"The common notion that free speech prevails in the United States always makes me laugh."
H. L. Mencken
(1880-1956) American Journalist, Editor, Essayist, Linguist, Lexicographer, and Critic
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Reader comments about this quote:
This is true if one believes he is talking about a society in disagreement of opinions and being ridiculed for your belief. Christians or some other religious belief find this to be true and politicians . Atheists find this true too, if in church. If one is talking of government preventing free speech. I think as a whole it is free.
Free speech requires disagreement and suppression of verbal and harassment must be resisted to be free. Or our free speech is not a thing more then bound in silence.
 -- charley denver, Denver     
    Try exercising free speech at one of the road side check points now becoming common in the US.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    And it sure hasn't improved since Mencken's time.
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
    The vast majority of Americans still believe they 'mostly' enjoy free speech. Until a few days ago those legions probably included the production company that creates "Mythbusters", the popular Discovery Channel show. They were recently schooled that speaking out isn't so 'free' after all. Their "Discovery" dawned when their intent to broadcast a segment on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips became known to credit card companies (search "Mythbusters, RFIDs"). Particularly interesting is the obvious about-face Adam Savage's comments took after the show's 'education.' The juxtaposition of his remarks illustrates exactly how much "freedom" he enjoys in choosing his words and speaking them out plainly. THERE ARE SOME THINGS AMERICANS JUST AREN'T ALLOWED TO KNOW, AND THERE ARE SOME THINGS SOME AMERICANS JUST AREN'T GIVEN LEAVE TO SAY OUT LOUD - certainly not on America's dominating information source. How "free" does that sound? The largest vulnerability found when it comes to the continuing dominance of the current U.S. power structure, is found in the form of We the People. As such, Power fears us greatly - exactly as it is supposed to. But instead of viewing its own purpose and DUTY as being a SERVANT to the people, Power has endowed itself as all-important GUIDE, sole steward of the future. The hubris involved in such a self perception causes instruments of Power view We The People as internal THREATS that need to be dominated and controlled under any and all circumstances. RFIDs, nanotechnology and full spectrum dominance of communications have given it to them. Our lives are conducted in a fishbowl, thoroughly monitored, utterly controlled. "O-oh, say can you see?"
     -- Mann, Kalamazoo     
    good comments - how about those new no free speech zones ? be careful who you disagree with and where you disagree with them
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Yeah, a black guy with a Twitter handle NO_LIMIT_NIGGA can call a white guy a "crazy ass cracker" and somehow the white guy is a racist. Apparently a black person has the free speech to use racial slurs, but to describe a black guy to police as 'black' is racist. It appears racist speech is OK as long is it is the black person being racist. The racist mainstream media like to keep wounds open and raw -- good for ratings. CNN's viewership dropped by half when the Zimmerman trial exonerated him, Just goes to prove that stories about supposed racism are good for media business. The last thing the media wants is PEACE and good news -- WAR is big business for the media and they just love to stir the pot. Meanwhile, the politicians are getting away with murder, literally.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Exactly Archer. Four black kids beat a white guy nearly to death in North Carolina about a month ago. Dragged him onto a freeway and left him there. He was hit and killed by a car...and not a peep out of the media. Because only white people can be depicted as racist and raise the ratings....goes to show who they're catering to.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    You guys are so shallow, hell you don't even know that you are using free speech right now.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
    Waffler, tell that to those that expose the lies and deceit of government officials, corporations, unions, churches, etc.. The quote is about whether free speech PREVAILS. Yeah, as long as we stay in our approved 'free speech zones' (where few will be heard) we are 'free.' Ask a news anchor how 'free' he/she is to speak about anything that isn't approved by their bosses. The media has the ears of millions of people -- how rarely do the people ever learn the truth. Don't confuse opinion-making with free speech.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    That's right Waffler...and we're being spied on as we do it...
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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