Speech May Be Too Free
WOULD it not seem that there is something wrong in the heritage
which has come down to us through history? Howsoever deep our admiration,
it is impossible not to recognize that certain elements of our constitution
are the products of brains which DREW THEIR INSPIRATION FROM THE
TEACHINGS OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. To the men that made the constitution
the modern anarchist might have been a figure as monstrous as impossible.
But some of the tenets of anarchy were not wrong, in the opinion
of the makers of the constitution. In fact, if seen in the light
thus thrown upon them, the principles of anarchy today are not so
One of th[ese] is free speech. But
can there be any such thing as absolutely free speech? If it were
so, would we then stretch out our hand to stay him who would enter
our homes and poison the minds of our half grown sons and daughters?
There should be no freedom of speech in any such unlicensed sense
more than there should be freedom to handle gunpowder as any irresponsible
person may see fit. There are laws to govern the latter, and if
it be our right and duty to make laws to guard against this danger
it is equally our right and OUR DUTY TO ERECT SAFEGUARDS AGAINST
THE LICENSE OF SPEECH.
But we are not prepared to expel the
false prophets, nor to muzzle free speech, nor to burn incendiary
books. Treatment of this kind, even were we prepared for it, would
be essentially superficial. We must delve deep[er] in order to find
a remedy. Then we will in all probability find that these conditions
have been created by ignorance.
From all parts of the old world there
is a constant march to these shores of a class of radical socialists.
They are ignorant of our institutions and our system of government.
We must have a great system of free education, a system that will
reach and enlighten the perverted minds of all such persons of whatever
age, so as to give them a true comprehension of the principle[s]
underlying our government.
AND WE MUST REPRESENT IN OUR LIVES
AN EXAMPLE OF SINCERE MANHOOD AND ENLIGHTENED CITIZENSHIP AND REFRAIN
FROM SINKING INTO LYING PHARISAISM WHICH, WHILE READY TO DENOUNCE
THE WRONG, WILL NOT LIFT ITS SMALLEST FINGER TO REMOVE IT AND ITS