This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Symbolic Speech Should Be Protected

2721 words - 11 pages

Why Symbolic Speech Should Be Protected

1. The measure of a great society is the ability of its citizens to tolerate the viewpoints of those with whom they disagree. As Voltaire once said, “I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” (Columbia). This right to express one's opinion can be characterized as “freedom of speech.” The concept of “freedom of speech” is a Constitutional right in the United States, guaranteed under the First Amendment to the Constitution:

“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” (U.S. Constitution).

Because it is a Constitutional right, the concept of freedom of speech is hardly ever questioned. “On its most basic level [freedom of speech] means you can express an opinion without fear of censorship by the government, even if that opinion is an unpopular one” (Landmark Cases). However, the actions of Americans that are included under “free speech,” are often questioned. Many people support the theory of “free speech,” but may oppose particular practices of free speech that personally offend them. This hypocrisy is illustrated by the case of Neo-Nazis whose right to march in Skokie, Illinois in 1979 was protested by many, but ultimately successfully defended by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The residents of this predominantly Jewish town which contained many Holocaust survivors were offended by the presence of the Neo-Nazis. However, then ACLU Executive Director Aryeh Neier, whose relatives died in Hitler's concentration camps during World War II, commented, “Keeping a few Nazis off the streets of Skokie will serve Jews poorly if it means that the freedoms to speak, publish or assemble any place in the United States are thereby weakened” (American Civil Liberties Union).

2. Very little expression is “mere” speech. Under the broad category of free speech is the concept of “symbolic speech.”

“Expression may be symbolic, as well as verbal. Symbolic speech is conduct that expresses an idea. Although speech is commonly thought of as verbal expression, we are all aware of nonverbal communication. Sit-ins, flag waving, demonstrations, and wearing…protest buttons are examples of symbolic speech. While most forms of conduct could be said to express ideas in some way, only some conduct is protected as symbolic speech. In analyzing such cases, the courts ask whether the speaker intended to convey a particular message, and whether it is likely that the message was understood by those who viewed it. In order to convince a court that symbolic conduct should be punished and not protected as speech, the government must show it has an important reason. However, the reason cannot be that...

Find Another Essay On Symbolic Speech Should Be Protected

Should Hate Speech be Regulated on Campus?

1229 words - 5 pages speech, the first being "purism".The use of speech codes is an example of purism, because they want to stamp out racism. According to Rauch, purists believe that all racist speech should not be allowed and eliminating prejudice is the ultimate goal. He thinks that there is no possible chance of this happening so, we as a society should make the best of it and tolerate and learn from prejudice. He also describes purists as totalists, who see racism

Should Hate Groups Be Allowed Free Speech?

927 words - 4 pages allows all citizens the freedom to express any and all opinions, no matter how offensive and hurtful. This leads many to question whether these hate groups should be allowed the right to free speech. I believe that hate groups should be allowed free speech because all Americans have the right of free speech, it is not discriminatory unless it incites violence, and hate can be prevented through education rather than criminalization. Hate groups are

Freedom Of Speech Should be Limited

1330 words - 5 pages Topic: Do you believe that free speech as proscribed under the first amendment of the constitution should be limited? The entire American Government is based in the belief that all human beings are born with certain rights. People do not receive their rights from the Government; its function is actually to guard the rights we already have. Citizens are protected by the first amendment, which prohibits government from acting against anyone's

Free Speech Should Not be Restricted

540 words - 2 pages Free Speech Should Not be Restricted I have an idea!  How about we let everyone freely speak their minds about issues and ideas.  Some will be better than others will of course, but the outcome will be a compilation of everyone’s best thoughts.  Everyone that is, except you.  We, meaning the country, decided that whatever it is that you have to say isn’t all that important and it is recommended that you keep all your thoughts to yourself as

Persuasive Speech: Marijuana Should Be Legal

1706 words - 7 pages General Purpose: Speech to Persuade Specific Purpose: To get my audience to be pro on legalizing marijuana Thesis Statement: Marijuana isn't harmful and should be legalized Organizational Pattern: Cause and Effect To the AIDS or cancer patient, marijuana is the plant that fights nausea and appetite loss. To the nutritionist, its seed is second only to the soybean in nutritional value and is a source of cooking oil and vitamins. To

Should Schools Be Allowed to Limit Students’ Online Speech?

910 words - 4 pages their students are safe and happy at school and off -grounds.They want to limit online speech so they can protect students and teachers who get cyber bullied online. Restate the question, using other words for “limit” and “online speech”: Should schools be able to restrict and regulate what students say on the internet ? Thesis and Road Map (Give three reasons why you think that schools should/should not be allowed to limit students

Freedom of Speech: Should We Be Spending Money to Transmit Messages?

630 words - 3 pages citizen, freedom of speech should be treated the same across the board. How is it constitutionally acceptable to limit a corporation from spending money on a candidate that they feel portrays their beliefs or goals? After all, a corporation is made up of citizens of the United States and is a form of accumulated people. Donating to a cause or something that is believed in is making a statement and is protected by the constitution. An argument to



Should animals in danger of extinction be protected?

688 words - 3 pages Animals are extremely important in our world and also in humans. We always live in contact with nature, whether with animals or the environment, this makes us very close and leads us to take care of them. But many believe that animals are the invaders, but in fact they don't know that we are the real invaders of Earth. At this time there are 5,200 species in danger of extinction, this figure is very alarming because this says to us that we are

Persuasive Speech: The Morning-After Pill Should Be Used for Birth Control

788 words - 4 pages . Thesis Statement: It is a very sensitive and controversial issue, that's why I’m talking today about the morning after pill. • Reason your audience would be interested in this speech: Audience will gain general knowledge about the advantages of the use of the morning-after pill as an emergency contraception. • Overview 1. Main Point A: First I’m going to give information about the morning-after pill. (What is the morning-after pill?). 2. Main

Do Animals Have Rights and, If So, Should They Be Protected?

696 words - 3 pages treat each other the way we would like to be treated. This is only one of many `rights' that we claim for ourselves. We wonder why these same 'rights' cannot be extended to include the other inhabitants of the earth - especially the harmless ones.Animals are obviously a lower form of life than man. Perhaps he should look upon himself as their guardian rather than as their lord and master: The fact that they are powerless to defend themselves should

Similar Essays

Freedom Of Speech In Mass Media: Why Should It Be Protected?

1578 words - 6 pages the 'Declaration of Human Right' of United Nation, freedom of speech is an essential part of human right that every human born to have and should not be restricted. Why is it important to have free speech? And why the freedom of speech in mass media should be protected?In this essay, we will clarify what is freedom, the reason of respecting freedom of speech and what will be the consequence if it is not protected, in the view of J. S. Mill

Why Whistleblowers Should Be Protected Essay

960 words - 4 pages , there is almost always a person involved who is against the practice and wants to reveal what’s happening to world. Unfortunately, those who speak out, also known as whistleblowers, end up facing harsh consequences. What did these people do wrong? The point being, Whistleblowers should be protected because they uncover secrets that affect the public, expose unethical practices and help make the future better. One such example of bravery would be

Offensive Speech Should Be Allowed

2716 words - 11 pages , yet neglects to heal the underlying problem. The establishment of speech codes should be prohibited because they violate our basic American rights. The First Amendment to the Constitution states: "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

Should Hate Speech Be Regulated?

1840 words - 8 pages regulated or if it should be regulated. It is hate speech. What exactly is hate speech? Hate speech is when a person uses words intentionally to hurt someone else; they can use hateful words based on race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation ( Yet the origin of hate-speech laws has been largely forgotten. The divergence between the United States and European countries is of comparatively recent origin. In fact, the United