It’s Time to Take a Second Look at Free Speech Rights

I was going to list all – or at least some – of the recent examples of incendiary media proclamations by right-wing commentators in the U.S. and the dangerous reaction among their crazy followers but I figure that if you are interested in this topic you are surely as aware of these ugly developments as I am.

In case you need to refresh your memory, you could check out these two articles, which were in my email basket this morning :

www.truthout.org/crazy-from-ground-up58187

http://mediamatters.org/columns/201003300001

I am a lifelong defender of free speech and I applaud Voltaire’s declaration that while he disagreed completely with someone’s point of view he would defend to the death their right to express it, but I am beginning to wonder how far this kind of demagoguery should be allowed to go.

American courts support the admonition against falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater and I think some of the crazy talk we see on the web and TV and hear on radio is even more dangerous than that.

It may be time to consider a Constitutional amendment to modify free speech in America, possibly banning incitements to violence and armed rebellion. When lives are being endangered and even lost because of crazy talk, the nation can no longer afford to let these motor mouths chatter on without being held accountable.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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