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Saturday, June 30, 2007


There is a redolent piece of bullshit in this article in The New Republic.
It is sometimes forgotten that freedom of expression was an afterthought to the Constitution, and that freedom of the press, of religion, and of assembly were only guaranteed later under the First Amendment. The reason these freedoms (religion excepted) are so easily abrogated these days is that they don't really mean that much to ordinary citizens. They were designed for artists, journalists, writers, dissidents, radicals, and other such atypical Americans.

I call bullshit. First of all the First Amendment refers to the freedom of speech, press and assembly. “Expression” is not found there. That was placed there as an outlier, designed to keep us off the slippery slope of inhibiting political speech.

Freedom of speech was not designed to empower artists, writers and the willfully obnoxious cranks. It was designed to insure that ordinary people – everybody - could express themselves especially in regards to their government.

Well, as we have said, the slippery slope has been bypassed and thanks to McCain Feingold, we have freedom to express ourselves in many ways except around election time when we are prohibited from getting together and criticizing our elected lords and ladies.

So it is no wonder that TNR’s writers should believe that the First Amendment is primarily about keeping lap dancers and artists who dunk crucifixes in urine out of jail. It is, after all, the way the courts have interpreted these precious freedoms.

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