SEGMENT: EPISODE 2

Freedom of Speech

A look at the history of free speech and the first amendment of the United States Constitution.

AIRED: 1/24/2020 | 00:02:12
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(Chanting) We have so many examples around the world, where we have totalitarian regimes.

Freedom of speech, I think, speaks to our core values.

True totalitarian government wants to control your speech and your ideas and your mind.

That''s why that zone has to be protected for anything else to be protected.

Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech . (Chanting) I think it''s pretty well established that one of the risks we take as American citizens is being offended.

As Americans, we have a strong belief, grounded in the First Amendment, that no government national, state, or local should be able to tell us what we must say or must not say.

This is the single most counterintuitive idea in human history.

The idea that it''s good for society and good for us as individuals to have to encounter offensive speech and hate speech.

That idea has always been under siege, and always will be.

And so we end up having to protect a lot of frankly annoying speech in order to keep the government out of the act of choosing what we may say or must not say.

But in the twentieth century, the government got into the act.

Some states and localities tried to ban as indecent - books, movies, plays, magazines.

Those items were then marketed as having been Banned in Boston, or wherever.

The Supreme Court heard a series of cases trying to set a standard for what could be deemed indecent and censored, but eventually gave up.

The result?

No standard, no censorship.

The right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Show me what America looks like.

This is what America looks like.

Show me what America looks like.

This is what America looks like.