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Sunday, November 13, 2016
Free Speech and Election Protests
The political climate and low level of discourse among most protestors, regardless of whom they're supporting and whom they're opposing, is leading to "disinformation" and widely-held misconceptions (no, flat out errors) about Americans' First Amendment.
The First Amendment, the beginning of the Bill of Rights in our Constitution, binds and restricts government power. It, just like the rest of the Constitution, restricts what the government can do to the people.
People can protest other people. That is not a First Amendment violation. In fact, private employers can restrict political speech by employees while in the workplace; that is not a government restriction nor is it a restriction on the "freedom" of the employee. The employee has a right to freedom from interference by the government regarding his or her speech -- but the employer has the right to its freedom of association, plus any de facto requirement to accept the speech of others is compulsion by any other name. That is antithetical to freedom. So we have freedom of speech (meaning, again, freedom from government restriction). We just don't have the freedom to compel others to allow us to speak, to dominate or to have a monopoly on speech, on opinions, or on reactions to speech.