How The Entire Bill Of Rights Protects Free Speech

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I recently read this.

I don’t take many polls seriously; they have a habit of being proven wrong. That said, given the problems discussed in this post, and with stories coming out by the day referencing schools on the East and West coasts positioning toward “sad-free” environments, I decided to respond.

To be clear, fraternity cannot exist without the first amendment. It guarantees many things, but is the ultimate force that, for the first time in modern history, separated a church from a nation. It was written to suggest that any person should be allowed to freely share their beliefs, to associate with a philosophy/organization/church of their choosing, and that they could not be jailed for doing so.

In modern terms, one can say what they please and affiliate with whatever/whomever they please (with mutual consent of course), and that includes fraternity. It should go without saying: to consider the first amendment outdated is the end of fraternity and sorority as we want and know it.

It could not be more folly than to ban liberty, essential to political life, because it imparts to faction than to ban air, essential to biological life, because it imparts to fire.

– James Madison

I also recently read this.

I don’t care for Republicans and Democrats, their majorities are not that different, but the topic alludes to the same thought that the right of speech and association is outdated as are the other amendments. But the Constitution and Bill of Rights is a whole composed of many parts, not random parts.

The 21st Amendment (banning the sale of alcohol) was ultimately eliminated because it did not fit the whole, which limits government, not people.

 

How does the right to own a gun relate to the freedom of speech and association? I’m glad you asked. Each of the amendments is written explicitly or indirectly to protect the first. Here we go:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Translation: The government will maintain a military so that no other nation, secular or guided by a religion, may conquer our federation and restrict our right of association. Additionally, the citizens may arm themselves in order to protect themselves from individuals or, yes this was part of the intent, a government that may decide that a person is performing an illegal act through his or her beliefs, political, religious or otherwise.

Our revolution would not have occurred if the colonists were not sufficiently armed, and our Declaration of Independence calls for revolution when a government no longer represents its people. This right exists explicitly to protect the 99%.

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law

Translation: At no point can your government place a babysitter in your home to monitor your actions without your consent or without the need for shelter while under attack. Basically, you have domain over your personal palace.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,[a] against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Translation: Unless you are committed of a crime, which your beliefs and speech, nor any of the rights granted by prior amendments, cannot be considered due to the 1st Amendment, the government has no right to investigate you. The value of this is obvious; governments have, both prior to and since our Constitution’s adoption, targeted political opponents without just cause in order to bring them down or create a reason to arrest them. (see: Gestapo)

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Translation: Haven’t been found guilty of a crime? Your things can’t be taken from you “just because.” See the previous amendment.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

Translation: Political prisoners exist (see: the Japanese during Roosevelt’s reign). Without this amendment, someone who doesn’t like your beliefs could put you in jail for a minor offense, but delay your trial indefinitely and keep you in prison forever. Need an example of how this is violated today for reasons unknown? Kalief Browder.

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Translation: Your right to a trial by jury ensures that a person who doesn’t like what you believe cannot send you to court and pay off a judge to give you an excessive fine. It also ensures that after your peers take your freedom of speech into account, if your case is appealed, you still have the right to a jury of your peers. Way to think ahead founders.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Translation: You may have a speedy trial, but imagine being fined something ridiculous for a petty crime or being waterboarded for excessive speeding. Without this, a police officer who doesn’t like what you think (or the color of your skin, or your gender, or your family), could theoretically torture you between the time it took to arrest you and get you your speedy trial.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Translation: Nothing that the Constitution grants the government the permission to do should be construed in a way to violate any of the rights nor any as-of-yet undecided rights that may not have been agreed upon at the time (such as an end to slavery).

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Translation: Anything not mentioned in the Constitution as something the federal government is allowed to do can’t be done except by the state governments or the people themselves. Why is this important. Imagine if the government funded and dictated education (wait). They could require that students learn certain philosophies, deny funding to political opponents or “hostile” institutions and effectively kill entire schools of thought, religions or fields of scientific study that didn’t flow with the government’s desires.

 

The first amendment is not outdated, and the thought that it is demonstrates just how clearly we’ve failed at educating students of the value of not only the freedom of speech, religion and association, but of the value each of the amendments have in protecting it. Amendments added later to the process too protect that right of speech.

No person’s gender can determine whether or not they have the right to speech and those that protect it. No person’s ethnicity can determine whether or not they have the right to speech and those that protect it. No person’s labor can be demanded by another without his or her consent, and what is consent without the ability to think and believe what you want?