Should Free Speech Be Protected No Matter What? Essay Example

Published: 2023-03-29
Should Free Speech Be Protected No Matter What? Essay Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  United States Justice Constitution Human rights
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 578 words
5 min read

Freedom of speech is one of the most crucial principle issues that are enshrined in the united states constitution. The right to freedom of speech, which is enshrined in the US Constitution's first amendment, allows all American citizens to openly criticize the government without being afraid of censorship or prosecution. However, regardless of the freedoms and rights, some lines must be drawn in the definition of what kinds of speech one does not risk the risk of prosecution or censorship. The setting of various kinds of expressions and utterances is also clearly defined. Speeches and utterances that pose a danger to society are among some of the speeches that an individual lacks protection from under the united states constitution. The main reason that there are many people with the opinion that free speech should be regulated is the rise in the number of hate crimes across the US. On the other hand, some argue that limiting people's freedom of speech is a breach of the Constitution.

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There are conflicting views regarding how democracies should respond when it comes to the issue of protecting the right to free speech when it comes to minorities and Islam. According to Glenn Greenwald, the co-founder of Intercept magazine, banning ideas that are conceived by individuals or groups of people who perceive themselves as more entitled or rightful as a matter of pragmatism has never worked and will never be sufficient. The renowned author further adds that controlling free speech and the rights to freedom of expression that the constitution accords people will never work in this age of the internet. Like many scholars, Glenn proposes that the only way to avoid issues that fuel violence, such as speeches that may fan the flames of islamophobia or racism. He further argues that efforts to control such speeches make people consider themselves martyrs and may encourage others to make such speeches and utterances.

The cost, results, and consequences of regulating free speech should be carefully calculated before any attempts to regulate the latter. The costs could either be emotional, political, or economic. This is according to Stanley Fish, the author of "There's No Such Thing As Free Speech, and it's a Good Thing, Too." He articulates the fact that the decision of whether to limit the freedom of speech or not should be reached after careful consideration of the results, costs, and consequences. According to Fish, the right to freedom of speech is not a principle, but an important value that requires people to ask themselves whether limiting it or allowing it to flourish is worth it.

In the 1919 case of Schenck v. the United States, the united states supreme case ruled that people are not entitled to the freedom of speech if the speech poses an imminent danger to society. An individual cannot raise a false fire alarm in a theatre full of people just because he/she considered the speech being made does not align with his/her beliefs or ideas. Yet, he/she knows well that a false fire alarm has a high likelihood of resulting in injuries or even fatalities. On the other hand, a court ruled that even racist speech such as the one made by the controversial head of the Ku Klux Klan is protected under the constitution of the united states if it does not have the likelihood of resulting in public unrest or violence. This ruling was made in the 1969 Brandenburg v. Ohio case.

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