"For classical liberals, this means the right to express one’s ideas without government censorship. The government could not suppress speech, regulate its dissemination, require licensing before one could state opinions, or promote one form of speech over another.
This is just an application of the broader principle that the only proper function of government is to protect individual rights. Unless we violate others’ rights through force, fraud, or threat thereof, we should be left free to live according to our best rational judgment — including the freedom to express our ideas without government interference. (Speech that violates others’ rights, such as fraud or death threats should not and would not be protected.)
Equally important, the right to free speech does not mean the right to the means of speech, such as an alleged “right” to newspaper space or broadcast time. A private publisher has no obligation to allow you to express your views on his pages. There is no such thing as a “right” to an audience. Private parties who choose not to publish your ideas are not engaging in censorship; only the government can commit censorship."
Thursday, June 10, 2010
The First Amendment to the Constitution is Under Attack, Again.
"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."
The above is the plain, unmistakable text of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Yet abridging the natural right of freedom of speech, to express one's opinions freely is exactly what the leftists in Congress are trying to do again.
Unhappy with the SCOTUS decision in the case of Citizens United vs. FEC (I wrote about it here in February) that overturned most of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill, the Democrats are trying to end run the Constitution by introducing the DISCLOSE act which could have the effect of banning books, or even blogs like this one based on whether the government thinks I am "spreading misinformation" or engaging in "hate speech" (which is anything that disagrees with the leftist narrative) . I, for one, am not going to accept a government muzzle because someone in the government disagrees with what I have to say.
Paul Hsieh has a very good post over at Pajamas Media on this subject, which of course you should go and read in its entirety, but he makes these important points about what the First Amendment means that I want to call out:
If this legislation passes, then we have a Congress that doesn't even pay lip service to the Constitution any more and we need to vote them out of office while we still can, which may not be much longer.