Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Freedom of Speech: Going, Going ...

Ed Cline has a few thoughts on the continual erosion of our right of freedom of speech.
"The First Amendment has been abridged, and the issues that have nickeled-and-dimed it to bankruptcy have so atomized the subject -- one might even say vaporized it -- by such a prodigious volume of non-conceptual thought and politically-biased interpretation by theorists, jurists and legal philosophers, that one is virtually stopped in one's mental tracks by the plethora of sub-issues generated by those kinds of thought and interpretations: political speech, hate speech, corporate speech, commercial and non-commercial speech, obscenity, campus speech codes, balanced viewpoints, the "Fairness Doctrine," content-neutral speech, employer and employee speech, harm-based restrictions on speech, government-mandated product warnings, high- and low-value speech....the list goes on.

On what moral principle is the First Amendment based? On the sovereignty of one’s mind, a sovereignty given value in reality by the recognized and protected liberty to say what is on one’s mind. … Man lives by his mind, by thinking, and by taking actions based on his thinking. If he is prohibited from taking action – in this instance, from speaking – then the freedom of thought is nullified …

What is censorship? Most dictionaries agree, in their definitions, that it is the practice or system of officials suppressing or deleting material in books, films, letters, news, and so on. Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary and the Oxford Concise Dictionary (6th Edition) both imply, in their use of the term "official," that censorship is strictly a government action."


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