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Friday, May 5, 2017

12 Threats To Free Speech In America



I don’t like to have to write the same blog post over and over but it seems that I often find myself writing about free speech.  In what should be a straight forward concept, especially for the nation that made free speech a priority in its founding in 1776, there’s obviously a part of the country that simply doesn’t understand or value the concept, jeopardizing it for everyone.

Free speech in our country in the year 2017 is under fire.  Look at all of the major threats:

1.      Fake News
This is a huge threat not only to our democracy, but to journalism.  There’s an alternate reality building up online.

2.      President Trump
He defames libels, and harasses legitimate media, distorts the truth, and threatens institutions like the arts, which stand up for free speech. His mislabeling of establishment media as fake news confuses citizens and undermines a free press.

3.      College Campuses
The campus environment used to promote free speech; now it trounces it, resorting to violent protests to kick invited speakers off campus, such as Ann Coulter at UC Berkeley.

4.      Threats Of Lawsuits
Powerful interests can squash free speech just with political and financial pressure or threat of a lawsuit.  This creates two worlds – one for what the wealthy, and powerful permit and one for the rest of us.

5.      Threats Of Violence
Terrorism, civil-war, or war threaten free speech in many countries.  Wherever there’s unrest and violence, there is less of a chance that the truth is spoken freely in public.

6.      Shrinking Traditional Media
Because traditional media is shrinking – in size, influence, and reach – free speech is threatened.  Television, radio, newspapers, and magazines help spread, discuss, explain, and promote free speech.  A smaller media diminishes its ability to protect and advance free speech.

7.      Google Controls
Google dictates how things are searched for or pushed to us.  This includes the media that’s fed to us.  Googgle single-handedly could pose the greatest danger to free speech.

8.      Facebook Filters
Facebook, like Google, can dictate what we see or don’t see.  This access to information and ideas is key to a thriving democracy.  Who made FB the arbiter of truth?  Do they have a legitimate method of filtering information?

9.      Twitter Kickoffs
Twitter has kicked off many users if it believes they are terrorists, spammers, bullies, etc.  It sounds like a noble pursuit but it’s often done inconsistently and inaccurately, leaving people in the dark when voices get silenced.

10.  The Black Web
There’s a whole other Internet out there where people communicate with each other, out of the sight of the public.  A lot of these exchanges involve criminal enterprises, but never the less, there’s a segment of the population that has a conversation that the masses are not invited to.

11.  Too Much Information
Too many voices from too many sources are out there, confusing, burdening and conflicting people.  Which person do you trust?  Who is verifying what is said?  Who has the time to consume all of this information?  Free speech is a victim of too much speech without some kind of neutral librarian to help us digest it all.

12.  Lack Of Education
Aside from there being 30 million illiterate Americans, the majority of the nation lacks a degree beyond high school.  Think about that.  That leaves well over a hundred million adults with little education.  If they don’t read often -- or at all -- how can they really function at a high level?  How can free speech thrive when people lack the ability to understand what’s being written or said to them?

So how can we stand up to these threats to free speech?

1.      Be aware of them and take steps to fight back.

2.      Stand up for everyone’s rights to free speech.

3.      Attend events with speakers, read books, and consume traditional media.

4.      Understand who and what threatens free speech – and step up to make sure the erosion of your most precious right doesn’t lead us to a collapse of civilization.

5.      Speak up.  Don’t let others dictate the conversation on free speech.

6.      Defend people you disagree with and support their right to speak freely.  You can criticize their ideas, but don’t shout them down from the podium.

7.      Learn about free speech by joining organizations that staunchly defend it, such as the ACLU.

Lastly, stand tall with your friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, and acquaintances – and always speak out against free speech suppression.  Use your mouth now -- or be forever silenced!

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

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