Recently, he took to Dax Shepards podcast Armchair Expert to put this talent on display, erm, give an interview. During the conversation, Harry called the First Amendment bonkers while simultaneously admitting he just couldnt quite wrap his head around its 45 words.
"Ive got so much I want to say about the First Amendment as I sort of understand it, but it is bonkers. I dont want to start going down the First Amendment route because thats a huge subject and one which I dont understand because Ive only been here a short time. But, you can find a loophole in anything. You can capitalize or exploit whats not said rather than uphold what is said."
Harrys remarks have of course ruffled the feathers of Americans, many of whom have pointed out the country fought a war to make sure the opinions of the British monarchy would never again have any bearing on our country or our laws.
To be fair, the ex-monarch lost his mother, Princess Diana in a media-involved incident. The press notoriously stalked her every move for years, and she ultimately died in a car wreck after being chased through the streets of Paris by paparazzi. Harrys wife has also frequently found herself the subject of the tabloids and is no darling of the press, frequently incurring disparaging headlines and invasive, embarrassing stories.
Given these factors, it is somewhat understandable (though nonetheless inexcusable) that Harry may take issue with a constitutional amendment that protects a free press. England, where free expression is deemed a qualified right, has much stricter laws on the books, which earned it a dismal 40th place on the World Press Freedom Index in 2018.
But its important to note that Harry took aim at the entirety of the First Amendment and not just the components that protect the press. His comments reveal a dangerous belief found all too often among the ruling class that the language of everyday people should be restrained to their liking. And make no mistake, this sentiment is found among American leaders as well though few are daft enough to say they dislike the First Amendment in an interview. Instead, they attack free speech with their policies.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D, MA) recently threatened to break Amazon up so their account could not send her what she labeled snotty tweets.
On the Republican side of the aisle, Florida GOP members passed a law that would fine private, social media companies should they remove political candidates from their platforms. And Senator Josh Hawley (R, MO) has made defeating the free speech of private tech companies his number one priority, frequently working to overturn Section 230 and suggesting breaking up the companies should be on the table.
These politicians dont have to say they hate free speech, in fact they often use it as a guise to push their anti-civil liberties views under, but their policies tell you everything you need to know.
And our political leaders are not necessarily out on a political limb; increasingly the American public does not understand or fully support free speech either. A 2020 Gallup / Knight Foundation poll found that 56 percent of Americans believe in the right to freely express views on social media meaning 44 percent of those polled...dont. This is a sharp decline from only one year prior.
Ask an American if they support free speech and its unlikely youll be told no. But the application of the principle seems to be where we lose people.
While Prince Harry, some Senators, and the American people may be confused about the First Amendment, the founders were not. They saw free speech and a free press as so essential to our system that they were the first civil liberties enshrined in the Constitution.
Thomas Jefferson once wrote, No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions.
And another founding father, Benjamin Franklin said, In those wretched countries where a man cannot call his tongue his own, he can scarce call anything his own. Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech; a thing terrible to public traitors.
They did not mince words, and for good reason. It is important to remember that historically, and in many places around the world today, people have been jailed for speaking out against their rulers or publishing ideas deemed controversial.
The Founders wrote the Constitution not long after Voltaire, a French Enlightenment writer, was forced to flee France for publishing works that criticized the monarchy without the approval of the royal censor. Similarly, the French philosopher Denis Diderot was imprisoned in 1749 for his opinions in "Philosophical Thoughts."
Without a free press and free speech the people have no way to investigate and hold their leaders accountable. It is no wonder that princes and politicians dislike the First Amendment as it is one of the few things keeping them in check and putting people on a more equal playing field.
While the Constitution has frequently failed to restrain our government and uphold natural rights as it was intended to, a cursory comparison of the U.S. and England shows our laws have done the better job of the two. (With some notable exceptions.)
The US may occasionally see private companies kick users off their platforms, an action most would consider a down side of private organizations exercising their freedom to draw their own boundaries on free speech. But in the UK, people are arrested for their social media posts and for showing vulgar dog tricks. It shouldnt be hard to pick the better scenario between the two.
Prince Harry loves to spout off about the monarchy, often taking to the airwaves to demean his own family members. One would think hed appreciate a key provision of the Constitution that ensures average citizens have the same abilityto criticize our own government without fear of government retaliation.
Hannah Cox is the Content Manager and Brand Ambassador for the Foundation for Economic Education. Republished from fee.org.
Read the original post:
OPINION: Prince Harry, allow me to explain the First Amendment - The Richmond Observer
- Apparently David Chipman Isnt Crazy About the First Amendment, Either - National Review - July 29th, 2021
- Pam Bondi: If you care about the First Amendment, this class action is for you - Must Read Alaska - July 29th, 2021
- In Their Own Words: Lust Debates Mickelson On The Roll Of Political Money, The First Amendment - SDPB Radio - July 29th, 2021
- Opinion: Lawsuits on banning critical race theory are coming. Here's what won't work, and what could. - Des Moines Register - July 29th, 2021
- Rubio Welcomes Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Passage of the FY22 Intelligence Authorization Act - Senator Marco Rubio - July 29th, 2021
- Scabby the Rat May Live, Says the NLRB | Arent Fox - JDSupra - JD Supra - July 29th, 2021
- Senator Amy Klobuchar seeks to quell health misinformation on social media - Brookings Institution - July 29th, 2021
- Supreme Court Will Hear Institute for Justice and Ed Choice Case Seeking More Educational Options for Maine Families and Children - Philanthropy... - July 29th, 2021
- Songs Celebrating the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment - WDET - July 10th, 2021
- Ask Civics 101: Do The States Need Congress's Permission To Hold A Constitutional Convention? - New Hampshire Public Radio - July 10th, 2021
- Jolie and Pitt's lawyers face off over her bid to dump their private judge in divorce case - USA TODAY - July 10th, 2021
- First Amendment is not 'bonkers' - Mount Olive Tribune - July 7th, 2021
- 7 Supreme Court cases that have shaped American elections - The Fulcrum - July 7th, 2021
- No, Iowa's 'Back the Blue Act' does not criminalize wearing the image of the U.S. flag on towels or swimsuits - UI The Daily Iowan - July 7th, 2021
- Floridas ban on bans will test First Amendment rights of social media companies - TechCrunch - May 24th, 2021
- Prince Harry's First Amendment Aversion Is Funny; the Governments That Agree Are Scary - Reason - May 24th, 2021
- Face Masks and the First Amendment - The Wall Street Journal - May 24th, 2021
- First Amendment Confusion | Opinion | Northern Express - northernexpress.com - May 24th, 2021
- The First Amendment and Mask Mandates Reason.com - Reason - May 24th, 2021
- Wicker, Hyde-Smith Cosponsor the 'Don't Weaponize the IRS Act' - Senator Roger Wicker - May 24th, 2021
- Opinion: 'Ohio will never bow to totalitarian pressures' - The Columbus Dispatch - May 24th, 2021
- If Courts Cant Agree on Who an Appropriate Person, Is for Notice of Sexual Harassment Under Title IX, How Can We Expect a Student in Crisis to Do So?... - May 24th, 2021
- Franklin Graham Can't Handle Prince Harry's Criticism of the First Amendment - Friendly Atheist - Patheos - May 24th, 2021
- Sharp increase in hate crimes has Mass. legislators looking to tighten laws - Milford Daily News - May 24th, 2021
- Tillis, Colleagues Introduce 'Don't Weaponize the IRS Act' - Thom Tillis - May 24th, 2021
- Washington: Second Amendment Banned in First Amendment Spaces After the Signing of Anti-Gun Measure - NRA ILA - May 16th, 2021
- Citing First Amendment, 4th Circuit reverses conviction for retired Air Force officer's use of N-word - ABA Journal - May 16th, 2021
- Prince Harry Calls The First Amendment 'Bonkers' and He Makes a Good Point - Showbiz Cheat Sheet - May 16th, 2021
- The First Amendment's Role in Broadcast and Online Regulation - Lexology - May 16th, 2021
- The Road Ahead for Net Neutrality and the First Amendment - JD Supra - May 16th, 2021
- Compliance Corner: A Brief Introduction to the History and Theory of Campaign-Finance Law, Part II - InsiderNJ - May 16th, 2021
- New Lawsuit Argues That D.C.'s Ban on Dancing at Weddings Violates the First Amendment - Reason - May 16th, 2021
- Commentary: It's time to revive Fairness Doctrine and expand it - Crain's Detroit Business - May 16th, 2021
- Social And Political Issues And The Workplace Implications For Employers - Employment and HR - United States - Mondaq News Alerts - May 16th, 2021
- Protesters: Changes to the Rockford City Market are meant to stymie their message - Rockford Register Star - May 16th, 2021
- Twitter's lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton tossed by federal judge - The Texas Tribune - May 16th, 2021
- Idaho Press Club objects to the subpoena of journalist Nate Eaton, of East Idaho News - East Idaho News - May 16th, 2021
- Trump, the Facebook Ban, and Who Decides - Bloomberg Law - May 16th, 2021
- First Amendment Versus The Civil Rights Act: A Clash Of Titans - Employment and HR - United States - Mondaq News Alerts - May 3rd, 2021
- Commentary: How to live your First Amendment freedoms - Press Herald - May 3rd, 2021
- Students and First Amendment Week: The Right to Be Loud - BVU The Tack Online - May 3rd, 2021
- The First Amendment and Social Media The Tack Online - BVU The Tack Online - May 3rd, 2021
- Justices Appear Poised to Strike Down California Law in Case with Potential to Allow More Dark Money in Politics - Law & Crime - May 3rd, 2021
- A close call this time, but lawmakers have a bad attitude on openness | Cotterell - Tallahassee Democrat - May 3rd, 2021
- The Two Teds - Episode 3 - The First Amendment - Gibson Dunn - April 19th, 2021
- MyPillow CEO Recruits First Amendment Heavy Hitters to Fight Dominion - The Daily Beast - April 19th, 2021
- Some LGBTQ groups and leaders are taking different sides in First Amendment case - Out In Jersey - April 19th, 2021
- Tenth Circuit Grants Qualified Immunity to Police Who Knowingly Violated the First Amendment - Cato Institute - April 19th, 2021
- Spencer and Volokh Discuss the First Amendment and Content Moderation on Social Media Platforms - UMass Dartmouth - April 19th, 2021
- Lecturers speak on the importance of the First Amendment in the civil rights movement - Iowa State Daily - April 19th, 2021
- Protect the police or the First Amendment? | TheHill - The Hill - April 19th, 2021
- Smartmatic Calls Bulls--t on Foxs First Amendment Argument - Vanity Fair - April 19th, 2021
- Letter: Equality Act targets First Amendment rights | Letters to the Editor | readingeagle.com - Reading Eagle - April 19th, 2021
- MLive/Kalamazoo Gazettes Brad Devereaux wins First Amendment Award for exposing closed-door meetings - MLive.com - April 19th, 2021
- The IHRA Definition of Anti-Semitism Puts Jews on the Wrong Side of the First Amendment - Jewish Week - April 19th, 2021
- Project Veritas Gonna Sue Twitter For Defamatory Section 230 Censorship And First Amendment Assault Or Something - Above the Law - April 19th, 2021
- Letter: On God and the First Amendment | Communities | mainstreet-nashville.com - Main Street Nashville - April 19th, 2021
- Justice Thomas's Misguided Concurrence on Platform Regulation - Lawfare - April 19th, 2021
- 'Hate has no home here': City of Appleton puts up sign countering sign with homophobic slur - Post-Crescent - April 19th, 2021
- Prohibited prayer and the limits of government authority even in a pandemic | Sullum - Chicago Sun-Times - April 19th, 2021
- Clarence Thomas plays a poor devils advocate in floating First Amendment limits for tech companies - TechCrunch - April 6th, 2021
- First Circuit Upholds First Amendment Right to Secretly Audio Record the Police - EFF - April 6th, 2021
- Justice Clarence Thomas Takes Aim At Tech And Its Power 'To Cut Off Speech' - NPR - April 6th, 2021
- "Fake News" and the First Amendment - University of Dayton - News Home - April 6th, 2021
- Bar owners went beyond First Amendment rights with their 'raised voices, interrupting,' AG argues - Cambridge Day - April 6th, 2021
- Clarence Thomas blasts Section 230, wants common-carrier rules on Twitter - Ars Technica - April 6th, 2021
- Drones (and the First Amendment) take on regulatory overreach in North Carolina - Chatham Journal Weekly - April 6th, 2021
- The university response to offensive speech often reflects a feeble commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion - Poynter - April 6th, 2021
- Online event examines the relationship between free speech and firearms - Nevada Today - April 6th, 2021
- Official Website for the Governor of Maryland - maryland.gov - April 6th, 2021
- Opinion: Remembering the Core Four Pillars of Journalism Amid a Pandemic - Times of San Diego - April 6th, 2021
- Tenth Circuit Misses Opportunity to Affirm the First Amendment Right to Record the Police - EFF - April 2nd, 2021
- Is There a First Amendment Right to Tweet? - JSTOR Daily - April 2nd, 2021
- Is blocking a constituent on Twitter against the First Amendment? This DC resident thinks so | The Hill is Home - The Hillishome - April 2nd, 2021
- The 6th Circuit Reached the Right Conclusion on Preferred Pronouns. Other Courts Should Follow Suit. - Heritage.org - April 2nd, 2021
- Why It's So Hard to Prosecute White Extremists - The Marshall Project - April 2nd, 2021
- Loeb School announces free spring classes and writing workshops - The Union Leader - April 2nd, 2021
- Parler Forced To Explain The First Amendment To Its Users After They Complain About Parler Turning Over Info To The FBI - Techdirt - March 31st, 2021
- Terrorism and Other Dangerous Online Content: Exporting the First Amendment? - Just Security - March 31st, 2021
- The First Amendment: Rarely Popular, Always Necessary - The Dispatch - March 31st, 2021