Somewhere this morning I was reading an article — oh, come to think of it, it was at Breitbart — where a commenter posited that it was time to junk the Constitution and try something new, though said commenter didn’t seem to know what that should be. He did mention “Confederacy”, which means he’s likely a fucking idiot who doesn’t know we already tried one of those and found it severely lacking (the first one, under the Articles of Confederation, not the second one the South attempted to pull, though it was seriously lacking as well). Oh, got it! It was this article at Breitbart — “PA Lt. Gov. Fetterman: ‘You Do Not Have the Right’ to Spread Lies That Are ‘Yelling Fire in a Crowded Theater’”. He’s wrong, but we’ll get to that. And here’s the comment that set me off:
The fact is, we don’t need to junk the Constitution (or the Union). We need to start applying the Constitution to the existing unConstitutional superstructure that’s been built onto the original framework, and junk all the crap that’s accreted over two centuries onto the Framers’ grand design.
The easy example is gun control, and I bring it up first, because “the Second protects the First”. BATFE is unConstitutional. The National Firearms Act of 1934 (granddaddy of all current gun control) is likewise unConstitutional. The plain reading of the Second Amendment is: “My God-given right to own and carry guns in defense of myself, my family, and my country, shall not be infringed by the federal goverment period, end of subject.” Note the following (from way back in the depths of history, 1993):
And read that last bit about the Preamble to the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is not a list of things we get to do because the government says so. The Bill of Rights is a list of things the government is constrained from doing because we the people say so. It places restrictions on the government because the men who wrote it had suffered under, and revolted from, a government that had no such restrictions. And there were a bunch of states that ratified the Constitution only upon exacting a promise that just such a Bill of Rights would be added to it.
The Bill of Rights contains things that shouldn’t have to be said, but they’re being said anyway because smart people over 200 years ago knew the government itself, and its myriad functionaries, could not be trusted with the car keys.
So let’s get to this moron in Pennsylvania, who has actually been elected to the second-highest public office in that state, who thinks the First Amendment does not permit one from expressing what he thinks are prevarications and treasons. The fact is, his opinion in and of itself is a prevarication and a treason, and should be grounds for his immediate removal from office. But Pennsylvania (and other states) haven’t been particularly good stewards of the First Amendment for a while:
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.
Simple, eh? Doesn’t say a damn thing about yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theatre, and Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., was pretty much wrong when he wrote, in the Schenk case in 1919:
The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic. […] The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.
— Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47
The problem is, this decision was later partially overturned in 1969 (Brandenburg v. Ohio) which stated
[T]he constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.
— Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. at 447-48
And the moron in PA might be right if there weren’t evidence galore pointing to the election having been stolen, particularly in his own state. But the onus is on him to prove that making these statements was intended to provoke, say, a riot in the U.S. Capitol. There’s pretty clear evidence debunking charges that President Trump told people to go invade the Capitol. So maybe this moron needs to read the right-wing press once in a while, for clarity.
The bottom line is, the moron is just trying to shut people up under color of law, and as noted previously, he needs immediately to be removed from office. So does his boss, who my brother-in-law says he went to school with and remembers him as a great guy. I guess my BiL likes being told what to do by the State. I don’t. But I live in Indiana where our statist RINO governor is being ignored left and right, so long as you’re not in Indianapolis/Marion County.
(Maybe there is something to be said about folks who don’t live in Indianapolis saying Indianapolis is what’s wrong with the state.)
But again, you can’t revoke First Amendment privileges, and you can’t simply write laws that infringe upon it. Freedom of speech is a fundamental natural right of man, just like freedom of self-defence, freedom to be secure in your home from the government commandeering it to quarter troops, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and freedom from being forced to self-incriminate. And that’s just the start.
The point of this exercise is to point out that it’s not the Constitution or the Bill of Rights that are at fault. It’s the people who claim to be “interpreting” them who are at fault. And the people who are just ignoring the hell out of what it says, too. Like Old Lady Pelosi impeaching President Trump again, days before he leaves office, on the basis of a claim that’s been shown to be specious, both by a careful examination of what he said, and by a careful examination of the timeline of events that has the Capitol riot starting either before he started to talk, or while he was still talking.
Making a crime out of speech that is not in fact criminal is pretty gutsy, even for commies, folks.
But this is why whenever someone tries the worn-out claim that the Constitution has failed us, I just assume that person is either
- A commie
- A moron
- Both of the above
- A sitting politician or government employee who realizes the government has overstepped and is living in fear of the proles figuring it out
- or all of the above
We do not need something to replace the Constitution. If we would simply go back to following the plain language of the Constitution, we would be a lot better off — and we’d be rid of most of the albatross we’ve allowed to be hung around our collective neck (the permanent bureaucracy).
Oh. And get rid of the 16th, 17th, and 25th Amendments while we’re at it. (I used to say just 16 and 17, but it’s clear what use the 25th is being perverted into by the Democrats, so it has to go, too.)