Are there Limits to Freedom of Speech?

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by Dahni
© 2015, all rights reserved

 

Polite3Almost everywhere we go today inside and outside of the Internet and from any and all forms of information exchanged among all people, the words, “freedom of speech,” come up. Do we even really understand what those words mean? Oh, we probably understand that it is part of ‘The Bill of Rights’ and within the very first amendment to the Constitution. But do we really understand what these words mean and what ‘The Law of the Land’ had intended to protect? Smart people think they know. Lawyers and judges and particularly, the Supreme Court think they know. But here is the question, are there limits to freedom of speech? Depending on your perspective, you may not like the answer, but the simple answer is, yes. Yes, there are limits to the freedom of speech!

In almost every single argument that gets heated, one or all parties usually walk away from the others with similar words to follow, on their breath, “It’s freedom of speech, I have a right to say whatever I want!” Do you really? Well, for one thing, it is against the law to yell “fire” in a crowded theater if there is no fire. It is against the law to yell “bomb” on a crowded airplane or jet, if there is no such bomb. These two illustrations don’t even begin to define what freedom of speech is or is not. “Not?” Well, sure, to understand what something is, it is also important to to understand what it is “not.”

Current phrases tossed around  now are: “haters,” “don’t be a hater,” “racist”, “race-baiters” and “hate speech.”

Here is where our subject really goes dark. Dark as, “in the dark,” clueless and pretty much useless as a tool for communication. The law of language states that it is absolutely impossible to articulate in words, that which is not understood. Well, darned if religious leaders (so called), politicians, lawyers, judges and other supposed “smart people” don’t try anyway! To some degree or another, all engage in this type of communication behavior. There are a couple of descriptions (perhaps more) for these. One is called, “talking out of both sides of your mouth.” Another is, talking from your rear posterior or your derrière, rear, buttocks, butt, ass etc. The ancient Greeks had a word for this and it is epiluō and is defined as: “using the voice without reference given to the words spoken.” It is used in literature as, letting dogs loose on the game as in a hunt. In the vernacular and today, it still means what it always has, talking without understanding, what your talking about.

We see this type of behavior everywhere today. Politicians say what they think we want to hear or what is politically expedient for them, especially if there is an election coming up and they want to be, re-elected. We see it in politics when executives try to legislate or interpret the law or both. We see it in the legislative branch when they try to execute or interpret the law or both. We see in in the judiciary branch when they try to execute the law, legislate the law, interpret the law or all of these. We see it in journalism when instead of reporting the news, it is either fiction or editorialized. Now most of these people, in all these fields are highly educated. So, this is where it all stems from, education. What has higher education given the rest of us? It has graduated people that know how to dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’, write binding contracts with loopholes and still, don’t understand what they are talking about. If they, the smart people in charge, are without a clue, what about the rest of us? So, before saying that our education system has failed, what is education? It comes from the Latin word ēducātus which means, “to lead out.”

How can anyone “lead out” anyone from trouble, failure and bondage to peace, success and freedom, if they don’t understand what they are talking about or where they are going? That would be, IMPOSSIBLE!

Without getting into a biblical discussion here, I find one verse of scripture and two  words in particular, very interesting, in light of what we are discussing here.

 

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.”

 2 Peter 1:20  King James Version (KJV)

 

The word “idiot” is derived from another Greek word, idios, and simply means, “ones own.” It is translated in the above scripture by the word, “private.” Remember the Greek word epiluō? There is another form and it is the word epilussis “‘letting loose” The word epilussis is translated in the above verse as, “interpretation.” So, no prophecy of the scripture (singular for the plural – i.e. scripture(s) of the Bible is, of any “one’s own” “letting loose.” No where in the Constitution is the right to “interpret” the Constitution ever even hinted at, that this is a function of the Supreme Court! But somehow, they think it does.

Where is this freedom of speech to be found? It is found in the first amendment to the Constitution, we often refer to as, ‘The Bill of Rights.’ What are its actual words?

Amendment I

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.

First Amendment of, the United States Constitution

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I would just like to point out that the very first words in the very first amendment are, “Congress shall (not will or maybe, but absolutely=shall not) make no law…” If congress cannot make any law, for these protected rights, then no executive branch can carry out what is NOT a law and no Supreme Court can rule or “interpret” any law that does not exist. But this is exactly what every single branch of government has done, is doing and will continue to do, unless stopped!

We are talking about the Constitution, which all states agreed to and it was required that all states and future states offer to its people, a republic form of government, like the Constitution, and have a balance of power (executive, legislative and judiciary) like the Constitution. Some states made their own state constitutions word for word, just like the U.S. Constitution while others patterned theirs after the Constitution, but made them to reflect the will of its own people.

As to freedom of speech, what follows is, the Supreme Court’s brief history of, interpreting our right to speak freely.

 

In 1942, Justice Frank Murphy summarized the case law:

“There are certain well-defined and limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which have never been thought to raise a Constitutional problem. These include the lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous and the insulting or “fighting” words – those which by their very utterances inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.”

In 1969, the Supreme Court protected a Ku Klux Klan member’s racist and hate-filled speech and created the ‘imminent danger’ test to permit hate speech. The court ruled in Brandenburg v. Ohio that;

“The constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a state to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force, or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”

Only speech that poses an imminent danger of unlawful action, where the speaker has the intention to incite such action and there is the likelihood that this will be the consequence of his or her speech, may be restricted and punished by that law. 

In 1992, R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, the issue of freedom to express hatred arose again when a gang of white people burned a cross in the front yard of a black family. The local ordinance in St. Paul, Minnesota, criminalized such racist and hate-filled expressions and the teenager was charged there under. Associate justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the Supreme Court, held that the prohibition against hate speech was unconstitutional as it contravened the First Amendment. The Supreme Court struck down the ordinance. Scalia explicated the “fighting words” exception as follows:

“The reason why fighting words are categorically excluded from the protection of the First Amendment is not that their content communicates any particular idea, but that their content embodies a particularly intolerable (and socially unnecessary) mode of expressing whatever idea the speaker wishes to convey”

Because the hate speech ordinance was not concerned with the mode of expression, but with the content of expression, it was a violation of the freedom of speech. Thus, the Supreme Court embraced the idea that hate speech is permissible unless it will lead to imminent hate violence. The opinion noted, “This conduct, if proved, might well have violated various Minnesota laws against arson, criminal damage to property”, among a number of others, none of which was charged, including threats to any person, not to only protected classes.

In 2011, the Supreme Court issued their ruling on Snyder v. Phelps, which concerned the right of the Westboro Baptist Church to protest with signs found offensive by many Americans. The issue presented was whether the 1st Amendment protected the expressions written on the signs. In an 8-1 decision the court sided with Phelps, the head of Westboro Baptist Church, thereby confirming their historically strong protection of hate speech, so long as it doesn’t promote imminent violence. The Court explained:

“Speech deals with matters of public concern when it can ‘be fairly considered as relating to any matter of political, social, or other concern to the community’ or when it ‘is a subject of general interest and of value and concern to the public.”

Hate speech was mentioned. What is it?

In law, hate speech is any speech, gesture or conduct, writing, or display which is forbidden because it may incite violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected individual or group, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected individual or group. The law may identify a protected individual or a protected group by certain characteristics. In some countries, a victim of hate speech may seek redress under civil law, criminal law, or both. A website that uses hate speech is called a hate site. Most of these sites contain Internet forums and news briefs that emphasize a particular viewpoint. There has been debate over how freedom of speech applies to the Internet as well as hate speech in general.

Critics have argued that the term “hate speech” is a contemporary example of Newspeak, used to silence critics of social policies that have been poorly implemented in a rush to appear politically correct

Excerpts In (red text above) from: Wikipedia – ‘Hate Speech’

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech

 

As you can clearly see, most of us are so confused, we can’t even see. The term “freedom of speech” is, so loose and so broad that it even includes “hate” speech as a protected right, I guess, as long as it it does not cause a riot? Come on, really? Have we lost or have we no common sense at all? Am I supposed to NOT be offended by what you do not find offensive and the same would apply to you? It is all, just a matter of opinion? You and everyone else and I all have the right to say anything we want? Is this freedom of speech? Is this a protected right by the law of the land?

Polite2

Now, this next thing might really offend some of you because, like our current president, you view the Constitution as a flawed document. Well, I don’t share his or this opinion. But what were they thinking in the late 1700’s, when this document was written? The same writ, has stood for over 200 hundred years, despite the many “flaws” of others that have tried to execute, legislate and interpret outside of it! Yes, what were those long dead and irrelevant people of long ago thinking?

Can you imagine any of our founders wanting to go against the king’s state religion to set up their own? Do you think they wanted the right to call the king an a–h–e, a MF, the N word or tell him to to go f–k himself? Do you think they wanted to jump up and down on and spit on and curse the Flag of England?  Do you suppose they wanted to replace the king’s media with their own elite media of— do as I say, not as I do, or to just make up whatever, to sell more stuff, for more money? The ridiculousness of all these things and the answers to them lie within the last words of the first amendment:

 

“…the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

 

I have purposefully highlighted in bold text, “the right of the people to peaceably assemble…” Now how can the people assemble “peaceably” if, the individuals are not at peace? Impossible!

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Prior to the Constitution, there was written, The Declaration of Independence. It was a logical, civil and polite declaration. Logically, it stated its premises and logically concluded that its only possible solution was, to declare its independence. It was written in a civil manner and politely. Perhaps we should read or re-read this work, as it just might give us a clue as to what freedom of speech was really all about? Maybe instead of endless and needless speech policies, for companies, businesses, organizations and social media, all that really should be required and enforced is, IS IT POLITE Does the speech offend or build up? Does our speech lead others out or leave them in darkness or drive them deeper into it.

In the name of freedom of speech or expression, we have been subjected to that it’s OK, to use filthy language to hurl an expletive, almost every second. Comedians are near-perfect experts at this. This is no more language just heard behind closed doors, but is common in nearly every public and private place. It is language that most of our parents and caregivers scolded us and perhaps punished us for, its unacceptable use. And weren’t most of us taught the rhyming lie, “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me?” Go repeat this to family and friends who have lost loved ones to suicide and other non-peaceful acts because, of hateful speech, from mental bullies! But then, some of us make it through and become adults. We become adults that this language and these types of words and our children hear and see. What do they hear and see us saying and doing? Are they not confused by the old saying— “do as I say, not as I do?” Do they not grow up to think that hypocrisy is acceptable and confused about integrity or meaning what you say and saying what you mean really means, nothing!

Yes, the child that spits and calls out hurtful names and bullies other kids in the ‘sandbox’ so to speak, grow up. The brain expands. They become more educated and many become even, ‘highly educated’ and what do they do with it? They find faster ways, better ways, legal ways, loopholes and more so called “creative” ways, to destroy lives. All of it under the name of freedom of speech. It has become acceptable to and a current trend to disrespect the flag. And yet few people realize or have ever read the U.S. Flag code that makes it against the law, to do such things. And fewer people realize that our own government, does not enforce these laws. So, what do people think? They think and believe that they have the right to spit on the flag, burn it, jump up and down on it, crap on it or whatever and this is just freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of artistic expression and freedom to make your points known, even if it offends others. Oh come on now, how ludicrous is this! What is not somewhere, sometime and to someone,  NOT offensive and are offended something?

Since everyone is offended by something and most liberal minded minds don’t want to offend anyone, what solutions are offered? Pretty much the argument goes, I have freedom of speech to say pretty much anything. Courts rule on it. Laws are made by it and people pretty much say whatever they want. What kind of solution is that? That is not a solution! It is illogical! It sounds to me, a lot like lawlessness, rebellion in the name of revolution and anarchy under the guise of freedom of speech!

The solution is plain and simple. It is right in front of us. Are there limits to freedom of speech? YES!

What are these limits? You or I do not have the right to yell fire in a crowded theater if there is no fire. We do not have the right to yell bomb on a crowded airplane or jet, if there is none. Why not? Common sense says this could cause a panic, start a riot, disturb the peace and people could be hurt, crushed and even killed. We do not have the right to say anything that is NOT true. These are called lies and are seen as libel, slander, copyright and patent infringement among others. We do not have the right to hurt and kill others physically, and we do not have the right to hurt anyone emotionally, physically and spiritually, with words. On and on we could go here and perhaps I am “preaching to the choir?” But the solution is much more simple than just endless examples, which many may view as nothing more than just, my opinion.

So, what exactly does the first amendment to the Constitution mean? What is the right? Who has these rights? And to answer these, we also answer to whom this amendment was written for and what it is designed to protect us from.

These first amendment rights are to, of, for and by us, WE the People. It clearly states what and/or to whom we are to be protected of or from. And what is that? Anything or anyone, that is not polite!

We each have the right to choose our own expression of belief, but in our discourse of expressing them, we must be polite. We have the freedom of speech, but our speech must be polite. The press (media) is free to express the facts, but they must be polite. We have the right to assemble peaceably and redress government of our gripes and griefs, but we must be polite and courteous about it!

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The FREEDOM to be POLITE, cost our founders everything!

 

As to speech itself, any speech that is not polite would be impolite. Hate-speech at its least is, impolite. So, any and all speech or any of the rights listed in the first amendment that is NOT polite, is against the law!!!!

Politeness and courtesy would eliminate the burden of the courts, drastically reduce riots, crime, destruction of properties and lives. Speech policies of all businesses, organizations and all manner of people gatherings would become so simple, even a child or a fool could understand them. Chat rooms, social media timelines and pages would suddenly disappear, if they were not polite and courteous. Terrorist recruitment and activity would cease using online social media because, they would all become illegal as, they are not polite.

This is what our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor for, the freedom to be polite, to have the liberty to live life and to pursue happiness. This is what the Constitution and the Bill of Rights was written for, the FREEDOM to be polite!

The executive branch, the legislative branch and the judiciary branch of government do not have these rights, they are but servants to those that do have these rights, us, WE the People.

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From same Greek word [polis] “people of the walled cities made to protect them from enemies without” are both the words politics and the word POLITE derived

This is, our country. It is our Republic. It is both our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. Let us politely, take them all back to ourselves and our posterity.

Polite5

 

 

1 of We the People,

 

Dahni

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