The First Amendment Essay

The First Amendment

“Give me liberty or give me death.” This declaration was made by Frederick Douglass during the American fight for independence.

As man discovered his potential and began relying on his own reasoning, a shift in ideologies began to take place and the scientific method gained popularity. Three models of revolutions for freedom brought about the triumph of democracy.

American polity, in the very form of the Constitution, gives the world a mindset miraculous in the era of revolutions; that if we value freedom and independence, if we are disturbed by the conformity of attitudes, values, and behavior that bureaucracies often induce, then we may wish to set up conditions that foster uniqueness, self-direction, and human dignity, locally or globally. Specifically, some of the most vital substantiation of this nation’s democracy is subsumed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Bill of Rights. It lays down that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting its free exercise, or abridging freedom of speech or press or the right to assemble and petition for redress of grievances” (Brant, 1965). Especially at the mention of freedom of speech, this set of rights is indeed central to the supposed governmental safeguarding of well thought-out liberty instituted by the Federal Law.

People all over the world are beginning to seize the opportunity for self-rule, which is a pillar of democracy popularized by the United States. The mounting tribalism has been connected with the revolution in telecommunications because it makes everything transparent. We can all monitor the process of a massive move to self-rule, and check the excesses if we want to. With telecommunications and computers, big companies are working best now if divided up into autonomous small units. The breakup of countries into tribal entities is surely as beneficial as the beneficial of companies.

Yet, there arises another conflict embodied by one federal law making it very clear that employers actually have the ability to listen to their employees’ telephone conversations. In defense, the U.S. companies, in cautious response to calls for buffered rights, apparently use the flexible workplace privacy laws to their advantage. The impact of video surveillance is an enormous plus for business. It can serve as an effective legal offense and defense, saving business time, resources, and ultimately, money. Overall, employee monitoring is implemented to prevent misuse of resources, promote adherence to policies, prevent lawsuits, safeguard records and company assets, and protect trade secrets (Aviza and Crowley, 2002).

Part of investigating the deep-rooted history of an applicant, with drugs topping the list, employers turn to background check. Drug testing has been, beyond corporate requisitions, a civil call, if not obligation, of most citizens in our country. But should the company be using the results out of strict confidence and against making use of the more significant services of the applicant, they are candidly fuelling protests against unwarranted discrimination. However, courts allow this kind of inquiry provided a written consent rests between the employer and the would-be employee (Shumaker, 2002).

In this day and age, surprising it should not be to an employee that he is being observed in some way at the workplace. Quoted by USA Today, Barry Fineran, assistant vice-president National Association of Manufacturers, pointed up, “random and periodic silent monitoring is a very important management tool” (Lewis, 1999). A report provided by the American Civil Liberties Union supports this elaborating that employee monitoring may come in the forms of electronic surveillance, and drug and genetic testing (Prince, 1996). Indeed a natural part of the management processes recognized today, employee monitoring accordingly becomes a possible measure of the productivity of the company at the harmony or discord of its economic and human variables. The second type of variables being grouped according to the vital needs identified by Abraham Maslow.  Maslow is a psychologist who determined the five levels of needs. These, in whole or in part, all contribute to the insisted harmony of the economic and human variables. In which case, the company develops the needed flexibility to remain productive, efficient, and competitive in today’s global market. Otherwise, discord surfaces given that, from some radical perspective, it obliterates the line separating an employee’s right to privacy and the employer’s rigid policies.

Privacy rights are no extra, though only few, to the existing federal laws in the country. Yet, there arises another conflict embodied by one federal law making it very clear that employers actually have the ability to listen to their employees’ telephone conversations. Upon closer inspection of the fourth amendment, it becomes clear that it only limits the intrusion of government into the affairs of citizens and does not broadly apply to the private sector (Lewis, 1999). US courts have a message for American employees. To borrow a phrase from Scott McNealy, the chairman of Sun Microsystems, ”You have zero privacy. Get over it.” (Waldmeir, 2001). Once a company has clearly stated their privacy policy in writing, employees should have no assumption of privacy (Weiss, 1996).

And U.S. companies, in cautious response to calls for buffered rights, use the flexible workplace privacy laws to their advantage. Monitoring, when used properly, increases productivity. Random monitoring of employee phone calls is an effective tool. Shop calls such as the one mentioned above, enable companies to evaluate and reward employee performance. My recorded phone call, for instance, was ultimately graded to ensure that I had followed the company guidelines. As a result of simply following what I was paid to do, the company rewarded me with a fifty-dollar bonus on my paycheck. Based on personal experience, surely while employees never know when a call will be recorded, personal phone calls using company assets are kept to an absolute minimum. In fact, it is similarly and ultimately the right to privacy of the company that is being enveloped by these content security measures (Lewis, 1999).

Additionally, managing the litigious nature of business today requires the surveillance of computer and networks. Illegal copyrighted material downloaded or distributed over company assets is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Employees, with their utmost, can merely arm themselves with hefty knowledge and apposite understanding of the principles of the company by the moment they contract themselves to the company (Swanson, 2001).

Much as employers are mindful of the civil rights and privileges of their people such as the First Amendment, they parallel this with proactively driving down “their vulnerability to harassment litigation and promote a productive, professional work environment” (Shumaker, 2002). By recording corporate communications on tape or videotape, they generate credible evidence necessitated by situations putting the company in judicial peril. In recent times, tape recordings can assist in sexual harassment claims. In fact, some court decisions seem to point toward companies having an obligation to do so (Swanson, 2001).

Secrecy, chiefly favoring business, is a unanimous organizational principle. But to neglect it jeopardizing the employees’ character in the society’s eyes is a violation of the code of ethics any employer shall pilot in upholding. Discussing employee information beyond the confines of the office factors in as a court case called defamation (Shumaker, 2002).

With all these supposed grounds for violation of privacy and ultimately the First Amendment, surely “employers can expect resistance from unions” (Canoni, 2004). And although unions are only but internal, employers need all the best negotiations they can get and send across to sustain stability, convince the dissenters of the matching stability they can get with 100% productivity through close scrutiny, and elude the possibility of a bad image in the external public. Through all this, the employers would indeed need espousing “employee awareness…of policies [that] produces employee consent and enable employers to achieve the productivity and efficiency gains” (Canoni, 2004).

On the other hand, monitoring of employees helps U.S. companies maintain customer data and the safety of their employees. There are a wide variety of methods used to secure customer data that track employees’ every move. The freshest being the location awareness technology. Originally developed for military operations in 1978, Global Positioning System (GPS) utilized 24 satellites to probe the presence of a human element or vehicle within the 15-feet locality. And as in most experimental devices being refurbished as of hi-tech use in latter days, the location awareness technology activated a “1999 federal law [to] require all cell phones to use GPS by late 2005 to help emergency crews respond to 911 calls” so that it is in full swing in the European Union today. The operation is in the shape of contraptions embedded in mobile phones, affixed in office cars, and glued among the microchips of a computer (Canoni, 2004).

Moreover, in the youth’s academic confines, freedom is as much cherished. The school plays a vital role in the development of students’ worldly grasps and morals of the society to which they belong. Matters of identity and character are essential for the youth especially in school setting. If a teacher’s academic freedom would come in the way of nourishing the youth in ways that are unconventional and even questionable, then will the end justify the means? That in the end, what’s important is what the students learned from the experience, wholesome or not, and not how they came out through it?

The Court acknowledged that the academic rights in the First Amendment are openly and harshly incriminated once a book is pulled out of a library. In particular, federal democracy is suppressed to some extent (Foerstel, 2002).

Teachers and parents must assure confidence in the children to make a decision in distinguishing good from bad. If even a single valuable book is taken away, Pandora’s box will unfasten. Even if one assembly of people so obstinately raises objections against bad language, there are all other congregations who are of the opinion just as sturdily about gay and lesbian rights, fantasy, and religion, among other relevant social issues. Book censorship is a perpetual challenge to the academia, and attacks deep-seated America’s sense of democracy, the effort to inflict one’s own stance on society all together (Foerstel, 2002).

Censorship emanates from the apprehension of well-meaning individuals. Parental conscientiousness can keep on, and must mind what the children are perusing. However, it is not the parents’ task to dictate what a certain group of pupils should pay particular attention to. Regardless of how wide of the mark a book might turn out to be, every individual, young or old, should not be deprived of getting hold of it. It is a devious gradient as soon as libraries begin taking out books that tackle socially relevant subject matters. In the first place, since rectitude is at the core of this issue, a library should not even be the home for a censorship dispute (Foerstel, 2002).

Truth is, rather seeing the books depraved, the censorship policy itself suggests something about the adults’ dogmatism and about their means of protecting their conservative generation that dates back to the late industrial era. Americans are weary of being noble following a decade of fervent progressive revolution, self-righteousness, and morality. Especially the first 20 years of the 20th century, America saw a restive culture, led by America’s youth rising up against the moral boundaries of bygone generations (Foerstel, 2002).

The school board could only create issues-centered literacy programs. They should be responsible in creating guidelines for literacy education, which recognize that critical thinking is the chief goal. If restriction on some books is indeed inevitable, the school officials and faculty ought to do their utmost to make the children understand why some educational materials are classified age-inappropriate. However, they must underscore that this is not an ultimate law but merely a guiding principle, which is more than simply an inoculation against violent, sexual, or other controversial content in books but rather one way of being sensible secondary parents of the students. The goal is to show critical literacy ‘s superiority to conservatism and responsiveness to ever-expanding knowledge age (Foerstel, 2002).

Especially the first 20 years of the 20th century, America saw a restive academic culture, led by America’s young activists rising up against the moral boundaries of bygone generations. It seems a little odd, and John Newman would agree, that in education, the instinctive reaction to what may be the greatest communications revolution since the invention of movable type is to ban it. if lecturers were able to display half the intellectual curiosity and mental plasticity of their students, they would be examining ways to turn the technology to educational advantage; not really to install firewalls in every computer in the university as it may be in stark contrast to the notion of academic freedom. Newman was certainly no liberal, but on collegiality, the need for an educated laity in the church and the importance of freedom in theological research, he prophetically anticipated Vatican II.

The freedom humans have to execute every possible human inquiry and expression is made in relation to the condition they experience. In the creative arts, there is no direct attempt to explain or predict human behavior; rather, the motivation is to give expression, using artistic means such as music, paintings or literature, to the uniqueness of the human experience. Hence, in the creative arts, full play can be given to the freedom of human imagination. Certainly, learning frees us from stereotyped automatic reactions by enabling us to develop adaptive, novel behavior sequences. Whenever we learn something new, we are profiting from experience by changing our ability to adapt to our environment. We transcend our genetic inheritance by using our potential for a remarkable range of learning.

This autonomy brought about by the First Amendment is an upshot of democracy that America is bringing to every society there is around the globe. Though the rise of the United States meant the proliferation of democracies in the world, still more people have preferred to use a different kind of freedom to develop leftists in themselves. It is wise to recall how then Senator Edward Livingston could be more important at these times with his words in a debate on the Alien and Sedition Acts: “…we are absurd enough to call ourselves free and enlightened while we advocate principles that would have disgraced the age of Gothic barbarity.

References

Brant, Irving. (1965). The Bill of Rights: Its Origin and Meaning. Bobbs-Merrill.

Canoni, John D. (2004).  “Location Awareness Technology and Employee Privacy Rights.”  Employee Relations Journal.

Foerstel, Herbert N. (2002). Banned in the U.S.A: A Reference Guide to Book Censorship in Schools and Public Libraries. Greenwood Press.

Lewis, C. (1999).  “American Workers Beware: Big Brother is Watching.”  Usa Today.

 Prince, Michael (1996).  “Employees Lack Workplace Privacy.”  Crain’s Small Business.  Chicago ed.

Shumaker, Thomas A. (2002).  “An Employee Privacy Policy Fairly Applied can Prevent Privacy Litigation.”  The National Public Accountant.

Swanson, S. (2001).  “Beware: Employee Monitoring is on the Rise.”  Information Week.

Waldmeir, P. (2001).  “US employees find no right to privacy in cyberspace.”  The Finanacial Times.

Weiss, B. (1996).  “Four black holes in cyberspace.”  Management Review.

 

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