Here's an example of a place with no freedom of speech

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Too often, it seems, people are confused by what is meant by Freedom of Speech. The Occupiers claim that freedom of speech means that they can say whatever they want, whenever they want, wherever they want, however they want and for whatever reason they want. They are partly correct and partly incorrect.

They are correct that freedom of speech allows them to say whatever they want and for whatever reason they want. This is because freedom of speech means that the government shall not be allowed to censor the content of speech. Example: a person is allowed to say that he or she is against the war in Afghanistan. Or for it. The government cannot prevent such speech from happening (Note: not that it hasn’t tried. Google “Sedition Act” and see what has happened in the past.”)

These issues come down to a “prior restraint” of speech. That is, the government cannot prevent speech from occurring. This does NOT mean that all speech is protected. A person is not, for example, banned from yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater. Despite the common misperception, there has never been a law that has passed constitutional muster that banned it. “But lawrocket,” you say, “the Supreme Court has held that it would not be protected speech.”

And I’ll concur. Freedom of speech allows a person to speak it. What freedom of speech does NOT do is provide carte blanche for a person to escape the consequences of the speech. This is why threats are not protected speech. Nor is fraud. Speech can harm, and when it does the government may punish for the consequences caused by the speech. But – the government may not preclude yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater because it is all right to do that if there IS a fire in a crowded theater. In fact, wouldn’t we want that to be announced?

Take a look at the news story. Pakistan is actually banning words. That is censorship. It is the sort of thing found in places where freedom of speech is not recognized. It matters not when, where or how the communications occur – even the private speaking of certain words is banned. This is NOT what is happening when Occupy __ is being broken up.

Where the Fleabaggers and others get it wrong is that the government may impose “time, place and manner” restrictions on speech. A good example of this is that while a large group of people may voice their opposition to the war in Afghanistan, the government may prohibit voicing this opinion by occupation of a Runway 22L at LAX. This is because there are interests that are balanced with the right to free speech. Military bases are not free speech zones because it is recognized that there is an interest in orderly administration of our armed forces.

Free speech is a right that is balanced with other rights. For example, we have the right to bear arms, but that right does not extend to an airplane. We have the right to practice our religion, but that right does not extend to human sacrifice despite what a particular religion may believe.

Speech is the same. A person is not entitled to speak wherever, whenever and however he/she wants. When a person’s right to free speech impinges on other people’s rights, the balance of equities begins to tip against the speaker. I have the right to play music in my house but that right is limited by my neighbor’s right to quiet enjoyment. A person’s right to free movement ends at another person’s nose.

By painting the occupiers as those who are simply demonstrating their rights to free speech and claiming that their rights to speech are impinged when they are being evicted from a park, they are not only demonstrating ignorance of the rules of society, but also displaying a degree of narcissism that their rights usurp those of everyone else. Raiding private businesses and private property is a further demonstration that it is not an act rooted in exercise of rights, but is an act predicated upon a belief that the rights of others are not as important as the rights they wish to bestow upon themselves.

My wife is hotter than your wife.

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It has been summed up before in one sentence:

Your rights end where the next person's right's start.

You do not have the right to trample on other people's right's. It's a common sense thing that seems to be becoming more and more lost.

Common sense. So uncommon that it's almost a super power...:ph34r:

"There is an art, it says, or, rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."
Life, the Universe, and Everything

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