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Do We Have Freedom of Speech? An Answer...

Updated on October 4, 2011

Do we really have freedom of speech? As pointed out by several others in the answers to the person who posted this originally as a question, we are guaranteed freedom of speech in our Constitution. And as equally correctly pointed out, that freedom does not include the right to slander others, or put anyone in danger by false proclamations--the yelling of "fire" where none exists in a crowded theater being the most often-cited example.

That said, look around you. There is censorship everywhere! I received a dressisng-down in the forums here because people assumed I was "missing the point," in complaining about censorship here on HP and in other media. It was pointed out that our 'freedoms' only apply in the USA, and that the web is worldwide. Yes, I know that. (and yes, for the purposes of this post, I mean here in the USA!! Before anyone else 'jumps' me for assuming that I refer to the rest of the world; they should be taught what "assume" spells...)

However, if the company or corporation hosting a given site is located in the USA, then it is subject to our constitution. The same person who apparently thought I did not know that our constitution does not apply to the rest of the world also stated that it does not apply to private organizations, only to the government. Also true.

However, the government is in the business of censorship , and most people don't even realize it! Every time you watch a TV program, and hear cuss-words 'bleeped' out, or see fuzzed-out images of--horrors: female breasts--you are witnessing Government censorship! This has nothing whatsoever to do with the private entities which are the TV networks . This is the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) in action; an arm of the government that regulates public media!

Yes, folks, our government itself, (via the FCC) does violate our constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech. Whether "private" entities such as HP are subject to FCC rules when it comes to the Internet, (which is, after all, a communications medium --just like newspapers or TV), is a matter for research.

Before anyone points out that the Freedom of Speech applies only to the prohibition of Congress making laws to violate that 1st and most important amendment, let me point out something: what government body do you suppose was responsible for creation of the FCC? Bingo! Ergo, any laws about what may or may not be broadcast, as invented and implemented by the FCC, are indirectly enacted by Congress, by virtue of its creation of said agency. It's kind of like the mob laundering "if you can't tie it directly to us, we're not responsible" attitude and culpability dodge.

Any censorship that happens should be within each of us to think before we speak , and make use of parental supervision and the "off" switch or channel-changer with regards to what our children watch or hear. TV is not intended as a babysitter, and networks should not be expected (nor should the FCC require) the censorship that is the duty of the parents in raising their children to their own standards. Besides, let's be honest, here: most school-age kids have heard all the words their parents would like to think they have not. Our children are not so 'innocent' as we'd like to pretend. In fact, many, if not most kids could actually educate their parents on new vulgarities picked up at school, and yes, also at private schools!

No, what we have in this country are perceived freedoms. Just don't try to push them too far. The real freedoms apply only to the power players..that infamous 'old boy network.'

(I have a further bit about exactly why this is silly on my blog.)


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  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    9 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, jEmS Snn01--Thanks very much for your comment; I'm glad you found some useful information.

    I agree that we still have many more freedoms than many other countries.

    However, I must take issue with the concept of "controlling certain freedoms." Once that takes hold, and you start 'controlling freedom,' you loose your freedom; it gets eroded more and more, piece by piece.

    It is already happening, with the so-called "Patriot Act," which has stripped a number of our freedoms, and treats upstanding American citizens as if THEY are the terrorists, all in the name of a so-called "war on terror." It is nothing but grandstanding and smoke-and-mirrors, while people sit idly by, not realizing that if they do not protest these actions, the day will come when we are NOT "freer than many other nations."

    Thanks for your input.

  • profile image


    9 years ago from NY

    This is an interesting hub, I'm doing a research on US constitution and came across your hub. You made some good points here however I still believe that Americans enjoy more freedom than other countries, point taken the issue of censorship however you also have to take into consideration that the government has to take some measure to control certain freedom before it get's out of hand (just my opinion).

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    9 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, Caterino--

    Thanks for stopping by and adding to the discussion. You are, sadly, quite correct. They are indeed trying to shut up the protesters, and it isn't working very well. They will not get away with turning this country into a dictatorship--there are more citizens than government goons...

    As Mark Twain said, "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and the government when it deserves it."

  • Caterino profile image


    9 years ago from Greenville South Carolina

    Lets say, America has more freedom than many other countries, but when our fine Government wants to shut us up, they can which is a shame, isn't it.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    9 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, Rebelwithacause--

    Thanks so much for your comment. You are correct. The problem with that "Patriot Act" is twofold (ok, several-fold), but the main concerns are that in and of itself, it is illegal and unconstitutional, and secondly, it is an attempt to undermine our freedoms in the name of 'fighting terror,' when it does nothing of the sort.

    I appreciate your input...OCCUPY!!

  • Rebelwitacause profile image


    9 years ago from Reno, NV

    Comment(s): Yeah, I am late at reading this, so sorry. However, I agree with everything you stated, MsLizzy. I will point out, to KFlippin, that, unless you have been living in a cocoon for the past 11 years, there is this quaint little item that the government superimposed on ALL internet traffic. It is called "The Patriot Act". It allows the government to monitor ALL cyber-traffic, via the internet, cell phones, and multimedia outlets. If you say anything on their 'hot list', they can arrest you for it. Yes, our Freedom's are at stake here people, and so is our blessed country, all thanks to individuals like George "hitler' Bush Jr, and Barrack 'the Obamanator' Obama. We are living in trying times, and need to get rid of these kinds of politicians to guarantee that our sovereign freedoms are not lost forever.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    10 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi, BobbiRant--

    Thanks for stopping by and your input!


  • BobbiRant profile image


    10 years ago from New York

    This is a good post. It is not communism, it is the truth. Sometimes the truth pinches some people.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    11 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi, Wayne, I would hope not, but you'd be surprised at what is real and not real.. go do a web search on things like the Council on Foreign Relations, or the Bilderberg is quite scary, really...I hope I don't get nabbed for even mentioning those.... ;-)

  • Wayne Brown profile image

    Wayne Brown 

    11 years ago from Texas

    XML...I didn't know we were writing on a communist sponsored I start to understand my score. Anyone who attacks you from that angle can only fear what you might say! We don't live in that type of we? WB

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    11 years ago from Oakley, CA

    John B Badd, thanks for stopping by.

    You raise a good point about the FCC's original purpose, however, IMO, "weak-moral children" are the result of their upbringing by equally "weak-moral" parents; not the public airwaves.

    It is not that I "want" to hear the "f-bomb," as much as I support anyone's right to use it, whether or not I like it. I have the option of changing the channel, turning off the TV, or, as you also point out, going to read a book (which I, personally, prefer over most of what airs on TV anyway).

  • John B Badd profile image

    John B Badd 

    11 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

    I love our freedom of speech, and I have many issues with the FCC (mainly that they were created to protect bandwidths not censor content). But I do not believe public television should have profanity. We have the right to purchase cable channels or rent videos if we want to see sex or hear the f-bomb, there is no need to subject or already weak-moral children to any more negativity. I do not think records or movies should be banned, but I support the rating systems and parental advisory stickers. If more people read you would see books with ratings also, but we will not have to worry about that any time soon.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    11 years ago from Oakley, CA


    Thanks for stopping by. I think the 'thrust' is that censorship is fairly rampant, no matter where you are, or what freedoms you may believe you have. Additionally, yes, some seem to feel it is "ok," and apparently so does HP itself... ::: shrug :::

  • KFlippin profile image


    11 years ago from Amazon

    "Whether "private" entities such as HP are subject to FCC rules when it comes to the Internet, (which is, after all, a communications medium --just like newspapers or TV), is a matter for research."

    Only of late has the current administration decided to 'redefine' the internet as a 'telecommunications' medium, and if successful (or maybe they've already done it) then the internet would be subject to federalization under an old law written back in the 30's. Effectively, the private businesses that laid the cable, etc... over all these years, will then be told what level of services they must provide, etc....among other things.

    The thrust of your hub seems to be that some hubbers seem to think that we should not have freedom of speech here on hub pages because it is the 'internet' and thus a 'world' forum, and so censorsip is okay? If that's the case, well that does leave me ROFL.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    11 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Luckily, Micky Dee, we aren't in a crowded theater here. ROFL

  • Micky Dee profile image

    Micky Dee 

    11 years ago



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