The Dilemma of Safeguarding Free Speech

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TheDilemma of Safeguarding Free Speech

TheDilemma of Safeguarding Free Speech

TheFirst Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1791 introducedthe concept of free speech in the American society. Free speech isviewed as an effective method of controlling the authority of thegovernment. The control measures are important in enhancing thefreedom, democracy, and liberty of Americans. The essay discusses ifoffensive expressions in the society can be viewed as free speech andsafeguarded in the American constitution.

Freespeech is important because it enables people to communicate theopinions that are different or challenge the status quo in thesociety. The diverse thoughts help to enlighten the citizenry on theeffective ways of managing public leadership. The ideas also enablepeople from diverse societies to communicate the challenges that theyexperience and the measures that can improve their quality of life.

However,some messages are offensive and inappropriate because they limit ordisregard the rights enjoyed by other members of the society. Forexample, violent speech during a street demonstration can motivatethe participants to injure other people and destroy their property.The law empowers people to protect themselves from harm, and alsodefend their properties. This dilemma has influenced several SupremeCourt decisions that separate allowable speech that is offensive orcontroversial, from the dangerous or illegal communication that mustbe prevented. During Schenckv. the United States(1919), Justice Oliver Holmes explained that freedom of speech haslimits. The right cannot be absolute, especially for expressions thatcan cause immediate danger.

Peopleare encouraged to communicate their ideas publicly. However, theyshould ensure that their messages and activities do not hinder thefreedom and rights of other members of the society.