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No right to free speech

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, July 25, 2004

"We have now sunk to the depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men," George Orwell said. Come on, folks, if you must write letters to the editor, make a better attempt to get the basic facts correct.

There is no constitutional right to free speech. It does not exist! Never has! The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the U.S. Congress from making a law abridging freedom of speech. The Fourteenth Amendment is employed to constrain the several states from the same action. Got it? No rights are established or conferred. The term "free speech" is not to be found in our constitution. A type of law is prohibited. (If you have a right of free speech, it is only because Congress cannot figure out a way to tax it.) You have no right to free speech. Don't believe it? Try saying the word "bomb" on an airliner. Or tell the trooper that comes to your door at 2 a.m. that you refuse to lower the sounds of your party. Or use any of the countless opprobrious terms used to insult another person of any race, color, creed, sex, disability, age, or even wretched state workers. There are numerous constraints on our speech, and to add one more as a rational rule from our Fourth Of July Parade Committee seems within our collective ability to endure. So let your peripatetic outrage subside and go off quietly to slay some other of your dragons. No one will steal "your right to free speech" or even (more correctly) your right to the freedom of speech. That is because you have no such rights. And you never did! Get over it.

Andy Pope

Juneau



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