Freedom of Expression

People who live in democratic societies generally cherish their liberty to express themselves relatively free of restrictions. This right is exercised in diverse ways. One individual may convey ideas through the written or spoken word—another through artistic expression. But whatever avenue one chooses, the practice of this right without undue interference is generally considered fundamental to a free people.

This kind of basic human right can lend itself to abuse. In theory, a free people presume that their fellowman will exercise his freedom of expression in a way that will not harm. In practice, however, this trust is sometimes breached. People often do express themselves in ways that offend—ways that the majority may feel are detrimental to society. The temptation, then, is to restrict the freedom of expression.

October 3, 1977

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