Why does it matter?
Freedom of speech is an important part of a prosperous life.
In the U.S., we have the freedom to say whatever we want, as long as it doesn’t directly harm others. But what counts as harm?
- Threatening a person’s safety
- Lying about a person to damage their reputation (defamation)
- Lying for financial or personal gain (fraud)
If a government has the power to ban speech it finds offensive, it has sufficient power to ban speech that criticizes the government. Throughout history, people have been imprisoned or even executed for speaking out against the government or official state religion.
- In your own words, what is NOT protected by freedom of speech?
- Should the government ban and punish offensive speech? Make a pros and cons list.
- What are some positive examples of freedom of speech you see in your life today?