Civil Discourse and Petitioning
Debating matters of public concern is essential in a free, self-governing society. If citizens were not free to decide after listening to opposing views self-government would be distorted. At the core of the Declaration of Independence is the principle that government exists to protect individual rights for us, not that we exist to serve the government. Therefore the people are the master and the government is the servant. If the government can dictate what we can and cannot discuss, then it would imply that the servant can tell the master what to do.
We can see this logic of self-government in the First Amendment of the Constitution. The second half of it says that Congress can make no law “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Those rights are often considered in isolation and as distinct guarantees. But they really build upon one another and reinforce the fact that the people are sovereign and possess the right by nature to control the government. If, for example, you disagree with a government policy and want the government to change it, you would first speak to others. To let as many people know as possible about your concerns, you would broadcast your position through the press and invite others to assemble with you to discuss the problem with you. After deciding on a course of action, you would petition the government to address your concerns.