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Free Speech, Should It Be Curbed?

Free Speech, Should It Be Curbed?

Free speech, I have heard for years that free speech needs to be curbed, hate speech should be silenced, but should it? And if it should, who determines what is hate speech?

To understand free speech, we first have to understand how the law defines it, and what separates free speech from actionable speech, which is not protected by the first amendment.

Actionable speech is a call to action – yelling fire in a movie theater, when there is none, because you called people to action, in this case falsely, you are held responsible for it. The same could be said if you yelled “fire” and there was one, you would be responsible for what you called, but the action is not something you would be called for.

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And how does the court define free speech?

Among other cherished values, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech. The U.S. Supreme Court often has struggled to determine what exactly constitutes protected speech. The following are examples of speech, both direct (words) and symbolic (actions), that the Court has decided are either entitled to First Amendment protections, or not.

Freedom of speech includes the right:

  • Not to speak (specifically, the right not to salute the flag).
    West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943).
  • Of students to wear black armbands to school to protest a war (“Students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate.”).
    Tinker v. Des Moines, 393 U.S. 503 (1969).
  • To use certain offensive words and phrases to convey political messages.
    Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971).
  • To contribute money (under certain circumstances) to political campaigns.
    Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976).
  • To advertise commercial products and professional services (with some restrictions).
    Virginia Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Consumer Council, 425 U.S. 748 (1976); Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350 (1977).
  • To engage in symbolic speech, (e.g., burning the flag in protest).
    Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989); United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990).

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).

As we can see speech is not just the words you speak, as you have heard when you were younger, “Actions speak louder than words,” sometimes actions themselves are a form of expression or speech.

Why is it so important to look at what free speech is, why it is so vital in today’s world, and why we need to fight against every assault against it?

Today we hear a constant assault against free speech. With the far left constantly saying one can’t say things that may trigger them, attacking people who dare have different views then they do, or as is more and more common, assaulting people for daring to wear a MAGA hat or shirt, we need to hold these principles dear, let them know we will not tolerate them taking these rights from us.

In other nations, Canada and England are perfect examples, if you are caught quoting scriptures, more specifically what they say about G-d’s idea of what marriage is, what is seen as a sin, you can be arrested and thrown in jail for preaching hate speech. Many on the left are now pushing this, they are saying the bible does nothing but preach hate (I always find it confusing how they can attack the bible for this, then say nothing about the Koran).

From a Muslim perspective, they see this idea of free speech as wrong, they claim that Christians are terrorists, yet people refuse to call Christians by this name, but standards for Muslims are different.

I think he is very wrong, but I 100% support his right for free-speech. Like it or not, Christianity is no place in its writings teaches terrorism, in fact, it could be said that it teaches the opposite, but Islam does. This is why one looks at things this way, but not against Christians, we don’t see Christians after such an attack dancing in the streets and passing out candy. Christians sit back in horror, condemn these actors and say they don’t represent Christianity, yet you find not the same with the Muslims. Is stating this fact wrong? No. And should we be prohibited from stating it?

In Europe and Australia, this is considered wrong, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that criticism of Mohammad is not an exercise of free speech, rather a violation of it. But I must ask, “If that is a violation, why is nothing then done when in the same area the Muslims do the same exact thing towards Christians, this seems to be protected by the courts?”

In California, they are now pushing laws that could outlaw preaching from the bible,

We see this attack growing, not just against speech, which is our 1st Amendment, we also see attacks from groups like Antifa against people that wish to peacefully assemble, which is also part of our first amendment.

We hear that Trump is attacking the press, which is also part of this first amendment, but he is just exposing, by doing so, he is exercising his first amendment. What the press is saying is they support the first amendment for their right to attack the president, but not his right to reply.

Amendment 1 
– Freedom of Religion, Speech, and the Press

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.


But sadly, this is not all there is, the left now, both in America and forces outside are equally attacking our second amendment right, the right to bear arms, they now want to say that the constitution restricts our right to hunting, but a militia is never formed to hunt, but the amendment goes beyond that, it states the people’s right to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.

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Amendment 2 
– The Right to Bear Arms

well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.


In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

We have also now seen the #MeToo movement push to judge and sentence without a right to a jury, to face your accusers, we saw this in evidence with the Kavanaugh hearings.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

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What we see is not just an attack against our first amendment, but the whole bill of rights, we need to ask ourselves, “Why?” The answer is simple and scary, it is to legitimize their right to demand that we not question what they are doing, if we dare stand up, then our act of questioning is deemed illegal, just as we now see in Europe.

About The Author

Timothy Benton

Author has studied Middle East History for the last 35 years, am a lifetime student of history. Has an interest in sports, tech, history and political events. Works as a Republican political commentator who looks at events from a conservative's perspective.

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