"As a matter of constitutional tradition, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, we presume that governmental regulation of the content of speech is more likely to interfere with the free exchange of ideas than to encourage it. The interest in encouraging freedom of expression in a democratic society outweighs any theoretical but unproven benefit of censorship."
Justice John Paul Stevens
U. S. Supreme Court Justice
Majority Opinion, Communications Decency Act, 26 June 1997
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- J. Allen, Arlington, Va     
    More likely to interfere? No...Absoluetly it interfere's and that is by design. If they can, they will destroy our ability to communicate. Because they fear us when we can organize.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    He was a left-wing liberal, but he did get this one right.
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
    He's right as rain on this quote.
     -- jim k, Austin,Tx     
    not shooting the messenger, yes
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    The left always cling to freedom of speech -- except when the right wants to speak. The onslaught of the Internet is beginning.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Its time to find another means of communication, as the net has about 3 more months or less, then No privacy at all. Underground is the only way now.
     -- anon, anon     
    The internet is my life line to speak my mind since I am unable to get out of the house and of course the leader in power now is afraid of us speaking whats on our mind. So I guess we are all doomed.
     -- Anonoymous, USA     
    All you folks nailed old Franklin Roosevelt when he exercised his freedom of speech and freedom of ideas as being unconstitutional ones. What freedom do we really have when you guys yell unconstitutional to any idea you disagree with. You guys are or would be the real dictators that would put us all in a Constitutional Straight Jacket.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
    Orders from government authority are not considered free speech, Waffler, otherwise there would be no limit to what the government would do. That is the purpose of the Constitution -- to define what powers the People are granting to their representative government. In government, speech is a command, and the people do not have to follow every command of the state -- in fact we must not follow commands for which we have given no permission to issue.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Waffler, you missed the point. A Constitutional Straight Jacket is EXACTLY what it is supposed to be, Thomas Jefferson: "In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
     -- E Archer, NYC     

    Justice Stevens’ founding premise is extremely flawed. Steven’s misdirection and erroneous pliant, attempting to harmonize multiple legal philosophies into one hegemony, slithered its way to an overall correct conclusion. His tenure in the court was a time when the court had very little - to nothing to do with constitutional law or tradition (stari decisus being the carnal gods’ choice). The de jure jurisprudence of the States united was to be “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” (a narrow interpretation and application of natural law). Stevens’ court lived in an unconstitutional legal philosophy of arbitrary existence and enforcement - recognized as “Legal Positivism” "Legal Realism", etc.

    Coining a phrase concerning an administration of socialism, Mussolini changed the understanding of “corporatism” to an expression: “fascism” (governmental rule by corporation). The legal person “corporation” is a creation of the State; defined by the State; registered with the State; ruled over by the State; etc. and is an extension of the State. The State’s creation of a legal person formulates a bifurcation - legal and equitable titles (not ownership). Corporate officers, stock holders, etc. hold legal title while the State holds equitable title.

    The vast majority of historical evidence and legal tradition is not just presumed but proven, governmental (State, corporations, etc.) regulation concerning speech regulation severely interferes with the free exchange of ideas; AND, acts to enslave We The People - individually and in concert.

    Relating freedom of speech (an individual sovereign’s inalienable right) to a democratic society is an oxymoron at best and mind control enslavement at worst. Freedom of speech is an expression of natural law, individual sovereigns, inalienable rights, liberty and advancement of the Divine specie.

     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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