Zealots Against US Constitution & Free Speech Must Be Shamed From Public Life
By Kelly O’Connell Sunday, January 9, 2011
An amazing phenomenon is transpiring in American, circa 2011: Politicians insist Free Speech must be censured, while pundits claim the US Constitution is outdated! Advocates of “The Constitution Has Expired” club are invariably modern liberals, aka socialists. Therefore, no better illustration exists for their utter lack of intellectual vitality, and blatant ignorance of US history. These progressives pose extraordinary danger to America and ought to be forced from public life. Because the only hedge America has between civilization and anarchy is our precious Constitution.
Properly understood, an American suggesting the Constitution is not our unbreakable legal foundation is the biblical equivalent of turning the Ten Commandments into “Ten Suggestions.” It is a hallmark of Marxist ideology no law exists above human law (ie Natural Law). Yet, undermining our Constitution would dissolve the foundation for our entire Republic. Therefore, those attacking Free Speech and the Constitution are traitors to America and must be chastened before this antinomian plague spreads. This is the subject of this article.
I. Our Outdated Constitution: A Bold Liberal Theme
A. Anti-Free Speech Nattering Nabobs: Let’s Not Offend Anyone!
What kind of American politician or celebrity suggests Free Speech needs pruning? And why does the American public refuses to rise up against such ridiculously unpatriotic drivel? Recently, sniffy and imperious Sen Jay Rockefeller (Dem, WV) stated about cable news:
There’s a little bug inside of me which wants the FCC to say to Fox and to MSNBC, ‘Out. Off. End. Good-bye.’ It’d be a big favor to political discourse, our ability to do our work here in Congress and to the American people…”
In other words, Rockefeller believes government is the best judge of the merit of content of broadcast media. Apparently, Rockefeller—the very embodiment of silver-spoon tycoon, bred-in-the-bone, East Coast elitism—has no commitment to our First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law…prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.
And, remember infamous Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (Dem, TX), caught on tape talking on her cell phone while a constituent asked how Obamacare would affect treatment of her cancer? Now she demands we revisit the “Fairness Doctrine” allowing the government to decide content for broadcasts.
Many leftist celebrities want censorship of various AM radio talk hosts. “Rev” Al Sharpton demands the FCC shut down Rush Limbaugh for using radio waves to disseminate “racist” commentary. Many liberals have called for censorship of FOX News and Limbaugh, such as: MSNBC’s Ed “I Know Nussing” Schultz; Rep. Maurice Hinchey (Dem. NY); Sen Tom Harkin (Dem IA), etc.
Apparently, once you become an elite media figure or politician, you’ve grown smart enough to know what everyone else needs to say, or avoid saying.
B. Constitution Rejecters: Smarter Than the Founders!
Upon being informed the US Constitution would be publicly read by the entering 2011 GOP House majority, liberals acted as if Armageddon were upon them. It’s interesting Ezra Klein, who started Journolist, which disseminates anti-intuitive leftist talking points, like demanding censorship, claims the Constitution is unintelligible since it’s a century old. (Perhaps Klein will next turn his genius to Shakespeare?)
The issue of the Constitution is that the text is confusing because it was written more than 100 years ago and what people believe it says differs from person to person and differs depending on what they want to get done.
Other leftists like EJ Dion claim the Tea Party is wrong—the Constitution is not holy writ, a notion seconded by Michael Lind. Porcine Jer Naddler (Democrat NY) weighed in on the topic, with the Post describing his response:
“They are reading it like a sacred text” Nadler called the “ritualistic reading” on the floor “total nonsense” and “propaganda” intended to claim the document for Republicans. Nadler argued the Founders were not “demigods”…
Don’t forget bizarrely smug Rep Pete Stark (Dem. CA), who during an Obamacare townhall, claimed there are no constitutional limits on government, saying “The federal government can do most anything in this country.”
It seems liberals overlooked one important thing—that anyone could tell simply by their actions they have no belief or respect for the non-holy, indecipherable Constitution. But liberal coordinated effort leaves no doubt they are making a concerted assault against our foundational documents.
II. History of Constitution & Free Speech
A. Constitutional History
America has the first written Constitution in history. The history of constitutionalism is prefaced by many sources, such as the unwritten constitutions of ancient Rome and England.
But what is a “constitution”? It’s a foundational, secular writ establishing the unchallengeable precepts which all other laws of the realm must follow. In the case of America, our Constitution is an explicit statement of fundamental law, drawn from the Natural Law tradition. It asserts proper government is fundamentally circumscribed in scope and power. Our Constitution is such a covenant, outlining the structure of the government and the powers held therein. It is a claim of timeless truth for how properly to limit the might and authority of any one person or group, in a social compact, so as best to protect society as a whole, in this fallen world.
In Crown Under Law: Richard Hooker, John Locke and the Ascent of Modern Constitutionalism, Alexander Rosenthal describes how Richard Hooker took the ideas of Thomas Aquinas on the necessity of the consent of the governed as the central idea of his civil political theory. Hooker noted England’s ancient method of ruling through consensus. John Locke then used Hooker’s ideas for his own government theory.
As already noted, the broad outlines of US constitutional theory are based upon biblical antecedents:
According to Daniel Elazar, in his “Covenant and Constitutionalism,” America‚Äôs political formula was self-consciously modeled upon the biblical covenant model, albeit a secular version…Nearly every incipient American town or settlement was founded by a formal covenant agreement. Writes Lutz, “Local government in colonial America was the seedbed of American constitutionalism…” Lutz goes on to explain how the American covenant tradition was used to explicitly create communities founded upon belief in God, the common good, and the popular will. And these covenants eventually morphed from religious to secular without losing their essential format.
B. Free Speech
There was no right to Free Speech in antiquity, as Socrates’ punishment illustrates, writes Leonard W. Levy in Emergence of a Free Press. The phrase “Free Speech” comes from the British parliament where a right to debate openly with impunity became entrenched over time. Puritan radical William Walwyn, of the Levellers, extolled Freedom of Discourse; whereas Puritan poet John Milton called for Freedom of Speech in a civil, as opposed to a Parliamentary setting, expressed in Areopagitica. The 1689 Bill of Right protected Parliament’s Free Speech, but not the common man’s. Yet, despite the threat from the printing press, much free political discourse occurred in Britain, notwithstanding the occasional prosecution for seditious libel.
There were also libel restraints upon the Free Speech of the Colonies, but the Zenger trial opened the gate to a Free Press. Zenger’s NY paper was the first truly free American newspaper to publish weekly attacks against the resident political power. When Zenger was acquitted, a new day dawned for Free Press.
James Madison discussed the topic of a Bill of Rights with Thomas Jefferson, who’d already written the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson wanted a constitutional Bill of Rights, just like the State’s had, and persuaded Madison to add one.
Madison stated before the ratification:
We mean nothing more than this, that the people have a right to express and communicate their sentiments and wishes, we have provided for it already. The right of freedom of speech is secured; the liberty of the press is expressly decl ared to be beyond the reach of this government…
III. Why the Constitution Cannot Be Updated
The US Constitution cannot be “updated” because it is generally accurate—built from true facts about human nature and our universe, based on Natural Law logic. Proof of its veracity is demonstrated by its unmitigated success in building a better society for all persons. Further, to dismantle or ignore the Constitution means liberals cannot admit this is a uniquely good and effective political compact. And what does that say about their powers of logic or observation?
The Constitution carries a world-view that presumes man has a sinful nature, cannot be perfected, and must not be given unchecked power, claims Douglas Kelly in The Emergence of Liberty In The Modern World. Or as the great Catholic political writer Lord Acton stated, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. ” John Locke is the intellectual father of our Constitution. His writings distill civil religion, being timelessly true precepts about man and society drawn from various sources, but especially the Bible, says Ellis Sandoz in A Government Of Laws: Political Theory, Religion and the American Founding.
When liberals demand we stop seeing the Constitution as a “holy writ,” they badly show their progressive roots, while strangely overlooking the centrality of a Constitution in a secular society. Consider—Christian America is not a theocracy. Because we aspire to have a secular society organized on generally non-religious grounds, we must have a source of authority outside the Bible. This is the purpose of the Constitution.
Thoughtless commentators like Klein fail to realize the Constitution represents the preeminence of the Rule of Law in America, without which the weak and poor have no hope of fair treatment. Further, corruption spreads like wildfire where all men are not under the same rules. Shockingly, Klein seems totally unaware Jews were made illegal by Hitler because there was no German Bill of Rights to protect all men equally. But what makes leftists think mankind, outside of any fair and clear rules, will still choose to do the right thing? Especially when there is no consensus on what “right” is, anymore?
Those suggesting we delegitimize the Constitution tacitly crave to jettison the Rule of Law. Yet, without a clearly outlined legal foundation, how can every other law in America be judged? Then all decisions will inevitably become the arbitrary choice of despots and petty bureaucrats. Lawlessness and chaos will reign. Then, Marxists can use this to justify a police state where human and civil rights cease to exist.
IV. Driving Anti Freedom Progressives Out of Public Life
Is it not outrageous our elected politicians suggest, once they assume office, that they know better than we what we can, and cannot discuss? Pundits are equally bad, using freedom they inherited under the Bill of Rights to preach our 1st Amendment Freedom of Speech causes more harm than good!
Just as serious, elected officials and celebrities raise a chorus against the Constitution. Doesn’t this seem surreal? But what would actually happen if we did remove the Constitution? In a nutshell, we’d have no impartial arbiter to decide legal and political disagreements. This would cause not just anarchy, but the dissolution of the United States of America because it was by the Constitution we were formally created, formed our government, and judge all subsequent laws.
The question we must ask ourselves is—who will be the judge of our words when wholesale Freedom of Speech is ended? Further, once our Constitution is pushed aside by progressives—who will decide on the protection of those who disagree with their establishment? Of course, the same people who believe they are wise enough to reconfigure our Constitution, will also be those who will stand in judgment of their opponents. And if they are wrong, who will stop our liberal judges, without Free Speech and a Constitution? God help us!
Therefore, to suggest we look down upon or ignore our Constitution or Free Speech means to attack the rights, freedoms, and protections of every single citizen. Anyone who does this abominable, traitorous act should be driven out of public life, permanently—as an anti-American scoundrel.