How the First Amendment is in danger

Recently, NBC news claimed that problems were occurring in the Trump White House. Trump responded by questioning whether NBC should continue being licensed.

This is not a new story,as threats have been made by Democrats and Republicans over the last 20 years, threatening the media (television, radio talk show hosts, etc), many times.

The problem is, both parties are putting the First Amendment at risk, threatening to delimit it.  The First Amendment guarantees Freedoms of Speech, Religion and the Press. We frequently hear politicians and so-called Americans complain about the First Amendment, wanting to curtail it. We’ve seen several examples in the last few years.

Safe spaces campus are against the First Amendment. Shouting down speakers is against the First Amendment. Having government threaten the NFL for players that take a knee, is against the First Amendment. Preventing neo-Nazis or communists from peaceable assembly is against the First Amendment.

The First Amendment is not to protect speech and thoughts that we agree with, but to protect speech and ideas we disagree with. This is very important, because we never know when our own beliefs may fall out of favor and risk being placed on the chopping block of government.

How should the president and others handle NBC, if indeed they are lying? By using the courts. Free speech and press do not protect against slander nor libel. Government cannot stop these, but a judge can order a stop to criminal or negligent activity.

For the NFL players who take a knee? It is between them and the owners of the teams. Consumers and advertisers can influence that decision by using their First Amendment rights to communicate their displeasure via boycotts, stopping ads, and sending phone/email notices.

In a free market, all voices are heard, unhindered by government. The free market corrects itself. Why are neo-Nazis such a small group with a small voice? Because other free voices have also spoken out against their ideas. Why are NFL owners now deciding to end players taking knees? Because they are listening to the hundreds of thousands of dissatisfied free voices.

If a talk radio show host or television news broadcast make a crazy statement, the free market of ideas can fix it. And if not, Americans are free to prove their injury in the courts.

Why is Harvey Weinstein finally being brought to task? Because people finally feel free to speak out. Imagine how his power kept dozens of women and others quiet, due to fear of retribution. Now, imagine government using its even greater power (with the force of IRS agents, military force, ATF, FBI, etc) pressing down on people to keep them quiet. That is the danger of having politicians and others prodding government to shut down free speech, the press, peaceful assembly, and religion.

The reality is, most Americans no longer understand the importance of these things. They feel offended and expect government to crack down. They are happy, until the storm troopers crack down on their own group. It is time to explain the importance of the First Amendment, which is the most important of the Amendments/Bill of Rights.

Why? Because they reflect the concepts found in the Declaration of Independence: we are all created equally with unalienable rights, given by our Creator. Among these rights are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness (in that order).


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About rameumptom

Gerald (Rameumptom) Smith is a student of the gospel. Joining the Church of Jesus Christ when he was 16, he served a mission in Santa Cruz Bolivia (1978=1980). He is married to Ramona, has 3 stepchildren and 7 grandchildren. Retired Air Force (Aim High!). He has been on the Internet since 1986 when only colleges and military were online. Gerald has defended the gospel since the 1980s, and was on the first Latter-Day Saint email lists, including the late Bill Hamblin's Morm-Ant. Gerald has worked with FairMormon, More Good Foundation, LDS.Net and other pro-LDS online groups. He has blogged on the scriptures for over a decade at his site: Joel's Monastery ( He has the following degrees: AAS Computer Management, BS Resource Mgmt, MA Teaching/History. Gerald was the leader for the Tuskegee Alabama group, prior to it becoming a branch. He opened the door for missionary work to African Americans in Montgomery Alabama in the 1980s. He's served in two bishoprics, stake clerk, high council, HP group leader and several other callings over the years. While on his mission, he served as a counselor in a branch Relief Society presidency.

8 thoughts on “How the First Amendment is in danger

  1. On the other hand, had Daniel been protected by the First amendment, his act of praying in defiance of government policy would not have been half so heroic, and we wouldn’t have the story about God binding the mouths (and claws and muscled limbs) of the lions by faith.

    I agree that the First Amendment ought not be put aside, but we are free whether the law protects us or not.

  2. Actually, Daniel’s story is a perfect example of government tyranny. So are many of the stories in the Bible: Esther, pharaoh enslaving Israel, Isaiah slain by the king, Jezebel slaying hundreds of prophets, Elijah, Jeremiah, etc. Even Jesus suffered from bad Jewish and Roman government when it came to free speech. The Bible shows tyranny against speech and religion.

  3. Don’t disagree – just saying that sometimes it is tyranny that allows heroism to happen. So while I don’t in any way support tyranny, we are still free, despite the tyranny.

  4. The mainstream media is even more dangerous to the country today than ever since 1964.

    Before 1964 the media, and people in general, were very careful about what they printed, or said, about public officials and events for fear of retribution.

    1964, New York Times Company v Sullivan —– The Supreme Court ruled that any and all statements are protected under the First Amendment whether outright lies or not.

    Media can print and say anything, lies, half truths, etc about anyone.

    If a person wants to sue for lies the media said, which is Libel, the person or public official must show that what was said against the person or public official was made with actual malice, that is with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard for the truth.

    This is why the media has been labeled fake news. The media can print outright lies without fear of a lawsuit. Proving malice is very, very difficult. A lawsuit is not as easy as one thinks thanks to the 1964 ruling.

    This is why the media is dangerous. The media is telling outright lies, and half truths. The entire USA media which is television, newspapers, magazines, a few Internet sites, are owned by Six people. These six people are Democrats and donate mainly to Democrat politicians and the Democrat Party, and donate to liberal leftist organizations.
    The media is the propaganda machine for the Democrat Liberal Progressive Leftist Socialist Communist agenda.

  5. In 2004 a reporter for the New York Times worked hard to get the story about Harvey Weinstein, but the Editor refused to print the story.
    In 2015 Ronan Farrow, who was working at NBC, was going to report on the behavior of Weinstein but Oppenheimer, the head of NBC, would not allow the story to be reported.

    The women did not just now feel free to speak out. They could have said something these past twenty plus years. Money and fame was more important. Weinstein’s behavior was an open secret in Hollywood. Jane Fonda said she knew and now feels badly for not saying something and this statement has been said by many famous people. Rose McGowan sued and for a settlement of $100,000.00 and her silence, Weinstein had to agree help her then boyfriend with the boyfriend’s struggling production company. These actresses could have banded together to stop Weinstein. One actress that Weinstein forced himself on later had a consensual relationship with him! She admitted to it.

    Emma Thompson said Weinstein is the tip of the iceberg of the sexual abuses in Hollywood.

    Weinstein was being protected all these years. Something happened for Hollywood and the Democrats to turn on him. He either refused to donate to something, he made the wrong person angry, or it could be because he has lost some of his power. Something got triggered in order for the media to have the green light to report on Weinstein’s behavior and for everyone to pile on.

    We all know that sexual abuse and worse goes on in Hollywood. So if the average person knows this, for sure the rich and famous know this. Cory Feldman and Elijah Wood said pedophilia is the norm in Hollywood……no one has cared to listen.
    They protect one another. Just as politicians protect one another, just as law enforcement and the medical community and the Catholic church, and on and on and on.

    Regarding the NFL — the NFL players are at work, their office. People in the stands pay to see them play, not protest against the USA and the flag and her citizens, or against anything. The NFL and other sports get taxpayers money, so the players and Goodell and whomever have no right to protest or support the protest, on the field, court, or rink. The players can protest against the USA and flag all they want outside the football field on their own time. Do you want to go into a business where the employees are protesting against the USA and flag or anything for that matter, especially something you do not agree with, while you are trying to accomplish what you went there for?

    The NFL has a rule that the players must stand at attention for the national anthem and flag. Goodell chooses which rules to ignore and which to enforce. He allows the Communist Liberal Leftists to do whatever they want. Anyone wanting to do good things get shut down. Example: Players were not allowed to wear emblems honoring 9/11. The Dallas Cowboys could not wear emblems honoring the police officers who were killed in Dallas by a Black Lives Matter member. Kapernick was allowed to wear socks with pigs wearing cop uniforms.

  6. Free market theory makes basic assumptions about information symmetry, the (large) number of buyers and sellers, mobility, substitutability of goods, low barriers to entry and motivation for utility maximization. These assumptions are almost never fulfilled except in very simple markets like the market for grain or oil. And even then not usually. So to say that free markets correct themselves is like saying that flying pink elephants poop like any other elephant. It’s probably true but it isn’t a very helpful observation. If it were true and practical we would have no need for government, but again and again throughout history any group of people trying to live together finds it necessary to institute some sort of governance regime to ameliorate market failures.

  7. Government creates most problems, then demands more government to fix it. Both the Great Depression and Great Recession were made longer and worse by government. The wars on poverty and drugs have failed, but we keep throwing more money at it. Government dragged us into Vietnam, Iraq, and many other useless conflicts to feed the vast military industrial complex.

    Free markets self correct on their own. Only government stymies the market by creating monopolies, making it hard to start a business, high taxes, heavy regulations, etc.

    When the economy slowed, Calvin Coolidge reduced taxes and regulations and the economy soared. JFK cut taxes and economy did well until LBJ’s big government policies and war growth stymied the economy. Reagan restored the economy.

    Now big government Democrats and Republicans have created a $20 trillion deficit, and giant programs on the verge of bankruptcy.

    In all of this, free markets still work. Many communist nations have increased free markets and reduced regulations to avoid bankruptcy and create a middle class (China’s is over 400 million). Those maintaining big government fail to feed their people, struggle to maintain any middle class, and take away any rights. Examples: Soviet Union and its Eastern European bloc, North Korea, Venezuela, China (before free market reforms), Zimbabwe, etc. The pattern for both big government and free markets is clear.

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