Does Freedom of Speech Have a Responsibility?

Freedom of Speech

One of the core tenets of living in the United States is a right we revere: “Freedom of Speech.”

Within very broad limits (such as not screaming “Fire” in a crowded room) we, in the USA, enjoy the freedom to say what we want, when we want, and in the way we want. At least in theory.

But if everyone is talking, then no one is listening. The flip side of “freedom of speech” then is the “responsibility to listen.”

With 'freedom of speech' comes with the 'responsibility to listen.' Click To Tweet

That doesn’t mean we need to actually hear and consider every voice, but it does mean we need to show respect. Our freedom of speech doesn’t permit us to yell louder than someone else, shouting them down and thereby denying them their right to speak.

Sadly, I see this happening today, especially when the voice is advocating something unpopular or a “politically incorrect” view.

We are beginning to lose sight of all that freedom of speech entails. And if that happens completely, we might lose even more, including the very right itself.

[Freedom of Speech is provided for in Article 1 of the Bill of Rights.]

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Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.

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