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Free Speech Double Standards.

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Introduction

Mark Klinker 3/6/03 Essay 2.6 Free Speech Double Standards Though people may be opposed to them, we live in a world today that says it is alright to have double standards because they do exist. Some say women cannot hold jobs just because they are women, and men are able just because they are men. We hold men out of baseball for gambling, and allow others to stay instated even after repeat drug offenses. Our freedom of speech is often looked upon as having many double standards. The First Amendment has many different interpretations that can be used as a way to incriminate or protect a person. "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"(Constitution). What does "Free Speech" actually mean? Our forefathers left the interpretation up to us. Through the years, these different interpretations have lead to many different forms of speech which are considered legal or illegal. Speech is defined as any act of communication between two or more people. ...read more.

Middle

Others abuse their power through the use of words. Some believe that free speech entitles them as a person to say whatever they want. But it doesn't. The use of fighting words is considered to be an offensive act and is therefore illegal in the United States. You can however wear or give a gesture that is offensive to another and have the legal right to do so. An example of this would be if you walked up to a Jewish person and said, "Hail Hitler", you would be legally responsible if a fight then occurred. On the flip side of this situation, if you were to wear a swastika symbol on a shirt and proceeded to get into a fight with a Jewish person, the Jewish person would be legally responsible. How does this occur? Can't a symbol be considered a fighting word? My Business Law professor, Roland Carlton, a practicing lawyer, said a symbol is not considered to be offensive to others according to the law. He also stated during class that the person wearing the symbol must confront another person with the symbol for it to be considered offensive; otherwise it is just a symbol on a shirt without any meaning at all. ...read more.

Conclusion

Ignorance of the law does not save you from our legal system. Mark Twain said it best when he stated, "It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence to never practice either of them" (Miller, 173). Freedom of speech is the most prized freedom that Americans have. Without it we would not be able to express our disgust of political actions or policies. Our nation was formed on the basis of expressing our opinions without being persecuted for expressing our thoughts. This forms the foundation of our democratic system. But the line must be drawn somewhere. There are too many double standards that cause certain actions to be legal and others to be illegal. Freedom of speech should be granted to any words, actions, signs, or symbols used that do not infringe on the rights of any other human being and are not considered offensive. If we allow others to abuse their free speech privileges, then out system begins to be abused. Allowing people to express their opinions should never be taken away, but to a certain extent should be regulated. ...read more.

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