Freedom of Speech


Please note before reading that this post was written for a class, and the topic was assigned.

“It is a peculiar but immutable feature of our American system of free speech that we expend so much of our speech trying to silence other speakers.” -Adam Weinstein

In this quote, Weinstein is saying that Americans take their freedom of speech too far.
As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said: “One person’s rights end when another’s begin.”
This quote summarizes a basic American belief, in which one American’s rights cannot be intruded on by another American. Americans are given no right to restrict another American from utilizing their constitutional rights.
In my opinion, the situation described in this quote is due to ignorance. Most Americans believe that a person’s freedom of speech is being violated when a private organization stops one of their employees from speaking on a particular topic. Let’s evaluate this a little more. As a private organization, separate from the government, the organization has the right to not be associated with things one of their employees says. However, as an American, that employee has the constitutional right of free speech. So where do we go from here? The thing that most people don’t realize is that the rights granted to Americans in the bill of rights only protects that person from the government taking that right. Since most Americans do not work for the government, their employers can limit how their employees act while representing that company. The company cannot limit what that employee says and does in their personal time, but they can limit their speech and behavior while that individual is representing that organization.
When Americans lash out and accuse others of violating their constitutional rights, it sends a broader picture to the world. This sends a message to other countries that these freedoms don’t work. It tells any countries who may be considering instituting freedoms to their citizens that these freedoms are taken too seriously.
At this point, I would like to pause to clarify. I am not saying that anyone should not utilize their rights. What I mean by saying that people take their rights too seriously is that people are abusing their rights by intruding on other people’s rights.
Anyway, this issue is big in America and it is important for Americans to know when their freedom of speech is allowed and when it’s not. I will link an educational youtube video by crash course at the bottom of this post for anyone who is interested in learning more about their freedom of speech.



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