Silence Does Not Equal Agreement

There should never be a time that because we disagree with someone’s position we should find ways to silence them.

Being intimidated into silence may be another way around allowing for freedom of speech.

This nation, above all others, has the greatest record regarding freedom of speech. With the open use of the Internet, media reports from every side of almost all stories and personal freedom of expression now available to every segment of society, we enjoy freedom of speech. Even with all the guarantees going back to the first amendment to the Constitution, we find people who think it would be best if we could somehow find a way to silence people and their beliefs.

In Schenck v. United States, 1919, the ruling granted that speech that was used to incite actions harming others, such as shouting fire in a crowded theater, was unconstitutional. Pretty much all other speech, protests and art expressions have been ruled to be allowed under the rights guaranteed to us by the first amendment to our Constitution.

I am thankful for this freedom that is open to and enjoyed by all people in our nation. During an election cycle there are always people who have come to the conclusion the best way to get their message out is to show up at an opponent’s event and shout down the speaker. They have the right to do that. Is that the best way to get their message out? Some people think it is, because they continue to take part in those types of events.

In recent times, police and candidates have found a way to get people away from a rally or event by accusing them of disturbing the peace or some other law that is used to remove them from the event. While it is true, those gathered for such an event are there to hear the candidate or speakers announced for the event, it might be best for any who oppose the opinions being expressed to find another way to get their message out.

With the growth of the Internet there are blogs, websites and other sources open to express every viewpoint known to mankind. Wanting someone to remain silent while others are speaking is not an affront to freedom of speech; it is simply a means being used to allow for freedom of speech. I am a defender of freedom of speech and expression. While I have offended and been offended by viewpoints being expressed, there should never be a time that because we disagree with someone’s position we should find ways to silence them. With freedom of speech and expression being allowed at some point, we will all have the opportunity to be heard as to our viewpoint on any given subject. No one should believe that just because others remain silent in regard to what is said, it does not mean they agree fully with us.

From where I stand, freedom of speech is best enjoyed when all feel the freedom that they have the right to speak their viewpoint on any subject.

Do you believe freedom of speech is our greatest freedom? Tell us in comments. 

Follow Ray Newman on Twitter — @RayNewmanSr.

Are you interested in having your voice be heard on Barrow Patch? You can post your own opinions with our blogging platform here on Patch. It's easy to start: just go to barrow.patch.com/blog/apply. Questions? E-mail barrow@patch.com. 


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