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Sunday, July 01, 2018

Left abandons First Amendment

Adam Liptak of the New York Times inadvertently admitted that having got the decisions it wanted from the Supreme Court, the Left has abandoned the First Amendment. In a 2,200-plus word essay on the First Amendment, Liptak does not use the word religion, petition, or even press as he tried to turn the amendment into a synonym for free speech.

That, by the way, shows how committed the Times is to a free press.

But the amendment covers thought as well as expressing those thoughts and even, through peaceable assembly, acting upon those thoughts.

His editors expressed in the their headline the current liberal principle (subject to change on a whim) that conservatives are "Weaponizing the First Amendment: How Free Speech Became a Conservative Cudgel."

Liptak and the Times are upset because the First Amendment protection on religion means you don't have to create a cake for a gay wedding, or tell women where to get an abortion, or pay fees to an organization that funds politicians you oppose.

This was not what they wanted.

"Many on the left have traded an absolutist commitment to free speech for one sensitive to the harms it can inflict. Take pornography and street protests. Liberals were once largely united in fighting to protect sexually explicit materials from government censorship. Now many on the left see pornography as an assault on women’s rights," Liptak wrote.

"In 1977, many liberals supported the right of the American Nazi Party to march among Holocaust survivors in Skokie, Ill. Far fewer supported the free-speech rights of the white nationalists who marched last year in Charlottesville, Va."

Sensitive to the harms it can inflict?

That is a lie.

The ACLU fought to allow Illinois Nazis to march through the neighborhoods of survivors of the Holocaust. Every Jewish person in America should have realized at that moment that liberals were anti-Semitic. The anti-Israel stance soon followed.

Liberals wanted that. They also wanted some nut jobs to interrupt military funerals.

But the First Amendment is the defense of ideas and expressions of ideas that you do not like. And so conservatives accepted the decisions.

Liberals are not that way. The more they preach tolerance, the more I know they are intolerant. They will ban any speech they do not like by labeling it hate speech.

"There was a certain naïveté in how liberals used to approach free speech, said Frederick Schauer, a law professor at the University of Virginia," Liptak wrote.

The professor said, "Because so many free-speech claims of the 1950s and 1960s involved anti-obscenity claims, or civil rights and anti-Vietnam War protests, it was easy for the left to sympathize with the speakers or believe that speech in general was harmless. But the claim that speech was harmless or causally inert was never true, even if it has taken recent events to convince the left of that. The question, then, is why the left ever believed otherwise."

Translation: They were in the minority then. They used the First Amendment to gain power, and once in power they tossed it like a used tissue.

Now they want to shut down free speech.

"In past decades, broad coalitions of justices have often been receptive to First Amendment arguments. The court has protected videos of animal cruelty, hateful protests at military funerals, violent video games and lies about military awards, often by lopsided margins," Liptak wrote.

"But last week’s two First Amendment blockbusters were decided by 5-to-4 votes, with the conservatives in the majority ruling in favor of conservative plaintiffs."

Those blockbusters were 1. you cannot force conservatives to pay fees to liberal unions, and 2. the state cannot force pro-lifers to give equal time to abortion.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote in the first decision, "Compelling individuals to mouth support for views they find objectionable violates that cardinal constitutional command, and in most contexts, any such effort would be universally condemned.

"Suppose, for example, that the State of Illinois required all residents to sign a document expressing support for a particular set of positions on controversial public issues — say, the platform of one of the major political parties. No one, we trust, would seriously argue that the First Amendment permits this."

By concentrating on free speech only, Liptak and his ilk conveniently forget the other civil liberties protected by the First Amendment: freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, and the right to petition the government because to acknowledge those rights would be to acknowledge that you cannot compel people to bake cakes or pay union fees or give directions to abortion clinics or do anything else that goes against their beliefs.


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  1. In the hands of liberals the Bill of Rights and the entire Constitution itself are dead letters.

    Indeed the entire notion of social contract becomes a nullity in their hands.

    It would be nice if they would intimate what, exactly, they intend to replace these with, but I doubt they will be forthcoming.

  2. As I noted elsewhere, they were for it before they were against it.

    The only reason they fought those cases was to twist it into a club they could use whenever they wanted to.

    1. And the club they made was picked up by their foes and used to good effect.

      Funny the way that works, the New Rules.

      -Mikey NTH

  3. Free Speech is only a "Conservative Cudgel" because the Left has nothing to say.

  4. Don - off topic a bit - but you got some headlines!

  5. The anti-Federalists stated that without the Bill of Rights, the federal government would become tyranical.

    The Federalists believed that with them, the federal government would take them away.

  6. The left never gave a cold turd in a milk bucket about free speech, unless it was THEIR speech.

  7. ""Now many on the left see pornography as an assault on women’s rights," Liptak wrote."

    No no no no no, the Left loves its porn! How else can crazy catwomen of the Left protest, but by slutmarches while nude, or wearing vagina costumes with pussyhats? Or "liberal women gathered to scream at Trump through their vaginas" like this:

    Anything that's in terribly bad taste, or disgusting, the Left is for!

  8. “They enslave their children's children who make compromise with sin.”

    James Russell Lowell