PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL LAW: Freedom of Speech and the Press

Our society no longer understands that the rights to ‘free speech’ and ‘freedom of the press.’  One one hand, parts of our society seems to believe that these rights are unlimited, and are supposed to be without consequence.  On the other hand, parts of our society seem to believe that the right to free speech and freedom of the press are dependent upon what is being said or written.  If it is deemed as ‘hateful,’ they seem to believe that the right to speak or print one’s mind can be taken away.  In truth, both beliefs are lawless and, therefore, on the side of tyranny.  This is because both views violate the Principles of Natural law.  We do have a Natural Right to free speech and to the written word, but there are limits to this right, and even then, there is no freedom from consequence for exercising this right.  If you will give me a few minutes, I will explain.

First, the freedom of speech and the press are connected to the Natural Right to our will.  A right to something implies the liberty to exercise that thing.  In this case, if you have a right to your own mind or will, then you have a right to express that will or mind.  Therefore, the right to your own mind or will implies the right to speak or write without fear of losing your individual rights and liberties.  However, this right of expression does not automatically apply to our actions, nor does it mean we are free from the consequence of our words.

Let’s deal with the most obvious perversion of free speech first: the notion that actions are speech.  This is a difficult thing for most people to understand because it is possible for an act to be an expression of one’s free will.  Putting on a black arm band to show people you are in morning is an action that expresses the individual’s mind.  This is a form of free speech that does fall under the boundaries of Natural Law.  It is protected because the person is using their property (i.e. their clothes, arm band and person) to express their mind without causing harm to another person or their property.  But not all actions are free speech.  If I protest outside a business to the point that I cause a disruption to that business, or make customers feel uncomfortable patronizing that business, this is not protected action.  It is not protected because I am causing harm to another person and/or their property.  This also applies to protests on public property.  Yes, all citizens are to have equal access to public property, but that only applies to actions that do not interfere with the ability of others to use that public property.  A public protest that disrupts the use of public property by just one other person is a violation of the Social Contract and, therefore, Natural law.  That means it is an act that does not fall under the heading of ‘free speech.’

The point here is that actions are very seldom ‘speech.’  If they were, I would be free to physically force you to do what I want you to do or to stop doing something I do not want you to do and you couldn’t do anything about it.  It would not be illegal.  All I would have to do is say it was ‘symbolic speech’ and I could claim the protection of the First Amendment.  Let’s take this to the point of absurdity to see why this is true.  If a person is on a street corner handing out printed material and I do not like what his pamphlet says, then why can’t I exercise my ‘right to symbolic speech’ by pounding that person into the ground?  I mean, I have a right to symbolic speech, don’t I?  So how is my beating this person to the point where they cannot hand out their pamphlet not ‘free speech?’  Because I would be causing them personal harm?  Sorry, that does not work.  Many acts have been deemed as protected ‘speech’ by our Courts when they actually cause harm to people and their property.  So, we cannot say that pounding this person into the ground is wrong, but allowing other actions that cause harm to people and their property is protected.  We must be consistent or we are violating the Social Contract by showing favoritism.  This is a clear violation of Natural Law.

Now that we have dealt with the fact that actions are seldom protected by the principles of free speech, let’s address the next misunderstanding about the right to free expression: the notion that there shouldn’t be any consequences for expressing our mind.  The best known example here is that we do not have a right to shout “Fire!” in a theater.  Another well known example is that of what we call “fighting words:” if I say something to someone that a reasonable person would expect to result in a violent reaction from that person, I do not have a right to say it.  For example: if I make a grossly insulting comment to a man about his wife in front of his wife, a reasonable person would expect that my words would be likely to cause that man to react in a violent manner.  This means I do not have a right to insult the man’s wife, especially in front of her.  Another way to look at this is that I do not have a right to use words or the press to deliberately provoke other people.  That is a form of speech that is clearly intended to cause harm, and harm is one of the keys to knowing whether or not we are violating Natural Law.  If it harms, it is most likely a violation, and we are not free from consequences of violating Natural Law.  In the case of “fighting words,” the immediate consequences might well be that we get punched in the nose.  Or, in the case of yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater, we might be imprisoned for causing a situation that threatened the safety of others.  In both cases, we deserve the consequences because we sought to harm others.

This principle carries over to speech or press where we advocate actions that harm others.  In our society today, one of the most blaring examples is that of ‘Political Correctness.’  Surely, we can all think of an example where one person says something that the PC police did not like and then went on a campaign to destroy that person.  This happens on a regular basis in our society today, and it is not protected speech!  If the purpose is to destroy a person simply for something that person believes, then that speech is not protected under Natural Law.  Why?  Because it seeks to harm someone who has not harmed or caused harm, themselves.  People who do this should be held accountable for their actions.  In the case of a PC attack on someone, that person should be allowed to sue the people and organizations attacking them.  It falls under the slander and libel laws.  But we have allowed certain people and organizations to acquire unlawful immunity for saying and printing things that destroy others.  This immunity is a clear violations of Natural Law and is should not be allowed — not under Natural Law.

Now, this will most likely cause a great deal of discomfort for many people.  This is because we have been taught that free speech and freedom of the press means we have to allow people to say whatever they want about ‘public figures.’  That is a lie!  First, a ‘public figure’ has the same protections under the law as any private citizen.  They do not surrender their rights by becoming a public figure — especially since many people become ‘public figures’ through no action of their own.  Neither does ‘the press’ have an immunity that no private citizen has.  If I can be sued for saying or printing something, then the media can be sued for it, as well.  The most obvious examples here are saying or printing things that are not true — even if they are ‘opinions.’   By that, I mean that we cannot say something about a person we know is not true and then claim we cannot be sued because it is ‘our opinion.’  The same applies to attacking a person’s intentions or actions.  We are not free to claim a person is or wants to do something that we have reason to expect will cause harm to that person.  For example: we are not free to say that a person wants to kill and eat children unless we can show proof that they have done so, said so or make a case that this person is doing so in secret — a case that would hold up in a court of law!  Otherwise, if we claim that a person is or wants to kill and eat babies, we can be — and probably should be — sued.  The principle here is simple: if we cannot prove it is true, or make a sound, valid and rational argument to support it, then we do not have a right to say or print it.  And, if we do, we do not have a right to claim immunity from the consequences.

Finally, we do not have a right to silence the speech or restrict the press simply because we dislike the opinions of others or oppose their agenda.  Unless a person is advocating harm, either to other individuals, their property, or society, they have the right to speak their mind — either verbally or in print.  It does not matter whether you find their speech offensive: unless you can prove tangible harm, they have a right to speak their mind — and ‘pain and suffering’ is not tangible harm! Tangible harm means you can demonstrate a physical injury or a loss of property or income.  If you claim you couldn’t work because you were emotionally traumatized, that does not apply.  You do not have the right to make such a claim because the person you are trying to silence could then make the same claim against you: they could say you silencing them or claiming they offended you offended and harmed them.  In this case, how could you object?  If you can do it to them, they can do it to you — and for the same reasons.  Therefore, you have to show a boo-boo or a real loss of property or income that is directly connected to something a person said or printed.  An example would be a person who is labeled a bigot or racist and then attacked by the media and — ultimately — driven out of their business.  That person can show real damages.  Even if that person said they believed in the superiority of one race over another, unless they advocated an action that caused harm to others, any attack on them because of their beliefs would be a violation of Natural Law.  The point here is simple: an individual has the right to express their mind — even if it is deemed offensive.  What’s more, unless they are intentionally using it to do something that causes actual harm, their right to speak and print their mind is protected.  Conversely, their is no ‘right’ to not be offended.  This is how free speech and a free press works.

A great deal of the trouble we have in our society today has been caused by the perversion of free speech and freedom of the press.  We have allowed certain people and organizations to say whatever they want about whoever they want without consequence.  In some cases, we have even used the law to protect these people and organizations from legal ramifications of their words.  While, at the same time, we have allowed people to be harmed simply because of the things they have said or written.  Both are clear violations of the Social Contract and its duty to protect all citizens equally.  This means we have clearly violated the principles of Natural Law.  That is why ‘speech’ in our society has become such a problem: because we have allowed it to become corrupted and weaponized, which is – as I said at the start — the realm of tyranny!

 

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