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Losing Free Speech

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“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
These words were spoken by François-Marie Arouet, more well known by his pen name, Voltaire (Quotes About Censorship, #36). A French philosopher from the seventeen hundreds, Voltaire is believed to have influenced the Founding Fathers of America. As a matter of fact, this quote makes up the backbone of the First Amendment from the U.S. Constitution, which states: 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.
While these words were originally written as a kiss-off of sorts to Great Britain, they were also crafted in a way that would transition throughout generations. However, what exactly do these words mean today? How far can someone go and still be able to defend their actions with the phrase “freedom of speech?” A general rule of thumb that has been used was the fire in a crowded theater example, (it is unlawful to yell “Fire!” in a crowded room, due to the endangerment of those inside) but society has reached an age where there are more ways than just word of mouth to cause panic. Nowadays, a rapper can send subliminal messages about spousal abuse through a popular song. Nowadays, a simple Facebook conversation between friends on a social networking sites can cause suspension, or in some cases, expulsion. Nowadays, a simple wardrobe malfunction on live, network television can launch a federal investigation spanning five years over whether or not a pop star’s nipple can be deemed “offensive.” Pop culture has effectiv...


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.... “PERSON OF THE YEAR: THE SHORT LIST: JULIAN ASSANGE.” TIME: 90-94. PRINT.

HARRIS, MARK. “CENSOR AND SENSIBILITY.” ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: 36. PRINT.

“FAQ’S ABOUT THE PARENTS TELEVISION COUNCIL.” PARENTS TELEVISION COUNCIL. THE PARENTS TELEVISION COUNCIL, N.D. WEB. 1 FEB 2011 .

“INTERNET QUOTES, SAYINGS ABOUT THE WORLD WIDE WEB.” THE QUOTE GARDEN. N.D. WEB. 3 FEB 2011 .

“H.S. TEACHER LOSES JOB OVER FACEBOOK POSTING - BOSTON NEWS STORY - WCVB BOSTON.” THE BOSTON CHANNEL. WCVB TV 5, 18 AUGUST 2010. WEB. 12 FEB 2011 .

“CENSORSHIP QUOTES, FREEDOM OF SPEECH SAYINGS.” THE QUOTE GARDEN. N.D. WEB. 7 FEB 2011 .


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