A society like ours, which professes no one religion and has allowed all religions to decay, which indulges freedom to the point of license and individualism to the point of anarchy, needs all the support that responsible, cultivated homes can furnish. I hope your generation will provide a firmer shelter for civilized standards.
A wise architect observed that you could break the laws of architectural art provided you had mastered them first. That would apply to religion as well as to art. Ignorance of the past does not guarantee freedom from its imperfections.
America is just the country that shows how all the written guarantees in the world for freedom are no protection against tyranny and oppression of the worst kind. There the politician has come to be looked upon as the very scum of society.
Americans who had traveled in Europe knew the 'free' European peasants suffered considerably greater oppression and misery than did American bondsman. Modern scholarship has shown that the exploitation rate -- the percentage of the worker's production that was taken from him by his owners -- was lower among the slaves than among European peasants, that work loads were light, and that slaves actually experienced a considerable measure of personal freedom.
And so, my fellow americans ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
And so, my fellow americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
Any test that turns on what is offensive to the communitys standards is too loose, too capricious, too destructive of freedom of expression to be squared with the First Amendment. Under that test, juries can censor, suppress, and punish what they dont like, provided the matter relates to sexual impurity or has a tendency to excite lustful thoughts. This is community censorship in one of its worst forms. It creates a regime where in the battle between the literati and the Philistines, the Philistines are certain to win.
Art is on the side of the oppressed. Think before you shudder at the simplistic dictum and its heretical definition of the freedom of art. For if art is freedom of the spirit, how can it exist within the oppressors?
At least one way of measuring the freedom of any society is the amount of comedy that is permitted, and clearly a healthy society permits more satirical comment than a repressive, so that if comedy is to function in some way as a safety release then it must obviously deal with these taboo areas. This is part of the responsibility we accord our licensed jesters, that nothing be excused the searching light of comedy. If anything can survive the probe of humour it is clearly of value, and conversely all groups who claim immunity from laughter are claiming special privileges which should not be granted.