In response to the previous writeup, the freedom of speech also comes with a personal responsibility for what is said. The freedom of speech, or free expression, will grant you the right and power to say what ever you wish to say. If you don't like the current administration of the country, you can say so. If you want to complain about potholes in the streets, or want to voice your view on welfare or capitalism, you have the right to do so.

However, whatever you say, you must take responsibility for. You cannot hide behind freedom of speech if you unjustly accuse someone of a shameful act. The freedom of speech does not give you a shield from which you can hurl insults with impunity. If you yell "fire" in a crowded theater, you are responsible for the actions that follow afterward.

Legally, the government cannot fault you for your words. Society and individual persons are not bound by these restrictions. You cannot be imprisoned for insulting the governor, but you can be punched in the face for fighting words. No matter what kind of principle of freedom you want to hide behind, it will not prevent your jaw from hurting the next day.

The freedom of speech is a powerful right. It is the right that allows me to express my ideas without fear that the government may kill me for my views. It is the right that allows us all to write in this forum of Everything. But I cannot complain that my rights are being violated if this writeup is downvoted. It is my responsibility to stand for the words I write.

Yes, yes, this is a rant...

Not having read what you're replying to, I'm going to blindly throw in my one cent (only half of General Wesc's writeups do make sense.)

If you can't say something unpopular without dire retributions (thrown in prison) then it's only prior restraint that's restricted. (Prior restraint was ruled not allowed in New York Times co. v. United States) It's a very limited form a freedom of speech, if you can even call it that. "After the fact" punishment of speech in meant to prevent future infractions and based on the illegality of the action. Therefore it's that saying the speech that it's punishing is not protected.

For relevant freedom of speech there can be no special retribution and we have to protect the speaker from such retribution. (We can retribute by calling them dumbasses but we can't throw them in jail.)

The U.S. has that. The U.S. has freedom of speech. Not absolute--you can't directly incite people into illegal action (Shenk v. U.S.) or use fighting words, (Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire)--but we can speak out against the government. We have more freedom than most countries allow, we just don't have absolute freedom of speech. That's a good thing. Does anyone really want child porn legal?

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