Which of the following is not an example of a conflict of rights and liberties among individuals?
A. Freedom of speech versus the right to learn in a nonthreatening environment
B. Freedom of speech versus the ability to carry a weapon
C. Freedom of the press versus the right to privacy
D. The freedom to say a prayer versus the right not to be subjected to a prayer
E. Freedom of assembly versus the right not to be discriminated against
which is the correct answer? thanks so much!
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The correct answer is B. Let's look at why the other answers are not correct and then analyze why this one is correct.
First, freedom of speech versus the right to learn in a non-threatening environment are in conflict, since freedom of speech implies that one can make threatening statements. If someone makes threatening statements in a classroom, anyone there is having the right to learn in a non-threatening environment interfered with. I should note, though, that while freedom of speech is a constitutional right, there is no constitutional right to learning in a non-threatening environment.
Second, freedom of the press and the right to privacy are in conflict, since if the press is allowed free reign, privacy is inevitably compromised. A right to privacy has been read into the Constitution by the courts, and there is some protection to individuals who are not in the public eye, although public officials and those running for office are not afforded the same privacy protections.
Third, the freedom to pray conflicts with the right not to be subjected to a prayer, both protected under the First Amendment. This is the reason that prayer is no longer permitted in school on an official basis. For people to pray in the classroom allows them their freedom to pray, but this also subjects those who do not want to pray to the prayer. This has a way of making people feel there is pressure on them to pray, and it can be particularly distasteful if the prayer is one that is not of the religion of all in the classroom. The needs of both sides must be balanced, and the Supreme Court has ruled that it is better to not subject people to prayers they do not want to hear than to allow people to pray. This is, of course, only in public institutions, and there is no law that prohibits people from praying in private establishments.
Fourth, the freedom to assemble and the right to not be discriminated against are to some degree in conflict. This is because a group that has a discriminatory purpose is free to march or picket, even if the people all around are the object of the group's discriminatory purpose. For example, the an anti-African-American group has the right to parade or picket, even in a town filled with African-American people. Most people find this particularly odious, but if we are to allow the right to assemble, we must protect the rights of those whom we disagree with, too. The principle involved here is that the group is not actually engaged in a discriminatory action against the people. It is just letting people know its beliefs.
Now, as to the correct answer, there is no conflict because the right to free speech in no way stops people from carrying guns. People can state their opposition to guns, and they do, but this does not inhibit anyone from having one. People can carry guns, and this does not inhibit anyone from exercising the right to free speech, as long as the person with the gun is not threatening or shooting someone who is exercising the right to free speech. You should also note that most of the choices involved in this exercise involve the First Amendment, while the right to have a gun is a Second Amendment issue.
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