Our Ever Changing Moods

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The movement to ban hate speech, especially on campus, reminds us that the political pendulum swings both ways.

At the time of the Revolutionary War, Britain’s laws were so strict that the Founders put Freedom of Speech first on the list of protected activities in our new country. Then the pendulum swung so far that pornography became protected speech. Now it’s swinging back again.

What would help is a more coherent explanation of WHY the more restrictive speech codes are required.  I’d like to hear a college president say:

“In Victorian times, women were considered too delicate for harsh and unseemly conversation. Speech was curtailed, lest it bring on spells of fainting and nervous agitation in women of tender sensibilities. For a time, American women were thought to be made of sterner stuff and regulations on speech were loosened to the point that nude dancing and cross burning were protected by “freedom of expression” but now, on college campuses everywhere, we see that American women are more like their Victorian ancestors than previously thought: unable to suffer the savagery of seeing the word “Trump” written in chalk; incapable of hearing English teachers read the title of Dick Gregory’s famous novel, “Nigger;” in desperate need of strong men in positions of authority to protect their fragile emotional state by punishing anyone who says anything that offends anyone.  I call on faculty and students here at Cocoon U. to cloister women, to keep their mental virtue untested, to pamper their feelings so they never have to grow to be strong, independent women who are fully equal to men.”

Joe Doakes

It’d help if public education did a better job – or any job at all – of explaining what “rights” are.

In turn, it would help if our public education system knew.

First Amendment: Abolished In Saint Paul

I’m not a big Donald Trump fan.

No.  Really .  Not.  A.  Fan.

But I’m reminded of Churchill’s statement about Stalin; he didn’t care for him, but if Satan were Hitler’s enemy, Churchill would at least do lunch with him.

And so the Saint Paul City Council might be responsible for me doing  lunch with The Donald, after they put their own special carve-out in the First Amendment:

The St. Paul City Council will vote Wednesday on a resolution that condemns presidential candidate Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and declares Trump unwelcome within the city limits….[Councilman Dai Thao] acknowledged on Thursday he had not yet touched base with fellow council members on the resolution. “We think it will pass,” he said. “St. Paul has always been welcoming to immigrants.”

But not, apparently, dissent in any form.

Dear Mr. Trump:  While I won’t be voting for you at caucuses, I beg of you; please, please, please come to Saint Paul (aka “Chicago on the Mississippi”).  Call these morons on their bluff.

It’d be the show of the century.

It’s another big win for urban liberal privilege.

Our Idiot Elite: Freedom Is Slavery, Winston

Was there a time when being published in The New Yorker meant you were a better, smarter, more capable writer than, say, a liberal blogger?

I dimly remember such a time.

But in reading Kalefa Sanneh’s “The Hell You Say” – an apologia for gutting the First Amendment and letting government decide how much freedom of speech we really need, because that’s the way Europe does it.

It’s a target-rich environment of bad research and lazy writing, a bit of journalism of entitlement that would fit in on Minnesota Progressive Project.

Yep.  That bad.

I picked one bit – in which Sanneh argues that unregulated speech as we know it really only started in the past 100 years due to – wait for it – white privilege:

This, in essence, was Justice Holmes’s rationale, in 1919, when he argued in an influential dissent that antiwar anarchists should be free to agitate. “Nobody can suppose that the surreptitious publishing of a silly leaflet by an unknown man, without more, would present any immediate danger,” he wrote. Free-speech advocates typically claim that the value of unfettered expression outweighs any harm it might cause, offering assurances that any such harm will be minimal. But what makes them so sure? America’s free-speech regime is shot through with exceptions, including civil (and, in some states, criminal) laws against libel.

Right.  But defamation requires both untruth and actual, tangible, real damages.  It’s intentionally hard to win a defamation / libel case.  For good reason.

By what rationale do we insist that groups—races, communities of faith—don’t deserve similar protection?

Races?  Who would file the petition?

Communities of faith?  Boy, are us Christians going to go to town when we lawyer up.

Many free-speech arguments turn on a deceptively simple question: what is speech? It’s clear that the protected category excludes all sorts of statements. (The First Amendment will be of no use to someone who writes a fraudulent contract, or who says, “Hand over your wallet and iPhone,” and means it.)

And in not knowing the difference between Speech and Robbery,Sanneh has not only forever destroyed The New Yorker as a source of useful journalism, but ousted Grace Kelly from her throne as the least cogniscent writer in the world.

The howlers come with a density that I’ve only rarely encountered, much less tackled.

Indeed, so insidiously bad is the piece that Greg Lukianoff mobilized ten free speech advocates to tackle and beat Saleh’s piece unconscious.

Read Sanneh to see the id of today’s left in action.

Read Lukianoff to see it dismembered.

There’s your assignment for the day.

You’re Crazy To Dissent!

In the 1970s – during Leonid Brezhnev’s kinder, gentler version of the Soviet Union – the gulags of the Lenin and Stalin regimes were largely replaced by “psychiatric hospitals”.

Since disssent from government was considered a mental illness in the Soviet Union, naturally, dissidents needed “treatment”.

Author Dinesh D’Souza – one of the Obama administration’s most prolific and articulate dissidents – got caught up a few years ago in one of the web of speech rationing laws. These laws – commonly referred to as “campaign-finance laws” – are intended to, and eventually will, make all political speech and activity, including (I predict) this blog, potentially prosecutable.

Judges and bureaucrats referring to speech as “illegal” is nothing new; it’s the battle freedom will always have to fight.

But using the psychiatric profession to beat down dissent?  It’s baaaack; D’Souza’s judge has ordered him, for a third time, to seek psychiatric treatment:

D’Souza’s defense counsel Benjamin Brafman provided evidence to the court that the psychiatrist D’Souza was ordered to see found no indication of depression or reason for medication. In addition, the psychologist D’Souza subsequently consulted provided a written statement concluding there was no need to continue the consultation, because D’Souza was psychologically normal and well adjusted.
But Judge Berman, who was appointed by Bill Clinton, disagreed, effectively overruling the judgment of the two licensed psychological counselors the U.S. probation department had approved as part of D’Souza’s criminal sentence.
“I only insisted on psychological counseling as part of Mr. D’Souza’s sentence because I wanted to be helpful,” the judge explained. “I am requiring Mr. D’Souza to see a new psychological counselor and to continue the weekly psychological consultation not as part of his punishment or to be retributive.

Point of basic logic to Judge Berman:  if you’re “requiring” the treatment, you’re not doing it to be helpful.

If You Can Keep It

I’m not going to say that this is the most depressing thing I’ve read in ages

…oh, the hell I’m not.  It absolutely is:

YouGov’s latest research shows that many Americans support making it a criminal offense to make public statements which would stir up hatred against particular groups of people. Americans narrowly support (41%) rather than oppose (37%) criminalizing hate speech…

And yes, as PJ O’Rourke reminded us, the ones who’d burn the Rights of Man to save the snail darter are mostly left of the aisle: 

…but this conceals a partisan divide. Most Democrats (51%) support criminalizing hate speech, with only 26% opposed. Independents (41% to 35%) and Republicans (47% to 37%) tend to oppose making it illegal to stir up hatred against particular groups. Support for banning hate speech is also particularly strong among racial minorities. 62% of black Americans, and 50% of Hispanics support criminalizing comments which would stir up hatred. White Americans oppose a ban on hate speech 43% to 36%.

 

And just so we’re clear – “stir up hatred” doesn’t mean “actively advocate violence”, which is already illegal.  This refers to, for lack of a better term, offensive speech.

I’m becoming genuinely depressed about the future of this country, as a country.

We Warned You

We were warned; if we voted for Mitt Romney, free speech would evaporate.

And they were right; Obama’s FEC is moving to regulate online political speech, including this blog

Late Friday, Ann M. Ravel, the Democratic vice chair of the Federal Elections Commission, said the FEC would begin the process to regulate Internet-based campaigns and videos which are currently free from oversight by the federal government. The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard said one Republican FEC chairman, Lee E. Goodman, warned that anyone who writes a political blog, a politically active news site or even a chat room, could be regulated….Earlier in the year, Bedard noted, Goodman warned that Democrats on the panel were gunning for conservative websites like the extremely popular Drudge Report, a site that typically sees some 30 million visits per day.

The beef is ostensibly about political groups disseminating videos via blogs and social media that would be regulated on television. 

But then, they’d manage that by regulating everyone who links or carries the content.  Which, in plain English, means regulating political content in all social media, including here on Shot In The Dark.

Not only is it imperative that the Democrats lose and lose big next month – it’s even more imperative that the GOP actually provide a meaningful alternative.

“The Most Dictatorial President We’ve Ever Had”

Watch this video starring Ted Nugent, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage, in which President Obama is called…well, exactly that.

UPDATE:  I lied.  It’s not Nugent, Hannity and Savage.  It’s Nat Hentoff, liberal civil libertarian and godfather of the ACLU.  He’s a liberal – but he has been committed enough to actual civil liberty over the decades that he’s even pissed liberals off at him…