The First Amendment and freedom of speech allow us to say what we want, but: we can’t yell “fire!” in a crowded theater; we can’t incite a riot; and since the nation’s founding, there have always been some types of political and obscene speech that could send you to jail. Professor Dennis Baron’s timely new book, “You Can’t Always Say What You Want: The Paradox of Free Speech” points out these exceptions, the “free speech, but”-what happens when the right of speech runs up against the government’s efforts to control it, and what types of threats to speech we will face in the propulsion of commentary on the internet. Free speech is a much more nuanced topic when you realize that the First Amendment pertains only to the government not making laws to limit it. Your boss or family members can ascribe whatever limits they choose. Even the government has limited speech when it might be injurious to a war effort or an enemy like, Soviet Communism in much of the 20th century. And today we see self-described free speech absolutist, Elon Musk, throwing people whose opinions he does not like off of Twitter. We will try to untangle a complex issue on this podcast.
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