Government, Ken Paulson, Speech Centre discussed on Community Matters


To get things started. I'm joined now by Ken Paulson, founder of one for all director of the free Speech Centre, Middle Tennessee State University and former editor in chief of U S. A. Today can thanks for spending some time with us and let's start. With an overview of the First Amendment. Most people have a general idea of what's included, but there could be some aspects of it they for gotten or didn't even realize were included in the amendment. Absolutely. In fact, surveys show that only 2% of Americans can tell you right now you call him on the phone and ask him. What is First Amendment contained on Ly, 2% actually know, a full third of Americans. I don't know. Doesn't don't know any of the freedoms can't name a single freedom and we live in a nation which, oddly enough, almost every American Can, uh, can recite the pledge of allegiance and for that matter, the lead characters on game of Thrones, But we don't know the five freedoms of the First Amendment. We have to remember that way back in 17 91. Americans were inventing their own government, essentially on the run, and with 17 18. I know our constitution. But the first generation consider Hey, we're not going to give the government all this hour President the judiciary legislative branch called Congress unless you give us some guarantees, So if you promise These promises if you if you won't search your property if you won't put soldiers in our home during Ah, during peacetime, if you if you allow us to bear arms and above all else, these are most important. We want to worship the god of our choice. Say whatever we want, right? Whatever we want, petition the government for change and assemble together in the town square. Without being shot. No more box the Masters. That combination of five freezes the First Amendment, freedom of speech, press, religion, petition and assembly together, give us free expression in this country. And actually, those are the most potent guarantees freedom of expression anywhere in the history of the world, even today, and that leads right into my next question about why this amendment was so revolutionary such a game changer. The world had never seen something like this before. Correct. Absolutely, You know, we have to remember that most of our country's roots come from countries in which there was either royalty or or some other restrictive form of government. Onda notion that people are born free was actually something that didn't really emerge until several centuries ago. And so the notion that the government would say You know what we have the power and we're going to share. In fact, you are the power, but the power of the people would drive the future of America. And then they built in this fascinating commitment, which was going to make this a more perfect union. We're going to get better when evolve. And that's been the secret of America because even though our first generation of leaders did not treat the slaves We use the power of those five freedoms protest ng to eventually abolish slavery. Even though they didn't have the wisdom to give women a full participation society suffrage. The suffrage movement use the First Amendment to ensure that women had had a vote and a voice. That's been a miracle of America. Those five freedoms allow us the fixed thing. Make things better take a stand for change and make a positive difference. So what are some of the most common misconceptions about freedom of speech? I would think the single most Misunderstood thing about freedom of speech. Is that the first time I'm not only protects us against our government? The government can't lend of what you say. But your employer can the people you associate with can criticize you. There's nothing about the first Amendment that allows you to say things. Without any social consequences. And and people, you know, Sort of will say outrageous things or say hateful things. Or, ah, racially insensitive things and say three speech. Sure you have the right to government can't stop you from saying something. That's troubling the people around you. That doesn't mean those folks can't take action can ostracised. You can't turn their back on you. That free speech is just a license. But just because, he said, it doesn't mean it's a good thing. I'm joined by Ken Paulson, founder of one for all director of the Free Speech Centre of Middle Tennessee State University and former editor in chief of U S A. Today Just following up on that point, talk a little bit about the power of the businesses have To take action against an employee based on something they say. We've certainly seen that recently. People speaking out and offering up their opinion, but then losing their job because of it. Absolutely. We don't have first member writes in a in a workplace. And if you don't believe that I suggest you try to march on your boss tomorrow morning and see what happened. Of the truth is that the only things that protect us from getting fired any day for any reason. I protected categories. So you're if they fire you because of your age or your disability or because you're a woman or because you're a member of a minority? All of those things If that's the reason I fired you You can appeal and filed suit in court, but otherwise Most Americans. If you're a 30 year old nonminority male, and they don't like the look of your tie, they can fire you. There's no protection for that. Of course, there are union rule. Some people have contracts, but most Americans Are vulnerable to being fired any day just because because that's it. And so when somebody post something online that is higher and urging the news stories all say that Don't so worked at Allstate Insurance. I'll stake and fire him because he's caused period. They just can fire. You have to have a reason. But they would want to fire this person because they embarrassed the company. Associate ID. Ah, respected company with racism or sexism. You could go overnight. It That's the way it works in the First Amendment is not gonna help you in any way. What would be an example of the government going too far and crossing a line that potentially put some form of freedom of speech at risk? Well? In terms of freedom of speech. I think the area that that has AH, were mostly litigation occurs right now is actually in public schools. If a student Um if a student wants to wear a T shirt with a political message, or wants to have a car parked in the parking lot That has like a rebel flag in the back of it. Can a school limit that behavior? Similarly, we see college campuses. And the good news is if you are these all the time, but they will create what they call a free speech is all a specific place where students want to express their opinions. They have to go. Um these are areas that are more likely to be Um, to be. Ah, problematic. Government limits speech by liars. So much of this has been litigated. You know, government knows better than to go in and try and muzzle someone standing. On a street corner, expressing their opinions. We don't seem blatant infringement on free in the speech. Now what we do see increasingly are limits on particularly on assembly, and we've seen that around the country for a couple of months now. There are times when the government are intrudes on primo speech, press religion in particular, but slightly expanded simply..

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