A Call for Responsibility for the Freedom of Speech
Founding father of the United States Thomas Jefferson wrote a document by the title of “the Declaration of Independence”, in the Declaration Jefferson states that “Humans have certain inalienable rights… Among them are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”. However, those are not the only rights granted by the Creator (God, the Universe, or other forms of deity); one of the most revered right is in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution: The Freedom of Speech. A few patriots have said that the freedom of speech is the most important right for a free society. If a person is able to think for themselves, then they will be able to articulate and convey their thoughts into their speech, unfiltered. The lack of freedom of speech is an indirect way for indoctrination! However, on the other side of the coin, is there such a thing as too much freedom? Does the freedom of speech have a limit? Yes, it does. The freedom of speech was established after the American Revolution to allow citizens to speak freely against their government without fear of death or imprisonment. It was not intended for the call for race wars, hate crimes and even private harassment. The freedom of speech comes with a price: The price of responsibility.
Even though the freedom of speech is a God given right and a lawfully protected right by the Constitution, it still has been assaulted by Big Government in the United States. From the turn of the century Progressive movement to the neo-Progressive and pseudo-counterterrorism fear tactics of today, the government has tried to override the privilege and rights of the American public by creating their own laws.
One such law has existed for ten years, yet has been brought up as a tool for the government to spy on the American people since the Kennedy administration; this law invades the privacy of Americans and unjustly records a person’s private conversations, the Patriot Act. Congress claims that the Patriot Act was ratified and put in affect to secure safety after the events of September 11th (Justice.gov), but evidence have been shown to be further from the truth. To this very day, the Patriot Act tasted little success, catching one out of 100 terrorist supporters. Still, the supporters of terrorisms happened to be U.S citizens, those who have Constitutional rights. The Patriot Act disregards the 10th and 14th Amendments, the right to privacy and the right to citizenship respectively (United States Constitution).
The government has done more to assault the rights of its people, but as it pertains to the freedom of speech, the Patriot Act is the most recent and the most effective.
What if the freedom of speech is used publicly, in a peaceful assembly by the words spoken are of hate and anger? As unpopular as hate speech might be perceived, the speaker is still protected by the freedom of speech if done at an assembly. Three such hate groups that use this platform to convey their anger are the white separatist-turned-supremacy group Ku Klux Klan; the counter-culture revolutionary anarchists Weather Underground and the scrutinized limited-government supporting Tea Party of 2010.
Founded by Confederate soldiers after the Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan original intent was for white soldiers to form a brotherhood, in fear that the loss of their Southern roots were at hand. They were not backwoods, backward thinking racists as future generations would paint them; the founders of the Ku Klux Klan were college educated intellectuals, the mere name of their group was Latin for “The Circle”, and Latin is considered the “language of scholars”.
As the group grew from an inner circle to a radical movement, racism did spread into their speech and actions, often resulting in random hangings and lynching’s of innocent black men. The question is not if their unethical ideology correct, the question that is often raised is there hate speech covered by the first amendment? Though deemed unpopular, misguided and at times uneducated, their speech is protected if they are citizens of the United States and they have peacefully assembled.
To assemble peacefully is the key to hate speech being protected by the First Amendment. Not all groups see this, in fact the prelude to today’s Occupy Wall Street movement was the 1960s radical counter-culture led by Bill Ayres, known as the Weather Underground. The Weather Underground was not protected by the first amendment because they did everything but peacefully assemble! In 1969 they started their reign of domestic terrorism called the Day of Rage, a day full of riots in Chicago.
Later on they resorted to fires, bombings and other forms of violence. In 1975, one of the last actions, they attempted to bomb the State building in Oakland, CA (“Terrorism Flashback: State Department Bombing.” FBI. 29 Jan. 2004. Web. 11 Mar. 2012.)! Their only goal was to overthrow America and replace it with global communism. The Constitution does not extend to the organization. Nor does it extend to its leader, Bill Ayers, when he proclaim “Kill the rich; kill your parents” (Coburn, Marcia F. “No Regrets.” Chicago Magazine 2001. Web). Such speech, which is intended only to incite violence, is not a right. It’s an abuse.
What if a group of people peacefully assembled, stated their views in a clear articulate notion, without the call for violence, spoke against their government yet were horrifically misjudged and slandered against by the mainstream media? Such an event happened in the 2010 Congressional election season with a grassroots movement went by the name of the Tea Party. Although not an actual political party, the media quickly coupled them with the Republican Party, which is just as big government as the Democratic Party! The only difference is the GOP is a warfare state, where the Democrats are a welfare state (which the Tea Party openly discouraged).
The media slandered the Tea Party, often calling them racists because it was predominately white seniors at the rallies. Spiteful comedian Bill Maher openly showed his distaste for the Tea Party, yet at the same time showed his support for “the Godfather of the Tea Party” Congressman Ron Paul on his show Real Time with Bill Maher. The media’s actions were covered by the first amendment, not as freedom of speech, but as freedom of the press. Sadly, if the media would be so cold hearted to its own people, why would they be so kind to the government in which they are supposed to watch? A true conflict of interest.
The freedom of speech is a wonderful gift to humanity. Whether it’s to speak against a soft tyranny of the present American government; speak against other races or just showing support for a cause; the freedom of speech is a power. But it can, and has been, easily abused by both the speaker and by the government that has sworn to uphold the right. Stan Lee, the famous writer of comic book classic Spiderman, said “With great power, comes great responsibility”. The freedom of speech should never be regulated by the government; it is not a good like healthcare or education, it is a right given to humans by their Creators.