Thursday, May 04, 2017


Words Versus Deeds

I'm always interested in apologists for the fascists violently shutting down speakers they don't like, so I read Eric Zorn's piece today in the Chicago Tribune titled: Trump and GOP, not campus radicals, pose real threats to freedom. It's pretty stupid. His start, after the smug "Oh, please", is:

The ignorant, insular snowflakes on college campuses who want to banish conservative speakers are a piddly threat to American liberty.

Well, yeah, if the fascist campus thugs are merely shutting down Conservatives, it's piddling. If the right was doing something it never does, namely, shutting down Mr. Zorn, violently, I'm pretty sure he would be a little more concerned.

The hand-wringing and pearl-clutching on the political right about the lefty activists who object to their schools providing a forum to conservative provocateurs is preposterously out of scale to the danger these activists actually pose to the First Amendment.

Oh, I don't know about that. I'm pretty sure that conspiring to deprive an individual of his or her constitutional rights (here free speech) is a federal felony. Why, yes it is. See Title 18, Sec. 241 of the US Code. So it's serious enough to warrant up to ten years in the pen. So it's probably somewhat serious. Notice too that it is the same felony to cover ones face ("go in disguise") and do the same thing, which of course is exactly how the black shirt fascists do things in Berkeley and elsewhere. This law was passed to stop the KKK (all Democrats) from depriving black Americans of their rights; so it only seems fair to apply it to the equally deplorable actions of today's Democrat extreme. But no one ever does, more's the pity.

Zorn then gives lip service that stopping someone from speaking is inexcusable but he follows it up with this:

But come out from under the covers. Put on some fresh trousers. The vast majority of liberal politicians and pundits deplore this sort of suppression, which remains geographically quite limited.

Oh, I get it. It's the right that is having the vapors over nothing. Right. We've soiled our pants. Gotcha. We're the overly sensitive snowflakes, I guess, not the campus crowd. He goes on:

Rascals and rabble rousers from all across the political spectrum still have countless venues for expression, and those who wish to enjoy the vile ramblings of, say, Milo Yiannopolous, have no shortage of opportunity online.

This is the feeble excuse of "you can talk somewhere else" which means absolutely nothing to the free speech rights we Americans enjoy. If you can be stopped from speaking at one venue, then you are not free to speak. The physical limits of our free speech zone is the geographical boundary of America. Any redlining where certain people can't speak is diminishing that freedom. He's not through with the irrelevant "but, see..." excuses.

The right dominates talk radio and cable chat, and Republicans control every branch of government at the federal level.

I don't know what cable chat is but I agree that lefties cannot produce a radio talk show worth listening to and Republicans have majorities in the legislature and Trump is in the White House. And what, specifically, does that mean to lefty thugs violently stopping Conservatives from talking? Why, nothing, this is just "you can talk somewhere else" dressed up with jealousy and longing. Yeah, and lefties dominate Education stem and root and dominate TV. Which one reaches more people? Oh, and where are the venues where Conservatives are not allowed to speak? Why, it's on college campuses, where the left dominates thought and a lot of action, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Freedom of conservative speech is very, very safe.

Unless you're Milo Yannopolous, Charles Murray, Ann Coulter, Heather McDonald, etc.; then it's not safe at all to try to speak on a college campus to which you were invited by students there.

So about this time I'm wondering where is the GOP/Trump threat? And Zorn tells us, and it's all words, and not very menacing words at that. There is a huge difference between saying things and doing things. For one thing, your right to say things is protected. For actions, your right to swing your fist, for example, stops at the tip of my nose. It's no crime to say "Milo Yiannopolous says vile, rambling things" as Mr. Zorn just did. It is a crime to stop Milo from exercising his first amendment right. It is a crime to assault him in order to silence him. Zorn must be willfully blind to this important distinction.

And what are the dangerous threats to freedom that Trump and the GOP express? Remove the "actual malice" requirement with "public figures" via NYT v. Sullivan from libel laws. That doesn't sound like the death knell of our First Amendment to me. I'm generally OK with the decision but the creation of two classes of victims of slander, ordinary people and famous people, has always struck me as very un-American. And the other dire threat is trying to get a Constitutional Amendment to bring back punishment for burning the American Flag. Let me quote Mr. Zorn, "Oh, please." That's the clear and present danger to our freedom of speech, trying to amend the Constitution? Spare me the faux outrage, Eric. And here is his big finish:

For genuine threats to the core values of our democratic republic, however, you need look no further than the relentless, state-by-state efforts of the GOP to suppress minority voting.

And in support for this, Zorn quotes two lefty judges who wrongfully struck down voter ID laws. I can quote judges too; here is Justice Stevens, formerly of the Supreme Court, on the subject in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, which upheld a voter ID statute:

There is no question about the legitimacy or importance of the State’s interest in counting only the votes of eligible voters. Moreover, the interest in orderly administration and accurate recordkeeping provides a sufficient justification for carefully identifying all voters participating in the election process.

Regarding the tired, false meme that such laws are intended to deprive people of color of their voting rights, I always say, you have to be a straight up racist to believe black Americans are less capable of obtaining a photo ID than white Americans are. Hey, Zorn, do you like apples? I just called you a racist. How you like them apples?

So, yeah, it's not the disguised black shirt fascists felons that is the threat, it's the Republicans passing constitutional laws and talking about reforming past Supreme Court decisions through legal channels. Any idiot can see that.

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