National Freedom of Speech Week is here again. As I point out each time it comes around, it’s good opportunity for those of us in America to remember how lucky we are to live in a country that respects freedom of the press, speech, and assembly. In my essay commemorating the first Freedom of Speech Week, I explained why I felt this way:
what speech critics consistently fail to appreciate is that in a free society different people will have different values and tolerance levels when it comes to speech and media content. It would be a grave mistake, therefore, for government to impose the will of some on all. To protect the First Amendment and our heritage of freedom of speech and expression from government encroachment, editorial discretion over content should always remain housed in private, not public, hands.
However, there will always be those who respond by arguing that speech regulation is important because “it’s for the children.” [...] Personally, I think the most important thing I can do for my children is to preserve our nation’s free speech heritage and fight for their rights to enjoy the full benefits of the First Amendment when they become adults. Until then, I will focus on raising my children as best I can. And if because of the existence of the First Amendment they see or hear things I find troubling, offensive or rude, I will sit down with them and talk to them in the most open, understanding and loving fashion I can about the realities of the world around them.
I would hope that the critics of the First Amendment would do the same instead of seeking to undercut our nation’s rich history of freedom of speech and expression. It is one of our Founders’ enduring gifts to future generations and a precious freedom worth fighting for.
Happy Freedom of Speech Week everyone.