Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Neuborne's "Madison's Music: on Reading the First Amendment", previewed on the David Pakman show; possibly important legal observation noted that could affect bloggers


A composite video by The David Pakman Show while he is on vacation this week, “The Truth About Free Speech and Censorship”. Introduces a book by NYU Civil Liberties Professor Burt Neuborne, “Madison’s Music: On Reading the First Amendment” from 2015, from the New Press.


Neuborne starts speaking in the third segment, at about 26:00 in the video.

He describes the First Amendment as 45 words that needs to be read as a whole.  It starts with two conscience clauses (regarding religion), then the basic individual speech clause, then freedom of the press, assembly, and petition.  The idea is that individual speech should be made in good faith (with respect to conscience and logical consistency with actions) and should ultimate support future collective action to change policy.

Neuborne says reading the amendment is like reading a poem.  You wouldn't read only two words of a poem (although a complete line makes sense), and you wouldn't take out the notes of a piece of music (not even with Photoscore). 
  
A speaker does not have the fundamental right to freedom from the consequences of his speech.

There could be a theoretical trap for individual speakers implied in what Neyborne said.  I'll need to get his book or Kindle and read up in detail (I am backed up already!)  It would seem that if an individual speaker or blogger or author says he/she/they will not participate in a follow-up assembly or petition activity when repeated asked to do so, "they" could lose their speech rights.  This could conceivably become a terms of service or AUP issue with some providers (because think of the implications of what it could invite from "enemies", but I don't think this has ever happened).  I'll have to look into this indeed. David Pakman (normally a moderate Leftist liberal but "capitalist") catches a lot of tricky points other journalists (even Tim Pool) have missed. Well he should, as a political science professor at Boston College.

(Update:)  I just bought the book on Kindle and see right off (you can also see this from a "peak inside the book" on Amazon) that he says that when the First Amendment was written, individual speech was limited to a small audience by technology, so the presence of social media and especially search engines makes his point double-edged now.)
 
There is conceivably a similar situation possible with many trusts involving non-profit beneficiaries, which I'll look into later. 

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