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Should Freedom of Speech Ever Be Restricted?

Updated on February 5, 2018

What really is "Freedom of Speech"?

As defined, Freedom of Speech "is the principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community to articulate one's opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or sanction." Before I created this article I was sure to do my research as I am aware that this topic brings out strong emotions and opinions. I started with the definition of Freedom of Speech because some forget that we are all entitled to our own opinions and we all can voice them publicly, in a safe and peaceful way.

Can there be consequences to free speech?

The First Amendment protects the US citizens freedom to speak but it does not protect what we say. So you are entitled to say what you want, but there can be disagreements and discussions about what you say. In some cases this can lead up to protests and campaigns which is also protected by the First Amendment as long as it is peaceful. Even though we have the protection of free speech by the government there also comes some limitations.

Can vs Cannot

As talked about previously the Freedom of Speech is a right and there are some limitations to this amendment. Some of the notable rights to this include the freedom: not to speak, to use certain offensive words in an effort to portray political messages, and to engage in symbolic speech. The Freedom of Speech does not include the freedom: to incite actions that would harm others, make/ distribute obscene material, and to burn draft cards as an anti-war protest. Those are the most notable can's and cannot's but there are more that pertain to the Freedom of Speech.

Media and the Freedom of Speech

Over time social media has taken the place of social gatherings and other forms of communication. Nowadays, everyone feels the need to share their feelings and opinions and that is fine but you need to know that online your freedom's may not be as protected as you thought. In an article on lifehacker.com they talk about how most spaces on the internet are privately owned and they have no obligation to allow you to speak freely. This could result in the company removing content or just the community of people removing the content.

The NFL and Freedom of Speech

Whether you agree with it or not the protests being made by the NFL players are perfectly legal and the rights to protests are encouraged by the constitution. The controversy started when NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, took a kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality and oppression in our country. This action is protected with the right not to speak policy, which states there is a right not to salute the flag. The problem most people had with this is that they felt him not standing was disrespect to our military and rightfully so. This action can be taken in whatever way each person would like to but Kaepernick made it clear what his purpose was. He backed up the criticism with a statement "I have great respect for men and women that have fought for this country," and he went on to explain that his peaceful protest was against the unjust actions being made mainly by law enforcement officials and oppression. He tried to make it clear that it had nothing to do with the military or people serving for our country.

Feelings on Can vs Can't do

The literary sense of what is protected with free speech isn't the problem but what people feel like shouldn't be allowed is. Whether it is voicing opinions online, protesting during the national anthem, or exercising your rights for other topics/events people will always have an opinion. The only way to make a step forward is by talking about these opinions and try to understand one another. Going for the other people's necks won't change anything. As long as we have the right to speak freely we will most likely be faced with the things going on in today's world.

There is no "right" opinion

Everyone has their own opinion and feelings on certain topics but just because you feel some way about something it doesn't mean you are correct and the opposing view is wrong. A lot that the argument stems from is culture and tradition. Views have become stronger based on those two components and rightfully so. Disagreement is okay and not everything was meant to be agreed on, that is why we have our Freedom of Speech. The best way to go about disagreements is by having discussions and see the viewpoint of others.

My opinion

There is the part of the article that holds no truth whatsoever, because it is an opinion. This whole thing of Freedom of Speech is what allows me to voice my opinion about this topic. Personally, I do think that almost anything in moderation is a good thing. I don't mind having disagreements with people, even though I try to avoid conflict for my sake I still like to see the viewpoints of others. I encourage Freedom of Speech and everyone who practices their rights but I do feel like the limitations set are necessary. No one should be able to incite actions that would harm others, make/ distribute obscene materials, burn draft cards as an anti-war protest, and advocate illegal drug use at school/sponsored event.

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