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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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The Power of Ideas on Liberty


I received the following email regarding my recent article “The First Amendment  Does Not Give Us Freedom of Speech”:

I wanted to share with you an assignment my 11-year-old son just completed for his fifth-grade class in school.  He had to find an example of persuasive writing and comment on the topic.  It just so happened when he told me this assignment I was reading your article regarding the First Amendment and the fact most people believe it “grants” us freedom of speech.  I jokingly suggested this, but then tried to convince him to use Times for Kids as suggested in the assignment, but Luke insisted he wanted to use your article.  He seems to have fun mocking the government (I may have contributed to that thinking, but I admit sometimes he comes up with good ones on his own).  So he read the article and we discussed it to make sure he understood the terminology and meaning.  Also wanted the assignment to reflect his thought process, not mine.

I wanted to refine the technical writing a bit, but pulled back as this is his assignment and his take from the article; i.e., I thought he should take the “Coincidence?  I think not” out, but he insisted we keep it as he liked ending it that way.  And we also learned who Johann Goethe is.    His teacher is going to love me (luckily private school).  Of course, as a side note, my daughter, in 7th grade, had to interview a parent regarding the income tax.  For some reason, she chose me.  Her teacher cracked up when she started off with, “Taxation is theft” and then a small history of the how taxes came to be, hidden taxes, and a small mention of the Federal Reserve.

Here is what my son wrote:

Title: The First Amendment Does Not Give Us Freedom of Speech

Author: Jacob Hornberger

Mr. Hornberger wrote an article about the first amendment as the New York Times had an article for kids about the first amendment and that it granted us freedom of speech.  What the author first said was that the first amendment stated that the government cannot take away or hinder our freedom of speech.  It does not grant us freedom of speech.  Mr. Hornberger said that Thomas Jefferson said our freedoms are from God and nature, not from the government to give us.  The government teaches children from first grade and up that the Constitution gives rights and this is not true and they will carry those lies into adulthood.   In the New York Times kids’ edition, they did not include the quote by Johann Goethe, “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”  Coincidence? I think not. I looked up Johann Goethe and learned he was a German philosopher, writer, and statesman.  He was considered the greatest German literary figure of modern times.

Wanted to let you know you are reaching younger kids too.  There may be hope. 🙂

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.