Let’s just take a quick gut check shall we?
Free Speech is an endangered thing around the world, not just here in the US. I think that there are certain elements among the left that are aggressively pursuing an agenda to fiercely regulate free speech. Their position is that free speech must be rigidly regulated and policed to shut down anyone that offends someone else, takes a position contrary to the leftist agenda (IE: in support of religion, families, opposition politics, etc.), or otherwise uses expression or communication in such a way that is detrimental to their causes. Do I sound a bit paranoid? I’m not… because it is happening now, right before our very eyes. People in positions of power have tried to abuse free speech before, but the left is becoming more aggressive as the days go by.
What is even more mind boggling is that the left will pursue their agenda to regulate and therefore rob you of your right to speak freely without consequence or oppression, by employing deceit, treachery, threats, and scare tactics. The party that prides itself on having been opposed to McCarthy and his tactics (did I mention that the left love to rewrite history? I thought I had) have now become the very people to employ and use those same underhanded tactics and threats. They defend these positions and tactics as necessary and this becomes another glaring example of how they want to be able to speak or act as they wish, but they believe that no one else is entitled to it. In other words “ we should be able to do what we want, others can’t be trusted, so therefore we must be sole possessors of the right and empowered to regulate it to others.”
- The left’s attack on Senator Joe Lieberman
- The latest incident in regard to ABC’s miniseries The Path to 9/11 and the politicos who threatened ABC’s license if the did not edit it the way they wanted.
- Campaign Finance Reform
- Efforts to squash free speech (that disagrees with the left) on the
In truth, free speech is somewhat regulated. Courts decide matters of law regarding the right to free speech, and use standards regarding types of speech. Categories that fall under these standards include obscenity, slander, fraud, certain threats (to the President’s life, for example) and speech that directly leads to lawless behavior (the old “you can’t scream fire in a crowded theater” argument). However, courts are very judicious in regards to the suppression of ideas and political speech (which is at the heart of what the founders meant in drafting the first amendment). If suppression of ideas and expression is at the heart of a suit or court case, it usually doesn’t make it very far.
The history of our country demonstrates that freedom of speech is a much cherished freedom. People have died to protect it. They continue to do so today (thank you!). The Founders believed that freedom of speech was an inalienable human right (those of you playing at home – that means we were born with it, and it was not limited to certain people alone) given by God. If you have a problem with God, then your creator of choice will do, or “born with it” will suffice. Their main contention was that certain freedoms are an innate part of the human existence; that these freedoms are not doled out by a government, but that humanity has these rights. Their contention was that man’s inhumanity to man, its created governments and ruling classes, its created monarchies and despotic systems are what suppresses or oppresses those rights. If you only understand one point in this whole argument it must be this: If we were given these rights by our Creator- if we were born with them- the government, therefore, has no right to abridge them or take them away. The government did not give them to us. It’s not their rights to give or take away at a whim.
The roots of the leftists’ attempt to derail free speech lies in a contention that is antithetical to the founders’ position: Government gives and takes away rights. To control and further bigger government and in an effort to create a more socialist society, those who believe such, operate to systematically weaken the notion that rights are inherent. Do not misunderstand- the leftist that support and seek a more socialist society and larger government believe that a government that governs the most is a better government and that the greatest threat to that end is the individual citizen. They will not necessarily be forthright about it, but that is the position. Thus it is vital to them to achieve the following:
- increase government oversight over private life
- private property must be done away with (imminent domain, anyone?)
- guns and the right to own and possess weapons must be eliminated from private hands
- regulate or restrict free speech and free commerce
- redefine the notion of freedom to worship, by eliminating the element of religious ethics and morals from secular society. In other words, reframe the idea of morality, by creating the false argument that if something is religious or derived from a religious point of view, then it is invalid in a secular society. (IE: moral relativism and setting up the logical fallacy that, because X is bad, X is religious, therefore, religion is bad; which gives them the corresponding fallacy to wit, Religion is bad, X is based in religion, therefore X is bad.)
The separation of church and state is so important and indemical to their position, because it attacks, weakens or destroys the idea of inalienable rights. If they weaken these areas, or eliminate them it is possible to create further dependence on government and remove opposition to it. Make no mistake, leftist liberals have support for some of these things, but usually when it is in opposition to their enemies, NOT on principle.
Still think I am paranoid? I happen to work in two areas where leftists abound: academics and government. While I believe that anecdotal evidence is the weakest kind, it is difficult to disregard the direct conversations to me in which these positions are voiced and held with passion. While I find that most individuals believe in a one cause or another, and are willing to compromise on a freedom or two to achieve an end, I find that there are others still who believe that inherent freedoms are dangerous altogether. Their positions are not logical, and not always based in fact. Most are purely rhetorical and not built upon sound historic or current examples. In fact, the governments that most of these leftist individuals support are either failed governments, or current despots who have succeeded in temporarily suppressing human freedom.
Perhaps I have alienated you. I don’t wish to do that. What I hope is that you will unlock the chains of political correctness, the media, and perhaps your own biases. What I hope is that you will think for yourself and step back and look at the bigger pictureI believe in the promise of the Constitution. I believe in the freedoms that are inherent to all people. I believe that humans are imperfect and therefore, make imperfect choices and decisions. Many leftists point out that the Constitution did not give these rights to several people throughout our history. I contend that the language and intent of the Constitution was clear, and the promises were there. Unfortunately some had to fight to make those promises extend to them, but the Constitution still provided the way to make those changes, so that those same original promises and rights were guaranteed to all citizens. Throwing out the Constitution, because it was drafted by imperfect people doesn’t make any sense. The left tends to degrade into fallacies and unsupported reasons in their arguments and become ridiculous. Ad hoc arguments, reduction to absurdities, etc. (see Maggie’s Farm for great definitions and examples in their Fallacy of the Week feature)
What it boils down to is this: we can’t give ground on our freedoms, if we do, we have learn by previous and sad example how difficult it is to win them back. Call them what you will, the Founders did know this when the crafted the government. A representative democracy isn’t perfect, in fact by Plato’s standards it is a shade away from tyranny. Machiavelli further stated that democracy could lead to anarchy, from which the tyrant prospers and is able to gain control (in fact some leftists argue that Anarchy is the way to go and representative democracy is wrong). However, Plato also argued that as chaos increased, the tyrant will rise. We have seen it throughout history. The tyrant rises up, manipulates the weak and poor, strokes the rich and the powerful until he gets the control he desires by promising to bring the people back up from whatever chaos (real or perceived) in which they find themselves. The truest safeguard, the best defense is to promote and defend our freedoms. As Plato himself stated, “Justice in the life and conduct of the State is possible only as first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens.”
Texas Congressman Ron Paul has given some excellent speeches on free speech and the efforts from the far left and far right to curtail it. I don’t necessarily agree with him on everything (foreign policy and the war, for example), but he is a tireless defender of the Constitution and our liberties, and I respect a lot of his views and efforts in that regard. He said this about those who wish to regulate free speech:
"The solution to decaying moral standards has to be voluntary, through setting examples in our families, churches, and communities- never by government coercion. It just doesn’t work.But the argument is always that the people are in great danger if government does not act by:
-Restricting free expression in advertising;
-Claiming insensitive language hurts people, and political correctness guidelines are needed to protect the weak;
-Arguing that campaign finance reform is needed to hold down government corruption by the special interests;
-Banning indecency on the airways that some believe encourages immoral behavior.
If we accept the principle that these dangers must be prevented through coercive government restrictions on expression, it must logically follow that all dangers must be stamped out, especially those that are even more dangerous than those already dealt with. This principle is adhered to in all totalitarian societies. That means total control of freedom of expression of all political and religious views. This certainly was the case with the Soviets, the Nazis, the Cambodians, and the Chinese communists. And yet these governments literally caused the deaths of hundreds of millions of people throughout the 20th Century. This is the real danger, and if we’re in the business of protecting the people from all danger, this will be the logical next step.
It could easily be argued that this must be done, since political ideas and fanatical religious beliefs are by far the most dangerous ideas known to man. Sadly, we’re moving in that direction, and no matter how well intended the promoters of these limits on the 1st Amendment are, both on the left and the right, they nevertheless endorse the principle of suppressing any expressions of dissent if one chooses to criticize the government.When the direct attack on political and religious views comes, initially it will be on targets that most will ignore, since they will be seen as outside the mainstream and therefore unworthy of defending"
I say it is time for us to check the pulse of freedom in America. Is it still beating? What do you believe? Do we have to lay down and take whatever the leftists, the cultural elites or libs throw at us? No- we can stand up and ring the Liberty Bell. Do you remember the Liberty Bell? The Bell was ordered to be created in 1751 by the Pennsylvania Assembly to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of William Penn's 1701 Charter of Privileges. Penn's charter, which advocated the freedoms of men, including the freedom of religion, the world over. The inscription on the Bell was the book of Leviticus in the Bible "Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." During it's time the Bell was rung to mark special events and occasions, especially during the War for Independence. It was rung to call the citizens of Philadelphia together for the public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Later, it was adopted as a symbol by abolitionists fighting to end slavery.
A powerful symbol, the Liberty Bell needs to be rung again. We must ring it loud to call the citizens together, to remind them of their inalienable rights. We must not accept the words and workings of those who would undermine or eliminate or freedoms. We need to exercise these freedoms, for as with any muscle, they will atrophy without use. Not exercising our freedoms make us weak and susceptable to the efforts of those who seek to destroy them, both at home and abroad. We do not need to be ashamed to be an American, nor is it true that these freedoms are only acceptable to Americans who are used to it. I believe, as did the Founders, that these rights are truly inherent and inalienable. The were given to us by our Creator and not by any government. Therefore it is not the right of any government to take them away. It may not seem so- but freedom does burn within all people around the world. It may have been beaten down out of them by tyrants, it may have been scared down deep inside of them by despots- but it is there. Let us ring the Liberty Bell so that we will not, cannot forget what is ours.
All men are by nature equal, made all of the same earth by one Workman; and however we deceive ourselves, as dear unto God is the poor peasant as the mighty prince.