Arguments for Limiting Free Speech Term Paper

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limiting free speech ID: 53711

The arguments most often used for limiting freedom of speech include national security, protecting the public from disrupting influences at home, and protecting the public against such things as pornography.

Of the three most often given reasons for limiting freedom of speech, national security may well be the most used. President after president, regardless of party has used national security as a reason to not answer questions that might be embarrassing personally or would show their administration as behaving in ways that would upset the populace. Although there are many examples of government apply the "national security" label to various situations, perhaps some of the stories that are associated with the Iran-Contra issue best display what government uses limitations on free speech for. In horrific tangle of lies double and triple dealing that resulted in the deaths of many Nicaraguans, the Regan administration sought to overthrow a popularly elected government because the new government wouldn't behave as the U.S. wanted it to. Our government didn't want to be seen as supporting terrorists so information was suppressed and events re-written to make it seems we were not part of the operations. Journalists were transferred away from the area because of articles they wrote, and government responded to open questions with lies in the name of national security. It is perhaps good to lie to a population that prides itself on believing in freedom for everyone.

The history of limiting freedom of expression to "protect the public from disrupting influences" is also as long as our history as a nation. The purposes of the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798 seem contradictory to the just achieved freedoms.

However, if it was the fear of the new government that criticism and dissent would threaten what they were trying to build, then the Act perhaps makes sense. Zinn…

Sources Used in Document:


Curtis, M.K. (1995). Critics of "Free Speech" and the Uses of the Past. Constitutional Commentary, 12(1), 29-65. Retrieved August 5, 2005, from Questia database,

Dan, W. (1989). On Freedom of Speech of the Opposition. World Affairs, 152(3), 143-145.

Reflections and Farewell. (2002). Social Work, 47(1), 5+. Retrieved August 5, 2005, from Questia database,

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