We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. -Preamble of the U. S. Constitution Suppressing ideas of any kind is an extremist position contrary to the philosophy of the US constitution and the political and philosophical ideals of its citizens. Although there have been examples of human rights being suppressed for, supposedly, the greater good, freedom of expression - including of course criticism of the government - has historically been a particularly cherished and defended freedom. Entrenching this right in the constitution and making it a cornerstone in the foundation of the country was a first step in democratic freedom of the people of the US.
In times of war and distress, such as the recent terrorist attacks in the US and their ongoing threat, ensuring the safety of the country becomes a priority, often sacrificing personal rights in the process. With the threat to society as a whole, the general public is more likely to overlook violations of rights and freedoms with the belief that they are necessary to their own safety. But if the watchdogs of society, typically the press, are silenced, we run the risk of government and its agencies abusing their power. One method that has been proposed as a means of curbing potential abuse of power is the implementation of time limits on any unusual measures or powers given to government during times of strife. The other method of safeguarding against abuse of power is freedom of the press. This has been an important watchdog in the US since its inception as a country; it is not just a tool that is used in times of war or strife.
If ideas of any sort are suppressed, including ideas critical of government, then the freedom of society as a whole is compromised. The founders of the US and writers of the constitution understood this risk. Politically and philosophically, the people of the US have cherished and protected this freedom, often at great cost. With the increase in national security and the greater general awareness of the ongoing threat to Americans, the rope around the collective freedom of the US people has been tightened. Examples of this go beyond increased security measures and armed national guards at airports. In some cases, government agencies such as the FBI and CIA have been given authority to tap telephones and detain citizens as part of their investigation into terrorist activities.
Many would say these increased security measures are necessary, including the people who are being inconvenienced and in some cases having their rights withheld. The only remaining safeguard to prevent these measures from getting out of control is the public's right to criticize. To this end, expression of ideas, including those critical of government, should be encouraged.