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Category: Philosophy

What Free Speech is Not Part 3 of 4 in a series on free speech

← Free speech series: Introduction ← The First Amendment as the Standard Bearer ← Is offensive speech free speech? So we know that speech encompasses many forms of expression and we also know that free speech is, generally, going to result in controversial and sometimes offenses statements. But is there anything that can be excluded? Is there anything that free speech is not? This all goes back to a question of rights – my rights end where yours begins, and just because I have a right (freedom) to express something, doesn’t mean that I am right (correct, morally or truthfully) to do so. Moreover, we are free to make choices but we are not free from the consequences of our choices. What free speech is not. Legally, we can’t commit slander or libel. We can’t (generally) advocate violence against people. And in other countries, you can’t commit blasphemy, speak against the government, or say otherwise mean things. The libertarian principle of non-aggression may agree on some of these, but from a philosophical (not legal) stand point, the jury is still out on what does and does not constitute actual free speech. Some anarchists, for example, might say that slander, libel, blasphemy, and hate speech should all be free because the government can abuse the spirit of those laws and use them to infringe on controversial speech that doesn’t quite...

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Is Offensive Speech Free Speech? Part 2 of 4 in the free speech series

← Free Speech-Introduction ← The First Amendment as the Standard Bearer (Part 1 of 4) Some forms of speech under the First Amendment are relatively innocuous, but what about offensive speech? Is offensive speech free? The penalty for penning the Declaration of Independence was treason; under threat of hanging. This document itself was highly offensive to more than just King George. It offended colonists still loyal to the British Crown. And the United States herself was born out of the will and desire to express freedom from (among other things) stifled speech, belief, and expression. America hasn’t always gotten...

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Libel Law-Pros and Cons Two libertarians debate whether libel laws are in line with the First Amendment

Do libel laws cause newspapers and publishers to kill stories that might land them in a libel suit, even if it can be defended in court? Court cases cost money and newspapers are businesses who want to make money. Same with book publishers. But what about our individual right for a reputation? Do we have a right to a reputation? Do we have an expectation that we can protect and defend our reputations? This debate happened in 1998, but is interesting to here the two libertarian sides of this coin. How might the pros and cons of libel law...

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The First Amendment as the Standard Bearer Part 1 in 4 part series: What is free speech?

The First Amendment as the Standard Bearer As a writer, I am dependent upon the freedom to convey my ideas, and I enjoy dialogue from those who disagree with me. So I’ve come to appreciate the depth and brevity of the American idea of free speech found in the First Amendment. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Religious Belief Our...

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Free Speech Series-Introduction What free speech is and what it is not.

Speech: Conveys thoughts and feelings; a style of speaking; the language of a nation, region, or group. Speech is an integral part of the progressive evolution of individuals, families, people groups, societies, and governments. A baby’s first words are an exciting milestone for parents marking the beginning of the end of the cry as baby’s primary form of communication. Every waking moment after that is spent teaching, guiding, and correcting a child’s speech to become more effective communicators. This soon evolves into learning to listen to and read speech from other people. The classical model of education is the...

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