Should Tour Guides Be Required to Take a History Test?


Tour guides in Philadelphia think a new city law requiring history tests before they receive a license, violates their right to freedom of speech. This new rule will require guides to pass a written test, or pay a fine, the same requirements for guides in Washington, DC, New Orleans, and Charleston, SC.

Opponents paint the law as making speech conditional on government permission.

If you're paying big bucks for a history lesson, it might be nice to know it's not the history of the guide's imagination. It's pleasant to picture Walt Whitman walking into Philly from New Jersey across the Ben Franklin Bridge (as one guide will assist you with) — but does it matter that the bridge wasn't built until 1926, 30 years after Whitman died?

Do you think Philadelphia is betraying its constitutional roots, or being responsible by making sure those roots are portrayed accurately? Either way, since the law only requires a one-time-test, neither censorship nor accuracy will be guaranteed.

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