When Does Free Speech Go Too Far?

List Rules
Vote up the cases in which you believe free speech does not apply. Vote down the cases that you believe should be protected.

Like most things US Constitution-related, interpretations of the First Amendment – particularly what constitutes free speech – are both abundant and varied. The staunchest constitutionalists might tell you that there is no limit to freedom of speech; that's the point of ensuring it in the first place. Others, however, might say that there's a clear and definitive difference between free speech and hate speech, and the latter is not protected by the former.

Free speech becomes even murkier to interpret when things like comedy, religion, and patriotism are considered alongside it. Are there inappropriate or indefensible uses of free speech? Are there instances or situations where it doesn't apply?

Vote up any situations to which you believe free speech does not apply.

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list ordered by
  • 1

    Threatening physical violence against another person or group.

  • 2

    Inciting panic and violence with misinformation.

  • 3

    Using it to limit someone else's free speech.

  • 4

    Recruiting for a terrorist group and espousing its beliefs (e.g. ISIS).

  • 5

    Passing off fake news as the truth when you have a large audience or platform.

  • 6

    Using slurs that apply to someone else's identity or group when you have a large audience.

  • 7

    Espousing views that support the ideology of a known hate group.

  • 8

    Displaying known hate-group symbols.

  • 9

    Nothing; freedom of speech is absolute.

  • 10

    Using slurs that apply to someone else's identity or group.

  • 11

    Criticizing or making fun of the children of political figures.

  • 12

    Promoting conspiracy theories when you have a large audience or platform.

  • 13

    Burning or desecrating a religious or political icon (e.g. the Bible or the American flag).

  • 14

    Criticizing someone's physical appearance as a punchline.

  • 15

    Depicting religious figures when doing so is sacrilege (e.g. Muhammad).

  • 16

    Engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience (e.g. kneeling during the National Anthem).

  • 17

    Using slurs that apply to your own identity or group.

  • 18

    Criticizing the military.

  • 19

    Criticizing the government.