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Free Speech

The First Amendment to the constitution “protects free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press and the right to petition”(77). The amendment is part of the Bill of Rights which addresses the most fundamental element of our democracy, free speech. Also, the Government may not fine or jail individuals based on what they say or write except in certain circumstances as threats, perjury, blackmail, defamation and the like. Multiple examples of shutting down free speech throughout America has existed, a questionable practice by many entities.

 

Conservatives: Free speech is the freedom that Americans consider most important(78). However, when free speech is taken for granted and if ignored tyranny would go unchallenged. The conservative movement is a strong advocate of free speech but is challenged in many ways. Typical labels applied to speech which have gone unchallenged are misinformation, cancel culture and violence. It is the interpretation of these terms which lead to many domestic issues. Many of these aspects have been challenged but issues remain.

 

  • Misinformation is a term applied to many statements and writings indicating that the information is incorrect or questionable. The dilemma that occurred during the Coronavirus when opinions reported by many scientists were not in agreement with governments policies they were treated as misinformation. When challenges were made, they were ignored by the government. As time passed the governments opinions were proven not to be factual. Conservatives advocate the exchange of scientific information and the truth derived from mutual discussions. Many positions taken by the government entities themselves are considered by conservatives as misinformation, only to be promptly ignored.

 

  • Cancel culture is another example of principally social media challenging the speech or writings. The most egregious was that by Twitter that cancelled the story of Hunter Biden’s laptop and its content, an example of direct censorship. The company was encouraged to downplay the report which may have influenced the presidential election of 2020. It is a perfect example of suppressing opinions that do not agree with the opposing minority. The billionaire Elon Musk was so concerned with the aspect of free speech in America that he purchased the company and eliminated most of its staff. Cancel culture abounds throughout America and its opposition is in the hands of every American.

 

  • Violence is characterized as possible criminal activity or threats to individuals. However, when speech is said to be “violent speech”(79) it may become a pernicious lie by those who hinder free speech. When one truly believes that something is true, they should not be afraid to express it thinking it might offend someone. Free speech is not well protected by either side of the political game but must be supported at all cost.

 

Progressives: The views of free speech have varied over the decades on which should and which should not be protected(80) under the First Amendment. Progressives did champion freedom of speech based on the constitution but now favor government restrictions on speech they do not like. They supported the right of workers to assemble and speak, supported protestors of the Vietnam war and burning of the American flag. They are now making the same arguments that conservatives made years ago on many issues. Today they would rather restrict speech based on their ideology or cultural preferences.

 

  • Today’s attack on free speech is from many sources. Social media platforms(81) like Twitter have used the practice of banning participants for issues of violence. One would question how a “tweet” be considered violence; actually, only if exists in the eyes of the beholder. Progressive elements have interfaced with social media to ban individuals that provide information which oppose their viewpoints or to hide facts the may effect their ideological principles.

 

  • Cancel culture(14) is one of the most demeaning approaches for those who oppose progressive principles. Most efforts to reject one’s viewpoints and restrict or cancel their speech in highly punitive and mostly based on ideology. If you don’t believe in the progressive stance on climate change you are banned from any future dialogue. Additional examples(82) are of editors being fired for publishing peer studies, organizational heads let go for a bad mistake and journalists cancelled for writing undesired topics.

 

  • The truth is not an attribute of progressives, in fact most opinions are categized as lies which exist in many forms. They say America is a racist country, which is said principally to shame an individual. Earth is imperiled by climate change, without questioning scientific evidence to the contrary. Big government will help the poor, although it is evident the poor culture has been disenfranchised. All of the progressive action is about fear, if you don’t agree with them, you pay the price.

 

Commentary: Free speech is the freedom you need to cherish.

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