Freedom From Speech

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.

Well that all seems like a good idea. It not really all that clear english, but I agree with the sentiments anyway. However, lately one of these freedoms is starting to bug me. In our advertising driven mass media culture. I am starting to want a rider on the idea of freedom of speech. I think I should be able to have freedom from speech.

I assume the Founding Fathers were concerned that without an explicit freedom of speech, the goverment would be able to block the views of people who don’t agree with them. I don’t think they realized that just to get the checkout in the grocery store you would have to avert your eyes or at least you brain to avoid reading a bunch of pathetic headlines about pathetic celebrities.

Perhaps they didn’t realize we would get junk mail sent to our homes purposely diguised as something important. Maybe they didn’t know that our dinner would be interrupted so someone could speak to us about the opportunity we have to refinace our mortgage. I doubt their idea of speech included porn spam sent to kids email boxes.

It’s wrong to limit what can be said. But I don’t really have as much of a problem with limiting where things can be said as long as they have a place to be heard. For example, I don’t say we should outlaw porn movies. But we don’t show them in grade schools.

If I didn’t care about freedom I would go further. Instead of just not allowing people to shout fire in a crowded theatre, I would make it a criminal (perhaps captial) offense to talk during movies. And I would ban street preachers, except for the ones that are funny.






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