Today we celebrate Memorial Day, to honor those who swore an oath to defend our Constitution, and were killed while wearing our uniform, as they did so.
Many Americans, however, have forgotten, or were not taught that the Constitution that our soldiers died defending specifically recognizes and protects the individual’s right to freedom of speech:
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.
– First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
This fact became apparent a few days ago, when YouGov released the results of a national survey, taken May 8-11, 2015, that showed 51% of Democrats, and 37% of Republicans support passing a law that would criminalize “hate speech,” meaning any statement or expression that a racial, religious, sexual or ethnic minority might find offensive:
How in the world could we have gotten to a point in America, the world beacon of free speech, that so many support its repeal?
How could this be happening as we can witness, with our own eyes and ears, the bloody results of the radical Islamist ideology that is metastasizing around the world, that declares you may think and speak only so long as it doesn’t offend Muslims – at which point you should be murdered?
This situation is being caused primarily by one thing: the fact that those whom we’ve entrusted (and pay) to run our educational institutions are not providing our kids with knowledge of the principles of free speech, and how many have struggled and died to protect it. For example:
- 99% of Americans cannot identify all five rights contained in the First Amendment; 92% cannot name three; less than 25% can name two; 36% cannot name a single right in the First Amendment (sources).
- 20% believe the First Amendment contains the “rights” to drive cars or have pets (source).
- 80% of seniors at America’s most elite colleges and universities cannot pass a basic high school history test, yet all will be able to graduate without having taken a single history class of any kind (source).
- Elected American politicians are even less fluent in basic civics than the general public; 25% cannot identify even one right contained in our First Amendment (source).
Worse, in many cases, these “educators” are in open warfare against the principles of free speech, as evidenced by the ever-expanding “speech codes” being implemented across America, so as to prevent “offending” anyone. The most recent, egregious example of this occurred last fall, when the Ninth Circuit court of the U.S. federal court affirmed a lower court ruling that a California high school was within its “rights” to ban the display of the American flag – because it might be offensive to Hispanic students (of whom even Gov. Jerry Brown admitted that nearly 30% are here illegally, or don’t speak English).
Zuhdi Jasser, MD is an American physician who served as a medical officer in the U.S. Navy. He is also a freedom-loving devout Muslim who, since 9/11, has been fervently working to bring reforms to Islam, and is thus in a very unique position from which to assess the true implications of our situation – and where it will lead. Here is what Dr. Jasser had to say to Fox Business’s John Stossel in May 2014 about the assault on our First Amendment from outside – and inside – the U.S.:
ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood must be giggling like schoolgirls at how easy it’s all become to silence speech they find offensive. After all, they don’t have to do a thing – we’re doing it to ourselves.
But only until we say, in one collective, undeniable voice, “No.”
“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”
― Benjamin Franklin
UPDATE June 6, 2015: A video by Pat Condell on Americans being on the verge of sacrificing our First Amendment
From the inestimable Pat Condell:
UPDATE December 16, 2015: A video by Ami Horowitz, who was able to get 50 Yale students to sign a petition supporting the repeal of our First Amendment, in less than sixty minutes: