It has oft been said that Freedom of Speech does not extend to giving you the right to shout “FIRE!” in a crowded theater. The essence of this being that an individual’s right to free speech only extends to the point that it doesn’t endanger someone else. But where is that point? Increasingly, sources that would be reasonably assumed to be credible are saying or repeating things that are utter fabrications for the purpose of inciting civil unrest. Is that shouting “FIRE”?
Should I awake one morning to find my neighbor going door to door claiming that the military was on its way to round us all up and place us in internment camps, I’d think him a little loony, but certainly not doing anything illegal. But if Brian Williams announces such a thing on the evening news, it rather seems he may have shouted “FIRE!” So it’s not just what you say, but who you are that plays into whether or not you’ve crossed the line from free speech to endangering others’ welfare.
Recently, the RNC sent a “survey” around to its members with the following question:
“It has been suggested that the government could use voter registration to determine a person’s political affiliation, prompting fears that GOP voters might be discriminated against for medical treatment in a Democrat-imposed health care rationing system. Does this possibility concern you?”
While they have tried to cleverly word this to distance themselves from being the source of the claim, let’s face reality. Assume I said to you, “It has been suggested that your mother turns tricks on the weekend to fund her cocaine habit. Does this concern you?” You’d punch me, and I’d deserve it.
So the question remains, is this free speech, or shouting “FIRE”? We report. You decide.