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Freedom of speech is “the right to communicate ideas and opinions without government intervention.” There are limits of course. You can’t yell “Fire!” in a crowded room just for fun. Public obscenity can land you a hefty fine. And I wouldn’t suggest that you crack jokes about having a gun while in an airport.
But freedom of speech does give people the right to be stupid. In 1977, Neo-Nazis were permitted to march through Skokie, Illinois, home to many Holocaust survivors. Parents have sued schools to allow their children to wear shirts saying “Islam is the Devil.” After the recent shooting in Tucson, Arizona, the Westboro Baptist Not-Church announced its plans to picket the funerals.
Public speeches calling for the impeachment of the president. Marches in Washington D.C. to protest abortion. Rallies to support gay rights. Websites with rifle scope sights over the pictures of politicians. Writing obnoxious columns in city newspapers.
These are all examples of freedom of speech.
The nice thing about freedom of speech is that it gives me the freedom to say that some people shouldn’t have it. If it were up to me, some people would have their mouths surgically sewn shut and the world would be a better place for it.
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