Originally Posted by drewprof
1. What is free speech?
2. When is free speech not so free?
3. Do we really have free speech in our country? (USA)
4. If you had to amend the Constitution about free speech how would you write it?
Free is when you don't have to pay. You know, free. Like air. Air is free. Why is air free? Because breathing it is a basic necessity of life. Restricting air is bad and restrictions mean it is no longer free. So that would mean paying a price for air. Analogous to paying a price for freedom. What is the price we pay when freedom of speech is restricted? Well, sometimes it makes sense to restrict some kinds of freedom, like libel. Who wants a world in which one can knowingly speak injurious falsehoods with impunity? Also, there are some forms of provocative speech that are restricted, like FALSELY yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater, for example. Truthfully yelling "fire" is okay, by the way. In fact, it is a good idea. So restricting perfectly free speech in those cases is probably a good idea. How about "state secrets"? It is probably a good idea to restrict folks from being able to discuss how to build an H Bomb, for example.
But there are lots of grey areas in all of those restrictions of freedom.
Like, maybe saying extremely inaccurate and unkind things about folks but with no intention of harming their good repute. Should that be libelous? Or what about if one's opinion is that somebody is a dangerous and unpleasant person, is that libelous? There are many shades of grey in the USA when it comes to libel. Famous people hate our libel laws and love British libel laws. Is one always better than the other?
What about political speech? Is it ever a good idea to allow the government to decide when political speech is appropriate and when it isn't?
4. The one we have is fine. The laws are sometimes pretty silly and to me, occasionally violate the spirit & intent of the constitution, like impeding political speech, which I think is a horrid thing to do.