As I enjoy the cooler weather this morning here in Texas, the usual flow of black coffee stimulates my perspectives. This morning it leads me down the path to Freedom of Speech. A license to speak? Will we see the destruction of our 1st Amendment rights in the 21st century?
We hear a lot of hyperbole and truth regarding free speech, as media outlets to high profile personalities talk about their right to say whatever they’re feeling. Many attack whoever, whenever and however they want, with no regard to reality. Some hit the nail on the head, but most lack common sense or ethics. They are so far removed from the lives of their listeners that the words are distorted, completely invalid or just fall flat.
They do all of this under the guise of First Amendment protections. We do have the the right (within reason) to say what we want, but keep in mind; the more irresponsibly you use it, the less effective it becomes and the more likely restrictions will eventually be placed upon it. You may not like what others have to say, and that is your right (freewill means we don’t have to listen); but they do have the right to say it.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
In my last offered perspective, I talked about the latter part of the first amendment; the right of the people to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Special Interests. Factions. Lobbying. Advocating. Many commented; We need to create a law that abolishes Special Interest lobbying.
There’s an old saying I heard as a kid; “there outta’ be a law”. My mom and dad used to joke about it, we all would laugh and roll our eyes; “Old people, what do they know”? It seems many are taking those words to heart, swinging them like a two-edged sword as they scream for more laws. The intent behind them are just, but their outcome seldom is. More laws don’t and won’t solve the problem. They only bury it between layers of red tape and paperwork, until unjust people use them to exhort the just or the just are deemed unjust.
We need to strip it all down to the basic cornerstones our government was built upon and start with the basics; We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Maybe you think our Founders were misogynist racist pigs, who stood upon the backs of lesser men to get what they wanted, or maybe you don’t? I fall to the latter, but shouldn’t we look beyond the people (who will always fail), and focus upon the words as they were written? Shouldn’t we be rational enough to say; This stuff right here… is good.
Once we can do this, it might actually lead us down the path of becoming true respecters of each other’s rights. If we can, we’ll move forward knowing all that we’ve learned throughout our own wicked history, minus the need for all the red tape nanny-laws our modern government has added. We need to do this with all of our basic enumerated and protected rights contained within our Bill of Rights.
We need to understand that unjust or unconstitutional laws actually start with us. We cry about something that appears unjust, and politicians respond with; We can fix it and do it better than the Founders did. They claim to know more or can see more than they did, because it was so long ago. They then go on to create convoluted laws that attend to one specific problem and it seems to work, temporarily. Until the next time we cry. Then they layer another law on top of the last one. It’s like stuffing a bottle in the mouth of a baby without knowing why they’re crying. Eventually the baby’s diaper rash is out of control and they become fat.
Rational people already knew that “Yelling fire in a crowded theater” wasn’t the right thing to do. We didn’t need the government to define it. Although the law isn’t really about that particular phrase, you can read all about it in the 1919 Supreme Court decision by Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.; “most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.”
It seems the government thought we needed a law to stop someone from creating panic or harm to others, simply because a few bad apples were spoiling the batch. This is why we can’t have nice things, like unrestricted liberty and freedom.
Alright, so most of us will agree that we need to control the actions of irrational people, but similarly, we need to control the opinions of others as well; but where does it all end? We should be concerned with and pay attention to the actions and opinions of others, but we shouldn’t necessarily be creating laws to control them. Should we have laws in place to keep us safe from ourselves? Do We the People really need another mommy and daddy?
We should all know the difference between right and wrong, but that’s not reality today. It seems good parenting was missed on some, or they never really grew into mature adults. They go on to cry a little louder (creating the voice of a faction), and the crying baby typically gets more attention. Or the squeaky wheel gets the oil.
Our Founders intended for us to keep our “little indiscretions, faux pas and whiners (factions)” in our own states. They assumed that the responsible majority would be able to keep the irresponsible minority in check. If we couldn’t manage to do that with less laws, then the Supreme Court would be the defenders of We the People based upon the Constitution and Founders original intent.
They strayed and forayed into the world of law reinterpretation, state constructed nanny-hood and corporate decision making. Eventually prosecutorial indiscretions and over-intrusive laws resulted as money or fame entered into the mix. Supreme Court Justices, intended to be the ultimate defenders of liberty and freedom for the people, became puppets for the current administration, political affiliation, corporate greed or personal agenda.
They became overwhelmed or corrupted as we continued to involve them more often, allowing our state government and representatives to absolve themselves of their responsibilities. They leaned harder upon the federal government, washing their hands of any wrongdoing while they kept their states pretty, their job’s secure and their constituency fat and happy. They had a scapegoat and a babysitter.
Every time they heard the baby cry, they handed us over to the federal government with no further baby-sitting instructions. Since we were already such a mess, the feds stuffed another bottle in our mouth and we got fat and complacent. The real issue was never addressed; Self-reliance became a bad word and responsibility a distant memory.
These little (what should’ve been no-brainer type) laws that were meant to address small problems, were layered upon other state and federal laws. The process created more abstract unconstitutional regulations, and it pushed us further away from the term law-abiding citizen. They forced, coerced or encouraged us to become more dependent upon “mommy and daddy” for our happiness and safety. Instant gratification became the norm as they stuffed another bottle in our mouth and downgraded our natural rights a little bit more.
We should’ve been asking our politicians how many more of these little laws do you need, to fix the problem? When will they become effective? We should’ve been holding them accountable to their words and promises. We should’ve been rational enough to know that morality and responsibility couldn’t be legislated into infinitude. It seems our lust for justice and equality, has skyrocketed into another galaxy; far, far away from reality.
It is human nature for people to think and react differently. We will always believe and behave differently. We were raised differently. Some had advantages, some didn’t. Some work harder than others. Some were born with good looks, brains or physical abilities and used them to find success. It sucks for those that weren’t, but that is life… and the government can’t make it better for you. You have to make it better for yourself, that’s part of the pursuit, and that is part of the beauty. Every one is different… not better or worse, because of color, sex or creed, just different.
It is the us who has to take responsibility for bad decisions. We must all pay the price to learn the lesson and then move forward to making a better decision in the future. Yes, we should help those who are less fortunate than us. We should be protectors and defenders of those who are weaker or different, but you can’t FORCE people to be charitable or do it like you. Charity comes from the heart, and we all have free will to choose for ourselves (AS LONG AS IT DOESN’T INFRINGE UPON ANOTHER PERSON’S NATURAL BORN RIGHTS).
Tragedy is still tragedy no matter who or how it is served up. It is still as sad at ten as it is at eighty. Life can be a little scary at times and bad things happen, but it is going to happen regardless of our wants, needs and desires. It is indiscriminate to age, gender or race. No one will get out of life, alive. You can’t write laws to protect against it… it just happens.
So, if no one has the right to intimidate or coerce someone into liking, listening or respecting us; why does it seem like they crafting laws around those words? We all must earn these things the old fashioned way with hard work, charm or other ethical means. We can encourage people, but you can’t force them and the government can’t either. All we can do is walk away with our heads held high knowing that we tried. Everyone has the freewill to choose for themselves (let’s repeat it again); as those choices do NOT infringe upon the natural rights of another. If we do it this way, we should all be able to live a more peaceable existence.
Is Free Speech what you think it is? abridging the freedom of speech. It has always been about expressing opinions and perspectives, and the government protection to do so equally; whether we agree or not. Fighting words, incitement of violence, stochastic terrorism, hate speech are just buzz words that have been thrown around as fear mongering tactics, to incite panic and violence. The question is; who’s doing the inciting? Is it We the People or our government?
The majority use common sense understanding, knowing all of it is just varying degrees of perspective or opinions. Yes people can be hateful, but do the words ever really hurt us? They may sting a little, but as adults, we have to grow thicker skin and move on. Unfortunately, modern technological advancements combined with politicians and the old yellow journalism tactics of the past, are distancing the majority from reality. In fact, they are creating a chasm so wide and so scary, that the common, everyday salt of the earth We the People will never be able to rebuild the bridge to unity, that we so desperately need.
Maybe we should start asking ourselves the hard questions such as; Should we abolish lobbying? Should we pass more gun control laws? Should we restrict what people can say or who they can associate with? Should we restrict who and how people can worship? Should we allow more laws to be written that circumvent small parts of our Bill of Rights, in the hope of forcing responsibility upon the few that We (or the government) deem irresponsible, mentally unstable or just plain stupid?
I contest with; If 25,000 gun control laws aren’t enough to stop a criminals from committing random acts of violence with inanimate objects, how many more infringements upon the law-abiding citizen do they think it take? How many laws do we need, for us to become equal respecters of natural born rights? Aren’t the words of Jefferson enough? Maybe he should have written; ALL MEN AREN’T CREATED EQUAL, BUT THEY SHOULD HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS TO PURSUE EQUALITY.
What’s the bottom line? Our Natural born, Creator bestowed, government protected rights are exactly that, they cannot be revoked or taken away, unless you willingly give them away. Our wants, needs and desires do not trump them, and they are of concern to the government, who protected them for us.
The government is not responsible for making your life cushy, you are. They are not responsible for forcing people to listen to or validate your opinions. They are not responsible for building your soap box, just providing equal opportunity to build and use one. Our government isn’t responsible for every facet of our life, we are. They can’t and shouldn’t be trying to keep us safe from everything that goes bump in the night.
We should be minimizing the impact of true hate speech, by ignoring hateful people. It forces their words into irrelevancy the appropriate way and keeps the government out of our business. If you’re an idiot with hatred in your heart, then We the (real) People should be able to extinguish that voice, long before any physical abuse can happen to innocent lives and long before the government should get involved.
If your intent is to incite others to physically harm innocent people, then good people need to stand up for those who are less capable of doing it for themselves. Nobody has the right to limit our ability to do that… with whatever means necessary. Evil will always try to exploit innocence… and we should be willing to defend against it.
Bullies exist and are unreasonable, but we used to teach them right from wrong with a good old fashioned ass whoopin’. It was often the only way they would learn and then you become “besties”. We the People used to be defenders of the weak, but some how we washed our hands of the dirty or hard work and gave it to the proper authorities. Now they’re trying to rewrite the rules of human nature, and that is just not possible.
Technology gave birth to a new form of bully. One that hides behind a screen, spouting hatred and discontent while laughing at the hornet’s nest they stirred up. They baited innocent, naive victims while hiding in “mama and daddy’s basement”. No different than most did back in the day, hiding behind mama’s skirt or daddy’s fist, as they protected their innocent little baby.
Yes, they were likely bullied themselves, but now they have what is believed to be a captive audience. They were taught to ignore or make friends with bullies, and that seldom works. Yet they taunt their victims today, like they were taunted yesterday. They were likely taught to tattle on or report the bullies, instead of learning how to deal with them on their own. They grew up, formed their own type of hatred, and are now forcing it upon other innocent victims from the safety of their own homes. No real consequences to their actions.
They cry Freedom of Speech, claiming unfair censorship. Or try to enforce some contrived authoritarian protections they believe exist, as they stand upon someone else’s soap box. When the system doesn’t work the way they feel it should, they become resolved to make others suffer for their own shortcomings or lack of ethics.
Once in a while they even get emboldened by small groups of supporters (other whiners) and step outside of their comfort zones. They foray into a different reality where consequences to their actions, aren’t in their control (you can’t just hit the reset or off button and there are no cheat codes) when we step into the real world with real people.
They might use scary (to some) inanimate objects to perpetrate harm, but the reasons are still the same; they want to inflict the maximum amount of pain upon others, just as someone had done to them. It doesn’t matter if the person is a six year old little girl or an 70 year old grandfather. They just don’t care. When real life comes to call, they often take the coward’s way out and justice is displaced upon the object.
C’mon folks, this isn’t a hard concept to understand. We don’t have any guarantees in this life. We don’t have the right to expect life (which is completely out of our control) to be fair. We have the best that we can expect. Government protected liberties that create equal freedoms, but only if we can remain responsible and eternally vigilant enough to maintain them. You can only keep what you are willing to defend.
Our Founders didn’t leave the decisions up to our government, they left it up to us. They didn’t expect any of this to come without cost. They gambled with their lives and the lives of their families, placing it all on the line for a chance at liberty and freedom the way God intended it … dangerous, yet free and rewarding. They built this system for a righteous and just citizen to maintain and protect with hard work. They took the chance, so we wouldn’t have to, and they warned us against trusting our government;
“…the way to have good and safe government, is not to trust it all to one; but to divide it among the many, distributing to every one exactly the functions he is competent to. let the National government be entrusted with the defence of the nation, and it’s foreign & federal relations; the State governments with the civil rights, laws, police & administration of what concerns the state generally; the Counties with the local concerns of the counties; and each Ward direct the interests within itself. It is by dividing and subdividing these republics from the great National one down thro’ all it’s subordinations, until it ends in the administration of every man’s farm and affairs by himself; by placing under every one what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best. what has destroyed liberty and the rights of man in every government which has ever existed under the sun? the generalising & concentrating all cares and powers into one body,” ~ Thomas Jefferson (in a letter written to Joseph C. Cabell, in 1816)
If we continue to allow our government to further restrict any of more of our amended and enumerated rights (I believe the 4th is the only one they have left alone, minus the infringements provided by the NDAA), they will continue eating that “tater chips”, one handful at a time until they are gone.
They won’t be able stop at just one more law. They will be forced to come back and write more restrictive ones the next time. Instead of fixing the thousands of unconstitutional ones they passed over the last 100 years like they should, we will accept what they give us; the illusion of liberty and freedom while we wear the chains of bondage.
The 1st Amendment in its entirety is what our Founders intended through the enumeration process, just as they did with the other nine. They further protected the TEN most important rights for the people to maintain through our Bill of Rights. They expected the government to want to amend them, but I don’t think they ever fully believed we would be asking for them to be amended.
I’m actually quite fond of the way it was created. I would never want anyone to be able to tell me who and how I can worship, because my relationship with my Christ is very important to me. No less than I would want them to be able to restrict my right or ability to defend my life, liberty and freedom the way I see fit and however it must be defended.
We should be innocent until proven guilty. We should also be innocent of any future crimes, until they have been committed. We shouldn’t be taxed on our labor, or overtaxed into failure. We shouldn’t be required to license our natural-born, Creator bestowed rights back from our govenment. We should be able to live as we choose, as long as it does not infringe upon the same rights we’ve extended to all, equally without excessive restrictions.
You can’t force people to believe the way you do. You have to convince and encourage them to “step up to the plate and not shy away from the ball”. The beauty of liberty and freedom is; as long as you don’t infringe upon the natural rights of others, you get to choose how you pursue your happiness. If you choose to infringe or cheat in our little game of life (the Creator-bestowed version) then you should be penalized accordingly.
We should never let them tamper with any of our government protected rights, or we will never be able to close that box. Pandora has already been out, but her name has been changed; welcome to the 21st century politician.
It isn’t all happiness, because we have certain responsibilities we must live up to… it is a requirement of all American citizens. We have to work to maintain the liberties and freedoms that were protected from government infringements. There are thousands of enslaved people all across this globe, that are depending upon us to show them how they can live with the same protected; life, liberty and pursuit of happiness in their “neck of the woods”. Let’s live up to all the hype of what being an American means, instead of falling prey to a victimized mentality.
Thanks for following along with my perspective. Although we can’t touch upon every minute detail regarding the problems we are experiencing today, but maybe we can shed some light on a few of them and find the truth that lies somewhere in the middle.
As I say at the end of most of my articles and posts. I have found that relationship with my Christ. He helps me to see the truths of my past, learn the lessons and make better choices in the future. We aren’t perfect, but we must always keep searching for the truth.