First Amendment philosophy

As we approach the weekend and continue to reflect on our cultural moment, it seems fitting to reconsider one of America’s First Principles: free speech. Rather than provide a disquisition, I’m going to refer to the legal resource website, Justia, with its page on “Freedom of Expression: The Philosophical Basis,” where we read the following:

“Other [scholars] recur to the writings of Milton and Mill and argue that protecting speech, even speech in error, is necessary for the eventual ascertainment of the truth through the conflict of ideas in the marketplace—a view skeptical of our ability ever to know the truth.”

There’s something to consider at such a time as this. Surely a thicket of thought surrounds the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, with its promises of freedom of speech, assembly, the press, and the practice of religion. Which might need an occasional revisitation, if we are to keep our eyes focused on “liberty and justice for all.”

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