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The Limitations imposed on free speech

Updated on September 15, 2019

The right to free speech is well-documented in the 1st Amendment to the Constitution. While we have the right to free speech we also have some responsibilities in exercising that right. Many rights are documented in the Constitution and none are more important or have a greater impact on our lives than the right of free speech. Two prime examples of our moral responsibilities can be found in additional laws regarding slander and libel. Some individuals may not feel libel should be included in discussing free speech but in essence it is our speech in print.

Another example of moral limits includes the act of slander. Before we speak and interject our opinion we must consider what we are going to say. It is great to present facts about issues which are our right but it is violating moral limits when we make statements about issues or individuals which are not true. This can not only cause hard feelings between individuals or groups but it can violate some laws in place for which we will be held accountable. What we say is our responsibility and we cannot blame others for our statements. True, sometimes we are given facts from others but if we fail to validate those facts we can hold those individuals accountable. This does not take away from our responsibility as an individual for what we say for we are the person who is ultimately responsible.

Along with the moral limits of free speech we need to act responsibly both in our actions and our words. Some individuals combine actions with their words to project an image or they make comparisons to make their point. We as individuals must take responsibility for what we do and what we say. This is never more important than exercising our right of free speech. Free speech also involves being able to say traditional holiday greetings but our ability to exhibit or display these greetings is being restricted for fear of offending individuals. We see this in holiday decorations and displays. Though we have the right to speak traditional holiday greetings we see this less often today than in the past. We as individuals must get back to the way things were in the past with our traditional greetings. We have the right to express our holiday feelings.

Free speech becoming part of the Constitution is something we should cherish but exercising that right with compassion for others and their feelings is the right thing to do. We are a nation of multiple ethnic backgrounds and each one has their own culture and heritage. The right of free speech allows us to openly display and speak about our heritage and there should never be any legislation that restricts this right.

Free speech must also be discussed with regards to political statements especially those being made during political campaigns. Many statements or comments are made which are either not true or are half-truths. We have seen in elections individuals are trying hard to win but the wrong approach is to not speak the truth.

The media also gets into the picture regarding in the area of libel. Libel and slander has become a way of life. True facts can be validated but how often do you see statement of facts checked and published unless it meets the political agenda of media trying to influence an election. In the last election many statements have been made which in many cases were not complete, reliable or accurate. The results of the election in many cases showed how this kind of activity was ignored by the voters.

The media and those individuals running for election should be wary of going down the same path as before. Voters are not stupid to put it mildly and they were not stupid in the last election. True there were two outcomes the Republicans increased their majority in the Senate and the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives. How these two results play out in the next upcoming election remains to be seen.

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    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      2 months ago from Chicago

      Right on. I agree with you 100%. Well done.

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