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Suppression of Freedom of Speech

PetersSmith
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4/22/2016 9:26:25 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
In the United States, freedom of speech is considered a fundamental right. It's the 1st amendment and acts as the supreme law of the land. However, there has been many instances where freedom of speech and free expression has been quite limited.

Let's begin with the first limitation: clear and present danger. Clear and present danger is the idea that the government is allowed to limit your speech if it poses a "clear and present danger". Imminent lawless action is also included under this, which establishes that freedom of speech does not permit a state to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force except where such advocacy is directed to incitement or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such an action. This also includes words that can be shown to lead or to have led directly to acts of violence, interfered with the constitutional rights of others (blocking an abortion clinic), disrupted a legitimate government function, revealed classified information, or trespassed private or public property. Let's give an example, Gitlow v. New York, it was determined that Benjamin Gitlow was not allowed to publish his communist propaganda because it represented a danger to peace and order. This applies to freedom of press as well, such as that with Near v. Minnesota.

Next, we have fighting words and hate content. Speech mixed with conduct may be restricted if the restrictions are narrowly and carefully tailored to curb the conduct while leaving the speech unmolested. The use of profanity or words that are likely to cause violence may be regulated, as may symbolic actions that prevent others from carrying out legitimate activities.

Another we have suppression of freedom of expression. Here, authorities are allowed to limit free expression if they are concerned about internal security and national defense. This has occurred many times in history. One example being the Sedition Act of 1798, where it was against the law to criticize the government and its leaders. Another was during WWI, where laws were enacted to suppress dangerous ideas and talk, leading to raids on who the government classified as "radicals" and censorship, even if they didn't pose a clear and present danger.

We also have something called libel and slander. Here, people cannot publish or speak a falsehood about someone. However, a publication or person can argue that they believed it was "truth", but then blame it on poor sources.

And now we come to everyone's favorite, the ability of the government to conduct privacy violations. According to the PATRIOT Act, the federal government is allowed access to your private and business records, phone conversations, financial transactions, and internet communications. Their excuse is to combat terrorism.

Finally for this thread we have offense media, also known as obscenity laws. The courts have ruled that obscenity is not protected by the 1st amendment. Because the only "real" obscenity that is explicitly stated is child pornography (New York v. Ferber), the government created a three-part test as a result of Miller v. California. 1. The average person, applying to contemporary community standards, must find that the work as a whole appeals to the prurient interest. 2. The state law must specifically define what depictions of sexual conduct are obscene. 3. The work as a whole must lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

Anyway, what is your opinion on the suppression of freedom of speech? Should the government be able to do it? Do you agree with the government provisions that I listed here? Do you think that none of these provisions should exist or should there truly exist some exceptions to the first amendment? Do you think the Miller test or the clear and present danger tests are outdated? Do you think there should be more limits on other things that are or aren't included here? Discuss.
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PetersSmith
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4/23/2016 1:36:49 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
Should I have posted this in the society forum...?
Empress of DDO (also Poll and Forum "Maintenance" Moderator)

"The two most important days in your life is the day you were born, and the day you find out why."
~Mark Twain

"Wow"
-Doge

"Don't believe everything you read on the internet just because there's a picture with a quote next to it."
~Abraham Lincoln

Guide to the Polls Section: http://www.debate.org...
roun12
Posts: 177
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4/23/2016 2:30:26 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/23/2016 1:36:49 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
Should I have posted this in the society forum...?

I think this could go in either Politics or Society. It would probably depend on how you word the OP.
"No, I disagree. 'R' is among the most menacing of sounds. That's why they call it MURDER, not Muckduck." - Dwight

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roun12
Posts: 177
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4/23/2016 3:00:11 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
This....Is tough to answer...Probably because I'm fairly young and have essentially no life experience. The problem is people will be people. People will be subjective and will have their biases. What may be harmless to one person may be offensive and needs to be silenced to someone else, and for something as subjective as Freedom of Speech there might not be a single clear cut answer as to where the police, government, or other people can intervene.

But hey, that's just my opinion and I still have a lot to learn about the world.
"No, I disagree. 'R' is among the most menacing of sounds. That's why they call it MURDER, not Muckduck." - Dwight

"Tell people there's an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority will believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure." - George Carlin
ColeTrain
Posts: 4,325
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4/23/2016 3:02:51 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/22/2016 9:26:25 PM, PetersSmith wrote:
In the United States, freedom of speech is considered a fundamental right. It's the 1st amendment and acts as the supreme law of the land. However, there has been many instances where freedom of speech and free expression has been quite limited.

Let's begin with the first limitation: clear and present danger. Clear and present danger is the idea that the government is allowed to limit your speech if it poses a "clear and present danger". Imminent lawless action is also included under this, which establishes that freedom of speech does not permit a state to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force except where such advocacy is directed to incitement or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such an action. This also includes words that can be shown to lead or to have led directly to acts of violence, interfered with the constitutional rights of others (blocking an abortion clinic), disrupted a legitimate government function, revealed classified information, or trespassed private or public property. Let's give an example, Gitlow v. New York, it was determined that Benjamin Gitlow was not allowed to publish his communist propaganda because it represented a danger to peace and order. This applies to freedom of press as well, such as that with Near v. Minnesota.

Next, we have fighting words and hate content. Speech mixed with conduct may be restricted if the restrictions are narrowly and carefully tailored to curb the conduct while leaving the speech unmolested. The use of profanity or words that are likely to cause violence may be regulated, as may symbolic actions that prevent others from carrying out legitimate activities.

Another we have suppression of freedom of expression. Here, authorities are allowed to limit free expression if they are concerned about internal security and national defense. This has occurred many times in history. One example being the Sedition Act of 1798, where it was against the law to criticize the government and its leaders. Another was during WWI, where laws were enacted to suppress dangerous ideas and talk, leading to raids on who the government classified as "radicals" and censorship, even if they didn't pose a clear and present danger.

We also have something called libel and slander. Here, people cannot publish or speak a falsehood about someone. However, a publication or person can argue that they believed it was "truth", but then blame it on poor sources.

And now we come to everyone's favorite, the ability of the government to conduct privacy violations. According to the PATRIOT Act, the federal government is allowed access to your private and business records, phone conversations, financial transactions, and internet communications. Their excuse is to combat terrorism.

Finally for this thread we have offense media, also known as obscenity laws. The courts have ruled that obscenity is not protected by the 1st amendment. Because the only "real" obscenity that is explicitly stated is child pornography (New York v. Ferber), the government created a three-part test as a result of Miller v. California. 1. The average person, applying to contemporary community standards, must find that the work as a whole appeals to the prurient interest. 2. The state law must specifically define what depictions of sexual conduct are obscene. 3. The work as a whole must lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

Anyway, what is your opinion on the suppression of freedom of speech? Should the government be able to do it? Do you agree with the government provisions that I listed here? Do you think that none of these provisions should exist or should there truly exist some exceptions to the first amendment? Do you think the Miller test or the clear and present danger tests are outdated? Do you think there should be more limits on other things that are or aren't included here? Discuss.

Relevant: [http://www.debate.org...]

I'll try to respond directly to the OP at some point.
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