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 three stages of language: grammar, rhetoric, and logic each with the purpose of honing the ability of our children to grasp abstract concepts, theories, and philosophies, wrap their minds around them, and then come up with a response; agreeing, disagreeing, or discovering ideas not thought of before.

We spend our lives using speech, in its various ways, for both good and evil. Words can be used to encourage, build up, and inspire. Or tear down, cut to the heart, and wage war. Words can be used to teach, innovate, and bring change. Or they can be used to muffle, discourage, and enslave. Speech can be verbal and non-verbal. It can be intentional or unconscious. It can be in your face or subliminal. And one’s last words are the memorializing of the final milestone in this life; death.

Even after death, our speech lives on through memories, stories, writings, recordings, and tweets. Speech is said to be more powerful than standing armies because ideas are bulletproof. Free speech, then, is the hallmark of a free society; a society unencumbered by authoritarians looking to silence you. But free speech is often misunderstood. It’s treated like the illegitimate step-child; back-handed for our problems and invoked only when it serves our purpose.

Free Speech Series-Introduction

This is the first in a series on freedom of expression and provides and introduction. In this series, I will draw out what free speech entails, does not entail, and how ought we to respond to free speech. I then look forward to publishing a special bonus interview on January 2nd about the suppression of free speech by public officials in Rio Rancho.

NEXT: Free Speech-The First Amendment as the Standard Bearer →