Michael Brenner | When Free Speech Signifies Nothing

Rise Up Times

The United States touts its commitment to free speech but American discourse has degenerated into self-absorbed info-tainment and trivia, ignoring many of the most pressing issues of the day, writes Michael Brenner.

 By Michael Brenner  Consortium News  July 1, 2016

Freedom of speech’s centrality in civil liberties is a public as well as a private matter. After all, the point is not simply to empower persons to sound off about whatever passes through their mind or heart. Societies, for the most part, aren’t interested in speech as ad hominen self-affirmation. They are concerned about communication. That is to say, speech aimed at an audience with some degree of intent to influence how they think and potentially might act.

The two aspects of free speech too readily get mingled. In today’s discourse, they also tend to get confused. However, the issues they raise are, in fact, quite different with consequences…

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