Free Speech: First Amendment Essay, Research Paper
First Amendment ;
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 U.S. Constitution says that everyone that is an American citizen has the right of free speech. You can find censorship almost anywhere around you. It?s in music, television, and even literature. I don?t believe that it is fair that there be some much censorship in a country that does nothing but promise freedom to all its occupants. It is said that suppression of all of these things helps to prevent the crimes that occur. However even with all of the restrictions, there are still people murdering and stealing. America was founded on freedom. Why should the government censor the motion picture industry, the music industry, or the publishing business? Censorship of music, the Internet, literature and films is unconstitutional because we all have the right to free speech.
Music is one of the many places where you can find censorship. You would think that by now grown adults, college-educated and reasonably successful in traditional ways, might have adjusted to the fact that “bad words” on the radio, or TV, or movies, or CDs, don’t cause young people to rebel like the marauding teens in “Wild in the Streets.” All the anecdotes in the world about let down high school students who listen to violent rock/rap lyrics before knocking over a bunch of mailboxes or pulling out a shotgun and killing their classmates can never refute the fact that thousands/millions of people listen to those same lyrics and hear them for what they are. And what are they? Whether serious political or social commentary, or merely shocking and tasteless parody, they are not commanders of violence.
?America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense, human rights invented America.? – Jimmy Carter, 1981
Another place you can find censorship is in the movies and on television. Most entertainment is fiction and rational people (children AND adults) can separate it from reality. Maybe everyone that agrees with censorship should start thinking of the other things that cause violence. If violence on TV is such a problem that it has to be censored, then what about the news? It is just as bad, worse in fact because the stories on it are REAL. Nobody will ever decide to take the news off the air because it is too brutal. Do you really think that it’s a coincidence that we have had three sets of multiple shootings at schools in the past five months? Has the news media ever considered that they might be ENCOURAGING such behavior in people that want their 15 minutes of fame, however they can get it? The problem with violence lies deeper then with film or television.
?There can be no greater good than the quest for peace, and no finer purpose than the preservation of freedom.? – Ronald Reagan, 1985
Restrictions of literature are perhaps one of the worst forms of censorship.
?Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.? This is a famous quote from George Santayana. He is trying to say that all too often, we try to completely wipe out ideas that we dislike, perhaps believing that if some dangerous idea is wiped out, it will be gone forever. But if we do this, all too soon the idea will be once more born. And if there is no memory of the dangers of it, then it starts all over again. Book censorship has tried to suppress thoughts, rather than refute them with better ideas. The books that are being banned are not even that ghastly. We are talking about the classics like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Catcher in the Rye. These are good books that DO NOT deserve to be banned. These novels are great to learn morals and ethics from. This is what should be focused on when deciding a books ?fate?, not how many curse words or used or whether or not the main character has sex. Besides, you cannot shield kids from these things because they are out there in the real world. Books help teach these things and they don?t try to hide the truth.
?It is the ferment of ideas, the clash of disagreeing judgments, the privilege of the individual to develop his own thought and shape his own character which makes progress possible.? – Calvin Coolidge, 1925
Finally we come to the Internet. This is probably the most controversial issue of censorship. All over the Internet there are sites asking for free speech. Government Censorship would damage the atmosphere of the freedom to express ideas on the Internet.
Electronic Mail (email), which is one component of the Internet, approximates person to person letters, memoranda, notes and even phone calls. Research is made easy on the internet, if you are looking for things about a certain topic, and abundance of material is sure to come up for you. This wonderful tool provides hours of entertainment and
Education, no matter what the specifics are. There might be a couple of murky corners around the internet but they have passwords and other means of security so that young children do not get exposed. The people that do go on those sites are old enough to do whatever it is they want to do. The World Wide Web is conceivably one of the finest things ever created. There are so many more good things about it than bad.
?Opinion and protest are the life breath of democracy – even when it blows heavy?
- Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966
Hopefully you have noticed that the quotes in my paper were all made by former presidents that were all in favor of some kind of free speech. Now I ask you this; is censorship really that good of an idea if all these men that ran our country didn?t agree with it? I think not. Hopefully my paper has made you think about a couple things. The controversial issues of the world will always be around whether or not there is censorship of anything. What good does it do? None. America is a great place to live because we have one thing; FREEDOM! Don?t let them take that away from us.
5) Everday Life ? Macmillian Library Reference