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RE: Political Issues

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-----Original Message-----
From:	Bill Sherman [SMTP:SHERMANWC(--nospam--at)cdm.com]
Sent:	Tuesday, September 15, 1998 9:27 AM
To:	seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject:	Re: Political Issues

Freedom of speech has never meant that you can express your opinion whenever 
and wherever you want.  (For example, heckling a speaker is not considered 
free speech.)  Using freedom of speech also requires responsibility in how
you use it.

[Bill Polhemus]  

One of the disturbing things to me in this regard, is the degree to which the Constitutional guarantee to freedom of speech embodied in the First Amendment is wholly misunderstood.

The First Amendment guarantees freedom from GOVERNMENT RESTRICTIONS on speech.  In fact, the Bill of Rights exists ONLY to guarantee that basic freedoms are never abridged by Government entities (specifically the Federal government, although over the years the States have come to be included as well through the process of "incorporation"). Therefore, it is impossible for a private institution to violate the First Amendment.

We can have a philosophical discussion (although not on this list, of course <g>) about the merits of the principles embodied in the First Amendment and how they could be applied by individuals or groups in their private lives, but no laws are broken and no inherent rights infringed, when e.g. the administrator of this list decides to squelch non-structural engineering topics.  He has the right to do so at any time.

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