Freedom for the Speech We Hate: The Legal Ins and Outs of the Right to Protest

We are witnessing a politically correct philosophy at play, one shared by both the extreme left and the extreme right, which aims to stifle all expression that doesn’t fit within their parameters of what they consider to be “acceptable” speech. There are all kinds of labels put on such speech—it’s been called politically incorrect speech, hate speech, offensive speech, and so on—but really, the message being conveyed is that you don’t have a right to express yourself if certain people or groups don’t like or agree with what you are saying.  Hence, we have seen the caging of free speech in recent years, through the use of so-called “free speech zones” on college campuses and at political events, the requirement of speech permits in parks and community gatherings, and the policing of online forums. Clearly, this elitist, monolithic mindset is at odds with everything for which America is supposed to stand.

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Show Notes

James Madison, “FEDERALIST NO. 10 (1787)”

Benjamin Franklin, “Silence Dogood, No. 8,” The New-England Courant (Jul. 9, 1722)

 “Constitutional Q&A: The Right to Protest,” The Rutherford Institute

Second Amendment

 First Amendment

United States v. Schwimmer, U.S. Supreme Court (1929)

Texas v. Johnson, 491 US 397 - Supreme Court 1989

 DeJonge v. Oregon

 Lloyd Corp., Ltd. v. Tanner

 City of LaDue v. Gileo

 United States v. Grace

 Ward v. Rock Against Racism

 Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western N.Y.

Snyder v. Phelps

Lewis v. Wilson

 Helms v. Zubaty

 Acosta v. City of Costa Mesa

 Gilles v. Blanchard

 Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Comm. Sch. Dist.

 Boardley v. U.S. Dept. of the Interior

 Forsyth County, Ga. v. Nationalist Movement

 Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham

 Thomas v. Chi. Park Dist.

 Hague v. Comm. for Indus. Org.

 Jones v. Parmley

 Cole v. Arkansas

 Chesney v. City of Jackson

United States v. Masciandaro

Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, “Concealed Carry”

Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, “Open Carry”

“Supreme Court Turns Down Case on Carrying Guns in Public,” The New York Times

“The Competing Messages:  The Protests; Demonstrators Steer Clear Of Their Designated Space,” The New York Times

“Chilling First Amendment Activity,” Medium

“Protesters Flood Streets, and Trump Offers a Measure of Praise,” The New York Times

“To fight bigotry and hate, don’t muzzle it. There’s a better way,” The Washington Post

Freedom for the Speech We Hate: The Legal Ins and Outs of the Right to Protest

Battlefield America: The War on the American People

Rutherford Institute

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  1. Audio cuts out @ 16:58 through the remainder of the video. Otherwise, another poignant dose of reality.

  2. Craig Toth says:

    I agree completely on this matter, plus folks should examine their State Constitutions, under Declaration of Rights/ Bill of Rights… it’s self explanatory.

  3. Big Brother intervened at about 16:57!
    No sound after that point.

  4. Dear John, thank you for clear points to make change.
    Physical spaces to air opinions are often designated for protest events, and their perimeter is guarded to prevent influence from spreading. In addition, media presents it as chaotic and as a threat to all. This unfortunately puts a limit on the effectiveness of protesting in public spaces.
    The most obvious public space to influence law formation is in 2017 not physical, it is on the internet. The pro’s of the written word are for example: material can carefully be prepared; strong physically expressed emotions (facial, dress, posture) do not disturb the message; the written remains. The con is that strong language, either intentional or as a consequence of underdeveloped literacy, blurs the message. Nevertheless, the internet is the place to influence a mass to invoke change.
    The issue with respecting the constitution and law in general remains that the corporate/media/government complex cunningly resides outside the jurisdiction of the constitution, certainly away from the Bill of Duty. Increasingly, the legal executive forces loose their ability to execute proper arbitrage between corporation versus the individual/society/nature. This is a development on which the public has no more influence than a vote for their representative in a parliament that is on the end of the day paid by corporations.
    As I see it, the place where society can revert back to democracy from the current oligocracy is parliament and courtroom. Could you perhaps elaborate on the role of parliament in a lecture tailored to people in parliament? You are one of a few with the knowledge, experience and attidude to do so.

  5. John Phillips says:

    Yes, in the land of free speech we must take the good with the bad. How you define the good v bad is another question. What I do know is today free speech is being used very affectively by the religious evangelical right and hate groups. The faithful-hateful killers. Those who have allowed their religion of their hate or both to rule their beliefs and thus when they feel oppressed feel a need to speak out. These are the folks that are using free speech against us…the majority.

    Morality and respect should rule any discourse; however, in today’s world of free speech…there seems to be little morality at all.

    Lastly, there is an attempt to equate radical left as the evil doers while giving the racist, bigoted right legitimacy. One simply must ask themselves who is acting from a position of openness, inclusiveness and morality and the picture becomes very clear. Knowing that “right” or “left” and “bad” and “good” are not particularly useful terms today…one must look to what they say and how they behave to determine if morality is part of the equation. Still no solutions…… John likes to refer to law, which is appropriate of his background, but one must ask himself if the laws of today, the courts of today and yesteryear have any moral foundation at all…thus to be respected or not.

    Best Regards

  6. William Field says:

    Too right! & Bravo JW!…It’s a VERY important issue indeed….Same agenda here in Australia …. it is now a crime here with penalty of 2yrs imprisonment for causing “offence” under the basis of race, religion or ethnicity etc….Recently as much opposition to this it went up for repeal but that did not happen due to one or two votes in Upper House.

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