Friday, October 23, 2009

Assault on Amendment 1

There is a reason that our forefathers did not pen the "freedom of speech, or the freedom of the press"(1) clause as the second, third, or tenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States. There is a very direct meaning in its placement as the first. And that is because it is this one right, above all others, that guarantees the influence of the People in governing this nation. Very specifically, this right is granted to keep the People abreast of any possible legislative wrongdoings, so that a government must always be made to defend why its actions are the execution of the People's will. This is, quite simply, a formula to prevent tyranny.

Few Americans would argue with that logic. So why are Americans complacent about the government's attempts to seize the power to regulate the most prolific forums of free speech? We encountered this months ago, when Congress presented options for "internet neutrality." Now, the FCC is attempting their own version of this travesty, this time calling it an "open internet" initiative. (2)

The internet is the most essential podium for free speech the world has seen. Never have so many been able to voice their opinions in a meaningful and widely viewed manner. Considering television and print mediums provide little more than bias and political slant in scripted fashion, what better way would one have to feel the American pulse than to hear it directly from the public's mouth in a spontaneous discussion where one must defend his position, without the luxury of a teleprompter or a pre-prepared volley of questions? It is now only in live talk radio and the internet that this interactivity with citizens is seen. Therefore, it is only in these two mediums that dissent is trumpeted.

And that, dear friends, is the very reason why this administration has targeted the internet for regulation. If the government is allowed to stifle the information relay on the internet, it will have effectively silenced the ability of the People "to petition the government for a redress of grievances."(1) If this occurs, we can expect nothing short of tyranny. Any person that expects a different outcome is ignorant of history. Any person who feels this is not a stepping stone on the path to socialism or statism knows nothing of those ideologies or their principles. And if any person says such an action would coincide with the ideals of our founding fathers, he admits that he knows nothing of them.

In the immortal words of our wise colonial:

Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.
-Thomas Jefferson

William Sullivan

(1) Excerpts from the 1st Amendment

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