The Illusion of Freedom – Part 3/4

For another example of restrictions of freedom of speech in the United States, in times of war there may be reasons to restrict US First Amendment rights because of conflicts with national security.

We also do not have a constitutional right to tell lies that damage or defame the reputation of a person or organization and obscene materials do not enjoy First Amendment protection.

In addition, distribution of information should not impede the flow of traffic or create excessive noise levels at certain times and in certain places, and the Supreme Court expressed that public school administrators ought to have the discretion to punish student speech that violates school rules and has the tendency to interfere with legitimate educational and disciplinary objectives.

In Hazelwood, the Court relied heavily on Bethel to uphold the right of school administrators to censor materials in a student-edited school paper that concerned sensitive subjects such as student pregnancy, or that could be considered an invasion of privacy…

Public schools can limit speech based on a reasonable expectation that it will cause a material and substantial disruption of school activities or invade the rights of others and prohibit obscene or vulgar language.

Schools can also limit speech if it’s in the form of a threat. Not just any expression is a threat, though. Threats must be perceived as a threat by others; be clear and convincing, causing others to believe it will be carried out and cause other students to fear for their safety.

HBO Documentary of Freedom of Speech in five parts – Part 3

How about the private sector workplace?

The Chicago Tribune reported that freedom of speech at work is not protected by the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution, and reported, “You may be shocked to learn that a constitutionally protected freedom of speech for government workers doesn’t extend into the private-sector workplace.

“‘A private-sector employer has a lot of latitude as to what’s permitted or not with respect to political speech, or pushing any view for that matter,’ advises Brian Finucane, an attorney at Fisher & Phillips in Kansas City.”

Federal free speech protections apply only to the government. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, for example, does not regulate private employers. However, it does come into play with respect to government employers.

Employers also may demand loyalty at the workplace. For example, an employee cannot avoid discipline in the name of free speech by being rude to customers, or by denigrating the employer’s business to customers while working.

Although the First Amendment is supposed to protect the right to speak freely without government interference and that people have the right to publish their own newspapers, newsletters, magazines, etc., one of the most glaring violations of this so-called right was called McCarthyism.

What do you consider freedom and does it really exist?

Continued on May 10, 2012 in The Illusion of Freedom – Part 4 or return to The Illusion of Freedom – Part 2


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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One Response to The Illusion of Freedom – Part 3/4

  1. […] to  The Illusion of Freedom – Part 3 or start with Part […]

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