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Overview of a Logically Consistent Theory The First Amendment to the US Constitution which simply states Congress shall make no lawabridging the freedom of speech or of the press specifies no limits whatsoever Courts including the Supreme Court have taken a very different view and have created a long and ever expanding laundry list of First Amendment exceptions No coherent legal theory however provides any rational basis for this list Many exceptions--such as the obscenity exception--reflect only the personal prejudices of judges But one cannot effectively oppose censorship without a logically consistent theory of limits To call a form of speech Constitutionally unprotected simply because the Supreme Court has so ruled is not argument but appeal to authority The Supreme Court is a fallible institution that makes a great many mistakes and has historically reversed itself many times Because of the Supreme Court separate but equal was once the law of the land Because of Bowers v Hardwick states are free to jail sexually active gay and lesbian people thus effectively denying them their rights altogether As a civil libertarian I agree with the Declaration of Independence that certain rights are inalienable and among these are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness An inalienable right can not be legitimately denied by any agency of any government including the US Supreme Court The aim of censorship is to restrict thought--that is to prevent people from thinking bad thoughts The censors basic premise is Some ideas are so dangerous they must be suppressed Material is censored because it might give people ideas--ideas that the censors wish to eradicate Some censors believe that bad thoughts cause direct harm to the person who entertains them Some Christians for example consider impure thoughts mortal sins that doom a soul to suffer in Hell for eternity Others simply hold that bad thoughts corrupt the thinker For many years this direct-harm argument was used to suppress sexual
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