The First Amendment adopted at the end of 1791 prevents the government from passing laws that abridge the freedom of speech or the press.
On the face of it, this does not limit the ability of private non-government organizations to limit free speech and Americans are currently subjected to a battery of attempts to limit their freedom of expression — you can feel the angst in the air.
The Declaration of Independence, with Jefferson’s 1776 evolution of the thoughts of Philosopher John Lo; best espouses what the majority believe as the Republic has progressed, whether liberal or conservative.
Abraham Lincoln considered "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" to be the prism through which the Constitution should be interpreted and it is perhaps the primary reason for the eminent success that is our United States of America.
Revolutionary France and later French Republics, took on an outwardly similar yet very different tone with, "Liberty, equality and fraternity." Early versions in Revolutionary France included "or death!"
Lawyer and statesman Maximilien Robespierre’s words fit well with the principle of common ownership and the absence of social classes that continue to explain France’s preoccupation with socialism and the social contract.
What differentiates these two takes on life is the difference between the negative liberty of the Anglosphere and the positive liberty of continental Europe.
Negative liberty is the freedom from external restraint on one’s actions whilst receiving equal access to society’s resources.
Positive liberty allows for little more than the freedom of one’s own thoughts as primary and secondary legislation interfere with one’s ability to act unconstrained — the government and society know how you should best live your life and one may not challenge them.
Communists were evidently intolerant of change, and considered the promise of a pedestrian existence preferable, until their followers lived the reality and horror of positive liberty under Communist, National Socialist and Islamic fundamentalist dictatorships.
It's only when the lessons of history are forgotten that the illusion of the superiority of a Marxist economic system is floated, something we are currently witnessing with the "progressive" economic agendas of the far left and the stance of an intolerant minority who claim to represent ‘society’ to limit our life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Our First and Second Amendment rights are stark examples of the intent of our Founding Fathers that the Republic and its peoples be empowered with the ability to restrain government so that negative liberty prevails.
Yet the recent protests, where anarchic marxist splinter movements have injected themselves into the organisation of minority rights groups, are limiting freedom of speech, undermining law and order and declaring a long war on our institutions.
These groups, following their recent successes are now funded by large corporations which are rather similar to the large government the founding fathers were intent on constraining.
We appear to be approaching the paradox of tolerance as highlighted by the philosopher Karl Popper and a well funded intolerant minority represent a substantive risk to the Constitution and the Republic without some legislation to nullify their means of persuasion.
In 1791, the United States was only just forming the first banking corporations.
The first important industrial company was the Boston Manufacturing Co. of 1813.
So, in 1791 the U.S. was a nation of private farmers and business owners whose livelihood could not be easily curtailed by those with differing opinionsit took a civil war to change the opinions of others.
The government was the big potential actor who had to be restrained and was elegantly controlled by the Constitution.
Yet large corporations today resemble the government the founding fathers feared, their employees' personal thoughts to be controlled, homogeneity of opinion the objective.
In the 21st century, the rise of social media has complemented the press as a soap box stand for freedom of expression. Social media has become the parliament for the masses to conduct all forms of political discourse and more.
Congress and the executive now frequently look to social media as the barometer of public opinion on issues of the day.
The First Amendment requires further interpretation to clarify the intent of the Founding Fathers. The intent is not difficult to understand when seen through the prism of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, whilst taking into consideration its progression from the 1689 Bill of Rights that protected freedom of speech in parliament; social media is a parliament of sorts.
Any body private, be that corporation or charity, should itself be entirely restrained from curbing the freedom of expression of its members, the American people, as their members have the right not to be discriminated against for whatever they may choose to say.
Otherwise the company’s members, the people, themselves lose their free will, unable to pursue Lincoln’s prism, as they are constrained by the large collective of corporation and intolerant societal groups.
Intolerant minority factions are using their sway with societal groups to coerce corporate decision making, but once discrimination laws are updated to nullify this means of control, companies would again be judged on the merits of the products and services they provide, as this tool of intolerance would have been blunted and the Marxist threat to the Republic defanged.
Let us go forward together and speak freely in liberty in this great and good country!
James Arnold is a British financier and geopolitical strategist. Together, James Arnold and Richard Nixon Cox created the policy simulator available on the website of the Richard Nixon Foundation.
Christopher Nixon Cox is a member of the board of directors of the Richard Nixon Foundation and a non-resident fellow at Princeton’s Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination. He is the grandson of Richard Nixon, the 37th President of the United States. He graduated Princeton with a degree in Politics, magna cum laude. He is a lawyer in New York City and a non-resident fellow in Princeton University’s Liechtenstein Institute for Self Determination. Read Christopher Nixon Cox's Reports — More Here.
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