The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A necessity for us

On Monday, I published a post about the First Amendment. Specifically about freedom of speech. We bloggers, perhaps more than almost anyone else, should have a good understanding of that right.

The reason I wrote it was because of some comments and "debates" in a forum somewhere on the subject that said, to me, that a number of people simply do not understand the concept of freedom of speech in this country.

The USA is unique, I think, in respecting that right. Many other countries, even some of those we think of as "free" and democratic and protective of rights, do not stand as solidly behind freedom of speech as the US does.  I think we forget that or maybe we do not believe it. And I think many of us here in the States do not really understand how it is done here.

One of the comments brought up corporations as being opposed to free speech because of non-disclosure agreements, another brought up gag orders by judges. Neither of these are covered under the First Amendment but these commenters thought they were.

The First Amendment (indeed, all of the "Bill of Rights") defines restrictions upon Congress. Not the president, not the judiciary, not corporations, not any entity except our legislative body. For instance, that First Amendment clearly states "Congress shall make no law". There's the potential for abuse by executive and the judicial branches by their omission but the courts have helped restrain themselves as well as some of the regulatory agencies of the executive branch. The point of the First was to ensure no permanent control
, no law, abridging or restricting speech (or press) could be established.

Corporations can restrict that freedom of speech of its employees. Corporations do not pass laws which affect the general population. A judge's gag order only lasts until the trial is over. Someone else brought up the suppression of revealing the details of a settlement but that is clearly entered into by both parties as a condition of the settlement, it is not arbitrarily imposed by the court nor by any branch of government.

I have been in the military and they can, and do, impose restrictions on the speech of their members. I have worked for a couple (three, actually) large corporations and they imposed restrictions on the speech of their employees. And they are legally allowed to.

There is one other thing I think is widely misunderstood. The Constitution does not give us our rights, it protects them against the greatest threat to them: the government.

Ask yourself whether you understand your rights, especially that right of freedom of speech. Question your assumptions.


Steven said...


Douglas said...

And you were polite enough to not mention my misspelling of necessity.