Letter To The Editor: Thoughts On Our Constitutional Freedoms

By DOUGLAS REILLY
Los Alamos

I wish to comment on and amplify Katy Korkos’s excellent letter, Signs and Symbols (link). The First Amendment of our Constitution speaks of four freedoms; Speech, Religion, Assembly, and The Press.

As some of us learned in a high school Civics course, all freedoms have limits.

The Freedom of Speech does not allow you to shout FIRE in a crowded theater IF THERE IS NO FIRE! I remember a different expression that your freedom of speech ends the instant your fist touches my nose.

The Freedom of Religion allows you to follow any faith, or none, of your choosing; it does not allow you to force your beliefs on me. It should not allow you to pass, or attempt to pass, laws that enforce your beliefs. However, we read daily of laws limiting women’s reproductive rights.

The Freedom of Assembly ends when you cause violence against others and/or property.

Freedom of the Press is essential for the health of democracy; it does not permit widespread expression of lies and false information. Unfortunately, some of our media organs seem to have prospered by doing exactly that.

Let me add two quotes from wise men. Voltaire once said, “I abhor what you are saying, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it!” Ben Franklin, one of our founding fathers, once said, “if you would give up some liberty for an increase in security, you will soon have neither.” Consider the Patriot Act, facial recognition, and the prevalence of surveillance cameras here and worldwide.

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