Free Speech Pro-Tip: You Can Yell Fire In A Crowded Theatre
from the new-gear-from-techdirt dept
No discussion about free speech gets very far without someone busting out the idea that “you can’t yell fire in a crowded theatre”. It’s a phrase that’s irritated actual free speech experts for years: it adds nothing to the discussion, and it’s not even true — there are plenty of times when you can (not the least of which being if the theatre is actually on fire!) Moreover, the phrase itself is a relic of an old, awful, and overturned Supreme Court ruling that put someone in jail for criticizing the mandatory military draft in the First World War. The inimitable Ken White dug into the phrase’s uselessness and horrible legacy in a 2012 Popehat post and, more recently, an episode of the Make No Law podcast.
And now you can help fight back against this dangerous idea with new gear from Techdirt! The Free Speech Pro-Tip is available on t-shirts, hoodies, mugs and stickers from Teespring.