We have accepted above the well-established idea that speech about oneself that is also intended to convey some sort of political idea or to address some matter of public concern can typically be distinguished from speech about oneself with no such further intent. On this basis, we have argued, contrary to recent contentions, that the latter sort of speech-speech that is "merely" about the self, or about one's merely personal or private concerns-should not generally qualify for any sort of elevated free speech protection. Fundamentally, this is because such speech does not systematically promote any of the consensually recognized and distinctive values or purposes justifying special constitutional protection for speech. And we have also suggested, secondarily, that enhanced first amendment protection for such self- focused speech might unintentionally further validate or even promote the widely recognized narcissistic personality, an outcome that is not worth publicly risking. Heightened protection for speech that is about the self, with no pretense of broader implications, is neither required by current law, nor well-advised as a legal reform. Crucially, the idea has recently been raised that the free speech clause does, or at least should, protect speech that is about the speaker [speech about one's self] with generally the same stringency as it protects speech that is about political or other public matters. This Article, however, in response, rejects the idea that speech about the self and speech about politics should be protected equally where the categories do not overlap. Equating the constitutional value of the two kinds of speech is, first, clearly inconsistent with Supreme Court and other case law. This Article further contends that elevating the constitutional protection of non- political or non-public interest speech about the self to that of political or public interest speech would be ill-advised. This judgment is based on a consideration of the reasons for specially protecting speech in the first place. As it turns out, there is only a minimal relation between speech about the self, with no further public import, and any consensually recognized purpose underlying our special protection of speech. Finally, we consider the cultural risks of unintentionally validating, through a change in first amendment law, what is widely thought of as sheer narcissism."
R. George Wright,
The Constitutional Status of Speech about Oneself,
59 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol59/iss4/3