowed? There should be no need for marches or protests of any kind in a civilized society. And there should be no need for war. If these things happen, it is because civil discussion did not take place on the given issues. When someone refuses to listen to issues raised by others, we act as barbarians. When we look into the facts for a controversial issue, we act civilized. And when we become informed, we can act with knowledge and confidence on that issue; confidence that we will come to agreement.

I feel confident that the intent of the First Amendment was about guaranteeing each individual citizen the right to speak out on any issue affecting their lives. Each of us deserve to be heard.

On the other hand, I do not feel confident of the following intents:

  • That the First Amendment has anything to do with allowing unlimited money to influence elections, as in the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

  • That corporations can make political comments – a corporation is not a citizen or an individual.

  • That individuals can say anything without reasonable limitations. Yelling fire when there is none, disparaging others with untrue comments (hate speech), and so on is not covered.
Isn’t it about time for humanity to rise above all this. Let’s put our minds together and end barbaric activity for good by first respecting, and then listening.
 

MisterBeale

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Wrong, everything is covered.

In fact, our police state government is already getting things wrong.
 

MisterBeale

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If any of your arguments were in fact true, all of the national media would have to cease operation tomorrow.
 

task0778

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  • That the First Amendment has anything to do with allowing unlimited money to influence elections, as in the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.
    First of all, political donations by an individual are limited as far as to candidates and parties are concerned. And federal law still bans contributions by corps and unions to candidates and parties. Both can spend unlimited amounts to PACs though.
  • That corporations can make political comments – a corporation is not a citizen or an individual.
    Why should a corp be treated any different from a union? Both are legal entities comprised of people, no different really from any other group from the NAACP tot he NRA to any church or non-profit you care to name.
  • That individuals can say anything without reasonable limitations. Yelling fire when there is none, disparaging others with untrue comments (hate speech), and so on is not covered.
You cannot yell fire where there is none, and you cannot incite immediate violence, which is as it should be. Hate speech, true or not, is permissable under the 1st Amendment, however deplorable that might be. It gets kinda had to tell where to draw that line and under what circumstances.
 

2aguy

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Our U.S. Constitutional right to freedom of speech has been in the news a lot lately. There has been a lot of discussion about what this freedom entails, even in the courts and their decisions. Currently the social norm for the definition of this freedom is that we can say anything that comes to mind, without limit. Maybe at first thought, that is what we all believe. But in practice, things are much more complicated than that.

According to the Merriam Webster Law Dictionary, freedom of speech is defined as:

“the right to express information, ideas, and opinions free of government restrictions based on content and subject only to reasonable limitations (as the power of the government to avoid a clear and present danger) especially as guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.”

Does this actually mean we can say anything, literally anything? The subject of “reasonable limitations” is mentioned. If we talk about information for example, it better be true and factual. Otherwise, it is useless. Ideas and opinions about any subject can run the gamut without factual information. Thus factual information is critical for forming valid ideas and opinions.

It seems pretty clear that any civil discussion must allow for the introduction of valid information by all sides. Where in this space is a breakdown of civility allowed? There should be no need for marches or protests of any kind in a civilized society. And there should be no need for war. If these things happen, it is because civil discussion did not take place on the given issues. When someone refuses to listen to issues raised by others, we act as barbarians. When we look into the facts for a controversial issue, we act civilized. And when we become informed, we can act with knowledge and confidence on that issue; confidence that we will come to agreement.

I feel confident that the intent of the First Amendment was about guaranteeing each individual citizen the right to speak out on any issue affecting their lives. Each of us deserve to be heard.

On the other hand, I do not feel confident of the following intents:

  • That the First Amendment has anything to do with allowing unlimited money to influence elections, as in the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

  • That corporations can make political comments – a corporation is not a citizen or an individual.

  • That individuals can say anything without reasonable limitations. Yelling fire when there is none, disparaging others with untrue comments (hate speech), and so on is not covered.
Isn’t it about time for humanity to rise above all this. Let’s put our minds together and end barbaric activity for good by first respecting, and then listening.


If the government can limit the money you spend on your speech, they control your ability to speak....

That groups of individuals get together either as a business arrangement or as a union.....how does that end their ability to combine their resources to express their opinions....? I have never understood that concept.

There have always been reasonable limitiations......always....
 
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DonaldFG

DonaldFG

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  • ... Both (unions and corporations) can spend unlimited amounts to PACs though.
Exactly.
  • That corporations can make political comments – a corporation is not a citizen or an individual.
    Why should a corp be treated any different from a union? Both are legal entities comprised of people, no different really from any other group from the NAACP tot he NRA to any church or non-profit you care to name.
Unions are not individual citizens anymore than corporations, or any other group. An individual is an individual. You seriously believe the Founders were referring to groups here?
... Hate speech, true or not, is permissible under the 1st Amendment, however deplorable that might be.

I think that is a decision society has to make. My opinion is in the post.
 
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DonaldFG

DonaldFG

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If the government can limit the money you spend on your speech, they control your ability to speak....

That groups of individuals get together either as a business arrangement or as a union.....how does that end their ability to combine their resources to express their opinions....? I have never understood that concept.

There have always been reasonable limitiations......always....

Spending your money on anything is not speech. Opening your mouth and speaking is speech, and writing your thoughts is speech.

And groups of any kind cannot express a thought in unison. That is not speech.
 

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