The Golden Age Of Free Speech

We all know about the First Amendment ….the right to freedom of speech…..just how does that equate in this age of information with the access to the internet and all that goes with it?

For most of modern history, the easiest way to block the spread of an idea was to keep it from being mechanically disseminated. Shutter the news­paper, pressure the broad­cast chief, install an official censor at the publishing house. Or, if push came to shove, hold a loaded gun to the announcer’s head.

 

This actually happened once in Turkey. It was the spring of 1960, and a group of military officers had just seized control of the government and the national media, imposing an information blackout to suppress the coordination of any threats to their coup. But inconveniently for the conspirators, a highly anticipated soccer game between Turkey and Scotland was scheduled to take place in the capital two weeks after their takeover. Matches like this were broadcast live on national radio, with an announcer calling the game, play by play. People all across Turkey would huddle around their sets, cheering on the national team.

https://www.wired.com/story/free-speech-issue-tech-turmoil-new-censorship/

The prevalence of “fake news” accusations have expanded in recent years once it was shown just how influential the “news” could be.

Now just the hint of “fake news” can send any conversation off the course and onto the rocks of stupid.

Since we have been thumping our chests about “fake News” I have written about this on several occasions…..https://lobotero.com/2016/12/20/the-curious-debate-over-fake-news/

“Fake News” is just a modern use of Goebbels’s theory of propaganda and as usual I had thoughts on this as well….. https://lobotero.com/2013/01/11/what-is-propaganda/

Calling something “Fake News” does not make it so……and wrapping around the First Amendment does not make it a “true” statement…..and because something fits your limited view of the issue does not make it a factual statement nor does it make it a false statement.

The individual needs to the work to find the truth…….I wish I could state that I have ever confidence that the American people will search for the truth……but as usual I would be deluding myself for most Americans are too lazy to look beyond their little limited view.

And the beat goes on!

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Hate Speech vs. Free Speech

After the last shooting, the one that claimed a Congressman (since there are so many I wanted to clarify which shooting) there has been much written about the aftermath…all the hate filled post and Tweets.

Rabid conservs attack libs as the cause of the horrible attack and then it is the Libs turn to attack conservs and along the same lines…..all in all it is hate speech disguised as “news”.

That leads us to the debate on “free speech”.

Whenever someone mentions how destructive hate speech can be there will inevitably bring about some person harping on the first amendment…..and how trying to control hate speech will inevitably lead to the end of our republic.

I have tried to take on this topic in the past…..

Source: That Thing Called “Free Speech” – In Saner Thought

I recently read a piece of this subject written by a law professor……..

Since its inception as America’s founding political document, there have been 27 amendments to the United States Constitution. Even the most adept scholars can rarely name and define each one. Many amendments are obscure and deal with legal nuances like changes in representation and how to handle US citizens who come into a foreign title of nobility. While these constitutional adjustments rarely get public attention, the First Amendment continues to spark controversy across a wide swath of the US population. What is free speech? What does the Constitution protect? What is the difference between hate speech and free speech? With the recent attention on the safe space movement on college campuses, it’s increasingly important to understand the legal parameters of the First Amendment.

………

The wording of the First Amendment is relatively straightforward. At the core, Americans receive protections to exercise their religious beliefs freely, with specific prohibitions against the government passing laws to restrict religious practice. In addition, free speech is protected as well as a free press, with no restriction on citizens assembling peaceably. The confusion comes when people don’t understand what each of those things means, or when broader interpretations are applied to legal definitions that are, in reality, more narrow.

Source: Hate Speech vs. Free Speech: A Critical Analysis by Constitutional Law Expert Sujit Choudhry

We could solve this problem with a little civility toward each other and refuse to repeat words from the haters (people that live to hate)……there is no dishonor in being civil with each other.

That Thing Called “Free Speech”

Here in the US there has been a debate about this issue for over 200 years…what is and what is not….free speech or as some prefer “freedom of expression”….but what is it…no really….what is it?

What me to thinking about this subject was something I wrote about late last year…….you see the president, the old one not the new one, signed a bill into law that basically bans “fake news””……(in case you were not paying attention then I can help)…..

The Birth Of The “Ministry Of Truth” – In Saner Thought

That one post got the old mental synapses firing at an alarming rate….

When did the whole idea of the freedom of speech start?  (The Highlights)

399BC Socrates speaks to jury at his trial: ‘If you offered to let me off this time on condition I am not any longer to speak my mind… I should say to you, “Men of Athens, I shall obey the Gods rather than you.”‘

1215 Magna Carta, wrung from the unwilling King John by his rebellious barons, is signed. It will later be regarded as the cornerstone of liberty in England.

1516 The Education of a Christian Prince by Erasmus. ‘In a free state, tongues too should be free.’

1633 Galileo Galilei hauled before the Inquisition after claiming the sun does not revolve around the earth.

1644 ‘Areopagitica’, a pamphlet by the poet John Milton, argues against restrictions of freedom of the press. ‘He who destroys a good book, kills reason itself.’

1689 Bill of Rights grants ‘freedom of speech in Parliament’ after James II is overthrown and William and Mary installed as co-rulers.

1770 Voltaire writes in a letter: ‘Monsieur l’abbé, I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.’

1789 ‘The Declaration of the Rights of Man’, a fundamental document of the French Revolution, provides for freedom of speech.

1791 The First Amendment of the US Constitution, as enshrined in the Bill of Rights, guarantees five freedoms: of religion, speech, the press, the right to assemble and the right to petition the government for the redress of grievances.

And the debate has continued almost non-stop since 1791…..

For a little historic perspective on the subject of free speech…..

Millions of Americans support free speech. They firmly believe that we are the only country to have free speech, and that anyone who even questions free speech had damn well better shut the #$%& up.

Case in point: In a recent essay in The Daily Beast, Fordham Law Professor Thane Rosenbaum notes that European countries and Israel outlaw certain kinds of speech—Nazi symbols, anti-Semitic slurs, and Holocaust denial, and speech that incites hatred on the basis of race, religion, and so forth. The American law of free speech, he argues, assumes that the only function of law is to protect people against physical harm; it tolerates unlimited emotional harm. Rosenbaum cites recent studies (regrettably, without links) that show that “emotional harm is equal in intensity to that experienced by the body, and is even more long-lasting and traumatic.” Thus, the victims of hate speech, he argues, suffer as much as or more than victims of hate crime. “Why should speech be exempt from public welfare concerns when its social costs can be even more injurious [than that of physical injury]?”

Source: Free Speech Isn’t Free – The Atlantic

There is also a very good piece on the subject from Australia…..

The term “free speech” is not ideal. The “free” part skews in favour of those who oppose regulation and the “speech” part puts the focus on the spoken word, even though the discussion embraces wider communication including art, writing, films, plays, flag burning and advertising.

It might, therefore, be better to drop the term “free speech” to highlight that the debate is really about whether or not we should regulate the communication of ideas, thoughts and beliefs.

Source: Explainer: what is free speech?

This is a right that we Americans need to protect.

The Birth Of The “Ministry Of Truth”

Does anyone recall the “Ministry of Enlightenment and Propaganda”?

Do not hurt yourself diving for Google…..it is the title that Hitler bestowed on Joseph Geobbels…..there was a governmental agency that had a lock on the “Truth”….why do I bring this up?

I am so glad that you asked that one important question.

While you were out wasting your hard earned cash on gifts for people that probably could care less our present president, the one we have now…not the one waiting in the wings for the helm of the government……signed a bill into law…..

President Obama quietly signed the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act into law, which authorizes a military spending budget of $611 billion, and includes the dangerous Counter Disinformation and Anti-Propaganda Act.

This bill, as we reportedly previously, will “Criminalize ‘Fake News, Propaganda’ on the Web,” a key piece of legislation meant to crack down on free speech and independent media. In Layman’s terms, the act will allow the government to crack down with impunity against any media outlet it deems “propaganda.” The next piece of the legislation will provide substantial amounts of money to fund “counter propaganda,” to make sure the government’s approved stories drown out alternative media and journalists who question the status quo.

The “right to free speech and freedom of the press,” is guaranteed by the First Amendment to The U.S. Constitution. It is a foundation of American values, put in place by our Founding Fathers to protect our liberties, is now being endangered by this new law.

(A post on Free Speech would be a good way to start 2017)

This is not the first time that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was used to disguise a piece of legislation. Back in 2012, Obama signed a law that allowed for the “indefinite detention of American citizens” without a judge or jury. Then in 2013, Obama signed an NDAA bill that packaged an end to the Smith-Mundit act that prevented the government from using propaganda against its own citizens enabling the government again to legally produce propaganda.

What does that mean for you if you are an independent journalist or blogger? You can read more here, but it means that for simply writing this and asking questions and pointing out that Obama always signs these bills around the holidays like I did in this poem, if I am accused of “fake news” or propaganda, I could face criminal charges.

In other words the stage is now set for the U.S. government to legally crack down on every media outlet that the they deem to be “foreign propaganda.” The ministry of truth is setup. Welcome to 1984.

Plus we have a leader that has much animosity toward the media….how will that play out after 20Jan?

Free Speech and Political Conventions

These days the blogs are full of someone claiming that the freedom of speech is somehow either being infringed upon or will be if certain people are elected….I have even read articles about how some of the rights of protesters at these conventions have been stomped on by the security people….

This summer, we have all witnessed the heavy hand of government intervening in the freedom of speech, as the behavior of the Secret Service at both the Republican convention in Cleveland and the Democratic convention in Philadelphia was troubling and unconstitutional.

Though the First Amendment was originally written only to restrain Congress (“Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech”), it is now uniformly interpreted to restrict all government in America from abridging the freedom of speech.

The reason this freedom is referred to as “the” freedom of speech is to reflect the belief of the Framers that the right to speak freely is pre-political. Stated differently, the freedom of speech is an integral aspect of our humanity. The government does not grant the freedom of speech; it is prohibited from interfering with it.

Source: Free Speech and Political Conventions – Antiwar.com Blog

I hope that some writers realize that free speech means for everyone…..not just people that agree with a certain point of view….all agree that free speech is essential but in the same breath try to insult any opponents into silence…..what part of free speech is it that confuses them?