Free Speech Under Attack in America! Get the Right Perspective.

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 4th Apr 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Society & Issues

My ears always pick open when I hear complaints about people's right to freedom of speech being abridged, but today the people who complain the most are precisely those whose political views are represented more than adequately by mainstream media over the years. Those whose view has never been represented in the mainstream never complain about lack of representation, they simply deal with it.

Constitutional Rights

According to Jessica Russell "Freedom of Speech is a Constitutional Right, but it is under attack in the U.S", yes it is under the First Amendment, yet since 9/11 the right to free speech has been under attack but it is not been against those those spouting anti-gay, pro-gun, anti-Islamic, propaganda - it has been against those who prefer more liberal community. Since that date the American government has abandoned the basic ideas that saw it through decades of challenges arguably more daunting than a single terrorist attack. Today the American population is categorically treated as a potential enemy, particularly if you dissent in any way, especially if you wear traditional Muslim dress.

Writer LeRain states "liberals want us to lie or shut up when we speak" - truth is most liberal or left thinking people support open debate, they have no interest in silencing the opposition - because they are the opposition and have been for the whole of the last century (albeit peppered with small bouts of power in certain countries for a short time, but even the most liberal of regimes are controlled by capitalist aims).

The Bill of Rights was originally created to ensure the new American government would not replicate the abuses of power of the old British one, yet arguably that is precisely where America is headed. The government is currently in lockdown mode creating a culture of censorship.

Russell complains about an unconstitutional double standard when it comes to:

    "Free Speech in this country is continually punished, particularly by the media which immediately cancels shows, fires actors and actresses, and blackballs performers out of the business if they do not agree with certain lifestyles"

Welcome back Senator MacCarthy! The House Unamerican Activities Committee for many years took away credential of actors, writers, and others during the post-war period because they were left leaning and perhaps because they knew someone who once was a Communist Party member. Truth is for all of the rights of the First Amendment there have been plenty of views that have stomped on over the years, especially those who oppose the capitalist system.

One further thing about the First Amendment that is vital to understand and that is there is nothing that says foreign residents cannot say what they wish about America. But before you criticise remember this foreigner is a lawyer and has a full understanding about the workings of the US Constitution.

Anti-Christian Views?

Further Russell states: "if someone offends a Christian by trying to mock the Bible, prayer, the name of Jesus or something similar, that's just too bad for the Christian" that is rich given the amount of anti-Islamic propaganda in the American press seen daily. The First Amendment also guarantees free exercise of religion (but it is not specific about what religion). America is however NOT a Christian state, its constitution is masonic in origin and is non-denominational throughout, supporting freedom for religion is NOT supporting any specific religion. I would agree that mocking the bible, or religious thought, is unwise, yet it must be understood there is a great difference between mocking and criticism. Religion, whether Christian or any other, like politics, should be open to critique. It is not permissible to call criticism blasphemy, in the same way there is nothing improper about western magazines using the likeness of Mohammed when producing cartoons, it is all an element of free speech.

Being opposed to Christianity, Islam, Judaism or any other religion, for that matter, is not illegal, neither is it immoral and the person holding such a view must also have their beliefs protected by the First Amendment. In the same way of course a Christian has a right to oppose homosexuality but this is a complex area in part because many homosexuals are Christian, but it is not the belief that is at issue its the publicity surrounding that view. The line between open opposition and and suborning a hate crime is a matter of degree.

Being an atheist having a moral code is as important as to any Christian, Jew, or Muslim and part of that is to support people's right to religions belief, not because it is protected under the First Amendment, but because that is correct to do so, yet it recognises that religion is not necessary for a good person or to live a full and meaningful life.

As an atheist I oppose Christianity, Islam or any other religion with every fibre of my body, but I follow Voltaire's doctrine and would fight with every fibre of my body for a Christian, Muslim or Jew's rights under the First Amendment.

Anti American?

Russel is right to criticise Facebook for carrying the words of Alton Nolen "the Muslim extremist who brutally executed an innocent woman at her place of work in the name of Allah had posted massive amounts of pro-ISIS, anti-Christian, anti-American, murderous hate filled comments on HIS Facebook page" and demonstrating how racial slurs on another Facebook page were taken down rapidly.

According to author Richard Reeves "free speech is un-American” and Dana Nelson "I thought we had a revolution to repudiate kingly powers... the nation had fallen into a politics of fear", a fear of saying "No!" or opposing those in power it is not undemocratic to hold an alternative view.

Views that are pro-ISIS or anti-Christian, or even anti-American should not by themselves be unconstitutional no matter how much we may dislike or disagree with them. Facebook, while being American owned is a global site and here First Amendment rights actually allow support for foreign opposition movements to be built against oppressive regimes for example the actions of the Arab Spring. As contorted as this may seem is is possible for an American Muslim to make statements supporting ISIS without being anti-American.

But even Americans that are opposed to that nation's capitalist controlled society have a right to be heard and by the way even if they support a Marxist transformation of society makes them no less American. It also time for America to accept that they are not the only nation on the planet and theirs is no more special than any other and why should god save America?

Offensive Speech

Deciding what amounts to 'appropriate' speech and what is 'offensive' is critical. Newspapers would always have lawyers on staff to moderate material from journalists, yet the modern day Internet writer takes the slang version of the First Amendment literally to heart "publish any bloody thing you want" but the act of publishing does not make whatever is said any less offensive. Whether something is offensive is a matter of a personal or group belief and what is offensive to one is not to another.

To many these are the grounds for applying some form of censorship, which becomes a slippery slope. One of the things about the Russell article is that all dissenting views made in comments (other than than those that can be made example off) were summarily purged from the page. On this page I take the opposite view, oppose me all you like, I am not afraid of debate - in fact I welcome it. In one of the few dissenting voices left on Russell's page, Steve Kinsman makes the comment "Would you defend the right of the radical left to be heard as vigorously as you defend Phil Robertson's right to be heard?" - indeed Mr Kinsman makes a valuable comment, because Russell is not really interested in free speech, she is interested only in the application of free speech for the views she favours, that is the definition of censorship - I oppose censorship and am not afraid to be criticised, the only comments that will be deleted by me will be ones containing racist, sexist, or personal attacks.

Censorship is complex and we have seen the result of the worst kind of censorship through history, like pogroms in Nazi Germany or writers being sent to Stalin's camps in Siberia. Look at the way the US is tightening the screw a on whistle blowers like Tom Drake, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, John Kiriakou, Robert MacLean and others it is clear dissent is not acceptable.

To a large extent the best approach is is you find something offensive then go elsewhere, grow a thick skin and accept the possibility that your beliefs may be wrong. Accept that at times your feelings will be hurt, the truth is this world is not holy.

Hate speech is the worst kind of offensive speech, it has been defined as "speech directed at a historically oppressed religious or racial minority with the intent to insult and demean", but I would go further. Hate speech is any speech that is targeted against individual or group (religious or otherwise) based on their views and takes the step of inciting violence against such people.

Image Credits

  • Free Speech from drhurd.com
  • Anti-Christian an image by Peter Giblett
  • Flag Burning by dallasobserver.com
  • Hidden agenda by Green Street (From royalty free image set owned by author.

No hidden Agenda.

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Tags

Abridged, Blasphemy, Christian, Criticism, First Ammendment, Free Speech, Freedom Of Speech, Hate Speech, Homosexual, Left Thinking, Liberal, Since 9-11

Meet the author

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
Author of "Is your Business Ready? For the Social Media Revolution"

Social media consultant, with C-Level background.

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Comments

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
4th Apr 2015 (#)

True freedom of speech has not existed in the USA for some time.

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author avatar Retired
5th Apr 2015 (#)

If you are going to use my name and articles to pose your particular (I'll leave out the pejorative adjectives) point of view, at least provide a link to my page so that your readers have context instead of being mislead.

It's a practice of responsible writing, Peter. (I didn't think I had to remind you of that.)

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
5th Apr 2015 (#)

LeRain, Since the quote of your words was from the comment you made to Jessica Russell's article there was no need to provide a link, because it was already there. This article would not have been necessary had Ms Russell not practised the art of censorship. As I said you have the right to your opinion and I will not delete opposing argument.

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author avatar Retired
5th Apr 2015 (#)

Where censorship is actually occurring is in the mainstream media. Our freedom-of-speech rights are denied by liberal microphones such as the New York Times, Huffington Post, network TV, scientific journals such as Nature and Science, professional societies such as the NAS (to name only a few), which censor out points of view opposing the liberal agenda.

The only avenue for another perspective is the Internet, where online writers like me or Jessica Russell can be heard and published. Even there, our voices are drowned out by the incessant and wordy objections of liberal whining. Liberals say they welcome alternative argument but douse the debate with obfuscation if not outright fabrications, all while ignoring facts presented during debate.

If you think that freedom of speech restrictions are targeting the liberal community, you speak in complete ignorance of censorship extant in the mainstream media against anything outside the liberal agenda. Witness the BBC refusing to broadcast anything against draconian climate change policy, a practice already in place at major media outlets in the U.S.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
5th Apr 2015 (#)

It is clear LeRain that our definition of "liberal" is quite different I do not see the New York Times as in any way liberal. But there are many cases where newspapers do not publish and it has more to do with the influence of their lawyers than anything else. That said I see the views you espouse to in US newspapers every time I purchase them.

I appreciate the presence of writers like you and Jessica Russell here on Wikinut. I think I have said it before that we need a range of views on this site, but I am also in favour of debate and will never delete a comment unless it is offensive. I do not consider myself a liberal but I do favour debate. That said I agree there are plenty of people who ignore facts when entering into arguments and push a purely one sided agenda.

Growing up in England I know how conservative the BBC is, but then we have looped around to my first point of the definition of 'liberal' I support the right of both sides to publish and feel that Wikinut is a better place because it has a diverse range of views.

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author avatar Retired
6th Apr 2015 (#)

No wonder my comments land on deaf ears when you do not see the New York Times as in any way liberal. The Times is the definition of liberal!

Regrettably, a conversation with you closes down before it begins with our respective understanding of the simple term 'liberal' being so polarized. I will no longer waste my time and yours by attempting any change in perception, never mind agreement, on the term.

So much for debate, Peter, when we have no common language to use. It a problem characteristic of the liberal community.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
14th Apr 2015 (#)

The truth of the matter LeRain is that in comparison to politics in other parts of the world both political parties in the US are by definition right-wing and conservative. My analysis of American newspapers show them to be pro-capitalist and therefore conservative, they may be a little more liberal when it comes to religion (or more correctly avoid the subject) - but that is all.

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author avatar Grant Peterson
5th Apr 2015 (#)

Peter you are right to point out how free speech has been under attack since 9/11. The truth is for every person who makes any anti-christian statement there are 5 that will churn out pro-christian, anti-Islamic, anti-abortion propaganda day after day an they are supported by millionaires.

The working class of America has no voice - they are the real opposition and in truth they do not have a mass voice, they rely on small readership journals for their support, not mass newspapers supported by billionaires.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
5th Apr 2015 (#)

Thank you Grant - There are sadly thousands that do not have a voice, not just in America but in almost any other nation.

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author avatar Retired
5th Apr 2015 (#)

It's a tricky question. One would like to say that the right to free speech cuts all ways, but I support laws that restrict the expression of hate speech, from whatever direction it might come.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
5th Apr 2015 (#)

Hate speech is always the most complex of issues John and when you see some of the texts that are published it is clear that there is utter hate and disgust in the heart of the speaker, but what they say stops just short of hate speech, and usually stops short of provoking violence against another person - they know just where to stop.

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author avatar Randhir Bechoo
5th Apr 2015 (#)

Interesting page.

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author avatar Rev. Abby Jo
14th Apr 2015 (#)

First, I am grateful to all of you for providing a meaningful thoughtful dialogue. LeRain, you are fixated on one word: liberal. Get past it. "liberal" is one word, that's all it is. Peter, your comments are well taken, we need a voice for the awakening masses. The topics being censored are not limited to organized religion or partisan dissent, be it Libertarianism, Marxism, Socialism, or Anarchy. The topics being censored include: Fluoride causes disease, specifically pineal calcification; Sungazing awakens the pineal and is not dangerous; Marijuana cures cancer; GMOs cause unknown disease; HAARP is used world-wide for geoengineering; Masons are a world-wide organization; Western banks profit from wars; History has been censored for centuries, etc. When LeRain focuses on one word, or one topic (partisanism) causing division, she is by her focus on that disagreement, amplifying the division and fracturing of the "us" which needs a bigger voice. We need to unite here, people, not find new ways to split us up further.

The censorship is NOT just in the mainstream media. It is in the scientific communities, medical schools, public schools generally speaking. Police are militarized. Social workers call police to force parents to give up their children when parents refuse toxic vaccines, pharmaceuticals, foods and brainwashing pretending to be "education." Thinking people are already treated like criminals or terrorists in the United States but not only in the United States.

The beginning of the healing is an honest meaningful, dialogue without attack, labeling or blame of one another, here. It is here we practice mutual tolerance, empathy and understanding. We then focus that understanding on cleaning up the "mess" our generation made out "there." We cannot focus ourselves if we are fighting and judging one another. The elevation or ascension from the low place comes when we stop fighting and focus instead on what we do agree on, on what we do want: more honest open dialogue! Less fear. A rational dialogue such as we have here is a model for others to begin sorting out what's not working from what is working. Censorship suppresses a necessary step toward human evolution: honest open meaningful public dialogue.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
14th Apr 2015 (#)

Rev Abby Jo, I assume from the title in your name that you are a preacher and I wish you well with everything going on in the world today. You are right that we need more unity amongst the people rather than less.

One of the reasons for creating a constitution, like the American one, is to limit the excesses of society - to stop one set of people treating another set as nobodies (simply because they have no money). All of the issues you identify are serious problems that need resolution and I do not believe that patriotism helps, being patriotic means you grant the right for your country to trample on you - the only people I owe any patronage to are my family, friends, colleagues, and neighbours and the rights of those people are more important than any allegiance to a government that has no clue how to solve the problems it faces.

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author avatar Retired
14th Apr 2015 (#)

Being free to speak is one thing - whether the other party is willing to listen to what is being said is another matter entirely!

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
14th Apr 2015 (#)

John, That is precisely the issue with Ms Russel. By deleting every dissenting view she hoped her opponents would simply melt away.

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