Posted by: vanhoff | July 2, 2008

Free Speech is Never Free

Free speech has been an ancient struggle centered on intellectual freedom and the search for truth. John Milton’s Areopagitica laid the foundation denouncing censorship and helping to establish democratic right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Milton argued that instead of church and state imposing their censorship, society should allow a free and open market of ideas in belief that truth would ultimately prevail. He defended the free circulation of ideas to be essential for one’s moral and intellectual development, and that any attempt to prevent any false content is to undermine the power one will find within truth. However, controls upon communication media, that nonetheless promote censorship have advanced for at least three reasons throughout time; including monetary profit, message control reinforcement and technological necessity.

            In 1644, Milton believed and hoped that truth would ultimately prevail, and that by letting ideas compete, truth will inevitably emerge. Public discussion, as Milton states, is an important vehicle for the dissemination of ideas and ones thirst for knowledge. Learning, thus, is accompanied by disagreement and diversity of ones viewpoints. For many of the great philosophers of yesterday and today believe that free speech and the First Amendment protect ideas, therefore truth will win out. Today, a vast majority of the world use the Internet, which is the leading tool that allows for intellectual debate, news, and opinion to enlighten one’s quest for truth. A survey however, conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, found that Americans are no better informed today than twenty years ago.



  1. Very nice!!

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