Chief Reason Speech

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The chief reason speech is thought as an unrestricted and unlimited right is from the misunderstanding of the nature of the constitution, primarily the First Amendment. First, it must be recognized that there are no absolute rights. Though the amendment reads, “Congress [and state governments following the 1868 ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment] shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech”, the seemingly and often misinterpreted infinite nature of the freedom of speech clause is rendered null when the vast, upheld restrictions of speech are considered (US const. amend. I; amend XIV, sec 1). Speech that aggrievedly defames, invades privacy, causes panic, provokes retaliatory violence or incites crimes is and ought to be restricted under the Millian principle that law is to protect citizens from harm, and punish those who harm others (Feinburg 1). The circumstance of speech is of profound importance when considering the quality of protection speech receives under law. We must also note that private institutions, like Berea College, are not legally obligated to follow constitutional law in the same fashion as …show more content…
In his essay on free speech, Feinberg defines defamatory statements as statements “that damage a person’s reputation by their expression to third parties in a manner that ‘tends to diminish the esteem in which the plaintiff is held, or to excite adverse feelings or opinions against him’” (Feinberg, Prosser). The potential damage of allowing free rein the student-tenants’ profoundly offensive speech to the esteem of the College permits the interest in limiting speech in effort to protect its reputation. The harm that may ensue with continuation of the display of the flags is momentous enough to warrent barring of the speech in the interest of the safety of the College as a respected private

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