Beneath the Surface Lies a Slippery Slope

Jill always has important things to say and today is no different. This is well worth your time.

Filosofa's Word

After a discussion last evening with friend and fellow blogger John about whether it would ever be acceptable to place certain limitations on 1st Amendment freedom of speech, and if so, under what circumstances.  Now, it’s been a lot of years since my last ConLaw class, so I had to dig out some notes and texts, but let us review briefly, the history of free speech in the U.S..

The U.S. Constitution was signed and ratified in 1787, but the first ten amendments, commonly known as the Bill of Rights, was not ratified until 1791.  The first real curtailment of free speech came some seven years later, with the Sedition Act of 1798.  At the time, war with France seemed imminent, Congress and President John Adams feared treason by French sympathisers within the U.S., thus was born the Sedition Act of 1798, which required criminal penalties for persons who…

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12 thoughts on “Beneath the Surface Lies a Slippery Slope

    • I am a retired accountant, as Hugh said, but have a Master’s degree in Political Science and most of the work toward a Ph.D. in International Relations. As for writing … long ago, a college professor said I wrote well and should switch my major from accounting to journalism, but I didn’t listen, so I only started writing after I retired from counting beans! Thank you for reading and for your inquiry!

  1. Hugh, thank you for reblogging this. As you know — and in relation to Whitechapel Whelk’s comment — I do have a background i journalism. A long one, and what Jill wrote is important for all of us to understand. I’ve spent my whole career using the First Amendment’s rights and protections, and much of my career defending them. Through the many attempts, especially by public/government officials, to squelch or alter what my staffs or I reported or wrote, I’ve become an absolutist on the First Amendment. It must protect all speech, or, to borrow a phrase, it protects none. None of us can draw a line anywhere, or else we all will be drawing lines around what offends us — and having them drawn around us. (Because surely what we write or say is bound to offend someone.)

    In this strange, nerve-wracking era, the First Amendment must remain America’s most-cherished document, its most-cherished guiding principle. At its heart — whether free speech, free press or freedom of religion — is the freedom to think, and to think as we want. That, of course, is the freedom to be human.

    Again, thanks for reblogging this and many thanks to Jill for an essential post.

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