Heralding the First Amendment, proponents of free speech champion the right to expression unencumbered by government intervention. But is freedom of expression absolute and limitless? Should we be free to use words with the intention to harm? Should some words remain unspoken, or does this mind-set lead us to the path of censorship?
- Any limitation of free speech opens the door to government censorship, and consequently grants political leaders the power to suppress dissent and opposing views.
- The First Amendment safeguards Americans’ right to criticize religious, political or social beliefs or practice regardless of whether or not some may find those criticisms offensive.
- Censorship does not alleviate existing racism or bigotry; rather, it discourages dialogue between those with opposing views.
- Freedom of speech is not absolute; it is legally limited to protect Americans’ safety and should be restricted to ensure civility.
- Speech that marginalizes or disenfranchises specific individuals or communities should be restricted for the good of society as a whole.
- Technological advances have given individuals an unprecedented power to amplify their voices, and as a society we must act to ensure that this power is regulated and used responsibly.