Forthright on the Forth

orginal American flagOur first amendment guarantees us Freedom of Speech.  “Congress shall make no law…abridging freedom of speech.”

Over the years, certain limitations have been added.

Freedom of speech does not include the right:

  • To incite actions that would harm others (e.g., “[S]hout[ing] ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.”).
    Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919).
  • To make or distribute obscene materials.
    Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 (1957).
  • To burn draft cards as an anti-war protest.
    United States v. O’Brien, 391 U.S. 367 (1968).
  • To permit students to print articles in a school newspaper over the objections of the school administration.
    Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260 (1988).
  • Of students to make an obscene speech at a school-sponsored event.
    Bethel School District #43 v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675 (1986).
  • Of students to advocate illegal drug use at a school-sponsored event.
    Morse v. Frederick, __ U.S. __ (2007).
Americans take their Freedom to Speak very seriously,  We usually prefer to transmit rather  than receive.  We want to give others the benefit of our opinion, even if many around us prefer to not to have it.  With social media, reading is another way to get our point of view across.  Does anyone remember the ‘olden days’ when you had to be careful about discussing religion or politics?
Selective deafness can be a survival skill, not a social skill.    Is the delete or mute button our new best friend?
What is your stand on freedom of expression?  Join in the conversation and share a moment when you wished you had spoken up or had remained silent.   Use your freedom of expression to perform a verbal random act of kindness.
Happy 4th.flag uniform patch

3 thoughts on “Forthright on the Forth”

  1. As with so many other aspects of our social life, having the right to speak freely doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a smart idea. To my mind, one of the most troubling trends in public discourse today is to “tell the truth”, meaning that a speaker justifies saying hurtful things because they are genuine expressions of personal belief. Genuine or not, there are some “truths” best left unsaid in the interest of civility. Too often, I believe, we speak carelessly, thinking of winning a point today rather than staying in the long-term dialogue. Freedom of speech may give us the right to say what we want. At the same time, it puts the responsibility for thoughtful conversation squarely on our own shoulders. The framers of our Declaration of Independence clearly understood the responsibility they were assuming by exercising free speech. We should do no less.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your comments are perfect, both for them coming on Independence Day and because, as you say, we speak without thinking or at least weighing the long term consequences of our inconsequential random remarks. As always, you add great dimensions to the blog posting. Thanks for your enriching remarks.


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