Free Speech Zones for Dead Troops: Westboro Nuts Inspire Federal Legislation

Yesterday President Barack Obama signed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012. The act restricts protests at military funerals. Protestors may not come within 300 feet of a military funeral for two hours before or after the service (and one presumes, during).

Here’s what Obama said while signing the bill:

“I am very pleased to be signing this bill into law. The graves of our veterans are hallowed ground. And obviously we all defend our Constitution and the First Amendment and free speech, but we also believe that when men and women die in the service of their country and are laid to rest, it should be done with the utmost honor and respect.”

But of course, this law isn’t for the benefit of the dead but for the sensibilities of the living people left behind.

The restrictions are obviously targeting Westboro Baptist Church and the Phelps family who constitutes its membership. The church won a Supreme Court decision in 2011 when the father of a dead soldier unsuccessfully sued the Phelps family for emotional distress over their protests. (which, if you are reading this site from your cave, revolve around how God is enjoying seeing everybody die and get sent into a pit of hellflame forever because of the gays. And the Jews. And every other religion. But also for general secularness.)

The Phelpses are not selective with their protests. They’ll protest anything. They protest other churches. They protest plays, concerts and sports events. They protest celebrities. They pinged America’s radar back in the ‘90s for picketing the funerals of gay men who died of AIDS to let everybody know the deceased were burning in hell. And while their protests shocked the sensibilities of many, it clearly didn’t get the angry reactions that the Phelpses family must feed off in order to survive, and so they expanded the protests to include dead soldiers or really anything that might get them media attention.

But the president and Congress’ protection applies only to military funerals. The rest of us will have to manage our own responses, which, evidence shows, we do just fine.  The Huffington Post has a slide show of students at Texas A&M creating a human wall to surround the church and conceal the existence of the protestors at a soldier’s funeral. This has become modus operandi in dealing with the nutjob family's appearences.

Westboro is a carny freak sideshow, and you’d think the public would be getting tired of the coverage. The natural inclination is to blame the media for making a big deal out of their protests, but the media wouldn’t do it if the public didn’t get up in arms and yank out the fainting couches every time the Phelps family behaves like the Phelps family. If people ignored the family they would implode into nothingness, like Tinkerbell in reverse. Passing a federal law to manage the family’s protests just elevates their attention.

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  • ||

    If people ignored the family they would implode into nothingness, like Tinkerbell in reverse

    Same goes for our sockpuppets...HINT HINT.

    This law can't possibly pass constitutional muster. So it's just another empty gesture from the politician scum.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Hey, as long as this keeps the Nazgul from looking at other laws that might actually infringe on my rights, I'm happy.

    Anything to keep them in the spotlight and make people think they're actually protecting our rights!

  • Rasilio||

    First off, several of the "sockpuppets" are not actually trolls and while their views are often stupid they are offered up and honestly debated.

    Second, You do realize that this blog would wither and die without those sockpuppets just as surely as the Phelps family would when starved of attention right?

    I have witnessed it time and time again, a thriving internet community with a diversity of opinions has huge post counts until some faction manages to dominate the conversation sufficiently to shout out all the dissenters, then for a while things go on as an echo chamber but you can only find so many ways to say "Right On I agree 100%" and then even the in crowd starts to wander away until the page finally dies completely.

    Basically if you eliminate the "sockpuppets" and the flamewars they create within 6 months to a year at the outside you won't be seeing more than a dozen comments on AM links and no other post will get more than 2 or 3.

  • T o n y||

    Epi just wants the freedom to post his ever-insightful TEAM BLAH BLAH BLAH troll this troll that substanceless forum police bullshit in peace. That is what H+R was invented for, was it not?

  • wareagle||

    seeing as how posters frequently disagree with the authors of the articles, the answer to your question is no. But purposeful obtuseness is part of what makes you entertaining.

  • SugarFree||

    makes you entertaining

    [citation needed]

  • wareagle||

    entertaining in a Loki sort of way (see below re: WBC) - it's good to have the silly be outfront where it is easily spotted.

  • SugarFree||

    That's an argument for not banning it, wareagle. But it's not an argument for continually feeding it like some do.

  • wareagle||

    I guess the occasional feeding serves as a reminder that yes, there are people out there who really think those things. It's easy to get in a bubble when surrounding by like-minded individuals. This is the only faculty lounge where vigorous disagreement is the norm.

  • Loki||

    But purposeful obtuseness is part of what makes you entertaining an obnoxious troll.

    FIFY

  • Randian||

    Entertaining in an Alan Vanneman sort of way.

  • SugarFree||

    So he's entertaining like a weed-eater vasectomy?

    Some people have a weird way of having fun.

  • Randian||

    Aren't you like good buddies with Warty? And you somehow didn't know that already?

  • SugarFree||

    What Warty and I have goes beyond friendship, beyond pain, beyond death itself.

  • ||

    What Warty and I have goes beyond friendship, beyond pain, beyond death itself.

    Venereal disease?

  • T o n y||

    My unstated point was that without "trolls" Epi would cease to have a reason to exist here.

  • ||

    Well, there's only one way to test that theory. Get on it.

  • Mister Tibbs||

    Epi just wants the freedom to post his ever-insightful TEAM BLAH BLAH BLAH [and] forum police bullshit

    You do Epi a grave disservice by neglecting to mention his awesome and timely pop-culture references.

  • gulo gulo||

    I've always been fascinated by his choice of references.

    It says a lot about him that I don't think he sees.

  • Mister Tibbs||

    I hope you are not implying that, regarding Epi's wisdom, intellect and originality, there is--as Ms. Stein quipped--no there there.

  • gulo gulo||

    I thought I was directly stating it.

    My bad.

  • Mister Tibbs||

    You must be eliminated, for the good of the hive.

    GUARDS!!

  • Zeb||

    I think that the regulars on here would have no problem keeping lively disagreements going here even without the non-libertarian commenters.

    But I do agree with you for the most part. Some days I wonder, but I think that Tony and some others are more or less honest participants and not simply trolls trying to ruin it for everyone.

  • RBS||

    Seriously, some of us will argue over anything. And you're wrong, T O N Y is a fucking troll and a dishonest tool.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    Seriously, some of us will argue over anything.

    Deep dish or thin crust??

  • ||

    Deep dish or thin crust??

    Neither. Thin dish.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Seriously, some of us will argue over anything. And you're wrong, T O N Y is a fucking troll and a dishonest tool.

    I've never seen anything so wrong in my entire life. T o n y is a dishonest troll and a fucking tool.

  • ||

    If you think Tony or shriek is anything but a sockpuppet troll, you are delusional. No offence.

  • SugarFree||

    The AM Links are almost always free of trolls and sockpuppets now that they are consistent about banning Mary when she pops back up.

    The AM links are also the most frequented and viewed post on the board on most days.

    This is the first failure of your argument.

    The second is that "sockpuppets" are capable of honest debate. They and trolls and griefers are not capable of honest debate, by definition. There are people on the left and the right that debate here honestly. All Mary and her ilk have done is destroy the reasonable middle. By never being able to trust who you are arguing with, it makes everyone suspicious of anyone else. Even after registration, you steer clear of unfamiliar names because it might be just another one of hers.

    The sockpuppets, griefers, and trolls are who have destroyed this board, which was and is their exact intention for coming here in the first place.

  • gulo gulo||

    Honestly, it's paranoia like that you have just demonstrated, that has "destroyed the board", whatever that means.

    It's impossible for anyone who doesn't adhere to the party line to avoid some asshole claiming they're a sockpuppet. And today's sockpuppet? Tomorrows best friend.

    The trolls didn't do that. The assholes accusing everyone and their uncles of sockpuppetry (I'm looking right at you John, Episiarch, Warty et al) are to blame, and you're all still here.

    What has been ruined that you didn't ruin yourselves?

    Fuck, Epi is so obsessed with it he trolled the first post with it. The trolls didn't do that. Epi's gigantic "pay attention to me and do what I say" ego did that. It's the same thing that causes the long ass, boring as hell non-sequitur threads where 80% of the posts are stupid jokes. The trolls didn't do that, and it's just as much spam as any of the white indian crap, or the "mary" crap, or the "tony" crap.

    So stop whinging. You're as much to blame as "mary" or "white indian" or any of the other assholes who think this place is their personal toilet.

    Maybe if you actually spent time admonishing the other asshole regulars, who are well known and post every day, instead of taking the nameless faceless horde to task because you're afraid of the regulars, you'd have more credibility.

  • Mister Tibbs||

    Bingo!

  • ||

    So stop whinging.

    Oh, the irony.

    And your salty ham tears only Epi stronger.

  • Mister Tibbs||

    never being able to trust who you are arguing with

    Why not just argue the merits of your opponent's case?

  • gulo gulo||

    Excellent question.

  • Mister Tibbs||

    I'm tempted to reply, but I don't know who you are. Should I trust you? What happens if you turn out to be a sock puppet? Will the forum be ruined? RUINED??

  • gulo gulo||

    Well, John has accused me of being "mary", as has Grey Ghost just today.

    I'd say go for it, how much worse could it get.

  • Mister Tibbs||

    It is my impression from reading this forum that anyone commenting here with an unfamiliar pseudonym is "Mary." She is, evidently, an omnipresent and malevolent scourge upon all that is good in the world.

  • gulo gulo||

    No, it's worse than that.

    No one is mary as long as they don't step out of line.

    As soon as one of the regular assholes determines that they disagree with you, you're mary.

  • gulo gulo||

    Hell, right now in another thread, HazelMeade is trying to portray me as mary, to avoid admitting that her claim about FAFSAs is a lie.

    Three hours of her insisting at the top of her lungs that I'm mary, a "moron", and other insults all to mask her error.

    That's not unusual, it's SOP around here.

  • Mister Tibbs||

    This is scary. Do they know we are talking about them? Should I expect a knock on the door, followed by a bullet to the neck?

  • Whiterun Guard||

    I think you vastly underestimate the propensity of libertarians to argue over minutia and to violently agree.

  • Rasilio||

    Having lived through the death of the Libertarianism community on Livejournal, not really.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Yes you do. You completely underestimate it.

  • RBS||

    See, yall are arguing over whether anyone will argue. Point WG.

  • Trespassers W||

    Of course, Livejournal itself continues to flourish.

  • ||

    This is one of the more retarded comments I've ever seen here. Before we had an army of sockpuppets, HR had a thriving community that wasn't diverted into meaningless arguments with trolling sockpuppets.

    Nice try, though. If your point had been less abjectly stupid, though, that would have helped.

  • Randian||

    I do think you take the accusations of "Mary" and "sockpuppet" too far, though. For example, shrike was around well before "Mary" and has been pretty consistent ever since becoming PB, but now you assert it's Mary. It's not.

  • SugarFree||

    He and others don't argue that she has always been shrike, just that she is now. Just like the original Tony is not whoever is now posting as T o n y.

    It was very telling that during the last big Mary eruption, she got three or four handles banned in a row and then popped up as "Shrike" with an accented "i." Which was then promptly banned.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Just like the original Tony is not whoever is now posting as T o n y.

    I'm pretty certain that Tony and T O N Y are not he same people. Tony was generally cool headed and willing to argue, however intellectually stupid his arguments may have been.

    T O N Y is not like that. He's an obvious state fellator with no pretense of intellectualism about his arguments whatsoever.

  • gulo gulo||

    It was very telling that during the last big Mary eruption, she got three or four handles banned in a row and then popped up as "Shrike" with an accented "i." Which was then promptly banned.

    See, this is what I'm talking about.

    A troll finds a way around the filter somehow, and you think it's "telling".

    "Telling" of what? That a troll can find a way around the filter. And wanted to troll shrike.

    For some reason, you extrapolate that into... fuck I don't know some proof of SOMETHING.

    But it isn't. It's the same troll that trolled John with a different "o".

    That wasn't John, and it's not shrike either. It's just a fucking troll trying to be clever.

  • ||

    "Telling" of what?

    That several different posters banned right after they start posting, with the same posting style, are the same person?

  • Mister Tibbs||

    You know who else "banned" people with the "wrong" names?

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    Ya but dude. We are libertarians. We could do Rockwell vs Cosmo for years if that's all we had.

    I'm not even actually disagreeing with at least a very broad version of your point. I'm just sayin.

  • Randian||

    Every day, knock out blog posts on the following:

    1. The Supreme Court
    2. Abortion
    3. Pizza
    4. Borderline cases of abuse by police
    5. Mocking a feminist/aggrieved minority/aggrieved white Christian
    6. Global Warming
    7. Gay Marriage

    And this place will be chock full of comments. I am sure I am missing a ton of topics.

  • SugarFree||

    Supreme Abortion Pizza Marriage

  • ||

    DEEP DISH GAY ABORTION KIRK PICARD

  • Randian||

    Kirk/Picard was settled long ago.

    We all agreed to "Sisko" to break free of the TEAM dichotomy.

  • ||

    No, the answer is obviously Wesley, you poor deluded fool.

  • RBS||

    Atheism as Religion. MURDER DRONES.

  • Pip||

    BEER!

  • ||

    Atheism as Murder. RELIGION DRONES.

  • Randian||

    Fuck, how could I forget the Civil War?

    And Hiroshima, apparently.

  • RBS||

    Really anything that brings out sloopy and all the warboners.

  • John||

    I like the Hiroshima threads. Sorry I missed the one the other day. It is amazing how little people actually know about the end of world war II and the bullshit they believe about it.

  • Randian||

    The most interesting POV in the Hiroshima thread was from Robert, who said that civilians should be, whenever possible, be exclusively targeted, because "why target the bodyguard when you can target who he is protecting?"

    I thought that was dead-on.

  • SugarFree||

    "why target the bodyguard when you can target who he is protecting?"

    So war should be nothing but a series of 9/11s?

  • Randian||

    It would certainly change the populations' thirst for it, would it not?

  • SugarFree||

    There are very few wars as popular with civilians as with the government as a class.

    If you want to get at the root causes of war, the only legitimate targets should be politicians.

  • Randian||

    Malarkey. The public support for the Iraq War was at like 70+% when shock and awe started.

  • SugarFree||

    And the 30% that didn't support it are legitimate targets because they didn't move out of the country? They didn't renounce their citizenship and head to Canada?

  • Whahappan?||

    Bingo.

  • ||

    For representative democracies, why not? Isn't the point of war to subdue the populace responsible for the political actions?

  • SugarFree||

    For representative democracies, why not?

    Do you feel represented in this democracy?

  • Randian||

    Do you feel represented in this democracy?

    I don't feel like I am, but that does not mean that I am somehow entitled to the Other Side's recognition of that fact.

  • SugarFree||

    I am somehow entitled to the Other Side's recognition of that fact.

    You can't control what other people think, but you can control what you think.

    War doesn't cancel out the NAP nor does it make all the people responsible for the actions of a government very few actually have some say in.

  • Randian||

    *shrug*

    The problem with war is that it takes conventional morality and completely turns it on its ear.

    Part of the reason why I advocate local governance over federal governance is that I can just leave if my county or city is doing something I don't like without too much inconvenience.

    For now, if you don't like that America is going to war, you either do everything you can to stop it, or you leave. But the whole nation is a legitimate target, AFAIC. Maybe that will teach people not to so readily hand over their sovereignty to the clowns.

  • SugarFree||

    The problem with war is that it takes conventional morality and completely turns it on its ear.

    Flexible morality isn't morality.

  • Randian||

    There is no morality in war. That's why we should avoid it whenever possible.

  • SugarFree||

    That's why we should avoid it whenever possible.

    But if we are in one, murder them all, right? Exterminate the brutes.

    So much for individualism. Once someone is in that group, they are fair game. Oh, they didn't want to be grouped in with those others? Fuck 'em.

  • Randian||

    So how many civilians can I kill in your moral vision of war, SugarFree? Is it none? Because I think we know how impossible that is.

    Are munitions factories staffed by civilians legitimate targets? If so, why not a factory that puts out a billion dollars in taxes every year? Which one contributes more to the nation's war machine?

  • SugarFree||

    How many innocents justify the death of a single enemy combatant? 1 to 1? 100 to 1? 1,000,000 to 1?

    Is it OK to drop a nuke on a city to kill a single solider? I mean, they let that solider live there, didn't they? I mean, all of them might have been against the war, but they didn't escape to another country, so they are good targets, right?

    Individualism, how does it fucking work?

  • Randian||

    I am not the one saying that the number of deaths is what makes an act moral or immoral. You are, and that's untenable. Don't ask me those questions; those your premises, not mine.

  • Randian||

    So, again, are munitions factories legit targets or not?

  • SugarFree||

    I am not the one saying that the number of deaths

    I never said that. This has always been an argument about non-combatants and populations who didn't want the war.

    Your bloodlust leads you to conclude that no one is innocent. Which is a psychopathic point-of-view. Have fun with that.

  • Randian||

    Bloodlust? See, this is a problem.

    I have participated in wars where most others here haven't. I know their terror and their devastation.

    I am trying to end wars as quickly as possible. I am trying to disincentivize their future use.

    I also happen to think that citizens that pay taxes to their own government's war machine are an essential part of that machine. When nations go to war, you cannot have separate trials for each and every citizen. You cannot separate those who are materially supporting the war to those who are materially indifferent.

    For reference, this might be a good place to see the kind of thing I am talking about.

    I never said that. This has always been an argument about non-combatants and populations who didn't want the war

    I say again: munitions factory workers. War Bond buyers. A factory that kicks out 1BB a year in tax money.

    Are all of these legit targets? Any of them? None of them?

    What about cities that support the shipyards and airfields and army bases?

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I also happen to think that citizens that pay taxes to their own government's war machine are an essential part of that machine..

    Yeah. Because I willingly pay taxes to support the machine. That's it. I'm not routinely stolen from at the point of a gun or anything.

  • Randian||

    Yeah. Because I willingly pay taxes to support the machine. That's it. I'm not routinely stolen from at the point of a gun or anything.

    So you believe that the other side is supposed to make that distinction in a war?

    Unless you are an anarchist, you believe in some taxation or government fees. You believe in such fees for self-defense, courts, police, etc.

    Are you never, ever responsible for the actions of your government, even as you continue voluntarily subjecting yourself to its power?

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    Good questions.

    I say again: munitions factory workers. War Bond buyers. A factory that kicks out 1BB a year in tax money.

    Are we talking about an offensive war or defensive? The 1BB a year tax money; is it forcibly extracted from the populace?

    If the war is offensive (we start it) then I would say that the munitions factory workers, if voluntarily working there, are legit targets. I would say the same for War Bond buyers as well. The taxpayers if they are paying voluntarily as well. But those that are being coerced into supporting the war, no.

    If the war is defensive in nature (they started it) then no one is a legit target as they are fighting for their homes, family, friends, etc.

    You cannot separate those who are materially supporting the war to those who are materially indifferent.

    This is why war can never be legitimate except as a defensive war. And then the aggressor will not give a damn anyway.

  • Randian||

    If the war is defensive in nature (they started it) then no one is a legit target as they are fighting for their homes, family, friends, etc.

    What about the other sides homes, family, friends? In a war, it is US versus THEM, unfortunately. So what about THEIR taxpayers? Their homes and family?

    Is it unfortunate that it comes to that? Yes, but a defensive war is for survival. You can do anything you want to survive in war.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    What about the other sides homes, family, friends? In a war, it is US versus THEM, unfortunately. So what about THEIR taxpayers? Their homes and family?

    That would be the aggressors. I thought I answered that part. Munitions plants and soldiers absolutely legit. Taxpayers, not if they pay by force or threat of force. If you cannot separate them, then not legit.

  • Randian||

    I disagree. A nation fighting for survival does not have to individually assess the particularlized guilt or innocence of the citizens of the aggressor nation.

    Sorry, but whether it's forced or voluntary, those citizens are still helping aid the aggressor nation's war machine, and a nation on the defensive just wants to break that war machine as fast as possible. It makes no difference whether the cogs want to be there or not: they are there and they are helping it run.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    Sorry, but whether it's forced or voluntary, those citizens are still helping aid the aggressor nation's war machine, and a nation on the defensive just wants to break that war machine as fast as possible. It makes no difference whether the cogs want to be there or not: they are there and they are helping it run.

    But you asked if it was legitimate, and I say no. I say war does not over-ride the NAP (non-aggresion principle). Which is why I say you have a duty to identify the aggressors from the non-aggrssors IF you want to claim legitimacy.

    You just defended the 9/11 attackers and their actions. But just to be clear, I do not think it legitimate either. In this sense, you can substitute moral for legitimate.

  • ||

    Oh, bullshit, SF. The ends start justifying the means as soon as someone is shooting at you. Especially if the end is incinerating children.

  • Randian||

    Oh, bullshit, SF. The ends start justifying the means as soon as someone is shooting at you. Especially if the end is incinerating children.

    That is not even remotely close to my point, of course.

  • Randian||

    Yes, I endorse what MP is saying here.

    The point of Republics/Modern Representative Democracies is that the government has the consent of the governed, which means in war, you want to make the governed change their minds about consenting to war.

  • SugarFree||

    Did you consent to your rate of taxation?

  • Randian||

    you're still funding the war machine, whether voluntarily or not.

  • SugarFree||

    Did you consent to your rate of taxation?

    Answer the question please. Did you? Do you have no objection about how and how much you are taxed? Are you paying them voluntarily or to avoid punishment for not paying them?

  • Randian||

    No, I did not personally consent to my rate of taxation.

    That said, if I really felt strongly enough about the wars, I would either leave the United States or refuse to fund them.

  • ||

    Individual consent is irrelevant. Only the political structure matters.

    Chivalry in war is a BS archaic concept. If you want the enemy to succumb, take the actions that will make this happen as quick as possible with the least amount of loss on your side.

    Terrorism is not irrational.

  • Rasilio||

    Actually yes, most terrorism is irrational because it's use has never once convinced a people to abandon their government and surrender to an invader.

    The goal is to get the enemy to stop fighting and there are 2 ways to do that, kill so many of them that they have no choice, or to convince them that you are the good guy and their leaders are really the bad guys.

    One may try to argue that killing as many as possible is terrorism however this would be wrong. See to use terror as a tactic requires that you leave some alive to spread the fear, it is a tactic you use with the goal of leaving a populace (mostly) in place after you are done with the war. When you just kill as many as possible the only goal to to ensure that whoever is left alive lacks the strength to cause problems and if this means killing everybody then so be it.

    Thing is nobody has the kind of stomach needed for that kind of unlimited warfare anymore, the closest you get is in some of the racial or religous genocides that have occurred but no Nation State has attempted it in over a hundred years and with modern media and war crimes tribunals it is likely that none ever will again.

  • Randian||

    Actually yes, most terrorism is irrational because it's use has never once convinced a people to abandon their government and surrender to an invader.

    Except for the rapid pace at which we surrendered our civil liberties after 9/11. That seemed to work out well.

    Except for the Beirut Barracks Bombing, which directly led to our withdrawal from Lebanon.

    But yeah, terrorism never works.

  • Rasilio||

    "Except for the rapid pace at which we surrendered our civil liberties after 9/11. That seemed to work out well."

    Only if you buy the truther argument that 9/11 was a false flag op perpetrated by the government. If however you are actually sane then it serves as at least partial confirmation that I am correct. The most costly terrorist attack in our nations history and our response was to draw closer to our existing government granting them powers they otherwise could never have dreamed of.

    "Except for the Beirut Barracks Bombing, which directly led to our withdrawal from Lebanon."

    No American civilians were killed in this attack, only soldiers so it is questionable whether it even qualifies as a terror attack (remember, terrorism is defined by goals, not tactics) and even to the extent that it might have been one it did not serve to change the American populace's opinion of Beruit, it made the government rethink being involved there.

  • John||

    I thought that was dead-on.

    That is insanity. If you target civilians you are just giving them a reason to fight on. If they think they are dead anyway, they will never give up. You want them to understand that they can surrender and you will treat them well.

  • Randian||

    Maybe so, John. Or you give them a reason to surrender quickly.

  • Trespassers W||

    (See, look how long this subthread is, and without any trolls?)

  • SugarFree||

    (See, look how long this subthread is, and without any trolls?)

    Very nice.

  • ||

    If you target civilians you are just giving them a reason to fight on.

    That's a matter of tactics, not morality. You may be right about the tactics, but the typical argument against civilian targets is a moral one.

    Which is really the point I'm arguing. If there's a tactical advantage to targeting civilians during wartime, that's the most logical pathway to take.

  • ||

    Which is really the point I'm arguing. If there's a tactical advantage to targeting civilians during wartime, that's the most logical pathway to take.

    Warty| 8.7.12 @ 2:24PM |#|–|filternamelinkcustom

    Oh, bullshit, SF. The ends start justifying the means as soon as someone is shooting at you. Especially if the end is incinerating children.
    reply to this

  • Randian||

    It's really a shame that smart people are incapable of understanding the argument on its own terms, and resort to calling names and engaging in appeals to emotions.

    How is our allegedly restrained warfare working out on the Incinerated Children front, Warty? Man, your rules have made war so much more civilized and nice. Maybe we need more war rules! We can make it like a fun game!

  • ||

    If you really want to be amoral scum, then don't whine about getting treated like amoral scum. Grow the fuck up.

  • Randian||

    Sorry. Next time I'll try to dumb down the conversation so you're capable of participating. Do you wanna talk about Kim Kardashian now? Maybe we can talk about your lifting techniques some more? I didn't mean to tax your brain.

  • Randian||

    You know, I get that you all are uncomfortable with the logical conclusions of war. So am I.

    And that's the entire point.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    There may well be inevitable consequences of war, but none of it is logical.

    The destruction you're talking about is not logical because that destruction is designed to incite peace. Shit doesn't work that way unless you subscribe to Orwell's theory of "War is Peace."

    The logical conclusion to war is more war.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    It's not the logical conclusions that are the problem. It's the relinquishing of the moral premises. If war to you means the NAP no longer holds because of some implied consent rigamarole, then I guess genocide is OK. I mean if we are just talking logic. Some of us aren't comfortable with that, so we think "hmmmm maybe I should go ahead and hold onto that whole NAP thing in an axiomatic, a-priori kinda way, so that I'm not fucking evil".

  • ||

    "hmmmm maybe I should go ahead and hold onto that whole NAP thing in an axiomatic, a-priori kinda way, so that I'm not fucking evil".

    This. Some people like to think that if it's war, morality somehow doesn't hold, but to me that's saying you don't have morality at all, that trying to increase your advantage is the only thing that matters. If that's the case, there is no good reason it would be different outside of war. I can't trust someone who uses that sort of argument.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I know the language of the First Amendment is pretty vague about what restrictions on speech are Constitutional, but the least they could have done was read it first.

  • Ryan60657||

    President Obama and Congress don't give a crap about the U.S. Constitution. Why would they bother reading it?

  • sarcasmic||

    I've got a better idea.

    Don't prosecute mourners for breaking the signs over the protester's heads.

  • affenkopf||

    Two wrongs don't make a right.

  • sarcasmic||

    Sometimes violence really is the answer.

  • affenkopf||

    A god-hating faggot like you would say that.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    No, violence is never the answer.

    Completely disproportional violence is occasionally the answer. But never regular violence.

  • mr simple||

  • ||

    You don't seem to understand the libertarian concept.

  • affenkopf||

    Another piece of anti-Christian legislation from Obama.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    What do you expect from our first gay president? (Other than Harding...and probably Carter...and maybe JQ Adams).

  • affenkopf||

    You forgot Lincoln.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Lincoln only acted gay so he could get chicks.

  • BakedPenguin||

  • ||

    I thought it was Taylor...

  • Whiterun Guard||

    I don't think Rip Taylor was ever president.

  • ||

    Harding was a total poon-hound and Carter was asexual. James Buchanan, on the other hand...

  • wareagle||

    it's easy to be against the Phelps, but the 1A was not meant to safeguard your ability to say nice things about mommy. Freak shows get attention because 1) they are an easy story for the media to cover and 2) they distract folks from things that are far more substantive.

  • Leigh||

    Hey, maybe they think that with Justice John Roberts, he can twist this law to be constitutional under the taxing authority of congress...

  • o3||

    reading leigh is sure taxing

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Liberals against WBC I can understand. They offend their sensibilities and one of their key interest groups. And constitutional limitations matter very little to them these days.

    But, just out of curiosity, aside from the asinine lack of social filter, what about the WBC's stance on issues offends conservatives. From what I gather, the WBC believes

    1. Homosexuality is sinful.
    2. America has gone astray from God's glory.
    3. Those that don't return to God's will will be damned forever.
    4. We must proselytize in order to save souls and because God demands it.

    I hear those same beliefs from many conservative, religious people in private. Hey, I even hear them said on Christian television for the whole world to hear.

    But, I also see that they are repulsed by the WBC's behavior. So, just curious, where do they disagree with the WBC.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    ...and sorry about the lack of question marks.

  • wareagle||

    the right gets upset because the military is involved. It is the most sacred of the right's sacred cows. It's why they cannot reconcile the Chick-fil-A CEO's right to free speech with that of WBC.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    [T]he right gets upset because the military is involved. It is the most sacred of the right's sacred cows. It's why they cannot reconcile the Chick-fil-A CEO's right to free speech with that of WBC.
  • affenkopf||

    God hates America. God hates our troops.

    They might agree with the anti-gay stuff but being unpatriotic is unfathomable to them.

  • RBS||

    They don't worship the almighty military.

  • ||

    As I understand it most of the Phelps family are conservative Democrats. Fred Phelps was actually involved in the Civil Rights movement and so the church is not racist and is apparently fine with most Democrat welfare and taxation policies.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    He was an Al Gore supporter snd got an award from the local NAACP.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    They don't believe in anything but frivolous law suits. They rile up jurisdictions in the hope being discriminated against in some permitting process allows them to sue or, if they do get permits to gather and protest, if they get beat on by ideological oppontents they can sue for inadequate police protection.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Exactly - that has been their M.O. for so long now... And this law is a putrid response to them. Crapping on the Constitution isn't going to help one bit. Gah.

  • The Hammer||

    The attacks on the holy "Troops" are what offend conservatives. And the lack of logical consistency on the part of conservatives.

  • John||

    That is totally ignorant and insulting. But makes up for it by being profoundly stupid. What is it like going through life as a completely ignorant and narrow minded bigot? Is doing simple tasks like feeding yourself hard? Do you read? Just wondering.

  • The Hammer||

    You're partially right, actually. I should have added the modifier "Religious" to "Conservatives." But other than that, I stand by what I said. I know too many holy rollers in East Texas who are all about hating on the fags, but balk at what the WBC does because it's disrespectful to the troops.

  • John||

    Because Christians believe God forgives people. And more importantly, they don't believe that this world is that important. So who cares if God punishes America? What matters is people's souls not America per say.

    Beyond that, they don't believe that God would punish America over anything. God punishes in the next world not this one. This one belongs to us in the sense that it is our free will to do with it what we like.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    I could buy that if it weren't for the impression that I get that whether punishment comes now or later is insignificant. Either way, it's widely viewed as God's will. And the WBC's beliefs fit in with the widely held belief that homosexuality is a sin, perhaps one of the worst sins.

  • John||

    Getting drunk is a sin too. Do people show up at funerals of those who died of liver disease? What good would it do if you did? Everyone sins. Who is to say that God is punishing America for any of the other multitudes of sin we are guilty of?

    More importantly, Christianity teaches you to love your enemies. So even if people believed that soldiers died because of homosexuality, which there is no reason to believe so, but if they did, they would show up at the funeral to comfort the family not condemn them.

    Your question makes no sense and assumes things that Christians just don't believe.

  • wareagle||

    come on, John; these folks show up screaming about "the fagz" and the right gets torqued because the setting is a military funeral. If it were anyone else's funeral, would the right give a shit?

    That is the source of the conservative hard on. Judging by the chicken dustup, the rank-and-file right is not far off from the WBC; it just uses more polite language.

  • affenkopf||

    Christians are a group of way over a billion people (even if you don't count protestants who we all know aren't really Christians). They believe widely divergent things.

  • The Hammer||

    protestants aren't really Christians?

  • affenkopf||

    Heretics.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Spoken just like a pope hat wearin' Catholic....themz fightin' wordz!

    /small town Protestant off

  • The Hammer||

    I grew up in a little town with two churches, the little one for Catholics and the big one for Americans.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    I suppose it's just a difference in experience, but many Christians I have met and talked to belief (with corresponding scriptural justification):

    1. Homosexuality is a sin. (Romans 1:26-27)

    2. Sins is a reproach to any nation. (Proverbs 14:34)

    3. Christians are commanded to preach to the world. (Mark 16:15)

    You're right that many Christians believe "to love thy neighbor" (Mark 12:31), which the WBC apparently doesn't agree with. But they do seem pretty much in agreement on the other points.

  • John||

    1. Homosexuality is a sin. (Romans 1:26-27)

    2. Sins is a reproach to any nation. (Proverbs 14:34)

    3. Christians are commanded to preach to the world. (Mark 16:15)

    And that means you show up at a funeral of some soldier who had nothing to do with it why?

    Go preach the word. But only translates to showing up at a funeral to insult the family if you are a nut like the WBC or you are just a bigot who thinks another group would do that because you are trying justify your prejudices.

    You are clearly the latter. What you are saying makes no sense.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Everyone sins.

    Or no one sins, depending on your perspective.

  • ||

    Lying is a sin, maddie.

  • Ted S.||

    WBC aren't military fellators, which you presumably have to be to be a conservative.

  • John||

    Because no Democrat ever waived the flag. This is why libertarians can't have nice things.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The founder of WBC was a Al Gore supporter and a winner of awards from the NAACP.

    He also shares a key premise of the SSM movement: That in order to truly love someone, you have to agree with their behavior. Like the SSM activists, WBC believes that if you disagree with the behavior of gay people, you are morally obliged to hate them.

    Like Austria, if WBC didn't exist the SSM folks would have to invent them, because they actually behave like the gay-rights stereotype of their opponents.

    The reason most conservatives and conservative Christians dislike WBC is that they actually have a different point of view than WBC.

    Consider the possibility that there actually are Christians who hate the sin but live the sinner, who oppose the gay movements politics without hating all gays, who (even if they're not Catholic) don't necessarily thrill to the idea of the Pope burning in hell, who are patriotic enough to want military funerals to be respectful and honorable, who don't believe in visiting foreign countries to tear down your own country, etc.

    And who don't support Al Gore and the NAACP.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Help me out, what does SSM stand for?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Same-Sex Marriage

  • Caleb Turberville||

    (derp): Thank you.

  • kinnath||

    If we all try hard enough, perhaps we can will the next Holmes to fixate on the Westboro Baptist Church.

  • ||

  • ||

    I like it even better with the syntax error.

  • Voros McCracken||

  • GTG||

    Aren't there literally 40 of these nuts? Other than laziness of reporters, what is motivating the insane amount of attention they get?

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Lazy reporting. There's your answer; you have it.

  • wareagle||

    easy story for reporters, easy distraction for politicians. And the sheep comply on both counts.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    [E]asy story for reporters, easy distraction for politicians. And the sheep comply on both counts.

    THIS.

    Obama is going to do everything possible in order to draw attention to teh KULTUR WARZ in order to take people's minds off of the economy and what really matters.

    GWB used gay marriage as a means to draw in his religious supporters when things weren't going well for him before the 04 election. Obama is doing the same in reverse.

    Obama is only doing what he learned from Bush.

    As long as we allow culture to decide elections rather than substance that matters, we're fucked. Unfortunately, most supporters of each team only do so because of their cultural sensibilities, while economic policies strangle all of us.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I suppose this law could be upheld as a valid time, place, and manner restriction, though whether the law is actually content neutral and not overbroad is another question.

  • ||

    The point is that the Westboro people are aggressing against us by hurting our feelings, and therefore we should incinerate their children until they stop.

  • JW||

    If it saves the life of ONE dead soldier...

  • LTC(ret) John||

    You win the Mortuary Affairs public service award for August!

  • Pro Libertate||

    Is that in the law? I haven't read it yet. Generally, incineration of the young is disfavored in our system, but I dunno, maybe it's phrased in the form of a tax?

  • affenkopf||

    Incarnating children is fine in the US if you don't agree with their parents: http://www.asiaone.com/News/La.....63815.html

    Hell, killing them is acceptable, too: http://www.salon.com/2011/10/2.....r_old_son/

    (yeah, I know but examples technically aren't children but still underage).

  • Randian||

    I hate when the government incarnates children. Don't we have enough cows as it is?

  • wareagle||

    I think Ernest Hollings once said, "there's too much incarnating goin' on."

  • The Hammer||

    Why would time, place or manner restrictions be constitutional? "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech...or of the people to peacably assemble..."

    I don't see much gray area there. I know it's been said innumerable times before here, but the answer to bad speech is more speech.

  • Randian||

    Uh, so you don't assert a right to protest inside a courtroom at 9 AM while there are hearings going on?

  • R C Dean||

    Uh, so you don't assert a right to protest inside a courtroom at 9 AM while there are hearings going on?

    The 1A does not restrict the rights of property-owners to limit the activities on their property. So a courthouse that banned protesting in courtrooms would not be violating the 1A.

  • Randian||

    The government owns the courtrooms, RC. Are you saying they could ban protesting on the courthouse steps because they are the property owners? That is just not correct.

  • John||

    They couldn't do that. But they could restrict the time and manner of the protest to ensure the proper functioning of the courts.

  • Randian||

    Yes, I know. It seemed as if RC was saying something different from that.

  • The Hammer||

    Private courts would solve that problem.

  • R C Dean||

    I'm saying that the 1A prohibits the legislature from passing laws.

    I don't know that the legislature needs to pass a law to allow property owners (even the government) to limit activity on its own property.

    If you want to say that the government is/should be restricted in its authority as a property owner, that's fine. I got no problem with that.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'm talking the law on the books, not what the law should be. We obviously don't have--and never have had, incidentally--an absolute right to free speech in this country. We allow quite a few restrictions--defamation, perjury, copyright, immediate incitements to violence, etc.

    Time, place, and manner is just another one of those. It does, in theory, have to be narrowly tailored, etc., but, like most areas these days, has been abused.

  • R C Dean||

    Defamation and perjury (civil, at least) are not restrictions on your right to say or publish what you want, so they are not inconsistent with the 1A.

    Freedom of speech is not freedom from the consequences of speech. If those consequences include damaging someone via fraud (either by taking their money or by injuring their reputation), then being presented with the bill for the damage you caused is not a restriction on your freedom.

  • The Hammer||

    Defamation and perjury are also not prior restraint. This law is.

  • John||

    What Pro Said. You clearly haven't read much 1st Amendment MNG.

  • Randian||

    MNG???

  • John||

    I suspect the Hammer is MNG.

  • RBS||

    I'll believe this when yall have a 90 comment jerk fest.

  • John||

    Time will tell. I could be wrong. But it sure seems like him.

  • ||

    I dunno. Has he said anything about how he has a PhD?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Or tractor PULLZ?

  • The Hammer||

    Ad hominems really are the best you've got, aren't they John?

  • John||

    Yup It is MNG.

  • The Hammer||

    Anyone who disagrees with John is MNG! Please, John. My posts are coherent. I can't be MNG.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I'm actually with the hammer here. Just because people with robes say words mean one thing and people with guns listen to them, doesn't change the meaning of words.

  • ||

    Such restrictions still have to serve a legitimate public safety purpose.

    Protecting people from hurt feelings doesn't count.

  • T o n y||

    The Phelpses are staples of any nearby gay pride parade. Indeed it wouldn't be quite the same without them. I consider them heroes of the First Amendment, and couldn't give a crap less about their stupid cult beliefs. It's tantamount to performance art for all it accomplishes. Just as long as the courts continue rightly siding with them and their right to protest in whatever peaceful manner they want. If not then they'll have done damage to the First Amendment by testing it too much. I hope that doesn't happen.

  • ||

    (golf clap)

  • Caleb Turberville||

    I'm with you. But I'm afraid they are being to pushy with their performance art. We've been lucky so far with the courts, but they streak could break if something terrible goes on at these protests.

  • The Hammer||

    Tony wins the thread.

  • John||

    Tony only likes them because they are completely ineffective and confirm his prejudices. If they were in any way effective, Tony would gladly see the police club them like seals.

  • affenkopf||

    Talking about people in the third person is something John likes.

  • John||

    Ah, Tony is a "third person". How else could you describe his views without saying "tony....

  • The Hammer||

    Does your name mean something other than "Monkeyhead?" My German is a little rusty.

  • The Hammer||

    Doesn't matter. Whether philosophical or utilitarian, he came to the correct conclusion.

    "Just as long as the courts continue rightly siding with them and their right to protest in whatever peaceful manner they want."

    And I give him bonus points for even using "couldn't give a crap less" correctly.

  • T o n y||

    How can I possibly win the troll vs. honest interlocutor contest (put on by HRH Episiarch, H+R Troll Adjudicator Extraordinaire) if I can't even agree with a libertarian position without having my motives questioned? I have never wavered in my support of an expansive interpretation of the First Amendment.

    Oh it's only John.

  • T o n y||

    Define "effective."

  • Pip||

    "whatever peaceful manner"

    Screaming "GOD HATES FAGS" at a funeral is anything but peaceful.

  • The Hammer||

    You seem to be conflating "decent" with "Peaceful." Or you just don't know what "Peaceful" means.

  • Pip||

    peace·ful   [pees-fuhl] Show IPA
    adjective
    1.
    characterized by peace; free from war, strife, commotion, violence, or disorder: a peaceful reign; a peaceful demonstration.
    2.
    of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a state or time of peace.
    3.
    peaceable; not argumentative, quarrelsome, or hostile: a peaceful disposition.

  • Pip||

    Again, the WBC protests are not by definition "peaceful" protests.

    Have a nice day.

  • The Hammer||

    Ah, semantics, the last refuge of the stupid. The Phelps aren't inciting violence, nor are they committing violence. That is all that is meant by "Peaceful," in Tony's context, and in the context of the First Amendment. If "argumentative" was the threshold for the government limiting freedom of speech, no protests would ever be allowed. Which, I know, wouldn't bother you while a Democrat was in office, but you'd be screaming your lungs out about it the day a Republican was elected.

  • Pip||

    "Or you just don't know what "Peaceful" means."

    "Ah, semantics, the last refuge of the stupid."

    ^^this is what's known as a double bind. I am accused of not knowing the definition of a word and then am chastised for providing it. Here's two words for you to look up:

    1) Fuck
    2) You

    I am not a Democrat. I am not a Republican. Both parties suck ass. I am a libertarian. I believe in government whose only role is to protect my liberty and the liberty of my fellow citizens. I also believe in legalized drugs, prostitution and abortion. I believe in legalizing gay marriage as long as it's already legal for some. I also support legalizing polyamorous marriage. I am opposed to foreign excursions such the droning in Somalia. I am opposed to the income tax. I could go on, but if you don't get the point by now, then you never will.

  • gulo gulo||

    "1
    : peaceable
    2
    : untroubled by conflict, agitation, or commotion : quiet, tranquil
    3
    : of or relating to a state or time of peace
    4
    : devoid of violence or force"

    Coupla things.

    First, arguing definitions, especially about a vague word like "peaceful", is pedantic and usually a waste of time. As you see, I found a definition that works. One example is all it takes, and I found one.

    Second, and more importantly, you knew what he meant. You did. I have no doubt that you did, and any argument that you didn't is disingenuous. Maybe you weren't certain but you knew he meant nonviolent. Or you're not as bright as you portray yourself to be.

    So, in posting a definition to a vague word, which could easily be understood to mean what he said, instead of addressing the substance, you address... nothing.

    You added nothing. You forwarded the conversation in no way whatsoever. All in pursuit of...what?

    Anyone who reads the convo would be hard pressed to think your contributions were for any purpose than enhancing your own self image.

  • Pip||

    Hey everybody! gulo gulo reads minds! Is that cool or what. I consider what the WBC does to be in violation of #3. peaceable; not argumentative, quarrelsome, or hostile: a peaceful disposition

    So I guess you need to work on your telepathy skills a bit.

  • The Hammer||

    Sorry Pip, I get you and Pip from the Forge confused. That was still a frustrating semantic argument, and fairly pointless.

  • T o n y||

    Maybe God does hate fags, and will send perfectly heterosexual American soldiers to eternal hellfire for the sin of America not executing all fags. How do you know? Free speech is about figuring these things out without government stepping in to do it for us, dude!

    At any rate the Phelpses are educated on their legal rights and are quite careful about not crossing any lines. I can only applaud them for what they've contributed to First Amendment case law.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Wow, they make it to EVERY gay pride parade? That's impressive.

    /snark

    BTW, they are NOT "heroes of the First Amendment". They are scum. Every member of WBC deserves to be punched in the throat.

    IMO, the Phelpses are as disgusting as any Klan or NBPP member. They should all die in fires.

  • The Hammer||

    Which is fine. They might deserve slow, painful deaths, but that does not justify the government taking official action against them.

  • T o n y||

    You're really not cut out for libertarianism.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Who's standing up for WBC here? Why, it's the same guy who thinks 1/4 o all Americans are "racist hillbillies"!

  • Whiterun Guard||

    If we'd all just stop dying this wouldn't even be an issue.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Now that's an elegant and legal solution to this problem. Why can't our government do something useful like that?

  • John||

    The Phelpses are not selective with their protests. They’ll protest anything.

    Not true. They rarely if ever show up in small towns where there is a real possibility of someone shooting them and no one seeing a thing. They go to suburbs where they know they can bully compliant white people.

  • Zeb||

    And where they know the cameras will show up.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Hey, serious question here:

    On that sign that says "God's Rod" on it, what's the picture of?

  • Randian||

    Smoking rubble of the twin towers, if memory serves.

  • RBS||

    I think it might be one of the WTC towers collapsing.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Ah, thanks guys. Kind of dumb, but I don't know what I was expecting.

  • RBS||

    Rod Flanders?

  • BakedPenguin||

    A deity's massive cock?

  • The Hammer||

    The inconceivable phallus, obviously.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    I mean, that's what I was expecing, and isn't that kind of gay? Or is that a chick carrying the sign?

  • BakedPenguin||

    I should really read more before commenting.

  • The Hammer||

    Me too.

  • Pip||

    It's either Burt or Ernie. I forget which.

  • fried wylie||

    Talking about, or putting mention onto a sign of, God's Cock seems kinda gay to me.

  • Tim||

    OT:
    Canada getting tough on border security with Vermont. Was it the tractor thing?

    But here’s a twist: It wasn’t the U.S. Border Patrol that insisted on the stopgap measure that will likely become more permanent; the call for tighter security came from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

    http://www.7dvt.com/2012facing.....ng-vermont

  • John||

    Obama doesn't want people leaving the country.

  • RBS||

    You mean traitors?

  • The Hammer||

    Obama is fine with people leaving. Just as long as their money stays here.

  • Loki||

    I think the WBC people should be allowed to protest whenever and wherever they want. If they're stupid enough to think that protesting about TEH GAYS at soldiers funerals is going to win them anything other than scorn and ignignation, let them display their idiocy for the world to see. Personally I like my morons to be easy to spot. Just look for the dipshits holding retarded bigoted signs outside of funerals.

    Besides, why should the rest of us have our rights infringed because of these fucking diaper stains? There may be legitimate reasons to protest outside of a soldiers funeral. Maybe the soldier was awarded a medal they didn't deserve, or maybe some people want to protest the illegal unconstitutional war in which they died (unpossible, I know). Granted there are more appropriate venues for said protests, but again, I like my idiots to be easy to spot.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Look, Loki, these soldiers didn't go to foreign lands and die just so people could express themselves freely.

  • Loki||

    Huh... That's not what all that "they're fighting to defend your rights" propaganda material would lead me to believe. Are you saying I've been lied to? I'm shocked, I tell you! Shocked!

  • John||

    It is a private matter. But suppose your wife or mother died and I showed up at the funeral with a big sign that said she died because she was a whore? Would anyone blame you if you kicked my ass? I sure wouldn't.

    That is the thing with these guys. They are nothing that a good beat down wouldn't solve. Now we are so addicted to the legal system, we can't see any other solutions. The solution has always been for someone to beat these bastards with an inch of their lives and for the cops to go "too bad" and be done with it.

  • Randian||

    That's pure savagery, John. Shame on you.

  • John||

    No it is not. Society has norms and morality that are independent of government. Someone shows up at your family member's funeral and makes a scene like this, you have every right to deal with them and they not you are guilty of causing the fight. In more civilized times we understood that. Now we live in a legalistic hell where only the law and the state can ever do justice.

  • Randian||

    Garbage. Civilization is premised on the notion that you can say what you want without getting your ass beat. You want America to be some redneck trailer park version of the Hatfields and the McCoys.

    Where does it end? Can I come to your house and punch you in the nose for your comments to me? Why or why not?

    All you are doing is endorsing the liberal POV: It's permissible to force people to comply when they are doing something you don't like. Well fuck that.

  • Pip||

    "Garbage. Civilization is premised on the notion that you can say what you want without getting your ass beat."

    That's some grade a stupid right there.

  • Randian||

    Stunning rejoinder, Pip, although given your general level of contribution, your lack of intellectual rigor is not surprising.

  • John||

    You can have civilization without government. But you cannot have civilization without social norms and morality that people are willing to enforce amongst themselves.

  • Randian||

    Social norms that include "Don't say anything that will hurt my feelings or I'll beat you up".

    Apparently your version of civilization is arrested at the fifth-grade level.

  • John||

    I think showing up at a funeral goes beyond hurting someone's feelings. There are some things that go beyond the pale of even impolite discourse. And I am not saying kill them. Just kick there ass. So that showing up at these things is a contact sport. That is called civil society. And that is what we don't have anymore because people worship government.

  • Randian||

    "John, I'm not saying kill the doctors! Just punch them in the face until they do the decent thing and treat the dying!"

    Whoops. how does that feel?

  • Pip||

    "Garbage. Civilization is premised on the notion that you can say what you want without getting your ass beat."

    Hey Randian, go up to a cop, call him a fag and then tell him the reason he's a fag is due to his mother turning tricks in the living room floor day and night for meth money.

    I'll give you a quarter if you do.

  • Randian||

    Are you saying that police officers represent the epitome of civilization? That we should all emulate their example?

  • Pip||

    "Garbage. Civilization is premised on the notion that you can say what you want without getting your ass beat."

    "Are you saying that police officers represent the epitome of civilization? That we should all emulate their example?"

    Move the goalposts much?

  • Randian||

    Apparently we're supposed to emulate cops and inner city youth.

    Just because people act uncivilized does not mean you can act uncivilized. Is that too hard to understand?

  • Pip||

    "Apparently we're supposed to emulate cops and inner city youth.

    Just because people act uncivilized does not mean you can act uncivilized. Is that too hard to understand?"

    Why do you misrepresent black inner-city youth as uncivilized? Racist bastard.

  • Pip||

    And I am not traying to argue that "Just because people act uncivilized does not mean you can act uncivilized".

    My point is that:

    "Garbage. Civilization is premised on the notion that you can say what you want without getting your ass beat."

    is some Grade-A stupid.

  • Pip||

    IOW, stop moving the fucking goalposts and spouting non sequiturs.

  • Randian||

    That's all you wanted to quibble about? Are you kidding?

    Argue essentials next time, not fucking semantics.

    Jesus Christ.

  • Pip||

    Non of what you write is worth quibbling about unless I have a shitload of free time, which I do at the moment.

  • wareagle||

    maybe it's not applicable anymore but there used to be thing called fightin' words. It was an understood line whose crossing resulted in wholly predictable consequences.

    There is no forced compliance, just an understanding that rights have responsibilities.

  • Randian||

    And apparently those responsibilities are "You shoulda known better than to say stuff like that to me 'cause I'm a redneck emotional retard and I just have to beat you now"

    This is total crap.

  • wareagle||

    no, those responsibilities include some common sense on your part to know where the line is. Has nothing to do with redneck. If you're being a moron, then you get to be treated like a moron.

  • Randian||

    If you're being a moron, then you get to be treated like a moron.

    Says that guy who wants to see other people get beaten up for words.

    Color me unsurprised that the Hit Runpublicans are all about beating people up who say things they don't like.

  • wareagle||

    Color me unsurprised that the Hit Runpublicans are all about beating people up who say things they don't like.

    more like color you "I'll say what I think fits irrespective of what was actually said." You do that a lot, followed by calling people names when they disagree with you.

    Your right to free speech does not absolve you from consequence. If you are not sharp enough to figure out that saying certain things to someone's face might provoke a specific response, then you deserve what you get.

    Most of us are able to self-censor before getting to the point where an argument gets violent. Some are not.

  • Randian||

    more like color you "I'll say what I think fits irrespective of what was actually said." You do that a lot, followed by calling people names when they disagree with you.

    Alright, Mr. "Fighting Words Means It's OK to Beat People Up Who Say Mean Things". Tell me how I misrepresented what you said.

  • wareagle||

    Tell me how I misrepresented what you said

    nowhere did I say "it's okay to beat people up who say mean things" and certainly not in the default response way that you frame it. I said there is a line that sensible folks recognize and how you are unaware of that is mind-boggling. How long are you going to listen to me say nasty things about your mother, sister, whomever before you decide that my free speech has been exhausted?

    Just stop. You have been in law school so goddamned long you have forgotten that not everyone subscribes to statute 1.2, paragraph 3, subsection 5. Civil discourse implies just that, being civil and it works both ways. I'm as thick-skinned as anyone but there comes a point where I stop tolerating someone else's bullshit.

  • Randian||

    nowhere did I say "it's okay to beat people up who say mean things"

    And then he says:

    How long are you going to listen to me say nasty things about your mother, sister, whomever before you decide that my free speech has been exhausted?

    And then he says:

    I'm as thick-skinned as anyone but there comes a point where I stop tolerating someone else's bullshit.

    But no, you certainly aren't advocating beating people up for hurting your feelings.

  • wareagle||

    no, as a default response to stupidity, I do not advocate that. I'm not advocating it at all, just explaining to you that outside the classroom exists a world not bounded in theory, one where saying monumentally stupid things that are designed to provoke a response sometimes provoke that response.

    Then again, I'm saying that to someone who will stand idly by, apparently till the speaker goes hoarse no matter how offensive, ridiculous, or repulsive the speech is. Have you not been taught that free speech is not absolute, that there are some limits?

  • Randian||

    If you're saying that I shouldn't go around provoking people, well no fucking shit.

    If you're saying it's OK for someone to "snap" and beat someone down, then you're flat wrong.

    I'm saying that to someone who will stand idly by, apparently till the speaker goes hoarse no matter how offensive, ridiculous, or repulsive the speech is.

    I'll walk away from the situation. That's what civilized people do.

    In Iraq, the Death to America demonstrators were allowed to demonstrate. Should I have cut them all down? They were saying the same things Phelps says.

  • wareagle||

    so apparently, you DO have a line where free speech ends. It's at the point of provocation, which is the bulk of what this chit-chat has been about. I'm not debating right and wrong, I'm telling you how human beings act in certain situations. You can explain your advanced level of civility to your girlfriend/wife/mother after some goober has run his mouth; I am sure she'll be understanding.

    No one here has suggested shutting down the Phelps, let alone shooting them. But civil society only exists within a framework of accepted norms. WBC routinely crosses it, but only under the cover of media coverage and the protection of law enforcement. No one ever goes up to the grieving parent to say that shit. Even the Phelps know there is a line.

  • Randian||

    so apparently, you DO have a line where free speech ends.

    No I don't. Where did that come from?

    I'm not debating right and wrong, I'm telling you how human beings act in certain situations.

    Wow, thanks for the update.

    You can explain your advanced level of civility to your girlfriend/wife/mother after some goober has run his mouth

    Oh oh, look out! I think we got us an ALPHA MALE over here!

    No one here has suggested shutting down the Phelps, let alone shooting them.

    No, just beating them up and having the police and the courts look the other way.

    That's what you said.

  • wareagle||

    whatever. You want to act like the smartest kid in the class, always able to shift and twist things to the meaning you wish to assign; it's just tedious.

    "Where did that come from?" From your own statement that purposely provoking people is stupid.

    Your obstinance about human nature is something you may want to resolve before hanging out a shingle. You pretend that the courts and laws are these magic wands that rectify everything, that rights carry no responsibilities, that anyone can say anything at anytime, and the everyone else will dutifully listen. Bullshit; there comes a point where they stop listening. The variable is the point.

    I'm sure you'll have something smart-ass to say about that, too, and my, won't everyone at the racket club be impressed. That's okay; you be the servile beta male who gets shit on because you have manners on your side. Give my best to mom/wifey/girlfriend because if you're not willing to defend them, just hand in your testicles and spare us the possibility of reproducing.

  • gulo gulo||

    whatever. You want to act like the smartest kid in the class, always able to shift and twist things to the meaning you wish to assign; it's just tedious.

    You just put your finger on about 3/4ths of the commentariat.

    And you're exactly right.

  • Pip||

    "cause I'm a redneck emotional retard and I just have to beat you now"

    Hey Randian, go up to a young black inner-city male, call him a fag and then tell him the reason he's a fag is due to his mother turning tricks on the living room floor day and night for crack money.
    .

    I'll give you a quarter if you do, you classist bastard.

  • Randian||

    Same thing. Just because you can cite sub-optimal examples does not mean that we can't strive to be better.

  • Pip||

    Just because you can cite sub-optimal examples does not mean that we can't strive to be better.

    Why would you consider an inner-city black youth sub-optimal? I live in the inner-city and there are great many civilized youth who are non-violent...until you disrespect their mother.

    But the point is your statement* is Grade-A stupid you racist, classist bastard.

    *"Garbage. Civilization is premised on the notion that you can say what you want without getting your ass beat."

  • Pip||

    Quotes around the first sentence, BTW.

  • Randian||

    Why would you consider an inner-city black youth sub-optimal? I live in the inner-city and there are great many civilized youth who are non-violent...until you disrespect their mother.

    Like I said, if someone, be he redneck, cop, gangbanger, frat boy...whoever...is going to beat you up because you said mean things about their mudder, then fuck them with a rusty spoon. They're uncivilized troglodytes.

  • Pip||

    "then fuck them with a rusty spoon."

    Why so violent, Kant?

  • Randian||

    It's just words, Pipster. That's what you guys aren't getting, apparently.

  • gulo gulo||

    It's just words, Pipster.

    No actually, it's an action that you're encouraging.

    That you use it as a turn of phrase doesn't change that.

  • John||

    Civilization is premised on the notion that you can say what you want without getting your ass beat.

    No it is premised on the exact opposite, that everyone live by a given set of norms and rules that allow us to live and work with one another without killing each other.

  • Randian||

    Including that you use your words, not your fists.

    Can I just come to your house and wail on you for disagreeing with me now or what?

  • SugarFree||

    It's not OK to hit someone that insults you, but if they hit you is OK to go and beat up their family and everyone else in their neighborhood.

  • Randian||

    The war argument is upthread, SF. And I would say that if a person was an ongoing threat to you and your family, and they are the aggressor, then the aggressor's family is fair game if you have to go there to protect yourself.

  • SugarFree||

    then the aggressor's family is fair game if you have to go there to protect yourself

    OK. You're a psychopath. Good to know.

    Whelp, I'm done.

  • Pip||

    Sure took you a long time to figure that one out.

  • Randian||

    Alright, SF, so let's say Guy A is just out and out terrorizing you and your family. You believe he is an imminent threat to you and your survival.

    You're going to restrain yourself on some greater moral impulse because "hey, his family didn't do anything wrong!"

    Well, neither did you. And neither did yours.

    But, by all means, call names instead of engage the argument.

    And you wonder why people like trolling here. You can't have a productive conversation with some of you all.

  • Randian||

    then the aggressor's family is fair game if you have to go there to protect yourself

    OK. You're a psychopath. Good to know.

    Seriously, this dropping of the context is fucking shameful. I said IF he was an ongoing threat and IF you "have to" or MUST go there, then it's morally permissible.

    Fuck you and your misrepresentations.

  • The Hammer||

    I agree with John here. Freedom of speech means not being punished by the government, not being immune from any consequences for your actions. I could actually see the ass-kicker in John's case there being prosecuted for said ass-kicking, but I would expect a jury to acquit in such a case.

  • wareagle||

    I have no problem with that. A good ass-whipping goes a long way toward solving things. Lots of squabbles used to be solved on the playground with no official pearl-clutching needed.

    It's like dealing with kids - they have to believe you will hurt them. You don't actually have to do it; they just have to think the possibility is there. Otherwise, the needle keeps moving further and further.

  • Loki||

    Would anyone blame you if you kicked my ass? I sure wouldn't.

    Which is why you would never do something like that. Unlike the Phelpses, you at least have some decency and shame. To paraphrase a line from Super Troopers:

    "There was a time when we'd take people like them out back and beat them with a rubber hose, but now they've got their Goddamned lawyers."

  • affenkopf||

    Would you support the same approach for the people protesting at abortion clinics?

  • wareagle||

    if they get in the faces of patrons and/or employees, or started blocking exits, yes. Your right to speak does not include a right to be heard or agreed with, nor does it spare you from backlash.

  • John||

    If people acted like the WBC, sure. If they politely stood and made their point, no.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    To protect abortion clinics from the horrors of prolife protesters, all that's needed is enforcing the trespass laws and the laws against blocking traffic.

    In funerals, you're generally not on your own property but are conducting a service on someone else's property or on property which was reserved for the purpose of the funeral.

    Disrupting the funeral service, even if it's not trespassory, can be compared to a prolife group disrupting an animal-rights demonstration for which the animal-rights people had already obtained the necessary permits.

    In contrast, prolife demonstrators who peacefully picket on public property - with the necessary permits if you have to pay a fee for that sort of thing - and who don't block the driveways are not posing a "threat" to the abortionist, unless by "threat" you mean the possibility of persuading people not to do abortions.

    And while this may not be legally relevant, the WBC people aren't really trying to reach out to the people attending funerals, or convert them, while the prolife demonstrators are trying to reach out to the clients of the abortion clinics and peacefully give them information about abortion alternatives.

    And while you can sometimes come across the stereotypical prolife demo where they scream "baby killer" and the like, the new format of protest involves peaceful praying, offering literature, and otherwise trying to get across to the clients that they have alternatives, that is, that they have choices.

  • wareagle||

    the WBC people aren't really trying to reach out to the people attending funerals, or convert them,

    that's true; they are being purposely provocative because they know that society is so pussified that no one will do anything but call them names. You cannot have a civil society without civility and hiding behind free speech is bullshit when you know damn well you would never say to the family member's face what you were saying at the protest site.

    Peaceful protest is part of who we are and I don't get exorcised about pro-life or pro-choice folks doing their thing in an orderly manner. For that matter, I don't get too crazy about WBC because loons need to be shown for who they are. However, there is -- or there should be -- a line where civil discourse turns into something else.

    Free speech does not imply a right that others agree with you, nor does it inoculate you from backlash. Rights have responsibilities.

  • fried wylie||

    They are nothing that a good beat down wouldn't solve. Now we are so addicted to the legal system, we can't see any other solutions.

    The legal system is good at beat-downs, but only in cases where the victim is The State.

  • ||

    Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act

    HACCCLFA? That's the best they could do? Shameful.

    Defining the Essence of the Amendments and Defending the Values of Entrenched Troop Support. DEADVETS

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Honoring American Troops by Excluding Signs and Formations Assembled for Gnostic Support

    One for the hipsters.

  • Randian||

    Defending Our Universal Commitment to Honoring Every Brave American Guardian.

  • ||

    WINNER

  • Randian||

  • R C Dean||

    This law is a gift to the Phelps clan. Their "church" isn't so much religious as it is a money machine fueled by stupid attempts to shut them down and the cash awards they receive for having their rights violated.

    They will make a profit from this, and they will get even more exposure because of it.

    Censors will never, ever learn, that censoring a message only spreads the message.

  • ||

    sunlight is the best disinfectant. the phelps' are just SEEKING to inspire this kind of legislation, so they can win in court, and heck... possibly even win civil judgments iow $$$$$$

    several of them are lawyers iirc? (could be wrong).

    the best response to the phelps' is if motorcycle gang veterans and other such patriots simply go to such funerals, and stand opposed to the phelps. the people at the funeral, seeing the phelps outnumbered 20, 30 40:1 by true patriots would be the proper remedy

  • The Hammer||

    That's what's been happening on a pretty regular basis for the last couple of years. And you're right, that is absolutely the best response. The government's overreach here, as usual, has done nothing but turn the Phelps from sideshow freaks into martyrs. And it saddens me that the ACLU will have to step in here and defend the Phelps. Because the government is essentially forcing them to.

  • ||

    i agree with epi et al. this law will not pass constitutional muster...

    300 ft?

    what do they think they are talking about? an abortion clinic (rimshot)...

    i assume there will be some excellent volokh.com commentary on the legal niceties and detailed constitutional law analysis, which i look forward to...

    nice to see "constitutional scholar" barack obama passing such blatantly horrendous legislation (from a const. law angle).

    the question is does he

    1) think this law is blatantly unconstitutional, but he's signing it because he doesn't care (iow - arrogance...)...

    2) actually think this law is constitutional

    i;m not impressed at all with his intelligence, and frankly after going to war without congressional approval and some of the other constitutional hijinx he's pulled, i'm still not convinced to what extent he's convinced himself he is acting consistent with the constitution and to what extent "fuck you that's why" he knows this stuff is unconstitutional and he simply doesn't give a flying fuck

    statist tool

  • The Hammer||

    Number 1. He's hoping it won't get struck down until after or, ideally, just before the election so he has someone else to demonize. I think he was upset that the SC upheld Obamacare because it threw all of his pre-emptive attacks on the Court's legitimacy out the window.

  • ||

    that's a fair point

  • Paul.||

    300 ft?

    what do they think they are talking about? an abortion clinic (rimshot)...

    The right of the people, to speak with their unamplified voice in a public square of the government's choosing, shall not be infringed.

  • Delroy||

    I like the zombie response to the Westboro nutjobs:

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/si.....13653.html

  • Tim||

    Drones don't go to Hell.

  • ||

  • fried wylie||

    General Secularness

    better rapper name or comic book character?

  • R C Dean||

    Final boss in a Christian video game.

  • fried wylie||

    it'd be a religious clone of Ninja Gaiden, right?

  • fried wylie||

    (or Contra)

  • egisterin||

    I thought I read something about "farting couches". How disappointing.

  • aelhues||

    WBC is not looking to be heard. They are not trying to change peoples opinions or lifestyles. They are trying to be offensive, and and cash in when people react in ways they can legally exploit.

    They are scum in the worst possible sense.

    Having said that, I'm not sure about this act. Seems pretty sketchy.

  • The Hammer||

    Yes, they are scum, but it doesn't matter. Freedom of speech does not hinge on the speaker's intentions, nor on societal acceptance of what is being said. This act is horrid in every way, except as cheap political pandering.

  • Mister Tibbs||

    I knew a very liberal and progressive Jew who would defend to the death the 1st Amendment and all it stood for...unless you were a Klan member wanting to march in Skokie.

  • Loki||

    BTW, from the Huff-Po link about the Texas AM "human wall":

    The hundreds gathered were prepared for a potentially aggressive confrontation, but the protestors from Westboro Baptist Church never showed up.

    Kind of says all you need to know about who they really are.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    If they can't be see, they disappear? Figures. All this talk about legal and violent measures to stop them, and perhaps, the greatest effect we can have against them is turning off the camera and ignoring them.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    If you could only convince the lazy folks in the press/TV/radio of that.

  • Paul.||

    And obviously we all defend our Constitution and the First Amendment and free speech, but

    Didn't read past.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    "The graves of our veterans are hallowed ground."

    Er, not as such. Anyones grave should be treated with respect. But how the hell can a grave be "hallowed" ground? Druidic worship?

  • Mister Tibbs||

    how the hell can a grave be "hallowed" ground?

    It's a cliche. It's tempting to blame Lincoln, in a snarky and foolish way, until you reread the Gettysburg Address: "...we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

    Amen.

  • ||

    ROCK worship.

  • T o n y||

    I think what we've learned today is that vigorous debate is healthy, so long as everyone agrees on the premises.

  • ||

    I disagree with that. Does that mean our debate is healthy or unhealthy?

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