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Fearless Philosophy For Free Minds: First Amendment Under Attack

Friday, March 04, 2005

First Amendment Under Attack

I had no intention of writing yet another article about the First Amendment for this post today. Earlier in the week, I planned on writing about the way the government is abusing eminent domain taking property away from one person or group of people to allow another more powerful person or group to develop that property for private use. Yesterday, my attention was turned to the Fair Tax, which eliminates the federal income tax in favor of a national sales tax; an idea I enthusiastically support. As of this morning, I discovered that my previous 2 posts about the First Amendment were very timely because I realized that the First Amendment is under attack on many different fronts by both Democrats and Republicans. Off the top of my head I can think of 3 examples of this assault.

Assault #1: The Likely Outcome of the Ten Commandments Case
The Supreme Court is currently hearing a couple of cases concerning the Ten Commandments on government property. I have no confidence that the court will follow the establishment clause of the First Amendment for a few reasons. The first reason is the court has proven in the recent case concerning juvenile murderers that the constitution is not necessary to make a determination of existing law. Justice Kennedy seems to believe that popular opinion and international law is justification enough to rule that minors who commit capital crimes cannot be placed on death row.

The fact that they ruled against putting these under-age murderers on death row isn’t the issue, (I’m actually very conflicted on this one) the issue is that Kennedy and the court’s majority did not base their decision on the Constitution of the United States. They could have reasoned that executing someone because of a murder he or she committed as a minor constitutes ‘cruel and unusual punishment.’ Whether or not one agrees with the result in that case, at least there is constitutional reasoning behind the decision. I’m not certain which line of reasoning bothers me more the ‘popular opinion’ or citing of ‘international law’.

As far as the international law argument goes; when in the hell did we start caring about what other countries thought we should conduct our affairs? The popular opinion argument scares me because that reflects what most people think our country is: a democracy. We do not live in a democracy; we live in a constitutional representative republic. In case you do not know the difference (don’t feel bad if you don’t), a democracy follows the will of the majority; those in the minority are not guaranteed any rights. A republic has something known as ‘the rule of law,’ meaning the law (constitution) is the supreme law of the land and everyone enjoys certain freedoms regardless of who is in the majority and who is not. I think this line of reasoning will likely be used in the Ten Commandments case. This is a logical fallacy known as popular belief, the popular belief that our system of government is based on the ancient law of the Ten Commandments. Because most Americans believe the Ten Commandments should stay on government property, the court will not have the courage to stand up for the constitution.

Assault #2: Republican Senator Wants to Regulate Cable and Satellite Radio

It’s bad enough that the FCC can decide what is decent and what is indecent on network TV and radio. Now a senator in the Republican Party wants to regulate what is decent and indecent on cable and satellite radio. The important distinction here is that paying customers are choosing to listen to or watch programming that some might find objectionable. Anyone who gets offended watching The Sopranos’ or Sex in the City or whatever has no one to blame but themselves. Maybe I don’t want everything on television to be G rated! If I pay to watch or listen to certain programming, I expect the government to butt out. I can make my own decisions about the type of programming I want.

Assault #3: Bloggers Targeted Under McCain-Feingold

This assault is the last straw. According to the FEC, political content on blogging could be a violation of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002. If I choose to link my site to a particular candidate or as much as write about politics in an election year, I could be found in violation of the law because the FEC views it as a ‘campgain contribution.’ This is perhaps the most disturbing disregard of the First Amendment that I have ever seen! I dare some government official to take action against me for speaking my mind! I hope all the other bloggers out there have the same attitude.

So What Now?
If the FEC can regulate what I can or cannot say, there will be no posts concerning The Fair Tax, eminent domain, or any other issues I want to opine on. We must not allow this assault to continue. What it comes down to is us. We cannot trust our elected officials to uphold their oath to uphold the constitution; we must make our voices heard and make them. We cannot trust the current judges on the federal bench, we must demand President Bush appoint judges who do not believe we live in a democracy but follow the constitution and will strike down such blatant abridgements of our First Amendment rights. Finally, we must stop this nasty habit of electing Democrats and Republicans into office. Our freedoms cannot stand up against them in the long term. There is a party that actually stands up for the constitution; it’s called the Libertarian Party. We need representatives who know that ‘congress shall make no law’ means NO LAW, period.


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