What is Freedom of Speech in America?

I was reading this wiki on Free Speech in America – which isn’t the end-all discussion of what free speech is. I’d read that your freedom of speech under say a corporation or corporate site isn’t fully protected (as I guess it falls under some limited commerce protection). For example, Facebook has the right to censor some forms of violent content, pornography, or hate speech, as do many corporate sites. So there is no TRUE freedom of speech in America. I doubt there is a country in the world that’s 100% free. But its interesting to see what is really protected. Some things are not, I was surprised to read.
 
But I think it’s critical we think about free speech in the Digital Age and what it really means, because Freedom of Speech today is under heavy assault more than we realize. Social Media is creating this problem, I feel. (It is why I encourage everyone to get a website and domain so you can say what you want 24/7).
 
Even Trump as President has protected rights to say what he feels or thinks, regardless of whether its appropriate or not. Because who is going to censor him or anyone?? You or I?
 
Who will play God and decide whats appropriate and what is not online now? Who is qualified to be that keeper of “appropriate communication”, or moral-speak, of group-think, and inscribe the “social norm”. Is there a “magical judge” or socially acceptable majority that should decide what is right or wrong, whats criminal as far as speech beyond say the limited laws or Supreme Court? I don’t think there is…..
 
I will admit 50 years ago society was a much more sane, social order of adults. It was a much better world than today’s in many ways. There was a moral order, and a more natural sense of good taste and intelligence that has been lost. My grandparents on my Moms side never cursed or drank or did drugs or said a single racist or hateful thing, for example. They were salt-of-the-earth people. They just were raised that way. They were quality souls. But today with the Internet, all that’s gone. The moral structure of America is gone that was naturally cultivated in people and the culture.
The world today is a Wild West of words and views, and there is no self-censorship like there was. But maybe on some level it is good it is that way, now. It means we are truly free. But it doesn’t feel free. It feels less moral but more censored and that is the double-edged problem in America. It is why there is so much unrest in America and really around the world in terms of speech and the freedom the Internet now provides. (personally I think the Postmodern world of drugs since 1965 destroyed it all…..). There is a flip-flop in priorities and views and values that has taken place. The government censorship is fine. But we are back asking corporations and private groups to dictate morality when they are not qualified to do so.
 
Freedom of Speech and the ability to express views is changing now. There is a direct assault on the ability for diverse people to communicate openly and with alternative views, without both tasteful exchange nor cruel bullying and punishment of those that differ from our own views. But think about this……imagine a world where every book was rewritten to remove harmful hate speech or racism or slander or political view. Imagine an online world where all that was filtered out and sanitized by a third-party for us. Imagine if everything we wrote was sent to a large contractor or corporation with people that rewrote everything we wrote or said our whole lives. Imagine if even our books we authored were judged based on morals or socially acceptable keywords. Its Fahrenheit 451 people……and that is where we are heading today.
 
As the World Wide Web opens us up to more viewpoints and newer generations push us to control hate speech I think we need to be on guard as the two are in direct conflict now. Big time! We may have the freedom to act in 2017, but we are back to the 1950’s again in terms of how society and a moral majority decides what is appropriate and what is not.
 
The Web and Digital Media has brought out the ugliness in us all. It might be it needed to come out, too. But I’m less concerned with being Human (seeing the flaws in others and myself) as I am the insidious “social movements” and social media corporations that now are slowly gathering in anonymous groups to pounce on individuals online, telling them what to feel, what to think, or how to see the world like “they do”. I’m terrified every time I see someone apologize online for their words, or an actor or politician be forced to say “I’m sorry” on a tweet or blog or Facebook post. Sorry for what, saying what you feel?
 
We must fight against this at every stage, people. Because the day we let others filter us, filter history books, ban books, burn books, rewrite books, judge books, judge us, judge our lives, see our lives through their own, or channel us into group-think or PC Warrior-approved ideas,  we are doomed. America is doomed.
 
At that point we might as well throw out Free Speech and see how China or Russia or Saudi Arabia or any number of countries control what people say, think, and do, sanitizing the libraries and World Wide Web, and letting governments and corporations track our every thought.
– the Author


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