Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

The American Constitution argues free speech is a human right, not granted to us by government, but by nature. Even if some all-seeing deity could build a more optimal society by restricting the free speech of some group, this would be a moral wrong because all humans have an inherent right to free speech.

Ultimately this isn't very relevant because right to free speech does not mean a right to web hosting infrastructure. But I agree with the Founders; regardless of whether it builds a more/less optimal society, government cannot and should not infringe upon our natural right to free speech. In particular, it protects us from jumping from your hypothesis (that unchecked free speech motivated a mass killing that would have not otherwise happened, which I give a 60-70% probability of being true) to an ironclad law forever removing some liberties from the citizenry.




>The American Constitution argues free speech is a human right, not granted to us by government, but by nature.

The American Constitution doesn't argue anything about free speech, define it or make claims about its origin, or even refer to is as a right, much less a "natural" right. It only declares that Congress (explicitly, and exclusively, meaning not even inclusive of any other governing body or private entities) shall not pass laws that abridge "the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble."


I don't understand. Are you suggesting that another branch of government is therefor able to restrict that freedom? That would fundamentally challenge the co-equality of the branches.

GP's point is that the constitution serves not to grant the freedom of speech, but to restrict the government from curtailing it.


>I don't understand. Are you suggesting that another branch of government is therefor able to restrict that freedom?

Yes, because that's what the constitution says, or rather because it doesn't say otherwise. All rights not granted the Federal government through the constitution devolve to the states, and further, to the people. The states and private enterprise are allowed to abridge the freedom of speech, just not the Federal government through Congress.

>GP's point is that the constitution serves not to grant the freedom of speech, but to restrict the government from curtailing it

GP's point was that the constitution made a philosophical argument about freedom of speech as a natural right that it does not, in fact, make. One can believe that freedom of speech is a natural right if one so chooses, but the only thing the constitution actually says about freedom of speech is that it's one of a list of freedoms Congress can't pass laws to abridge.


"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

source: https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/first_amendment


Yes... I just didn't feel that copying and pasting it in was necessary, as anyone can Google it.




Applications are open for YC Winter 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: