What Freedom Do You Speak of? Essay

882 Words Jul 2nd, 2012 4 Pages
What Freedom do you speak of? “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.” (The First Amendment) In 1787 when the Constitution was proposed people expressed the concern that the document failed to specify the fundamental rights of the people that would be immune from assault by federal officials. We knew not only from the study of history but also from personal experience, that the tendency of governments throughout history was to abuse their powers, especially in times of emergency. The people feared that the …show more content…
The reason that principle is important is that it recognizes that democratically elected officials are likely to use their powers to violate people’s fundamental rights, including freedom of speech, press, and religion. Thus, the First Amendment and the rest of the Bill of Rights operates on the implicit acknowledgment that democracy is no guarantee of freedom and in fact is a tremendous threat to freedom. That’s why our ancestors, unlike so many Americans today, talked in terms of establishing a republic in America rather than a democracy. Freedom of speech is ultimately grounded in private property rights. The owner of a newspaper has the right to publish or not publish materials because the newspaper belongs to him. As the owner of the newspaper, he has the right to refuse anyone’s request to communicate through his newspaper. No one has a duty to furnish someone else the means by which he is able to communicate his views. If one person can’t persuade another to publish his views, he is free to open his own newspaper. It’s basically the same principle with respect to movie theaters. The owners of movie theaters have the right to restrict the conduct of patrons and for that matter, to refuse to show R-rated movies. By doing so they are not censoring their patrons or the distributors of R-rated movies, they are simply exercising their right of private ownership. A radio station, on the other hand while having to deal with the same market forces in terms

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