When should freedom of speech be regulated?
We all know the "You can't yell fire in a movie-theater when there's no fire" example. Talk about censorship.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Which essentially means the right/freedom to live your life as you see fit in a manner you think will make you happy. But with that right comes the inherent responsibility to respect that right for everyone else as well. So if my right to freedom of speech is going to impose on your right to live your life as you see fit in a manner in which you think will make you happy, then I have the responsibility to "self-police" myself and NOT say what I was going to say. If I will not do that "self-policing", then it is the government's responsibility to do that policing. (The US Declaration of Independence states that "to ensure these rights [of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness] governments are instituted among men". So the primary purpose of the government is to protect the rights of EVERY individual from not only the government but also from the majority rule.
So let me give you a few examples. If I scream "Fire" in a crowded theater, I am likely to induce panic, which will increase your chance of being hurt or harmed without your express consent. Therefore, screaming fire in a crowded theater is not protected free speech.
If I stand outside a military funeral and chant "America is doomed because of her military actions", you can still choose to ignore me or turn a deaf ear to my chants. It's not going to increase your risk of being hurt or harmed unless YOU allow it to (by getting upset, etc.) Therefore, that is protected free speech.
If a state is going to order textbooks that rewrite American history and push one political agenda over the other (like what's happening in Texas right now), and because of the way the publishing business operates, the agenda of the entire nation's textbooks will likely change, then that is when the feds need to step in and say "No, this is NOT going to happen."
The confusion sometimes lies within the assumption that the simple exercise of freedom of speech is a carte blanche for the expression and licence to say something without responsibility or care to its consequences .
In Scotland we accept that freedom without licence is not acceptable .The old saying states "Your Freedoms end at my nose ."
You may exercise freedom but understand that consequences for that freedom restricting my freedom and wellbeing may be onerous.
The European Convention on Human Rights defines the limits of freedom and the reasons for such necessary restrictions.
Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. this right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or the rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
I don't think it should ever be regulated. EVER. Not even in your example. If someone wants to shout fire, why can't they? Really? Because people will run out? Someone might get trampled? Just as it's an individual decision to yell "fire", it's an individual decision to react to it. If people are going to behave like animals and trample each other, it's not because someone yelled "Fire", it's because of their decisions.
Everyone is so afraid to have their feelings hurt. WHO CARES? It's all perspective. Get some self respect and it won't matter what someone else says to you.
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