Court opinions dating

28-Apr-2020 06:51

This absence of restraints is reflected as well in the very terms in which these rights and privileges are described.What would once have been referred to as “freedom of speech and of the press” (drawing upon the language of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States) is now often referred to as “freedom of expression.” To make much of freedom of expression is to encourage a liberation of the self from the constraints of the community.Illustrative of this change in opinion is how a community responds to such a sentiment as that with which Protagoras (About the gods I am not able to know either that they are, or that they are not, or what they are like in shape, the things preventing knowledge being many, such as the obscurity of the subject and that the life of man is short.This public admission of agnosticism scandalized Protagoras’s fellow Greeks.Censorship, the changing or the suppression or prohibition of speech or writing that is deemed subversive of the common good.

Thus, liberation may be seen in the desire of most people to be free to pursue their own goals and life plans—which may involve a reliance upon standards and objectives that are solely their own.

The old, or traditional, argument against censorship was much less individualistic and much more political in its orientation, making more of another sense of liberty.

According to that sense, if a people is to be self-governing, it must have access to all information and arguments that may be relevant to its ability to discuss public affairs fully and to assess in a competent manner the conduct of the officials it chooses.

Thus, Leo Strauss has observed, “The quarrel between the Ancients and the Moderns concerns eventually, and perhaps even from the beginning, the status of ‘individuality.’ ” All this is to say that individualism is made much of in modernity.

The status, then, of censorship very much depends on the standing of government itself and of legitimate authority, revealing still another aspect of the complicated relation between “the individual and the state.” One critical source of the contemporary repudiation of censorship in the West depends on something that may be distinctive to modernity, an emphasis upon the dignity of the individual.

Thus, liberation may be seen in the desire of most people to be free to pursue their own goals and life plans—which may involve a reliance upon standards and objectives that are solely their own.The old, or traditional, argument against censorship was much less individualistic and much more political in its orientation, making more of another sense of liberty.According to that sense, if a people is to be self-governing, it must have access to all information and arguments that may be relevant to its ability to discuss public affairs fully and to assess in a competent manner the conduct of the officials it chooses.Thus, Leo Strauss has observed, “The quarrel between the Ancients and the Moderns concerns eventually, and perhaps even from the beginning, the status of ‘individuality.’ ” All this is to say that individualism is made much of in modernity.The status, then, of censorship very much depends on the standing of government itself and of legitimate authority, revealing still another aspect of the complicated relation between “the individual and the state.” One critical source of the contemporary repudiation of censorship in the West depends on something that may be distinctive to modernity, an emphasis upon the dignity of the individual.The shift from the more political to the more individualistic view of liberty may be seen in how the constitutional guarantees with respect to speech and the press are typically spoken of in the United States.