Progressives

For Progressives, First Amendment Comes in Second

Many see it as merely a means to certain ends.

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Progressive America is troubled. Some of its leading lights fret that if something is not done soon, government will actually need a good reason to censor other people's speech.

Such is the ominous upshot of a seemingly minor Supreme Court case that could have "far-reaching consequences," as The New York Times put it recently.

The case (Reed v. Town of Gilbert) concerned a sign ordinance in Gilbert, Ariz., that imposed tighter restrictions on church signs than on political ones. The entire Supreme Court said that was ridiculous, and struck the measure down. Government cannot blithely discriminate against certain speech or speakers based on content.

Six of the justices said the test known as strict scrutiny—which requires government to cite a compelling state interest for a law, and to tailor the law narrowly to fit that interes—applies not just to some narrow forms of censorship, but to any topic-based restriction on speech.

As The Times' Adam Liptak notes, "the decision has already required lower courts to strike down laws barring panhandling, automated phone calls and 'ballot selfies.' " He cites Robert Post, dean of Yale Law School, who takes the view that the court (in Liptak's words) "did not think through the consequences" of its ruling in the sign case.

And thereby hangs a tale. In recent years it has become increasingly obvious that many liberals view the right to free speech as an instrumental good, rather than an intrinsic one—i.e., they favor free speech not as an end in itself, but merely as means to achieve other ends. And wherever free speech impedes other agendas, wherever it produces consequences liberals find discomfiting, it should give way.

Ballot selfies erode the privacy of the voting booth, which in turn could make vote-buying and voter intimidation easier. Hence New Hampshire passed a law last year that subjected anyone displaying a ballot selfie to a $1,000 fine. Other states are considering similar measures—or at least they were, until a federal court struck down New Hampshire's law, on the grounds that such photos enjoy First Amendment protection.

Similar concerns animate efforts to amend the Constitution to overturn Citizens United. In that case, the government wanted the authority to prohibit the dissemination of a movie; the Supreme Court said the nonprofit group Citizens United had a First Amendment right to air it. Critics of the ruling think government should restrict some people's speech in the name of a "level playing field."

In a similar vein, many progressives detest First Amendment protections against business regulations. Post, for example, wrote with alarm about a court ruling that struck down tour-guide licensing in Washington, D.C. on First Amendment grounds.

Around the country, other small entrepreneurs—veterinarians, dieticians, even newspaper columnists—have challenged similar occupational licensing on free-speech grounds as well. "The First Amendment,"Post bemoaned, "seems to have been transformed into a straitjacket for our institutions of democratic governance."

Well, yes. That's exactly what the Bill of Rights is for.

***

A Harvard professor, Jerry Avorn, has objected to another recent federal court ruling that upheld the speech rights of business interests. Earlier this month a Manhattan district judge said the FDA could not prohibit drug companies from providing truthful, non-misleading information about non-label uses for various drugs.

As health-care writer John Goodman noted in Forbes, prior to the ruling drug company employees could go to prison simply for giving doctors copies of peer-reviewed research published in medical journals showing that a drug approved to treat Disease X also turns out to be effective in treating Disease Y. (This despite the fact that doctors are perfectly free to prescribe drugs for such off-label uses.)

Avorn thinks that's how things should remain—and wrote as much in a journal article titled, "In Opposition to Liberty: We Need a 'Sovereign' to Govern Drug Claims." Even if doing so violates the First Amendment? Apparently so.

Back in March, Liptak noted that while "liberals used to love the First Amendment… that was in an era when courts used it mostly to protect powerless people like civil rights activists and war protesters." But now business interests are seeking free-speech protections, and courts are obliging. "Once the patron saint of protesters and the disenfranchised, the First Amendment has become the darling of economic libertarians," complains Columbia University law professor Tim Wu.

The attitude revealed by such laments was best summed up by Nat Hentoff in a book title: Free Speech for Me—But Not for Thee.

It is not comforting that complaints like these come from some of the country's leading legal minds, because they expose a grievous misunderstanding of rights.

Rights are, as legal philosopher Ronald Dworkin put it, "trumps" that outweigh competing considerations — not because of cost/benefit calculations but by definition. Their intrinsic worth does not increase or diminish depending on who exercises them. It is just as wrong to allow censorship of one speaker—rich or poor, black or white, Koch brother or Occupy Wall Street protester—as it is to allow censorship of another. And it is impossible, in any intellectually honest way, to protect the free speech of some speakers without adopting general principles that protect the free speech of all others.

This helps explain the trend noted by Harvard law professor Lawrence Tribe in a March essay, which he sees as transforming First Amendment law "into a charter of largely untrammeled libertarianism in which the regulation of virtually all forms of speech and all kinds of speakers is treated with the same heavy dose of judicial skepticism."

That, he might have added, is exactly as it should be.

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  1. This is a good article, but not news. Only an idiot could fail to observe the WEEKLY attacks on the 1A by the left. (Yes, obvious trolls, back in the 90s the republicans opposed flag burning. Join the 21st century).

    If they could, the left would just scrap the BoR completely…

    1. I must protest one implication of this article. Those of us progressives who hold teaching and administrative positions in American universities do not merely oppose using the First Amendment to protect “drug claims” and the “business interests” of big companies. We also vigorously oppose using it to protect criminally deadpan satire that mocks certain influential academics employed in institutions like New York University. There is no place for this type of offensive trigger-speech in a nation of ordered liberty such as ours, and those who use such means to stir up controversy should be prosecuted and incarcerated along with the drug dealers and murderers. I also want to emphasize that we are especially thankful for the recent efforts of New York prosecutors who have made the line between free speech and stirring up controversy clear. See the documentation of those efforts at:

      http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

      1. That’s GOOD!

      2. The right to freedom of speech is the right to offend people, to invoke their triggers. It can’t be anything else and remain a right.

        No matter what you say, someone out there somewhere will be offended by it. I guarantee it. If the fact that someone is offended negates the right to freedom of speech then there is no such right, there cannot be.

        No one ever needed a protected right to say what people want to hear. No one ever will.

        Your concerns about triggers are deeply offensive to me, one could even call them a triggering event for ME. Now, are you a hypocrite or do you truly believe trigger-speech must be shunned, even if it is your own?

        1. Since you’re invoking triggers, I can only assume that you’re engaging in some kind of deadpan parody and that your speech has no value, academic or otherwise. If someone tried to stir up controversy by sending out preposterous “confessions” in your “name,” wouldn’t you invoke your rights and have him arrested under the precedent set in New York, and wouldn’t that kind of make you the hypocrite?

      3. Triggers are a juvenile response to an adult topics Progressives have no means of adequately addressing.

        Simply put: Progressives can’t and won’t limit free speech because of their childish inadequacies.

        If you can’t debate with adults, go cry to mommy, not a judge.

      4. This is really sad, coming from an academic. But not at all surprising. Quixote is the poster child for why must strongly defend the Bill of Rights from social fascists such as Quixote. I wonder how stridently Quixote has been defending cops from the verbal assaults from Sharpton, and from the president himself. My guess is that it never crossed Quixote’s mind that there was a problem. Has Quixote ever spoken out against the hate speech of Louis Farakahn?

        So, Quixote, oblivious to affronts to people he doesn’t care about, prickles at the very thought that friends of his are being ridiculed. I hereby grant Quixote a brand new honorary degree: Doctor of Hypocrisy.

        1. I am astonished to see an offensive attitude of disrespect for highly respected members of our nation’s educational community being defended on this website. I can only repeat that New York prosecutors have done an excellent job making the lines here clear for everyone to understand, and hopefully the “bloggers” or “trolls” of the Internet will get the message; otherwise it could well become necessary to expand the existing restrictions further to cover other offensive forms of unwanted “ridicule.”

    2. Montey Crisco

      Both parties seem to oppose the Bill of Rights in general. For example, Repubs are anti- fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth, and first amendment. Dems are anti- second, tenth, first, forth, fifth, sixth, and eighth amendment. The Bill of Rights loses no matter which party wins!

    3. Don’t be silly. Attacking freedom of expression is a kind of fantasy porn for bored liberals.

  2. Progressives are despicable boot licking slime.

    1. Tell us how you really feel.

    2. So are conservatives.

      1. You should apply to write for Reason.

      2. No. Establishment Republicans are, for all intents and purposes, Progressives. They are Anglicans to the Liberal Left’s Catholics. But real Conservatives are far and few between. Some of them are, for assorted reasons, far too dug in on “support the cops”, or “Gay marriage is an abomination”, or some other position. I think that has a lot to do with how phantasmagorically offensive the Left is. Look at the way the Left is working itself up to abrogating Religious Freedom too make use nobody event say anything disparaging about Gays, and it becomes clear why some Conservatives considered Gat Marriage to be something that had to be fought.

        But the real Conservatives, even though I often disagree with them, are nowhere NEAR as offensive, censorious, arrogant, and daft as the Progressive Left.

        1. Establishment Republicans are, for all intents and purposes, Progressives.

          Any discussion that doesn’t start by recognizing that moderate and SoCon Republicans are Progressives is doomed to fail. The cornerstone of any enlightened study of modern American politics is the understanding that the Progressive Era ended because the progressives won.

          1. Except, that type of analysis is useless when the foreground becomes the background. What was an -ism at one time is now the baseline everything is judged by. Because comparison with the avg. is the most useful way to see things, understandable most quickly by the widest audience.

          2. “Progressive Era ended because the progressives won.”
            yeah, you can sure tell that by the decimation of the middle class, half college grads are jobless and living with their parents, over-spilling racial violence, 50% is on social support and heading towards Venezuela/Greece and 15% of the country is on SSRI drugs because their losing their minds. While the rest of the country is stocking up on guns, ammo and food.

            Congratulations, the country is going to hell in a handbasket. You must be so proud.

        2. Gat marriage is where you marry her or else this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XJ0nblZjZE

  3. Ok, what the fuck is a ballot selfie?

    1. I’m assuming a selfie taken at a polling place. It would make sense, in context, because of the voter intimidation bit. It’s ever so slightly more difficult to intimidate voters when they’re allowed to document the abuse.

      1. I made the same assumption, also having not heard the term before. But I didn’t think in terms of someone documenting intimidation; I thought of the selling context. If I am super rich (like those mythical Koch Brothers I hear so much about) and I am paying people to vote a certain way, I would like proof.

      2. You mean like the black panthers with clubs in front of the chicago polling station?
        the ones after admitting they were in fact intimidating people, eric holder threw out the case?
        yeah, I remember that.

    2. You see, for most millennials, the “I Voted!” sticker just wasn’t cutting it. Apparently too many would be young voters were being accused of forging their stickers, and now a cell-phone selfie, taken in the voting booth, is required for gain such street-cred.

  4. I can understand the viewpoint of this article. However, lets try to look at it from BOTH sides. After all don’t racists and ISIS hide behind “free speech” laws. Perhaps we could have Sudderman write a title under the headline of “The libertarian case for free speech zones”.

    Maybe we could auction of different zones around the cities to our biggest and best companies and have those companies control speech in a free market type way?

    This would be a huge new source of revenue for government and provide a free market in speech….the best of both worlds!

    1. How does ISIS “hide behind free speech laws”?

      A more idiotic comment, I could scarcely imagine.

      1. For that matter how do racists hide behind free speech laws?

        1. That too, of course, but I want him to explain his “ISIS” comment.

          1. ISIS Glossy Magazine:

            http://goo.gl/pwsLBE

            ISIS promotion of goldbug terrorism:

            http://goo.gl/uIycx4

            surely you can’t be in favor of this “free speech” which threatens to create a global caliphate to enslave all good christian nations?!

            if anything, these two examples provide the biggest libertarian arguments I see to use old fashioned common sense to limit free speech to some degree.

            1. if anything, these two examples provide the biggest libertarian arguments I see to use old fashioned common sense to limit free speech to some degree.

              Nope. Nothing libertarian about shitting your pants over terrorism.

              1. Actually, I think we should be concerned about Islamists. However, that shouldn’t in any way cause us to rethink our commitment to liberty. If our country and, what is left of our republic, is that bad that people in large numbers are willing to join 8th century goat fuckers, than we fucking deserve what we get.

                That is not to say that we shouldn’t hunt down those who actually try to perpetrate violence on our citizens. It is just that freedom of speech is fundamental, regardless if one is regaling us with stories about our founders, watching BBCs DPing a hot teen, or the joys of being force to wear a burka.

                1. At least we can now all be on the same page in regards to one thing: ISIS and their anti-human gold buggerism is tightly linked with austrian economics.

                  ISIS says so themselves in their latest videos:
                  can’t argue with facts, goldnutZ!

                  http://goo.gl/6YOQZO

                  Ron Paul should be reminded that he and ISIS are on the same page with regards to economic theories.

                  1. “Ron Paul should be reminded that he and ISIS are on the same page with regards to economic theories.”

                    I don’t get what you’re saying. Are you implying that because ISIS does evil things, everything that they support must then be evil?

                    I’m not sure why it’s “anti-human” to believe we ought to give up on fiat money altogether, and let trade in whatever (whether it be gold or silver or who knows what) take its place. After all, “pro-human” fiat money gave us Weimar Germany and Zimbabwe (among other things).

                  2. “Ron Paul should be reminded that he and ISIS are on the same page with regards to economic theories.”

                    Incidentally, ISIS is also heavily into the “ban free speech” meme. Thus, if anything that ISIS does is evil, then it must follow that we cannot ban their speech, because that is something they do.

                    Unless banning free speech is only good when we do it, because ISIS is evil, or something…

            2. “if anything, these two examples provide the biggest libertarian arguments I see to use old fashioned common sense to limit free speech to some degree.”

              1) Tulpa
              2) Someone truly ignorant of the concept of freedom; stupid
              3) Troll
              I’m thinking 1 or 3.

              1. Definitely sounds Tulpalicious.

              2. Sarcasm. Haven’t you seen how other posts?

                1. “his other posts”

            3. Surely, I CAN in fact be in favor of “free speech” I don’t happen to like.

              If YOU cannot, then you do not believe in free speech.

              They don’t “hide,” by the way. By definition, speaking and publishing is not hiding.

              1. ^ this X1000

            4. Just because I say 2 + 2 = 5 doesn’t make it so. Similarly, if ISIS or the Black Panthers publish stupid shit in their “magazines” who cares. If you read it, you still must judge the truth of it and test it against reality. Also, it is entirely possible for a hate group to say something that is factual, but one must still use REASON (not the magazine) to judge whether the facts stated are a justification for violence.

              “Let the idiots speak loudly so that all reasonable men will know who they are so as to avoid interacting with them or giving them comfort.”

              -elduderino

            5. “if anything, these two examples provide the biggest libertarian arguments I see to use old fashioned common sense to limit free speech to some degree.”

              You have outderped your own retardation.

              I don’t give a FUCK what ideological arguments ISIS makes. LET THEM. I welcome their logical discourse as to why I should be a fundametalist theocrat. But there is NOTHING WRONG with ideas or the articulation of them, you fucking fascist. If you can win an argument on the merits and convince me, CONGRATULATIONS!

              You are fucking as bad as ISIS.

            6. I for one, am in favor of fighting evil and stupid speech with more speech. I am not in favor of censoring ISIS. For one thing, in terms of harm to the nation, ISIS must take a back seat to our major political parties.

              ISIS promotes some evil ideas, but they are not as good at getting them implemented as folks like you are.

            7. the biggest libertarian arguments I see to use old fashioned common sense to limit free speech to some degree

              Obvious troll is obvious.

            8. “surely you can’t be in favor of this “free speech” which threatens to create a global caliphate to enslave all good christian nations?!”

              I am, I mean it isn’t even a tough decision. As Hinkle said free speech is in intrinsic right, end of discussions. But, if that is not enough, there is an entirely pragmatic reason why you need to support the right of extremists to speak freely….censorship and oppression magnify the possibility that those same extremists come to power.

              Think about it for a second, did Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia or the PRC in China just rise to power? No, they were initially suppressed by the government at the time. Contrast this to the USA where the KKK and Neo-Nazis are allowed to speak freely, do you honestly think those groups have any chance of ever holding the reigns of power? All censoring does is lend more credibility and validity to the censored and eventually, when the government inevitably expands the gauntlet of their suppression, who do you think the people are going to rally behind?

            9. Limiting free speech is the slippery slope, the camels nose under the tent.
              Like the examples “micro aggression” and “trigger speech” once you start shutting people up because you can’t or won’t debate the merits of their arguments, there is no end to the infringement of speech.
              Common sense tells us once you arbitrarily gag speech you don’t agree with, there is no longer any “free speech”, it’s a nanny state, no different than communist China, Russia, North Korea. It’s not rocket science.

    2. “Perhaps we could have Sudderman write a title under the headline of “The libertarian case for free speech zones”.”

      I laughed.

      1. Essentially, he did. It just happens to be that the zone is large, and bound by these tenuous things called “borders.”

    3. i believe ISIS actually hides behind US Humvees and stacks of human heads.

  5. Similar concerns animate efforts to amend the Constitution to overturn Citizens United. In that case, the government wanted the authority to prohibit the dissemination of a movie; the Supreme Court said the nonprofit group Citizens United had a First Amendment right to air it. Critics of the ruling think government should restrict some people’s speech in the name of a “level playing field.”

    The Solicitor General even admitted to the court that campaign finance laws gave the government the power to ban books!

    During the original oral argument, Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm L. Stewart (representing the FEC) argued that under Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the government would have the power to ban books if those books contained even one sentence expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate and were published or distributed by a corporation or union.[13] In response to this line of questioning, Stewart further argued that under Austin the government could ban the digital distribution of political books over the Amazon Kindle or prevent a union from hiring a writer to author a political book.

  6. Yeah, a clearer case of “for ME, but not for THEE” could not be imagined.

  7. Progressives are willing to use violence to accomplish a lot of goals. Why not use violence to get people to shut up?

    1. I’m fine with it, if progressives using violence to shut people up….as long as its not State violence. Let them put their own asses in the sling for their ideology.

    2. If they had the power to shut them up, why wouldn’t they just kill them? It’s surer, and takes less power.

  8. “liberals used to love the First Amendment… that was in an era when courts used it mostly to protect powerless people like civil rights activists and war protesters.” But now business interests are seeking free-speech protections, and courts are obliging. “Once the patron saint of protesters and the disenfranchised, the First Amendment has become the darling of economic libertarians,” complains Columbia University law professor Tim Wu.”

    “Free speech for me, not for you.”

    These guys need to go jump into a woodchipper post-haste. Feet first.

    1. No no. Head first. I don’t want foolin’ around and chickening out. I am all for wanting them punished, but Monsieur Woodchipper ought not be teased.

      1. You’ve never been around a woodchipper if you think they have a choice once it grabs on. What it grabs, it eats

  9. “they favor free speech not as an end in itself, but merely as means to achieve other ends”

    This has ALWAYS been true. Or at least, is has been try as far back as the 1930’s. Liberal Intellectual Radical Progressives have always had a Stalinist streak; when they had plower, even only in a small group, they have harshly punished wrong-think, and have been genuinely offended if anyone called them on it.

    The LIRP impulse is anti-freedom, and always has been. It is about a self-nominated elite that desperately wants top tell everybody else what to do.

    1. Are you using John’s keyboard today?

    2. “Propaganda”, the book by Edward L. Bernays in 1928. (Eugenicist and nephew of Sigmund Freud)
      Helped President W. Wilson (Eugenicist) sway overwhelming public opinion against war, to get us into WWI. Widely considered the father of modern mass marketing.
      Hitler, Mao and Stalin were huge fans.

  10. It is a fact that people on ‘both side’ hate the freedoms that are in the bill of rights.Numbers 1and 2 pisses off the ‘left’ and 4 and 5 the ‘right’.I’m sure I missed a couple. Proggs hate freedom for a business to severe who they wish and even let people smoke on their property.Ay one having fun or making a buck in a way they don’t like they want banned.Then there’s the rights worship of cops and the defence dept,NSA ,CIA ,DEA,FBI and ATF.We’re fucked.

    1. You know who else hated stuff?

      1. The padishah emperor?

      2. James Bond?

        1. That’s right! That’s why I’m a libertarian trash monster!

  11. I’d enjoy Reason much more if it didn’t provide space to partisan hacks like this guy and Stoll who see everything as battles in the war between the two sides of TEAM BE RULED.

    1. but teh team red and blue really hate each other. Just pick your side and fight for the good team. That is what has made our system work so perfectly the last 100 years. You have to admit America is still the best country…BY FAR!

    2. I don’t see this as a partisan article. Hinkle would be just as willing to call out Rs for their own asshattery if it threatened 1A, and, I would bet, has done so in the past.

      The fact that all the article’s examples come from left-of-center says more about the current environment, I think, then Hinkle’s writing.

      1. Using terms like “many… some… many… they…” continually without bothering to say WHO exactly is believing or saying these things is a hallmark of partisan hackery. The only two examples he gave was the Washington Post editorial board — which can be more accurately described as “Beltway consensus” statist than any other political label — and a professor who, according to a Google search, had never waded into a political matter before so we have no idea what his background is (other than working at Harvard… oooOOOoooOOO). A “progressive” attack against anything these two examples do not make.

  12. Exactly. Wanting to ban flag burning is nowhere near as evil as wanting to control messages from the pulpit, using the IRS to punish those you disagree with, trying to blackball a corporation because of the political views of an ex-CEO, etc., ad naseum.
    The rise of the fascist left in this country is terrifying. When somebody proudly claims the label of SJW, I regard them the same way as I would if they were proudly claiming to be a Brown Shirt.
    Of course, it could never happen here, right? Right?

    1. Yes! And keep in mind, the Right wanted to pass an amendment to the Constitution for the narrow purpose of protecting the American flag. 1 specific type of expression. Most of us certainly disagree with that changing the Constitution for that purpose. However, it is FAR less dangerous than the modern left just trying to “reinterpret” the Constitution whenever they feel like it.

      1. You’re forgetting their attempt in the summer of 2014 to pass a constitutional amendment to gut the first amendment.

        Citizens United, pants shitting, etc.

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  14. From the young age of 17 when I first became interested in politics I knew from DAY ONE that the left’s claim of being the champions of the 1st Amendment was a joke. This was most evident and manifest in my experience attending a liberal arts university. Any viewpoint that adhered to the professor’s viewpoint or the class curriculum was tolerated and promoted; any viewpoint that did not was not allowed. Books were specifically chosen so that there only references to the alternative perspective were critical of the same. I was always trying to get the “alternative” perspectives at least mentioned in class so that the students would know the prof’s view was not the only view. The hypocrisy was so blatant and so sickening.

  15. Ballot selfies erode the privacy of the voting booth, which in turn could make vote-buying and voter intimidation easier.

    lolwut?

    Also, how many people would take a “ballot selfie” AND actually show up to vote?

  16. “For Progressives, First Amendment Comes in Second
    Many see it as merely a means to certain ends.”

    For the Progressive Theocracy, *everything* is merely a means to power.

    Once you accept that, there is never any mystery to their seeming “inconsistencies”. They are perfectly consistent in their quest for power.

    1. The article might have noted the Progressive Theocracy’s attempt to gut the first amendment with a *constitutional amendment* in the summer of 2014.

      That they are opponents of the free speech, or free anything, is not news.

  17. What many don’t seem to realize is that we’ve already relegated our constitutionally guaranteed and protected rights to the realm of privileges which we may be required to qualify for, which we may be forced to purchase a permit for, which we may actually be forced to ask the government for and which may be taken away at any time like it were a drivers license. If government can mandated background tests for second amendment rights and deny American citizens that right then government can do the same for any other of our rights. It’s really as simple as that, and it’s already been decided by both republicans and democrats that it’s within the power of government to do so.

  18. “And it is impossible, in any intellectually honest way, to protect the free speech of some speakers without adopting general principles that protect the free speech of all others.”

    …this, of course, goes to the definition of rights.

  19. Though I disagree with Tribe and agree with the author, I believe the author has done him a disservice by cutting off his quote amid sentence. Here is what Tribe actually said:

    “And, more broadly, it is part of a trend in First Amendment law that is transforming that body of doctrine into a charter of largely untrammeled libertarianism, in which the regulation of virtually all forms of speech and all kinds of speakers is treated with the same heavy dose of judicial skepticism, with exceptions perversely calculated to expose particularly vulnerable and valuable sorts of expression to unconvincingly justified suppression. It is those trends, rather than the outcome of ‘Citizens United’ as applied to the facts before the Court, that need to be revisited.”

    Note where the author put his period, implying the quotation (and sentence) ended there. I do not agree with Tribe, but to persuade, we must be utterly truthful.

  20. Didn’t you get the progressive memo = end justify the means?

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    1. @troll

  22. That title (“For Progressives, First Amendment Comes in Second”) could equally be said of many Conservatives. They would place the Second Amendment first.

    1. Progressives are on both sides of the aisle. You can’t tell me the conservatives don’t want to enforce certain rules on the public, and limit what they can and cannot say. Sure the left is slightly more annoying, (plus they want to take away our right to defend ourselves from oppressive government) but most politicians on either side say the same things but use different words.

      Both sides have a vested interest in the military industrial complex, utilizing surveillance to monitor civilians and the police state is out of control.

      They are not our friends, and don’t represent us. However, the ignorant masses follow one side or the other like lambs to the slaughter.

    2. The order in which the Bill of Rights is written is meaningless.
      What we have accepted as #1 and #2 were proposed as #3 and #4.
      What started as #1 was ratified 103 years after it was proposed, and became the 27th amendment.
      What started as #2 is in dispute as to if it has been ratified, but if it was, it would make our government unrecognizable: http://www.boldtruth.com/

    3. Cite us chapter and verse, otherwise you’re asking us to accept an eighth-graders debate.
      Show us one example where conservatives have shouted down speech they don’t agree. Now tell us how this compares with in the manner and frequency Progressives do this every day, on every channel, every news paper, every blog…

  23. Progressives are Fascists. There’s a dimes worth of difference between the Nazis, totalitarian communists or any tin-pot dictator you could name. “Agree with us or we’ll attack you”.

    Little wonder why the Progs hate America, the Republic and our Constitution.
    As Americans, we are free to say the most vile and disgusting things and the last thing we need is a nanny state, that said; when people are vile and disgusting they should be ostracized.

    Case-in-point; black lives matters openly calling for the murder of policemen this past weekend. These people are the scum of the earth and should be treated as such. It certainly doesn’t help matters that the Usurper-in-chief and his top-cop doj “mini me” eric holder openly incite racial hatred.

    Given inciting racial hatred/violence is a crime, how ironic Progressives openly support criminal speech yet attack legal speech they disagree with?

  24. Ahhhh! The aura of the intellectual elite discussing the “deep thought” of the day! Refreshing!

    Now, like a fractional math problem, let’s reduce it to it’s common denominator.

    “Sticks and stones may break my bones,
    But words will never hurt me!”

    face+palm

    1. Some words, like “ordered remanded to the custody of the department of corrections,” can definitely hurt you. All it takes is for some pressure group of ignorant bigots to convince a court to pronounce them. I wonder if politically communistic was renamed politically correct in honor of the Department.

  25. Every day I see less and less ‘Reason’ and more and more down the line party politics

  26. Our greatest president, the one who had the guts to fight terrorism and helped save the economy during the unforeseeable crisis of 2008, had this to say about speech that we must surely never allow:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6K5M0xtxQVQ

    Now I am sure some of the absolutist and/or racist libertarians here disagree….but even the most obama birther nutz amongst us must agree that Bush’s instincts shown here put him in elite company amongst the real grownups in the room.

  27. So this makes closet socialists different from religious conservatives? Womens rights deniers read “the free exercise thereof” to mean “the compulsory exercise thereof”.
    My ethics professor argues there is a reason a right–a moral claim to freedom of action–is a trump. It is because of the standard of value that underlies them. Individual rights are the requirement for a life worth living. Neither conservatives nor secular socialists place any value on a live worth living, but rather, on the initiation of force as the universal prime directive.

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