What Is Freedom Of Speech?

Posted: December 22, 2013 in Current Events
Tags: ,
I always knew that Scrooge McDuck and his duck dynasty was nothing but trouble!

I always knew that Scrooge McDuck and his duck dynasty was nothing but trouble!  That’s who we all are talking about, right?

Recent events (which I don’t think I need to mention specifically, because goodness knows that at least judging from my Facebook feed, it’s the most important event of our times) revolving a certain reality television star have made me realize that it might be time for a civics lesson.  There is going to be a quiz at the end, but don’t worry, I’m going to give you everything you need to answer the questions correctly right now!

What is freedom of speech?  It is a Constitutionally protected right to express your opinion, since the First Amendment prohibits the passage of law by Congress that would abridge freedom of speech.  In other words, the government can’t throw you in jail or fine you or in any other way punish you for the things you say, nor can they set up any rules disallowing topics of discussion, etc.  That really is all there is to it.

So now it’s time for the quiz:

1)  True/False – A star of a reality television show makes a statement regarding a certain group of people.  In turn, the group of people are offended by the statement and voice their displeasure.  Maybe this group of people even call for action by the network airing the reality television show.  The reality television show star’s freedom of speech rights have been violated.

2)  True/False – As a result of the reality television star’s statement in question one, the network decides to suspend the star.  The reality television show star’s freedom of speech rights have been violated.

3)  True/False – As a result of the reality television star’s statement in question one, the network decides to fire the star.  The reality television show star’s freedom of speech rights have been violated.

4)  True/False – As a result of the reality television star’s statement in question one, the network decides to cancel the reality television show.  The reality television show star’s freedom of speech rights have been violated.

If you answered any of those questions with a true, you need to re-read this article from the beginning and try again.  You see, other groups and networks are not governments and they can’t pass laws, nor can they prevent anyone from saying anything they please.  However, other groups and networks ALSO have Constitutionally protected freedom of speech, which they may exercise in response to other speech.  Groups are free to criticize and protest.  One person’s freedom of speech does not trump everyone else’s. Networks are free to remove employees or shows (and they actually can do this for ANY reason they want really, or even NO reason at all).  The right to star in a reality television show is not Constitutionally protected, because that right does not exist.  (But let’s keep in mind, that just puts them on equal footing as you and me, as we don’t have a right to our jobs either.)

So if you want to say that you don’t think this star should be removed for expressing his opinion, then you are entitled to that opinion.  It’s your right.  In fact, if you even want to say that this star’s freedom of speech rights have been violated, you can say that too, because you are still within your rights.  Just know that people like me will then exercise our own freedom of speech rights to say that you are factually wrong, because you just are.

Now if only the plight of the poor and hungry in this nation would elicit the amount of emotional response as the suspension of a stupid reality television star, we might get somewhere in solving actual important issues.

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