First and Second Amendments

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The First Amendment doesn't guarantee freedom of speech. None of our Constitutional rights is absolute. It's all about the balancing of rights. Your right to swing your arm ends where my nose begins, etc. Your First Amendment rights are limited in many ways. You can't perjure yourself, you can't yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater, you can't tell state secrets, you can't libel or slander. So my question for the gun lovers is:

We don't let any person say any thing - why should we let any person have any gun?

Dave Shelton

Denver

dave@sheltond.com's picture
dave@sheltond.com
Joined:
Jul. 23, 2012 11:13 am

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Quote dave@sheltond.com:

The First Amendment doesn't guarantee freedom of speech. None of our Constitutional rights is absolute. It's all about the balancing of rights. Your right to swing your arm ends where my nose begins, etc. Your First Amendment rights are limited in many ways. You can't perjure yourself, you can't yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater, you can't tell state secrets, you can't libel or slander. So my question for the gun lovers is:

We don't let any person to say any thing - why should we let any person have any gun?

Dave Shelton

Denver

Good questions!

Even free speech extremists recognize that a mugger saying "your money or your life" is acting illegally doesn't mean that his speech is being abridged. His speech, in context, is coincident to a crime.

Perjury is a fraud. You promised to tell the truth and you didn't.

Yelling "Fire" in a crowded theatre is a violation of the theatre owner's property rights. He sold you a ticket to watch a movie. If you falsely yell fire, you violated your (implicit)agreement to watch the movie.

Libel and slander should be allowed in a free society. Your reputation is not your property. It is precisely what everyone else thinks about you. What other people say or write, if incorrect, will reflect poorly on them. No one has to believe anything they hear.

State secrets is a tougher one but I think that the divulging of any legitimate state secret can be covered by Treason, which is in the Constitution. Otherwise, what does that government have to hide that we the people don't have a right to know about.

LysanderSpooner's picture
LysanderSpooner
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I our perverse style, we have made obscenity and rudeness untouchable while making it harder for whistleblowers or the oppressed to be heard. All in the name of "free speech."

It does not seem to me to be excessive to require "the news" and "journalists" to meet higher standards for reporting than the legal limits for the average nut case. There are people who cannot deal with the facts and whose emotional certainty ought not be given a 4th Estate badge. Even in terms of public microphones and "opinion," there ought to be some standards of credibility and integrity other than believing the crap that comes out of your mouth.

The idea that broadcasters can tell their "newspeople" to lie or misrepresent the facts and be backed up by the courts says a ton about the courts. If "free speech" is so fundamental that we cannot deprive corporate persons of their metaphysical right to have a mouth, then we might demand that they behave as responsible citizens instead of "fiduciary" monsters.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am

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