Is freedom of speech compromised in America today?

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  1. RealityTalk profile image59
    RealityTalkposted 10 years ago

    Is freedom of speech compromised in America today?

    It appears difficult to publish articles pertaining to racism, unless the racist in question is white skinned.  It also appears difficult to publish articles pertaining to same-sex marriage if the article is anti-same-sex marriage; even if the article is presented as a polite, rational opinion.  Do special interests groups control not only America, but even our freedom of speech?

  2. jabelufiroz profile image70
    jabelufirozposted 10 years ago

    Freedom of speech, of the press, of association, of assembly and petition -- this set of guarantees, protected by the First Amendment, comprises what we refer to as freedom of expression. The Supreme Court has written that this freedom is "the matrix, the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom." Without it, other fundamental rights, like the right to vote, would wither and die.

    The ACLU’s Project on Speech, Privacy, and Technology (SPT) is dedicated to protecting and expanding the First Amendment freedoms of expression, association, and inquiry; expanding the right to privacy and increasing the control that individuals have over their personal information; and ensuring that civil liberties are enhanced rather than compromised by new advances in science and technology. The project is currently working on a variety of issues, including political protest, freedom of expression online, privacy of electronic information, journalists’ rights, scientific freedom, and openness in the courts.

    1. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Every effort has an impact. Should people be allowed to disrupt a political speech. Should unproved and unattributed online comments be protected, a journalist does not have unique rights, Is all science good. Some court issues should be private.

  3. profile image0
    Larry Wallposted 10 years ago

    Freedom of speech is not compromised unless the people exercising that right, do so in the proper way. That means being truthful and accurate and at the same time making sure you do not libel or slander someone because views are different, their skin color is different.

    You are also limited in that you are not suppose to incite riots or unnecessary fear. Thus, you cannot yell fire in a movie theater, causing a stampede of people trying to get out. You cannot published false information that will lead to adverse impacts on others.

    Unlike the second amendment regarding the right to bear arms, which supporters see as an absolute right, the first amendment is a basic right that recognized while everyone has the right to free speech, that right cannot be exercised at the expense of others because you presented inaccurate are undocumented charges while exercising your right to free speech.

    I use to be a newspaper reporter. I often heard people say stupid things. I could not right that John Doe, in offering a totally stupid remark, said the world is flat.

    i could say that John Doe remarked, "The world is flat," which is in apparent conflict with evidence that the world is round. The first effort could land me in court. The second would not.

    Simply stated, you can say you disagree, you can offer conflicting evidence, but you cannot cast a person in an ill-light for speaking his opinions.

    1. whomtheSonsetFree profile image60
      whomtheSonsetFreeposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, of course it is.

    2. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I am sorry. I do not understand your comment. Are you saying freedom of speech is compromised. It isn't. It just is not an absolute. It goes to where your freedom ends and my right to read or ignore your work begins.

  4. RealityTalk profile image59
    RealityTalkposted 10 years ago

    One of the reasons this question came to mind to ask is the reaction of HubPages to particular topics.  I wrote two controversial Hubs and both were tagged with the dreaded $ sign which means, no advertising.

    One topic covered same-sex marriage.  I gave one man's reasons against same-sex marriage.  Taking the side I took would have earned me praises from nearly all America only 10 years ago.  Today, the "politically correct Emily Post" has swung praise in the other direction.

    The other topic covered concerned whether black-skinned Americans might be more racist today than white-skinned Americans.  The "politically correct Emily Post" will not entertain black-skinned Americans as capable of racism.  The common belief being only white-skinned Americans are capable of racism.

    So I believe freedom of speech is comprised in America today.  Freedom of speech is more than saying anything one wants; that goes without saying.  Yelling fire in a crowed theater where there is not fire is too obvious to need mentioning as speech that should not be allowed.

    But there exists today a speech police.  Special interests groups.  Politically powerful.  Corporate powers.  The rich and powerful.  Religious groups.  And many others.  Groups that control and then even legislate what we are able to make the content of our public discourse.  I have seen many famous personalities have their careers destroyed by uttering a word, a phrase or an opinion that has nothing to do with their political career or the job they were hired to do, but offended some group somehow.

    Freedom of speech is meant to protect ideas and the free discourse thereof.  It is there to protect differing philosophies, not merely the popular and powerful ones.  As one minor example: Television, the media and others are afraid to display a picture of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.  I am not Muslim.  I should be able to display his image without fear.  Our legislature does not allow us to use the word "nigger."  It is now spoken in hushed tones as - shhh "the 'N' word.  I could write a book about all the topics that we are not free to discuss without some kind of repercussion, but I don't have enough space here to do so.

    But I am sure you can come up with many examples of your own.  Bottom line.  Money and power talks louder than freedom of speech.  Even the Supreme Court has perverted the meaning of free speech for political reasons.

    1. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Freedom of the press dose not guarantee you will be published or make money. As I understand your hubs were published without ads. Your freedom was not violated. Every outlet has standards. That is their right to a free press.

    2. RealityTalk profile image59
      RealityTalkposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      You miss the point.  I'm asking about speech in America, not merely Constitutionally granted speech. Everywhere in the world, there is or there is not freedom of speech. Culture, religion, Corp. curtail speech as much as gov. does.

    3. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      My point was that you have freedom of speech. You wrote a Hub. You stated an opinion. Any publication can set guidelines regarding content and conflicts with advertising. You got caught in the middle. Your freedom exists, you may need another outlet.

    4. RealityTalk profile image59
      RealityTalkposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I think we're getting closer to an understanding, but not quite. Freedom speech is more than talking.  It's avenues available for listening. Road blocks are established everywhere if a corporation, religion, or culture does not want to hear it.

    5. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Freedom of speech in guarantee in the Constitution. There is no mandate that anyone has to read or hear what you write. Companies engage in communications have to exercise some judgment. My old paper rejected letters from the KKK,. Do you fault that

    6. RealityTalk profile image59
      RealityTalkposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Your missing the point.  I'm not demanding your paper print- anything I write. What I am saying is information is controlled by those w/power to control it.  THAT compromises freedom of speech. Speech can be controlled & bottled up & never be

    7. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Free speech requires dedication. Sometimes you have to work harder to get your message to the masses. You can voice your opinion to friends, neighbors, etc. Be accurate and not offensive. No one is going to stop you. Finding an audience can be hard.

    8. RealityTalk profile image59
      RealityTalkposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I agree dedication may be required.  If an opinion is contrary to popular opinion, there may be many obstacles to overcome.  It has been my experience that whether an opinion is believed or not, people flock to the popular one & roadblock all els

    9. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Well, we can go on forever on this. I can only speak as a former reporter and editorial writer. I was able to exercise my 1st amendment rights, as long as I was accurate, newsworthy and in line with the publisher's way of thinking--no problem there.

    10. RealityTalk profile image59
      RealityTalkposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I agree. I don't think we disagree, we r just arguing from 2 different angles. Yours is the ability to say it.  Mine is the Corp/Religious/Cultural/Job losses that result from it.

  5. lone77star profile image74
    lone77starposted 10 years ago

    Yes, free speech has been compromised in America, but your example is weak when compared to what is actually going on.

    HR 347 has made it a felony to protest what the government is doing under certain circumstances. If the secret service agent doesn't like your t-shirt, they can arrest you. The language in the law is that vague.

    NDAA in 2012 made it possible for the military to arrest American citizens without due process, without charges, without an attorney or a trial, and without a phone call. They could hold you indefinitely (forever) and they wouldn't have to let anyone know they had you. Congress passed this and President Obama signed it during the holidays, just before New Years. Free speech? You have none if you can't talk to anyone and you're locked up in a dungeon somewhere in a foreign country after being whisked out of the states by our own military.

    And what about those Americans who become unlucky enough to be placed on Obama's "Kill List?" Local journalist in Ohio, Ben Swann, tried to get some answers out of Obama, but the slippery devil avoided answering. If the President doesn't like you, you could end up dead. Period. Case closed. No recourse.

    If you think your rights of communication are being trimmed a little by the public sensitivities about what is "politically correct," you're wimping about nothing. The Constitution is being actively trashed by Congress, since before 9/11, but accelerating after that dark day.

    Are we really "safer" with such tyranny? Ben Franklin has likely rolled over in his grave at how wimpy Americans have become. "Oh, protect me! Keep me safe. Take away my liberties. I don't need them any more."

    The government lies about its "national security" issues. What a cover for all manner of crimes. But some crimes are right out in the open -- like Mayor Giuliani's felony crime scene clean up before anyone could investigate 9/11. Or the high ranking military officers who were responsible for the security failures on 9/11 who all got promotions instead of courts martial.

    And, as Senator Rand Paul mentioned, Congress is passing laws without even reading them! Tyranny is becoming law as if a floodgate has been left open. And I'm finding this out likely because I no longer live in the States. The corrupt, Corporate Party news media is complicit in the silent take over.

    Watching vid clips from the most recent Presidential conventions, it broke my heart to see votes ignored with both the Demopublicans and Republicrats.

    1. RealityTalk profile image59
      RealityTalkposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      lone77star,  great answer.

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