Free Speech Has Legal And Ethical Confines, Propaganda Does Not

Free Speech Has Legal And Ethical Confines, Propaganda Does Not

The non-profit organization that I founded in 2018, Citizens for Free Speech, is weary of the constant propaganda that all speech is protected by the First Amendment, no matter how vile, ignorant or deceptive it might be. It’s time to set the record straight and put some sanity back into the First Amendment and our exercise of those rights.

The founding fathers intended the First Amendment to protect our unalienable rights to freely communicate ideas and to promote civil debate. Ideas are communicated by the spoken and printed word, plus our associated actions. All five elements of the First Amendment bear this out.

Freedom to worship God implies taking action by assembling together and actually worshipping. Freedom of speech is predicated on your actually speaking words. Freedom of the press requires someone to take a pen and write. Freedom of assembly means getting together to exercise free speech. Asking the government for a redress of your grievances, especially these days, requires herculean effort to even get them to listen, but try we must.

All of these are noble aspirations, but they have been twisted, distorted. mis-understood, misused and maligned by just about everyone who would like to destroy the First Amendment in the first place.

Take the topic of propaganda, for instance, which typically gets a free pass as free speech.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines propaganda as “the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause or a person” and “ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause.”

Such propaganda is raining down on society from all directions: government, Big Pharma, Big Tech, corporate industry, you name it. It’s a constant source of stumping to manipulate people into doing what the propagandists want them to do. For instance, wear a face mask, social distance, stay home, get vaccinated, apply for vaccine mandates, wear two face masks, etc.

In America, even propagandists should be allowed to speak, but here is the rub. What if those very same people were to forcibly censor, cancel, marginalize or slander others who would contradict them in the same public space?

In other words, they put duct tape on your mouth while they give you a good “re-education” on what you should do or think.

This is not free speech. It is fraud: telling only half the story with intent to deceive but not letting anyone else tell the rest of the story to reveal the deception. Every state has laws against fraud, unfair and deceptive acts and practices. Every single one.  Georgetown University Law Center states in the Law of Deception,

 “Many laws address deception. Familiar examples include: the torts of deceit, libel and defamation; the crime of theft by false pretenses and federal mail and wire fraud statutes; the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Lanham Act, and state unfair and deceptive acts and practices laws; laws prohibiting securities fraud and requiring issuer disclosures; the contract defense of misrepresentation; and the law of perjury.”

So, lying and deception is free speech? Try to deceive a police officer and see what you get. Lie to a court, or even Congress and explain that you were only exercising your right to free speech. After they slap you with contempt charges and then felony counts, life will look different to you from inside your prison cell.

Indeed, free speech has legal, ethical and moral boundaries that define its character and intent. Any fool can freely blather ignorant words and call it free speech as long as anyone else can just as freely tell him how ignorant his words are. But if the fool punches you in the face to shut you up, it becomes assault.

The First Amendment is about letting everyone under the sun have their say. Nobody has the right to shut down opposing ideas. Americans are fully capable of making up their own mind as they hear all sides of an argument; in fact, this is the American way that has made America great over the last 245 years.

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  • Carl K
    commented 2022-01-13 21:07:56 -0700
    The United States has lost her way. People no longer understand the amazing gift this nation and its founding principles represent. This has been a long time coming, and there are a good many factors involved, perhaps two of the biggest being (1) removal of God from government, and (2) reliance on government schools to train young minds. Washington said it best: “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” We have removed both God and the Bible from our schools. And what have we replaced them with? Critical Race Theory and the idea that there is no such thing as absolute truth. Is it any wonder that our kids can no longer reason and develop or evaluate ideas? The nation is currently in a sad, sad state. I pray that we have not been asleep at the wheel for too long, and that we can make it back to the solid ground on which this country was founded.
  • Gene Woodruff
    commented 2021-04-24 20:13:58 -0700
    Need to can the links for Fakebook, Twatter and WhatApe. Parler, Signal, Gap, CloutHub, etc., support free speech.
  • nannette gobel
    commented 2021-04-22 06:57:31 -0700
    Unfortunately people do not know that they are believing propaganda. We kindly try to let people know, but they don’t take it well if they are believing a lie. Most people I talk to are completely clueless. The small minority that truly knows we are under attack must needs armor. Such as this site and others that are speaking the truth, and the Bible. I believe people who believe lies love it. They relish control over others especially if we are weak, not able to endure confrontation. We must not bow to them. Brainwashing begins in the home, then school, then social media, and even in liberal churches. Children do not have a chance. Would you change your mind even if you loved your parents fervently?" To think they would lie to you, how absurd. We lost the kids, now what? During this lock down my step grand children have been learning Yoga, and social justice. If we print the constitution and hand them out to every person that is willing this might help?
  • Laura Brooks
    commented 2021-04-22 00:04:51 -0700
    Very succinct and needed article, thank you Patrick.
    An amendment legalizing the use of propaganda on American audiences was inserted into the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012, passed as part of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. We speak with the authority of TRUTH against this vast web of deceit.
  • Sharon Thill
    commented 2021-04-21 13:16:28 -0700
    Excellent, Patrick. Clearly understood. Very succinct. Thank you for a another great tool in our efforts to save our Republic.
  • Donna Medevsky
    commented 2021-04-21 13:08:08 -0700
    Thanks for the great article!
  • Dr. Noah Gudel
    commented 2021-04-21 09:49:24 -0700
    Thank you for pointing this out!!!
  • Michael G
    commented 2021-04-21 09:30:56 -0700
  • Joy Jolie
    commented 2021-04-21 09:14:51 -0700
    Now if only we could get the propagandists to read this.
  • Patrick Wood
    published this page in Blog 2021-04-21 08:41:26 -0700