America's Decline of Freedom of Speech

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A Burmese comedian by the name of Zarganar was sentenced to 35 years for violating the Electronics Acts in 2008. Afterwards, Zarganar received an additional 14 years for supporting destructive acts against the state. Even though he was arrested and sentenced for violating the Electronics Acts and Video Acts, his only real crime was openly criticizing the Burmese government's handling of a past incident (Farrington 66). The Burmese government and others like it are the types of governments our nation's founders separated from and protested against. America has recently began to resemble these governments, in the way it restricts people's freedom of expression. America has slowly strayed away from our forefathers' original ideas of freedom of speech. In order to truly be the land of the free, Americans must learn to tolerate the views of others instead of limiting them.
Freedom of speech is the right of civilians to openly express their opinions without constant interference by the government. For the last few years, the limitations and regulations on freedom of speech have constantly increased. This right is limited by use of expression to provoke violence or illegal activities, libel and slander, obscene material, and proper setting. These limitations may appear to be justified, however who decides what is obscene and inappropriate or when it is the wrong time or place? To have so many limits and regulations on freedom of speech is somewhat unnecessary. It is understood that some things are not meant to be said in public due to terrorist attacks and other violent acts against our government, but everything should not be seen as a threat. Some people prefer to express themselves angrily or profanely, and as long as it causes no har...

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...ntinuously keeping people from saying what they want, the government is simply making them want to act out and speak out even more. To become a better nation or better citzens, we must learn to tolerate or accept the ideas of others no matter how absurd or profane they may be. No one has to agree with these ideas. Being able to tolerate the opinions of others leads to order and peace ( Tinder 44). For us to really be a free nation we must allow true free speech. “Order and peace are spontaneous and will tend to prevail wherever there is freedom” (Tinder 45).

Works Cited

Farrington, Julia. "Hear our voices." Index on censorship 42.2 (2013):66-69. Web. 11 November 2013.
Mintcheva, Svetlana. "Land of the free?." Index on censorship 42.2 (2013):70-73. Web. 11 November 2013.
Tinder, Glenn. Tolerance and Community. Columbia: University of Missouri press, 1995. Print.
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