Magazine June 24, 2019, Issue

Do We Still Want Free Speech?

An American flag flies at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., January 20, 2019. (Al Drago/Reuters)
The culture is moving dangerously away from the First Amendment

Within the legal realm, freedom of speech has never been better protected in the United States. It was not better protected last year; it was not better protected a half century ago; it was not better protected in the Gilded Age or in the Era of Good Feelings or during the Cold War or at the Founding itself. Whatever else may be wrong with their constitutional order, today’s Americans are living through a Golden Age of free expression for which there is no historical counterpart at home or abroad. That pathetic whine you hear sometimes, that “America is the only

This article appears as “Free Speech, If We Can Keep It ” in the June 24, 2019, print edition of National Review.

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