Joseph Farah predicts, ‘Soon the land of the free will no longer be’
by Joseph Farah | World Net Daily
The First Amendment is under siege.
- The Federal Communications Commission has aggressively sought to undermine freedom of the press for decades with efforts to restore the so-called “Fairness Doctrine,” which allowed government agents to decide whether broadcasters were being “fair” by the standards of community activists and government bureaucrats. Then came the browbeating by government using a standard of diversity of ownership. And, most recently, the FCC was preparing to place agents in newsrooms to watch journalists prepare news stories.
- The Internal Revenue Service was used to target conservative and tea-party groups for special scrutiny. The IRS contracts out work to the Urban Institute, a left-wing activist group, which reviews filings by many groups seeking nonprofit status.
- So-called “hate speech” laws actually make it unlawful to express politically incorrect ideas. So-called “hate crimes” laws provide stiffer penalties on the basis of the perceived politically incorrect motives behind the crimes.
- Just this week a U.S. court ordered Google to pull down an anti-Islamic YouTube video because of its content.
You get the picture.
So the state legislature of Arizona passed a bill to try to preserve a little piece of the First Amendment – its protections of religious people and businesses who prefer not to be compelled to, say, serve as a photographer or make a cake for a same-sex wedding. (That’s right, some have been hit with big fines, been forced out of business and even threatened with jail for following the dictates of their moral conscience.)
The bill got to Gov. Jan Brewer.
The homosexualists, who, whether they admit or not, are part of a religious cult themselves, went to work. Their friends in the media joined in the chorus, proclaiming the law would create Jim Crow-style situations in which a class of people would be denied service at lunch counters. And Jan Brewer vetoed the bill.
“To the supporters of the legislation, I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before. Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes,” she said. “However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve. It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want. Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value, so is non-discrimination.”
Actually, “discrimination” is exercised every day by every American.
And it’s “discrimination” to compel people to do things that violate their religious beliefs.
The kind of “discrimination” we don’t like is when people are unfairly treated on the basis of their race, ethnicity or religion. That’s what this bill sought to do.
But is it wrong to discriminate against people on the basis of their behavior?
Let’s say a male job applicant wearing a dress comes for an interview at your office. Should you be forced to weigh his credentials and experience on an equal basis with others who are dressed more conventionally?
I don’t think so.
Let’s say you run Chick-fil-A or Hobby Lobby or WND and the government mandates you to provide health insurance to pay for abortions. Is that not a violation of your religious beliefs?
I think so.
On almost a daily basis now we’re seeing one more nail in the coffin of the First Amendment.
Soon the land of the free will no longer be.
It’s time for a free and open national dialogue on these issues without the hysterics.
This week I heard CNN’s Wolf Blitzer compare the Arizona bill to the law passed in Uganda that threatens homosexuals with jail time and worse.
For heaven’s sake, if you want a wedding cake with two men on the top layer, hire a baker who thinks it’s cute. Don’t pick the one with the fish on the window. And don’t kill the First Amendment over it.
Can it get any simpler than that?
HARVARD STUDENT: ABOLISH FREE SPEECH
Woman claims First Amendment threatens liberalism
by Joe Kovacs | World Net Daily
A student writer at Harvard University is raising eyebrows after publishing her belief that free speech on campus should be abolished and professors with opposing views be fired.
Sandra Korn, a senior who writes a column for the Harvard Crimson newspaper, thinks radical leftism is the only permissible political philosophy, and the First Amendment only hinders colleges from brainwashing students with her viewpoint.
“Let’s give up on academic freedom in favor of justice,” states the subtitle of her Feb. 18 column, in which she insists Harvard stop guaranteeing students and professors the right to hold controversial views and conduct research putting liberalism in a negative light.
“If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals?” Korn asks.
“It is tempting to decry frustrating restrictions on academic research as violations of academic freedom. Yet I would encourage student and worker organizers to instead use a framework of justice. After all, if we give up our obsessive reliance on the doctrine of academic freedom, we can consider more thoughtfully what is just.”
Korn’s view grabbed the attention of the nation’s top conservative voice, Rush Limbaugh.
“This is not unique. This is not satire. This is not parody,” Limbaugh said on his nationally broadcast radio program Tuesday. “This woman, Sandra Korn, is real, and she’s serious that free speech needs to be abridged because it is threatening liberalism. It means that liberalism cannot hold up to scrutiny. It cannot withstand a challenge. If liberalism were infallible, if liberalism were so powerful and automatic, they would welcome challenges to it – and they would welcome the attempt to persuade and to convert. But instead they’re threatened by it.”
When asked of he thought her belief was going to become a movement, Limbaugh indicated it already was one.
“This is what the left is,” he explained. “Why do you think they want to get rid of this program? Why do you think they want to get rid of Fox News? Why do they want to silence criticism? What is Obama’s modus operandi? Eliminate the opposition. This is already a movement!”
“This woman has just written a column about it at Harvard with what appears to be an extreme view of eliminating the First Amendment as a way of silencing opposition. But she’s very honest. The First Amendment, free speech, ‘threatens liberalism,’ meaning liberalism cannot thrive in an open society. Liberalism is totalitarianism. Liberalism is statism. It is authoritarianism. It is all of the horrible Isms, and it cannot thrive when there is open debate. It cannot survive challenges.”
FLASHBACK: GEORGETOWN LAW PROFESSOR SAYS, ‘LET’S GIVE UP ON THE CONSTITUTION’ ON CBS
January 28, 2013
The following op-ed run on CBS’s 60 Minutes takes a backwards interpretation of the Constitution, perverting the document that enshrines and protects our civil rights by arguing that it allows people to control their own lives.
Breitbart.com has posted yet another scholar who advocates destroying a centuries-long battle to uphold protections for the individual and discourage despots. Louis Michael Seidman, a law professor from Georgetown University, shamelessly calls for tearing off the chains on government, joining a chorus of individuals ready to undo the country’s foundations in the wake of tragedy.
Shockingly, he advocates throwing the baby out with the bathwater all while trying to pacify the audience into believing that “giving up on the Constitution” is NOT a radical thing. Seidman argues that if President Obama wasn’t born in the country, it shouldn’t matter, and further claims that if people want to debate, or adopt, gun control, it should be within their rights to do so.
And yet Seidman has shown his disdain for individual rights by advocating the removal of those protections over our nation.
He is clearly not interested in weighing responsible revisions to create better government, but to disarm critics clinging to the Constitution, and that clear, pesky “shall not infringe” clause under the 2nd Amendment in the Bill of Rights. Seidman states, in part, “Talking about gun control in terms of constitutional obligation needlessly raises the temperature of political discussion.” The danger of taking his position in the name of keeping a cool demeanor holds an obvious danger.
Seidman’s real agenda is revealed by regurgitated talking points that have showed up over the years in the post-9/11 world to justify eviscerating protections for individuals from government. By de-legitimizing the argument to hold to the Constitution, this law professor is ushering in arbitrary law and a public opinion that could shift with the wind rather than uphold a principle, a key buffer set up by imperfect founders to try to stave off tyranny through a separation of power.
TRANSCRIPT FROM GEORGETOWN LAW PROFESSOR LOUIS MICHAEL SEIDMAN
I’ve got a simple idea: Let’s give up on the Constitution. I know, it sounds radical, but it’s really not. Constitutional disobedience is as American as apple pie. For example, most of our greatest Presidents — Jefferson, Lincoln, Wilson, and both Roosevelts — had doubts about the Constitution, and many of them disobeyed it when it got in their way.
To be clear, I don’t think we should give up on everything in the Constitution. The Constitution has many important and inspiring provisions, but we should obey these because they are important and inspiring, not because a bunch of people who are now long-dead favored them two centuries ago. Unfortunately, the Constitution also contains some provisions that are not so inspiring. For example, one allows a presidential candidate who is rejected by a majority of the American people to assume office. Suppose that Barack Obama really wasn’t a natural-born citizen. So what? Constitutional obedience has a pernicious impact on our political culture. Take the recent debate about gun control. None of my friends can believe it, but I happen to be skeptical of most forms of gun control. I understand, though, that’s not everyone’s view, and I’m eager to talk with people who disagree.
But what happens when the issue gets Constitutional-ized? Then we turn the question over to lawyers, and lawyers do with it what lawyers do. So instead of talking about whether gun control makes sense in our country, we talk about what people thought of it two centuries ago. Worse yet, talking about gun control in terms of constitutional obligation needlessly raises the temperature of political discussion. Instead of a question on policy, about which reasonable people can disagree, it becomes a test of one’s commitment to our foundational document and, so, to America itself.
This is our country. We live in it, and we have a right to the kind of country we want. We would not allow the French or the United Nations to rule us, and neither should we allow people who died over two centuries ago and knew nothing of our country as it exists today. If we are to take back our own country, we have to start making decisions for ourselves, and stop deferring to an ancient and outdated document.
LET’S GIVE UP ON THE CONSTITUTION
By LOUIS MICHAEL SEIDMAN | The New York Times
AS the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.
Consider, for example, the assertion by the Senate minority leader last week that the House could not take up a plan by Senate Democrats to extend tax cuts on households making $250,000 or less because the Constitution requires that revenue measures originate in the lower chamber. Why should anyone care? Why should a lame-duck House, 27 members of which were defeated for re-election, have a stranglehold on our economy? Why does a grotesquely malapportioned Senate get to decide the nation’s fate?
Our obsession with the Constitution has saddled us with a dysfunctional political system, kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues and inflamed our public discourse. Instead of arguing about what is to be done, we argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago.
As someone who has taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me so long to see how bizarre all this is. Imagine that after careful study a government official — say, the president or one of the party leaders in Congress — reaches a considered judgment that a particular course of action is best for the country. Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves might have disagreed with this course of action. Is it even remotely rational that the official should change his or her mind because of this divination?
Constitutional disobedience may seem radical, but it is as old as the Republic. In fact, the Constitution itself was born of constitutional disobedience. When George Washington and the other framers went to Philadelphia in 1787, they were instructed to suggest amendments to the Articles of Confederation, which would have had to be ratified by the legislatures of all 13 states. Instead, in violation of their mandate, they abandoned the Articles, wrote a new Constitution and provided that it would take effect after ratification by only nine states, and by conventions in those states rather than the state legislatures.
No sooner was the Constitution in place than our leaders began ignoring it. John Adams supported the Alien and Sedition Acts, which violated the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech. Thomas Jefferson thought every constitution should expire after a single generation. He believed the most consequential act of his presidency — the purchase of the Louisiana Territory — exceeded his constitutional powers.
Before the Civil War, abolitionists like Wendell Phillips and William Lloyd Garrison conceded that the Constitution protected slavery, but denounced it as a pact with the devil that should be ignored. When Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation — 150 years ago tomorrow — he justified it as a military necessity under his power as commander in chief. Eventually, though, he embraced the freeing of slaves as a central war aim, though nearly everyone conceded that the federal government lacked the constitutional power to disrupt slavery where it already existed. Moreover, when the law finally caught up with the facts on the ground through passage of the 13th Amendment, ratification was achieved in a manner at odds with constitutional requirements. (The Southern states were denied representation in Congress on the theory that they had left the Union, yet their reconstructed legislatures later provided the crucial votes to ratify the amendment.)
In his Constitution Day speech in 1937, Franklin D. Roosevelt professed devotion to the document, but as a statement of aspirations rather than obligations. This reading no doubt contributed to his willingness to extend federal power beyond anything the framers imagined, and to threaten the Supreme Court when it stood in the way of his New Deal legislation. In 1954, when the court decided Brown v. Board of Education, Justice Robert H. Jackson said he was voting for it as a moral and political necessity although he thought it had no basis in the Constitution. The list goes on and on.
The fact that dissenting justices regularly, publicly and vociferously assert that their colleagues have ignored the Constitution — in landmark cases from Miranda v. Arizona to Roe v. Wade to Romer v. Evans to Bush v. Gore — should give us pause. The two main rival interpretive methods, “originalism” (divining the framers’ intent) and “living constitutionalism” (reinterpreting the text in light of modern demands), cannot be reconciled. Some decisions have been grounded in one school of thought, and some in the other. Whichever your philosophy, many of the results — by definition — must be wrong.
IN the face of this long history of disobedience, it is hard to take seriously the claim by the Constitution’s defenders that we would be reduced to a Hobbesian state of nature if we asserted our freedom from this ancient text. Our sometimes flagrant disregard of the Constitution has not produced chaos or totalitarianism; on the contrary, it has helped us to grow and prosper.
This is not to say that we should disobey all constitutional commands. Freedom of speech and religion, equal protection of the laws and protections against governmental deprivation of life, liberty or property are important, whether or not they are in the Constitution. We should continue to follow those requirements out of respect, not obligation.
Nor should we have a debate about, for instance, how long the president’s term should last or whether Congress should consist of two houses. Some matters are better left settled, even if not in exactly the way we favor. Nor, finally, should we have an all-powerful president free to do whatever he wants. Even without constitutional fealty, the president would still be checked by Congress and by the states. There is even something to be said for an elite body like the Supreme Court with the power to impose its views of political morality on the country.
What would change is not the existence of these institutions, but the basis on which they claim legitimacy. The president would have to justify military action against Iran solely on the merits, without shutting down the debate with a claim of unchallengeable constitutional power as commander in chief. Congress might well retain the power of the purse, but this power would have to be defended on contemporary policy grounds, not abstruse constitutional doctrine. The Supreme Court could stop pretending that its decisions protecting same-sex intimacy or limiting affirmative action were rooted in constitutional text.
The deep-seated fear that such disobedience would unravel our social fabric is mere superstition. As we have seen, the country has successfully survived numerous examples of constitutional infidelity. And as we see now, the failure of the Congress and the White House to agree has already destabilized the country. Countries like Britain and New Zealand have systems of parliamentary supremacy and no written constitution, but are held together by longstanding traditions, accepted modes of procedure and engaged citizens. We, too, could draw on these resources.
What has preserved our political stability is not a poetic piece of parchment, but entrenched institutions and habits of thought and, most important, the sense that we are one nation and must work out our differences. No one can predict in detail what our system of government would look like if we freed ourselves from the shackles of constitutional obligation, and I harbor no illusions that any of this will happen soon. But even if we can’t kick our constitutional-law addiction, we can soften the habit.
If we acknowledged what should be obvious — that much constitutional language is broad enough to encompass an almost infinitely wide range of positions — we might have a very different attitude about the obligation to obey. It would become apparent that people who disagree with us about the Constitution are not violating a sacred text or our core commitments. Instead, we are all invoking a common vocabulary to express aspirations that, at the broadest level, everyone can embrace. Of course, that does not mean that people agree at the ground level. If we are not to abandon constitutionalism entirely, then we might at least understand it as a place for discussion, a demand that we make a good-faith effort to understand the views of others, rather than as a tool to force others to give up their moral and political judgments.
If even this change is impossible, perhaps the dream of a country ruled by “We the people” is impossibly utopian. If so, we have to give up on the claim that we are a self-governing people who can settle our disagreements through mature and tolerant debate. But before abandoning our heritage of self-government, we ought to try extricating ourselves from constitutional bondage so that we can give real freedom a chance.
Louis Michael Seidman, a professor of constitutional law at Georgetown University, is the author of the forthcoming book “On Constitutional Disobedience.”