Free Speech / by kevin murray

Freedom of Speech is one of our fundamental rights; in fact, it was given to us as the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.  Any assault on our freedom to speak our mind is a quasi-assault on our freedom to think our own thoughts.  There are few people that believe that our thoughts should be controlled by the state, or by religion, or by other people, yet there are many people that believe that there should be necessary strict shackles and limits on our freedom of speech and that our speech should be monitored and/or controlled by the State.  In short, that our speech, is not a right, but a privilege granted by the Government.


It is interesting to note that in James Madison's Speech of 1789 on his Proposed Amendments to the Constitution he stated the following: "The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable."  He further added:  "No state shall violate the equal rights of conscience, or the freedom of the press."  It should be noted also that he stated:
"First. That there be prefixed to the constitution a declaration That all power is originally vested in, and consequently derived from the people."


Freedom of speech is an essential right and the cornerstone of our liberty in which so many of our other rights are dependent upon it.  Free expression of ideas, opinions, and philosophies are necessary and vibrant ingredients in order for our community at large to function at an advanced and liberated state.  It is not the government's responsibility or legal right to suppress our freedom of speech.  If our speech must meet with government or private approval, than our freedom of speech has been curtailed and therefore is a sham.  While there may be exceptional circumstances in which freedoms must be constrained, the powers to do so are covered by Constitutional law.  


It is especially troubling that so many of our leading universities and higher educational institutions have implemented policies to preclude freedom of speech and freedom of the press, mainly under the guise of protecting students from bias, prejudice, inflammatory and uncivil remarks, lawsuits and the like.  In order for ideas to grow, mature, and develop, it is absolutely mandatory to have freedom of speech.  Part of maturing as an individual is dealing with adversity, by right thinking, counterpoint, and careful & reasoned reflection. 


A society in which each person is instructed to think the same, do the same, act the same, and accomplish the same, is a society that has given up its freedom of expression, its freedom of speech, and its freedom in any real conception of the word.  Without freedom of speech, we have ceded control of our lives to the tyranny of the powerful and to the elite to our own demise.  The ability to think and to express ourselves is an inalienable right that is sacrosanct and is the very essence of free will, freedom, and what our Constitution represents.  Without freedom of speech, and its attendant powers, we have ceded essential control of who we are to the State.