ERIC Number: ED355608
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991-Nov-19
Reference Count: N/A
We Better Not Vote on It: Public Hostility toward Freedom of Expression.
Kane, Peter E.
Articles of The Bill of Rights, although comprising the fundamental principles of American society, are often opposed by many people on varying grounds. For example, many people support physical abuses by law enforcement officials, even though they might violate constitutional rights. The First Amendment, simple in original wording, has resulted in a vast amount of court cases and legislative action. However, a wide variety of examples demonstrates that the principle of freedom of expression apparently has very little public support. Government often operates with a powerful motivation toward secrecy, such as in the operation of foreign affairs and in the suppression of news about the Gulf War. News organizations also showed during the Gulf War a tendency to avoid expressions of public outrage, and most did not protest government censorship, which the public overwhelmingly supported. In the schools, freedom of expression gives way to thought control. Various groups work to prohibit controversial texts. Students are forced to conform to dress and speech codes, and are often harassed if they try to exercise civil freedoms. Colleges are ruled by attempts to impose restrictions on speech not deemed politically correct, but the anti-politically correct advocates are also guilty of hypocritical intolerance. Colleges also participate in acts of secrecy. The schools and government both exhibit hostility toward freedom of expression, but this is a general tendency throughout society. It may be that, in today's America, dearly holding to the precepts of the First Amendment has become a thing of the past. (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: First Amendment