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You have to be working with reliable information in some shared sense of of what counts as the truth. So trying to dry out that larger context , will be an important focus of what I talk about on Constitution Day .
All right. Being an undergraduate minor in political science . I thought I go back in and read Article 1 of the constitution and then talk about over the years there have been certain limits and certain I would people say expansion of the definition of free speech through Supreme Court decisions and I thought we might do a little bit of history as well as political science . So this is Article 1 Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof are are bridging 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 . And it says the freedom of speech period now .
It’s been a while since I had a political science class but it seems like one of the first limits on freedom as a species. You can’t cry fire in a crowded theater . That was a fairly famous case .
From Oliver Wendell Holmes opinion from Oliver Wendell Holmes I actually you discuss such just for a minute. Yeah , well , first of all funding a protection protection for freedom of expression in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights . I think we can see signals its importance in terms of how the founders understood rights and liberties contributing to the idea of the kind of free society that they imagined , and certainly that whole cluster of rights freedom of rule our liberties , freedom of religion and freedom of press and freedom of assembly . But you also found in the First Amendment are at the center of what it means for us to have a free society . Those are the kinds of fundamental liberties Justice Cardozo would later recognize as being the task for what should count as those liberties that would may be made binding not only on national governments but also state governments , the the process of incorporation . And if you go back in your cat that history , you will see that freedom of speech was one of those first liberties that was also made binding or and state governments . So we , we , we have a good sense I think or we can see how a freedom of speech is such a central an important part of what constitutes a free society but Liberty is very often come into conflict with one another , and the general right that we have to safety to live in a safe environment could be impinged upon by a liberty like freedom of speech and so because of those conflicts the right of free speech is the limited one it occurs within context related to a host of other liberties and to general concerns about the social welfare . So the idea that you can speak is governed by what John Stuart Mill called the harm principle that you can Speaker . Say what you think is right to Speaker say as long as it doesn’t harm someone now of course the question emerges what constitutes harm right we can think of situations were yelling fire in a crowded theater might cause a stampede in that would cause a specific , I kind of harm that could be predicted is a likely occurrence . The court has tended to protect speech however that’s more abstract in war political so the court over the years , through a long history of interpretation here have put some were mates own on free speech and recognized areas such as pornography and obscenity her not of burning the flag but well and wealth . If a whole host of areas is not necessarily being totally protected free speech . Now , of course , the court has ruled that burning the flag is a protected form of free speech as long as it doesn’t threaten other Kansas Pacific arms . So you can express yourself by burning the flag . If you are going to run the risk of burning down the building .
Well , and you can say anything you want to hear about somebody. But if you slander them you could end up in .
Well , that’s another place where there are reasonable there at the courts are placed what they see as reasonable limits on free speech.
Except it seems that if you’re a public figure. Anything can be said is hard to slander a public .
It is the courts give folks a wide latitude about how they talk about public figures but I think you know ultimately that’s something that’s important. We need to be able . And I think as follows . The logic of these kinds of decisions over the years and this cat way of of of of reading the tradition of freedom of speech . We want to create the conditions for the grade is variety of comments in claims and insights in the public sphere , because that creates a marketplace of ideas that allows us to most fully investigate the kind of society that we want to be , it’s hard to say . In many cases that choices related to character and to personality are not related to what public figures do the kinds of policies they choose . And so , yeah a wide well a wider degree of latitude has been opened up in terms of our ability to talk about public figures , but ultimately I I I think you can tell I’m I’m okay with this more robust reading of the tradition of freedom of expression and how it should be practice and in fact that’s ultimately part of what I would like to point to in my discussion a constitution .
Given the the media world we now live in our tweets messages all of that is that considered speech by the court.
The law is still evolving regarding what the law is. But I do think that it does constitute speech . I think the courts wolf eventually fully recognize these electronic forms of communication is constituting speech but I think standing back from what the actual war says in looking at the way in which these technologies are used as quite clearly speech people or making political commentary and social commentary that is taken in bars , lots of different people and us think undoubtedly has an effect on the way people think and behave so I don’t know how you could some hail cordon off this realm of speech from our wider sense of what a free public discourse should look .
Well , I I just wondered whether that would be considered prowess or or speech and and what you can’t listen to the Daily News or read it without somebody has said something online you know you may express yourself and what’s all of a sudden blood people don’t like what you had to say. Sure . So there , there is a response . No limit , but yes . You’re free to say it , but if you get pummeled that’s okay team .
Yeah , that that’s right , that’s right , I think a couple of things I would say wine this new technology has really challenged the idea that speech per se and freedom of the press are perfectly discrete categories. Right . At what point does the citizen who writes commentary on blogs or own web pages . Whatever the case might be at what point does that person who was taking in for information and transmitting it to other people . At what point does a person become a journalist . It’s not a perfectly easy divide to police . Is it , but the way in which of the policing happens isn’t but what the government does its by what happens in this electronic public sphere how people respond to you how they flame you or call you out or in different kinds of ways .
Those who control whether to Google or Facebook. Those platforms are entities have sort of undertaking the role of .
Censorship , correct. I’m trying to get to the contemporary world out , I mean , yeah , I mean there was something today about whether Holocaust denier should be allowed .
On Facebook right on Facebook. Yeah , right , right . Yeah , well , the people that run these are private enterprises that looks like have the ability to make decisions about what is and .