No matter how fervently someone believes in the justice of his cause, suppression of the free exchange of ideas is failure at best or downright wrong. The power or might behind an idea does not make the idea right. Many powerful people throughout history have been wrong. Few people, if any, would judge "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" to be subversive or wrong. In 1939 Ambassador Kennedy was so caught up in the fears of the times that he was willing to use the power of his money to protect the world against a film. When people are caught up in the movements of their time, all people must be extra zealous to guard and encourage freedom of expression. Otherwise, a mob mentality reigns, and people rush to do things that are not thought out and often regretted later.
The founders of our country knew from experience how important free expression of ideas is. Many of them, along with popular demand, insisted that the Constitution immediately be amended by the Bill of Rights. The first article of the Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of expression:
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.
Without freedom of expression, no people are truly free. Sometimes a person will hide repression by telling people under his authority that they are free to believe anything they want--they just can't voice their beliefs. They are free to think anything, but aren't allowed to say what is on their minds.
What are some examples of this men...
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...19. "House Passes Free Speech Exception." 7 Feb. 1998. <http://www.scimitar.com/revolution/express/flag.html> (17 March 1998).
LaMarche Gara. "Hate Speech Should Not Be Outlawed." Civil Liberties: Opposing Viewpoints. Ed. Charles P. Cozic. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1994. 90-95.
Otto, Jean. "Freedom of Expression Should Not Be Restricted." Civil Liberties: Opposing Viewpoints. Ed. Charles P. Cozic. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1994. 79-84.
Rupke, Roxanne. "Zeeland students to recommend T-shirt rules." Herald Sentinel. 25 March 1998: A1, A5.
Showers, Robert H. "Pornography Sould Be Prohibited." Civil Liberties: Opposing Viewpoints. Ed. Charles P. Cozic. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1994. 96-102.
"T-shirt ban: Pepsi shirt gets him in trouble on Coke Day at Greenbrier High." Herald Sentinel. 26 March 1998: A1.
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