You’re wrong. The first amendment isn’t the freedom of speech.

Yesterday, a Donald Trump rally was called off for fears that violence would erupt after a large protest turned into a riot, with people blocking traffic and threatening violence. Stemming from that arguments about free speech and the first amendment have erupted onto social media. Included in that discourse is even someone I have deep respect for, Representative from Michigan, Justin Amash.

Let’s back track a minute and look at where this stems from.

The tweets headline says nothing inherently wrong. Threats of violence toward an individual in order to prevent them from speaking is a clear violation of the natural right to free speech. Here’s how a lot of people responded though.

As you might be able to deduce, Amash’s response and the meme are non-sequiturs. The 1st amendment is not free speech. The 1st amendment merely protects the government from infringing upon the natural right of freedom of speech. This could be written off if it was just a temporary lapse in relation to the commonality of people to use the term interchangeably. I mean honestly you’re taught in grammar school that the 1st amendment “is the freedom of speech.” Though this, as stated above, is not accurate it fits well for an elementary understanding of natural rights. Similarly claims of “constitutional rights” are wrong, they are “constitutionally protected rights.” A subtle phrasing difference conveys a completely different idea.

From there Amash received many unflattering responses from Trump supporters asking just “why isn’t this a 1st amendment issue?” One such user posed the question this way:

A fair question, but one possibly steeped in ignorance,  as this isn’t a first amendment issue, as he had stated, yet still an issue of free speech.
Amash chose to respond and doubled down on his conflation of the terms.

I’m afraid it would be a violation of your freedom of speech Mr.Amash. Natural rights can be violated by anyone but only the government can violate the constitution, as the document pertains to restrictions on government alone. As such, this laid out scenario wouldn’t be violation of the 1st amendment, as only the government can do that, but would be a violation of the natural right which the 1st amendment protects you from government infringement of. Perhaps Justin should review his Locke.

Following this, trump also doubled down and made an equally incorrect tweet to wrap up the dialogue.

 

No Mr.Trump, they didn’t violate your 1st amendment rights.
They violated your natural rights.

It appears many of our elected officials(even the smarter ones), politicians,  and general populace need a refresher on rights and the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution.

Buy a copy of it here!