Bill of Rights

It's Bill of Rights Day. Do Americans Still Care?

The greatest threat to protections for our freedom may be people's fear that people who disagree with them are exercising their rights.


Happy Bill of Rights Day! For what it's worth, the Third Amendment is still in pretty good shape—at least, the last soldier to crash on my sofa was a friend sleeping off a post-divorce binge. It's a mixed bag for the other nine amendments in the Bill of Rights, though, with protections for some important freedoms facing serious incursions. What's most disturbing is that the threat comes not just from the usual suspects in government, but from the public at large.

On the plus side, criminal justice reform is getting a long overdue look. Some tentative and limited reforms for asset forfeiture, cash bail, and mandatory minimums suggest that the Fifth and Eighth Amendments still have life in them.

But some top-tier liberties are in real danger.

Fourth Amendment-wise, this week brought us a much-anticipated Justice Department Inspector General's report on the FBI investigation of the Trump campaign's alleged contacts with Russia.  While Inspector General Michael Horowitz found no evidence that political bias motivated the decision to open the investigation, the report "identified multiple instances in which factual assertions relied upon in the first FISA application were inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation." This is how the feds conducted themselves in a high-profile investigation. They play at least as fast and loose with privacy protections for us commoners, according to a 2018 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruling that slapped at repeated FBI misuse of snooping tools.

Self-defense rights are more unpopular than ever with much of America's political class. Politicians may not be able to define "assault weapon," but many wannabe Democratic presidential candidates propose to ban the things—and even to confiscate them. While most Republicans reject such grabbiness, too many of them endorse the president's unilateral restriction on "bump stocks" that let people rapidly fire some semiautomatic rifles. They're also prone, along with their cross-aisle co-conspirators, to endorsing "red flag" laws that would let government officials temporarily (supposedly) suspend individual Americans' Second Amendment rights with minimal due process muss and fuss.

Free speech gets similar disrespect from lawmakers. Last week four socially conservative members of Congress tried to revive old-fashioned sex panic, demanding that Attorney General William Barr "declare the prosecution of obscene pornography a criminal justice priority." On an even more dangerous note, Democrats continue their efforts to trim First Amendment protections for core political speech. Their proposed constitutional amendment would not only potentially choke off the speech rights of people banded together as incorporated entities, it would also empower government to regulate the raising and spending of money to influence elections—an outright gift to incumbent politicians with easy access to free media coverage.

Legislators from both major parties want to strip away protections for online speech. And President Trump insists that "free speech is not when you see something good and then you purposely write bad, to me that's very dangerous speech."

But these are government officials. We assume that they're nasty creatures who will always push against restraints on exercising the power that attracted them to their chosen careers. Against their worst efforts the public can supposedly count on the admittedly uncertain, but often helpful, protections of the Bill of Rights to protect their rights from government violation.

What happens, though, when the public itself becomes iffy about personal freedom?

It's now trendy, especially on the progressive left, to question the value of free speech protections. These skeptics argue that relatively unfettered discussion is a tool of the powerful and of the un-lefty. A version of the viewpoint is winning favor among mainstream types like former Time editor Richard Stengel, who went from heading the National Constitution Center to favoring laws against very loosely defined "hate speech."

That contempt for open discussion is reflected among the public at large. An October 2019 survey by the Campaign for Free Speech found that 51 percent of Americans think "the First Amendment goes too far in allowing hate speech in modern America and should be updated to reflect the cultural norms of today." An even larger 57 percent think "the government should be able to take action against newspapers and TV stations that publish content that is biased, inflammatory, or false."

Unfortunately, that hint of grassroots authoritarianism jibes with the 56 percent of Americans who supported domestic surveillance in the name of counter-terrorism after Edward Snowden revealed that the U.S. government was spying on private communications. At the time, a solid 59 percent of Democrats and Republicans alike wanted to prosecute the whistleblower for giving us a heads-up. Numbers shifted a bit in a more civil libertarian direction later, but most people's initial reaction was to give the snoops a free hand.

Public support for self-defense rights is also eroding after a long period in which they seemed relatively safe and gained a big Supreme Court win in Heller. The ranks of Americans willing to compromise Second Amendment protections in the name of stricter gun laws is growing and now stands at 60 percent, up from 57 percent last year and 52 percent in 2017. Sixty-nine percent of respondents want to ban "assault-style weapons" and 71 percent favor giving the same treatment to ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

Why are Americans seemingly becoming more willing to let the government intrude into people's lives and penalize people for exercising their rights?

Interestingly, the Campaign for Free Speech sees political polarization at work. "While many who identify as conservative may dislike the reporting of CNN and would likely favor sanctions for 'fake news,' many progressives or liberals may feel the same way towards Fox News," the group says. That is, while Americans may favor punishing "biased" media outlets, they see bias in media operations on the other side of the political divide and want to put the screws to their opponents.

The weaponized nature of the assault on speech rights becomes clearer when left-wing academics complain that "free speech law entrenches a social view at war with key progressive objectives," and when social conservatives campaign against pornography, at least in part, as an exercise in "smashing the sacred cow of cultural libertarianism."

Similar factional concerns may be at play in views of Fourth Amendment issues, too. Americans generally favored domestic surveillance after Snowden's revelations, but after it became clear that the FBI—a major player in monitoring communications—was investigating Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, Pew Research reported, "the share of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents with a positive view of the bureau has fallen 16 percentage points," from 65 percent to 49 percent. Democrats' views of the FBI remained overwhelmingly positive, at 77 percent.

And attitudes toward Second Amendment rights have long divided along partisan lines. With firearm ownership established as a right-of-center preference (44 percent of Republicans report owning guns, compared to 20 percent of Democrats), 86 percent of "Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents favor stricter gun laws, compared with" 31 percent of their Republican and Republican-leaning counterparts, according to Pew.

There's a good chance that Americans are turning against their own liberty because they're deeply concerned that it might be enjoyed by people who disagree with them. They'd rather tighten the restraints on everybody then see their political enemies exercise universal rights.

That doesn't bode well for constitutional rights protections, since words on paper can't stand alone. The Bill of Rights can withstand a hostile political class if it's supported by a culture that genuinely wants to be shielded from the depredations of government officials. If, instead, people come to see the Bill of Rights as a barrier to their efforts to harm their opponents, its component amendments will be reinterpreted or overturned so that they don't get in the way of political warriors sticking it to each other.

So, happy Bill of Rights Day! Celebrate while it still means something.

NEXT: Will These Palestinian Christians Be Reunited With Their Families for Christmas?

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  1. I'm of the original Madisonian position on this one - he didn't think a Bill of Rights was necessary and was actually unwise. The Constitution granted limited powers to the Federal Government and the inclusion of a list of things they were not empowered to do would eventually lead to idea that government has the right to do whatever it wants as long as it's not specifically prohibited rather than that the government cannot do anything at all unless it is specifically permitted to do so. Which is exactly what has happened. It's gone from "show me where in the Constitution it says you can do that" to "show us where in the Constitution it says we can't do that".

    And, as always, I can guarantee you that if you ask a random sample of people to name 5 rights granted by the Constitution, they would struggle to name 5 rights listed in the Bill of Rights - which the whole purpose of is to list rights you possess as a human being and specifically not granted by the Constitution. Repeal the Second Amendment all you want, it doesn't change the fact that I have a natural right to defend myself regardless of whether or not the government wants to recognize that right. This is also the reason I say the Declaration of Independence is our foundational document and properly revered, the Constitution is merely the foundational document of that necessary evil known as government and is due no more respect than is our government.

    1. To me seems the antifederalists were right. Hamilton does wisely recount by claiming specific immunities for the citizen being declared would give usurpers a reason to look for a chance to regulate said right. But my issue with that is certain rights always belong to humans and should always be clearly defined and established as the bedrock of our foundation(stealing this from Brutus, Anti fed paper 2.). Would heller have ever been tried without the second. Maybe we would have had a completely different country without bills of rights to establish baselines.

      1. I wouldn't be too harsh on the founders. Yes, the Bill of Rights is being abused this way now, but liberty in the US lasted longer than in any other Western nation. It's up to us to find a way to restore it.

        1. I know they were doing an enormous task, one which I haven't done. They even were concerned that a republic could fail in only a generation or two, and that the people needed to always seek out freedom. It just seems at times that they didn't really take the time to really question their actions. Will governments not violate rights if they aren't spelled out?

          1. Perhaps now is a good time to review the Bill of Rights; it may surprise a lot of the discussion here to find out the Bill of Rights doesn't "entitle" the people -- as in it DOESN'T say "People are entitled to own guns".... What it DOES say is no government "shall make" these laws.... The bill of rights RESTRICTS the power of governments.

            1. The right of the people to keep and bear arms. It says it right there.

              1. "...........shall not be infringed".

                1. Yep, and it entitles Americans to their weapons. Sure it is a restriction on government but it does have the force and illumination to tell citizens of their rights. So yes it entitles them to arms, not just guns.

    2. If you want to see how the US would have fared without a Bill of Rights look to Canada or Britain. Free speech is under greater attack there without a 1st Amendment, for instance.

      Even where the Constitution clearly says that the government cannot do that, the authoritarians have managed to get courts to carve out exceptions, even exceptions that largely eat the prohibition. It is good to have a defined standard, but the only way to defend rights is a populace who is jealous of them against the paternalists arguing their supposed good intentions.

      1. When legislators write a law to regulate the common people, they include a penalty for anyone who disobeys it. When the Founders wrote the constitution to place limits on the government, they never included any penalty for politicians who violated it. You will generally find this is also true for legislative acts that purport to "protect the citizen from government;" e.g., the Privacy Act, whose "penalty" consists entirely of granting the victim the "right" to use his own money to sue the government violator. Wow, thank you, massa.
        How can any of this be perceived as anything but a rigged game?

        1. Seems to me that constitutional provisions or federal statutes to punish government officials for violating limits on government would be empty gestures. It would just be appointing the fox to guard the henhouse.

        2. I agree, there should have been a penalty for those who violate the constitution, but this would almost certainly tip the balance of power towards the judicial branch and make judicial nominations much more contentious

        3. 1. All bills must undergo SCOTUS judicial review prior to being signed into law.

          2. Any elected official who voted in favor of any law subsequently found to be unconstitutional shall be drawn and quartered in the public square. Any Supreme Court Justice who calls a law constitutional shall be drawn and quartered in the public square if a subsequent evaluation finds the law unconstitutional.

          (You might be able to talk me down to life in prison)

          1. Remember George Bush signing McCain-Feingold despite the fact that he actually said he thought parts of it were unconstitutional? What happened to his oath of office and his blatant violation of that oath? How many laws clearly violating various bits of the Bill of Rights have we seen passed by legislators who know full well the laws are unconstitutional but persist in virtue-signaling their willingness to violate the Constitution as long as it's "for the children" or some such crap? I don't think impeachment should involve losing their heads, but maybe an eye, an ear, a nose and a few fingers - and I'd even be generous enough to let them pick which ones they get to keep.

      2. Great post Mickey.. And well stated that, "the only way to defend rights is a populace"..

        Contrary to many posts read -- The "punishment" for "the authoritarians" is handed to them via the ballot box.. Thus is what makes this article so well considered. "the authoritarians" will NEVER be "punished" for violating rights until the majority of Americans can start to VOTE for "punishing" INSTEAD of electing "the authoritarians".

        1. I.E. There are just way too many citizens who WANT to violate the Constitution.. Just remember how FDR pulled off counseling the Constitution.. The citizenry put liberals in congress, congress nominated liberals to the courts. As far as FDR's Administration goes; there was no Constitutional Supreme law because those who SWORE to uphold it was lying scumbag liberals with absolutely NO ethics.

          It equats to giving a convicted bank robber, murderer, drug addict, compulsive lying rapist the job of a Sheriff. Sadly; too many Americans are more than happy to elect and vote for these types of people.

        2. You assume that by voting against the authoritarian as a form of punishment that the other candidate is somehow better. If my goal is to not vote for an authoritarian, then "punishing" the incumbent does not do me any good. Maybe if we had a "none of the above" option then you would have a point. But if I voted for Trump to punish Clinton, I still get a politician who doesn't really operate from a foundation of freedom and limited government.

          1. I believe Rand Paul offered us just about the closest to freedom and limited government as they come. Americans at large just didn't seem to take. However; I've been extremely happy with Trumps
            - regulation cutting
            - foreign policy
            - trade adjustments
            - battle against hand-outs & subsidies
            - all but destroying Obamacare

            Hindsight; I wonder if Rand would've been able to pull all that off. But the "populace" biggest complaint against Trump seems to be his fight against any change to the ever-growing status-quo power of the federal government.

            A good example is the election of AOC. The 'populace' put here there.

    3. I'm with you and Madison, with the proviso that the primary problem with guaranteeing these rights, whether enumerated or not, is that the people themselves have only a limited indirect way of enforcing them,by elected representatives who nominate and approve judges.

      What is needed is some way for states and voters to directly challenge laws, regulations, etc on their own, without any intermediate government steps. I would have these handled by purely random juries of everyone who is eligible to vote,and they must unanimously agree that a law or regulation is constitutional; in addition, they must be clear, internally consistent, consistently enforced, minimal, relevant. If even a single juror does not understand the law or regulation, has any doubts about its meaning or intent, then it is voided immediately. No appeals process whatsoever. And all those who voted for a law or who were a regulation's author are barred from ever again receiving any money from the government -- no pay, no pension.

      As a counter to vexatious litigators, any voter losing such a lawsuit would lose the right to vote, and therefore also the right to challenge any more laws or regulations.

      Yes, it would be a pain to handle all those voters who raise trivially defended lawsuits. But losing the right to vote presumably matters to such people, and that's the best I can think of.

      1. What is needed is some way for states and voters to directly challenge laws, regulations, etc on their own, without any intermediate government steps. I would have these handled by purely random juries of everyone who is eligible to vote,and they must unanimously agree that a law or regulation is constitutional

        Why not just go to randomly chosen legislators in the first place, like Greek democracy? You still want some kind of selectivity for legislators, but that could be handled by any group of 100 people nominating one candidate, and then Congress being chosen randomly from among the 3 million candidates.

        But the sad fact is: no matter what system you design, once the population becomes too government dependent, too poor, too illiterate, and/or too indoctrinated, a free society cannot continue to exist. That's why empires fall and people ultimately vote with their feet.

        1. Random legislators have nothing to do with the problem that our government still defines its own limits.

          1. Yes, they do. Government grows because it is in the self interest of politicians and bureaucrats. Remove long term tenure and it stops being in their interest

        2. Any organization, governments included, will eventually be taken over by those who serve the organization for it's own sake rather than serving the mission of the organization.

          Once that happens to a government, any limits on it's powers, no mater how they are conceived or enforced will be seen as obstacles to be overcome.

          No constitution can prevent this.

          The only chance to preserve liberty long term, would be to build in a self destruct. Periodically burn the entire government (including all existing laws) to the ground and start over from scratch.

          1. Old news, Matthew THAT is what Jefferson said, at the time ... but for moral and philosophical reasons, not anti-gummint hysteria.

            A new constitutional convention every generation (20 years).
            There might be few changes, or none, but it must all be on the table.

            He had obviously been expanding and applying, "consent of the governed"
            NO generation has ANY right to bind future generations to debt ... or to a government. To do so would be "government by might, not right" ... "consent of the long dead." Debt obligations (taxes) without their vote.

            THIS is a STRONG kick in the BALLS to so-called originalists, with all their pompous authoritarian bullshit about "what the founders intended." Why should anyone give a shit?

            That is the only possible application of libertarian principles.
            Rejecting BOTH the authoritarian right (founders intent)
            And the authoritarian left (living constitution)

            Look again at .... "Governments derive their just powers by consent of the governed." Our current government is NOT just and cannot be made so. Only a new one would be.

            Plus human nature. Just like the workplace, NOBODY can FULLY commit to something they had no say in .. not to tablets handed down from on high (which we KNOW is authoritarian in the workplace)

            1. The fascist is back.

              1. ("What are the odds this thug will be stalking me down the page, with more infantile name-calling?")

                That's how clever he is 🙂

                1. No, you are the fascist. Go to hell.


                Jefferson was in Paris during the Constitutional Convention. His lengthy letter to Madison opposed the goal of a "perpetual constitution." The Articles had lasted only 19 years, which seemed wrong to the Convention, but entirely proper to Jefferson for the reasons I've already summarized,

                Proof vs bellowing: "To James Madison from Thomas Jefferson, 6 September 1789"

            2. "Old news, Matthew THAT is what Jefferson said, at the time"

              Jefferson's proposal involved amending the constitution, not drafting a new one from scratch every time around.

              The constitutional amendment/renewal process proposed by Jefferson wouldn't void the entire Federal statutory code nor would it disband the sitting administration/legislature. Mine would.

      2. Your punishments are too extreme.

        Perhaps any representative who sponsors a law found to be unconstitutional should be ejected from Congress and prohibited from returning. We’d get more careful scrutiny of the laws.

        1. I like this idea. It would establish a baseline for actions. I'm talking about drawing a line in the sand dude, Across this line you do not...

        2. And forfeit all pension rights - - - - -

      3. Keep in mind that despite all the "we the people" crap, the proposed Constitution was not proffered to the voters for ratification, it was given to the States to ratify. The Constitution is a compact among the states.

        Which is why Jefferson and Madison wrote nullification acts for Virginia and Kentucky, declaring the states themselves had the right to declare acts of the Federal government to be null and void on Constitutional grounds if it overstepped its bounds.

        Of course, we're taught today that nullification was a horrible evil wrong perpetrated by horrible evil racist defenders of slavery like John Calhoun, the kiddies aren't taught that the first use of the principle was by the abolitionist Wisconsin Supreme Court which declared the Fugitive Slave Acts null and void in that state. Ableman v Booth should be right up there next to Marbury v Madison in terms of an object lesson in how tyranny arises when you allow government to interpret the limits of their own power.

        1. +1 Ableman v Booth

      4. I KNEW the wacko right would oppose an independent judiciary ... and move toward tyranny of the majority.

        Theories are kinda useless, unless they can be sold to a majoritt of America

        1. Last week two more FEDSOC vetted justices were confirmed to the 9th CCA; give Trump and the Murder Turtle another turn in office and it will become the most textual and originalist court in the country! And stymie your wish for authority over the rest of us.

          1. (yawn) Cowardly diversion.

            When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers.

    4. Who knows how things would have turned out without the Bill of Rights? As it turned out, our system is without peer across time and geography with respect to the freedom we enjoy.

      Understanding the reservations about the Bill of Rights held by the founders is all to the good. Keep shouting it from the rooftops. And don't neglect the Ninth Amendment. The purpose of the Constitution is not to grant rights, but to limit government.

    5. “show us where in the Constitution it says we can’t do that”.

      The ninth amendment comes to mind - - - -

      1. The 10th is more apropos, but I agree that the 9th needs some love to. Where does it say I can refuse to exchange property with someone whom I dont like? The 9th! Where does it say I can sleep with and/or marry whomever I like? The 9th! Where does it say I have a right to privacy? Not a silly penumbra... it's right there in the 9th!

        1. Yeah, the 9th argument kinda changed my mind on Roe v Wade, although I still think it was poorly thought out and articulated, and as you say, no penumbra necessary.

        2. The 10th is more apropos,

          The 9th puts strict and necessary limits on the 10th ... or we'd have the total disaster promoted by the likes of Ron Paul --- NO limits on abuses by state governments, who could then have powers never delegated ... like Paul''s preferred racism and homophobia.

          Not a silly penumbra… it’s right there in the 9th!</blockquote?WTF? The Ninth contains NO rights, it simply includes the Declaration's unalienable rights to the Constitution, withe the Judiciary as the defender of those (unlisted) rights (from abuses by the other two branches).

          P.S. YOU applied penumbras to the 9th, by imagining specific rights that are not listed.

          And the emanations and penumbras of Roe v Wade were replaced decades ago,

          1. Just go away your evil man.

            1. NAILED IT!!! (smirk)

              ("What are the odds this thug will be stalking me down the page, with more infantile name-calling?")




              1. You are not washed here. Get lost.

                1. NAILED IT!!! (smirk)
                  TWO MORE ASSAULTS AND NOYB2 WILL BE ... KING OF THE THUGS ... a title he craves.

                  ("What are the odds this thug will be stalking me down the page, with more infantile name-calling?")

         SEVEN unprovoked assaults by the stalking bully! (so far)




                  Because thugs.

                2. You are not washed here.

                  NOBODY IS "WASHED" HERE, RETARD!
                  THIS IS A WEB PAGE
                  NOT A SHOWER, TUB OR SINK!!!

                  NOYB2: "I AM BULLY, HEAR ME ROAR!"

                  1. What, no Left + Right = 0?

    6. Patrick Henry was a prime mover for approving the Constitution on the understanding that a Bill of Rights must be tacked on and quickly. And look how the looter kleptocracy spews on it! At under 8000 words, when was the last time you saw a Constitution of fewer words? The Atlas Shrugged Amendment is what we need to be pressing for as a commonsense replacement for the 16th Amendment.

      1. Ok crazy guy, I probably shouldn't, but I'll ask: what's the Ayn Rand Amendment?

        1. There is no such thing as an Atlas Shrugged Amendment Rand explicitly refused to deal with "the philosophy of law." That's why she is HATED by all the authoritarians now masquerading as libertarian (and doing it poorly.)

          Rand never had a political philosophy. That was frequently evident in the Objectivist Newsletter (I have them all, in binders) She always deferred, saying, "that's the philosophy of law." She was a moral philosopher.

          Only once did she ever talk about government, and it shows why she hated libertarianism so much. (then mostly anarchism until David Nolan).

          Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand

          "Any program of voluntary government financing is the last, not the first, step on the road to a free society—the last, not the first, reform to advocate. It would work only when the basic principles and institutions of a free society have been established. It would not work today.

          A process of liberation would be much more rapid than the process of enslavement had been, since the facts of reality would be its ally. But still, a gradual process is required—and any program of voluntary government financing has to be regarded as a goal for a distant future.

          WHY? ... Consent of the Governed., which today's dominant libertarian faction detests. "We don't need no steeenkeeeng majority"

          Rand was Jeffersonian -- "Consent of the Governed" is the sole requirement for a moral political philosophy. Which cannot be separate from moral philosophy ... IF one chooses the society to be moral. (She said "moral." Jefferson said "just." Same thing.)

          In any society, the only alternative to Consent of the Governed. is authoritarianism. Yes, object to taxation ... but 5% cannot dictate to 95%, any more than 5% can deny the forming of a local Kiwanis ... or a garden club.

          How can anyone demand the freedom and opportunity of America ... while claiming those who created and maintain it have no right to do so? They are liberty moochers, living off others.

          In moral philosophy, her core principle was "the moral is the chosen." Non-aggression is derived from that, a secondary value. If a majority of Americans "choose" (consent) to a governmental structure for society, no one has a moral right, none at all, to demand change. They retain the freedom to ... leave, emigrate.

          Liberty demands persuasion not dominance. This is why today's libertarianISM is rejected by even 91% of libertariANS. Sad, when Americans are now open to even radical change, an opportunity that opens only once or twice per century.

            1. NAILED IT!!! .... (smirk)

              ("What are the odds this thug will be stalking me down the page, with more infantile name-calling?")




              (Does he feel manly, YET?)

            2. BEHOLD THE GESTAPO!

              Go away.

              bwaaaaaaaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaaa

          1. Corrected link (I HOPE!) to Rand's Virtue of Selfishness

            Page search for "15 GOVERNMENT FINANCING" (Or scroll WAY down; this is the entire book on one web page)

            1. Hihn your psychiatrist is calling.

            2. Hypergraphia is a behavioral condition characterized by the intense desire to write or draw. Forms of hypergraphia can vary in writing style and content. It is a symptom associated with temporal lobe changes in epilepsy, which is the cause of the Geschwind syndrome, a mental disorder.[1] Structures that may have an effect on hypergraphia when damaged due to temporal lobe epilepsy are the hippocampus and Wernicke's area. Aside from temporal lobe epilepsy, chemical causes may be responsible for inducing hypergraphia.

              1. Linking to Ayn Rand is a psychological disorder????
                Or that you're HUMILIATED by the content?

                Also totally humiliated on the Electoral College?

  2. It seems like it's all going to come to a breaking point soon. Assuming Trump wins re-election, those on the left will probably have some serious breakdowns. Combine that with this current wave of sanctuary status for second amendment rights, places like Virginia or Kentucky may produce that perfect storm. If cops and or state guard actually try to confiscate and people actually refuse to give up their weapons could lead to outright rebellion and alot of dead people. The whole bill of rights needs to be rewritten to explicitly spell out protections. The antifederalists had the right idea but just didn't go far enough.

    1. Rewriting the bill of rights would be a nightmare. The problem with it is too many words already; the second amendment, for instance, should lose the prefatory clause.

      Any rewriting today would be horribly lengthy and completely miss the point that the amendments are already pretty simple and yet still willfully misinterpreted because government itself does the interpretation.

      1. I think it's more complicated than that. Ideas have to be explored. Why a second amendment.
        -self defense
        -fight government tyranny
        -defend the nation from outside forces.
        -protect the community from crime/outside forces.
        All of these things are included in the second amendment but they're not spelled strongly hence the last 200 years of arguments and ridiculous regulation while we suffer the brunt of their overreach. But we have to also explore what comes with this right of the people. The founders probably never envisioned nukes, what weapons of the future can we not envision. Are nukes a right of the people? Some things would have to be left to future courts to decide but with the understood written instructions to err on the side of individual freedom.

        1. The problem is not that the amendments are not clear. "Shall not be infringed" and "shall pass no law"are about as clear as you can get; adding words just provides more opportunity to pretend they mean something else.

          The problem is government defining and interpreting its own limits.

          1. But you can look back through the history of our country and see there were alot of differing opinions on what these words meant. People apparently means militia, if you took the opposite side. Government limits are supposed to be set by we the people. That's why we need these defining principals spelled out. It runs as a baseline. Oh you violated that principal, I can immediately hold your feet to the fire. Not well we can make exceptions. Maybe I just see it as that the ideas need to be more strongly explored and written about and that it's not the actual words written ,but why a right to arms, or speech is so necessary.

            1. The principle is supposed to be a government of limited powers, specifically spelled out. If that were the case -- if government actually were limited to those specifically spelled-out powers -- if the government judges and government legislators and government Presidents had not conspired to willfully misinterpret the Constitution and expand government far beyond what the Constitution and the framers had meant -- you would not need amendments guaranteeing rights.

              The problem is government limiting itself. It's why businesses have auditors, dieters have clubs, and ordinary people have credit limits.

              1. Well we are supposed to be governments limit. one of the reasons for the second amendment. The power of the sword is to be in the hands of Americans, so no unjust rules can be passed without our approval(my rough paraphrasing of tench coxe) But I think due to rights not being assured, those have disappeared. State governments in the past and federal rules of recent have limited our rights. Slowly cutting away. Maybe people just don't care enough

                1. Votes are meaningless in limiting government. One vote every two or four years, for everything, all wrapped up in one consolidated vote, and then it only affects judges indirectly, and even then only for the next replacement ... nope, not good enough.

                  1. What's your solution then?

          2. So is "well regulated militia" no? Seems everyone conveniently ignores that to support their own hot take on it.

            1. "So is “well regulated militia” no? Seems everyone conveniently ignores that to support their own hot take on it."

              Screw you; it's "...shall not be infringed".
              Read it and weep.

            2. Yes, that is stated and the founders talked on that issue, but that was only a concern that the people would be undolisciplined. The founders ideal was a republic where all enjoyed their freedom but would use that individual freedom to help defend the country from all threats. The concern was that by not following that discipline the militia would be dangerous. The least hope was that the people possessed arms and knew how to handle them. Thus had no bearing on the right to arms.

            3. Every American is militia. Read the naturalization oath! In fact, Aldous Huxley, surrenderist of the first water, was denied citizenship not for refusing to take up arms for America, but because his reasons were philosophical. He refused to lie and say they were religious objections. When it comes to nuclear-tipped anti-ballistic missile systems, those require the sort of support infrastructure the State National guard possesses.

            4. The 2A doesn’t grant a limited right to bear arms, it reaffirms an existing unqualified right. Therefore, the qualification in the 2A doesn’t limit anybody’s rights.

              1. That crazed lefty, Antonin Scalia says you're WRONG, WRONG, WRONG .... but only since 1939 (US v Miller)

                That's why the NRA was powerless against the 1994 assault weapons ban ... for ten long years ... until it expired. How many moons circle YOUR planet?

                Heller Ruling Page One
                1(f). United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174, does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes

                The limitation on protected weapons does NOT infringe on the right, merely defines what the right protects. The modern equivalent of a musket,

                PAGE ONE. (lol)

                1. why the NRA was powerless against the 1994 assault weapons ban

                  Because Scotus refused to read the constitution?

                  does NOT infringe on the right

                  Prohibiting ownership and use of any particular arm (i.e. instrument intended for fighting) is an infringement no matter what scotus says.

            5. If anyone had any doubts to your stupidity, this post should clear that right up.

              No, you don’t deserve more of a response then that.



                What did Scalia really say in Heller -- that drives guntards INSANE In the process of establishing gun ownership as an individual right, Scalia had to reaffirm what that right protects. The precedent was established by US v Miller in 1939, where the RIGHT was expanded to an individual right, requiring a ruling on what that right protects.

                Heller Ruling, SCOTUS web site, Page One

                1(f). United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174, does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes

                The limitation on protected weapons does NOT infringe on the right, merely defines what the right protects.

                2. Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. ….

                Clear enough goobers. Scalia Page one. The paragraph continues …

                ...Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.

                "At the time" means at ratification. Guntards say it means "currently." -- bat-shit crazy, in the context. And bans on “dangerous and unusual weapons” kicks their asses anyhow.

                *******Scalia later ridicules the claim, by guntards who LIE saying the ruling would limit the protected muskets. It protects MODERN FORMS of 18th century militia-style weapons, just as the 1st amendment protects modern forms of speech and printing, and the 4th protects against modern sear, Scalia explicitly argues why "M-16 rifles and the like" are NOT protected. Page 55

                Yes, Virginia, 2A DOES protect only hunting rifles, or something quite close. Semi-automatics are already excluded. That’s why the NRA was HELPLESS against the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban … for 10 long years.

                As Scalia reminds, NO rights are unlimited. They’re limited by other unalienable rights, which can compete or conflict. This is not new. It’s the core of Natural Rights. Yes, there is a conflict between the rights of Gun Ownership versus Life. Goobers scream that owning a gun is no threat to life True, but the right itself is a threat to thousands of lives, as PROVEN in the data that follow..

                *** Defending human life is a legitimate function of government. DUH.

                1. ^ Statist authoritarian.

              2. Do YOU have a child in school?
                Inconvenient facts (fully documented)

                Intentional Homicide Rates (Latest available, UN) Per 100,000 population
                5.3 United States
                3.0 Europe and Asia (each)
                1.7 Canada
                0.9 UK

                Have you ever considered that you MIGHT just be manipulated? Even a little? How would you know?

                Next: Guntard bullshit about mass shootings .. DEMOLISHED

                1. FACT: England's 2nd gun control (1996) saw ONE mass shooting in 22 years
                  FACT: United States had 317 mass shootings from 1999-2013.
                  Adjust for population (5:1) and they had 5 shootings in 22 years ... We had 317 in 14 years. Do the math.
                  Mass Shootings Per year
                  UK = 0.2 per year
                  US = 22.6 per year = 11,300% higher (adjusted for population)
                  Are those YOUR values on "sanctity of human life?"

                  I speak only to the Constitutional issue. But the moral principle is clear. Imagine ANY new control(s) that would reduce deaths by 2,000 lives per year. Does a government -- of and by the people -- have the power and the obligation to save those lives?

                  And by what right do they deny those 2,000 lives? Fuck off, NRA .

                  Inconvenient questions:

                  1) if teachers are thought to be armed, who will be shot first?

                  2) MIGHT we have so many ARMED bad guys ... BECAUSE our citizenry is so highly armed? Might it work like the nuclear arms race did?

                  3) In Britain, Ireland, Norway, Iceland and New Zealand, officers are unarmed when they are on patrol. WHY? And HOW?

                  4) What happens when two absolute rights are in conflict? Which prevails? Who decides? And why?

                  NOT advocating gun grabs, just want HONEST debate – the difference between libertarians and the bellowing blowhards of the Authoritarian Right.

                  The names mentioned at the top of this KNOW what the rulings are ... have FAILED to challenge them for nearly a year ... but apparently believe SCOTUS can be overruled by .... BELLOWING LIES.

                  As also proven here, they are TOTALLY IGNORANT ... spewing slogans and soundbites, from their masters, is all they have. And that authoritarian streak.

                  The defense (of individual liberty) rests.

                  1. if teachers are thought to be armed

                    The would-be perp probably won't enter the premises in the first place.

                    1. (lol)

                  2. Ignores the question. Evasion.

        2. A big part of the problem is that the meanings of words have drifted (or been pushed). "Regulate" has gained a connotation of "restrict, inhibit," and lost one of "run smoothly, function properly." And "militia" has been twisted to all to heck.

          In particular, a "militia" in the original sense is distinguished from other military or paramilitary groups by being armed only with those weapons freely available to ordinary private persons. Thus the "right of the people to keep and bear arms" feeds back in to the militia being well-armed enough to be "well-regulated" and able to do its job. Which is important - "being necessary to the security of a free state."

          Because the fear that didn't written in to the final draft was that if the government could whine that police qualifying as militia (as opposed to "troops, or ships of war") weren't well-armed enough, they would use what the founders called "standing armies" and what we call "militarized police" to enforce laws, with brutality and abuse of power being the result.

      2. I see a particular risk in the mindset of many people that favors "democracy" over any sense of immutable basic rights. These people seem ready to use any voted majority as a mandate for government power in any context. As mentioned, they appeal to popular approval for limits on speech--presumably they would support periodic votes to add to the list of banned words.

        Thus even the concept of "rights" and a listing of essential rights might be lost.

      3. Many words and many lies... The LP platforms are about the size of the U.S. Constitution. Platforms of the 1880s through 1900s were terse, but growing. Today's looter kleptocracy platforms together seek to crush individual rights under the weight of some 80,000 words. This is what South American juntas and "democratic" People's States think is a nice size, and the language is deliberately larded with obscurantist bureaucratese and spaghetti-code references. I'd bet per-capita GNP is inversely proportional to the wordiness of a nation's constitution.

    2. The whole bill of rights needs to be rewritten to explicitly spell out protections

      OMG, NO!! Can you imagine the monstrosity that would emerge, probably including ‘rights’ to education, healthcare, housing, food, transport, jobs, etc? We may as well be Red China.

      1. Not everything's is a right. I know the left would want abortions equal pay gay stuff and a bunch of other stupid crap. and the right would probably want some kind of censure on whatever the left wants. But certain ideals really do need to be spelled out better rmthan what they were.

        1. My ideal is that government stop imposing ideals on people.

        2. The 14th amendment forbids banning abortions. The Irish papacy made the experiment back when Prohibition and Republican fanatics were pushing to force women into unwanted labor, and that Amendment was repealed by well over the 2/3 margin. Male bigot sockpuppets come here in masks seeking to drown the LP with the bathwater, but we're not that stupid. The Libertarian Party WROTE the Roe v Wade decision and the Supreme Court acted on our getting the first female electoral vote in U.S. History.

          1. ^This

      2. The solution is to break the left. Possibly by breaking the leftists. Everyone here is doing incredible mental gymnastics to avoid acknowledging this truth.

        1. Behold the Iron Fist of a Jackbooted Thug.

    3. Assuming Trump wins re-election, those on the left will probably have some serious breakdowns

      The right will likeky go crazier if he loses, since they're driven my all sorts of delusional conspiracies!

      If cops and or state guard actually try to confiscate and people actually refuse to give up their weapons could lead to outright rebellion and a lot of dead people.

      "They're coming for your guns," is GOP hysteria, like I noted above. But I agree, it would be tragic to see so many NRA members lying dead, in pools of blood, if not blown to smithereens.

      1. "Hell yes we're going to take your ar15, your ak47". Beto o Rourke.
        You're bad at this just stop. It's pathetic that you fethishize seeing dead Americans who are trying to protect their rights. Go fuck yourself.

          CONFIRMING right-wing hysteria ... CHICKEN LITTLE ... "The sky is falling,"

          who are trying to protect their rights.


          1. Don't like getting called on your bullshit huh?

  3. While Inspector General Michael Horowitz found no evidence that political bias motivated the decision to open the investigation...

    This misstates what IG Horowitz wrote and testified. What IG Horowitz stated was there was no documentary (emails, memos) or testimonial (somebody formally testifying) evidence of political bias. The IG explicitly stated in his testimony that he did not find the rationales provided by Crossfire Hurricane agents to be credible, but could not prove otherwise (e.g. documents, testimony). That crucial context was missing, and it matters.

    1. Yup. Nobody squealed and nobody was stupid enough to blatantly write what they were doing down.

      1. Yup.. and Horowitz punted because he knows there's an ongoing criminal investigation that is looking for that information.

        1. There are several four criminal investigations, which disappeared after Mueller deferred them to the Southern District of New York. They'll likely come out in force, closer to the election.

    2. Were the text messages sent between agents I’m assuming on FBI provided work devices not evidence of bias?

      1. Not in their work. For that, we need evidence, not Trumptard hysteria.

        1. Hihntard is back.

          1. Goober squeals that ONLY some dude named "Hihn" states that EVIDENCE has a higher value than hysteria ... including the goober's hysteria here.

            (What are the odds this thug will be stalking me down the page, with more infantile name-calling?)

  4. Would.

    1. The Constitution and the flag? You pervert!

  5. You know what's horrible. I went to a doctor for tremors. He prescribed me Seroquil "off label" and I had a horrible reaction, which resulted in a chain reaction of events to watch my rights get stripped away temporarily. I was treated like a criminal for taking medication as prescribed (no addiction or anything it caused an adverse reaction). So now I'm left with not only the trauma of the experience but tremors that have made their way through my arm and head. So when I see things like Bill of Rights, I'm deeply saddened at how it wasn't true for me and how no one cares.

    1. I’m sorry that happened to you. You could probably sue your doctor. You should have evidence on your prescription label that you were prescribed the medication.
      Always remember that you have to be your own advocate, and research what your doctor tells you before you blindly follow advice.

  6. So the right wants to ban porn, and the left want to ban literally everything they disagree with.

    Got it.

    1. 4 GOP congressmen and 4 "conservative" pundits want to ban porn.

      1. Every sperm is sacred.

    2. Is that not what always goes on? For how long did "the right" want gay marriage banned and illegal? I do seem to remember it was Nancy Reagan with her reefer madness too no?

      1. The only reason that drugs are bannable on a federal level is because the Democrats eroded the 14th amendment and vastly extended the meaning of the commerce clause.

        1. Roscoe Filburn grew plants that he could eat which meant he wouldn’t buy them from somebody else. Thus, porn can be banned by the feds as long as it travels over state lines. What’s so hard to understand?

          1. "Thus, porn can be banned by the feds as long as it travels over state lines. What’s so hard to understand?"

            And, therefore, a fine can be considered an (illegal) tax! How convenient!

            1. Angel Raich wanted to grow her own weed lawfully under her state’s laws, and was thus federally guilty of violating the commerce clause because she _wouldn’t_ engage in illegal interstate weed commerce.

              No place to hide...

    3. Basically, yes. Socialists divide into 3 sets: religious (sex laws, race laws, drug bans), lay (laws against property, trade and production), and totalitarian (rights are indivisible, crush them underfoot!). The 4th square in the Nolan chart where all indivisible rights are preserved is completely unthinkable in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Libertarian parties are banned by law or euchred out of existence by copies of the Nixon anti-libertarian subsidies law translated into local legalese.

    4. If we ever get a ban on pr0n, it'll be the left that does it--and they'll do it in the name of feminism.

      1. Indeed.

    5. Dizzle pretends the right wants to ban only porn.
      Or he thinks YOU are dumb enough ti believe that.

  7. The ChiComs that Reason loves so damn much got caught red-handed spying on us back in September:

    Thank goodness we finally have an administration that realizes that these guys are much closer to being our enemies than our friends!

  8. Why would anyone care? It's one part of the constitution and it's very, very apparent there is a huge amount of people on the right, and a good sum on the left too, that willfully want to ignore what is not convenient for them.

    1. wearingit
      December.15.2019 at 11:40 am
      "Why would anyone care?"

      Because, unlike fucking lefty ignoramuses, some of us have principles.
      You might look it up and see if it makes any sense to you at all, doubtful as it seems.

  9. Without the bill of rights we would have way less freedom. I read that some of you think the government would somehow respect our rights more if they weren’t clearly listed? No Way! The reason the Supreme Court can and does occasionally throw out laws is because of these specific protections. I love the 9th amendment and think it doesn’t get enough use or respect, and the reason it doesn’t is because it’s too vague. The courts are too shy to use it in the manner that the framers intended. I think we all agree that government is a monster, and wants to extend its powers and grow its size. Government is necessary but it is also necessary to protect the rights of the individual vs those of the mob. I wish we could recall state laws in state elections and federal laws in federal elections. I wish we could recall politicians in federal elections (where I live we can recall any politician, though it happens rarely). I wish we added more ammendments increasing our rights, but many people want to do the opposite when they talk about ammendments, so maybe it’s best to leave that alone.

    1. I wish we added more ammendments increasing our rights,

      This is desirable IFF the rights are negative rights, I.e. no ‘rights’ to government handouts of any type. But, alas, that is a pipe dream.

      1. The amendments do not give you rights.
        They (in theory) prevent the federal government from violating your natural rights.

        1. Replace “increasing” with “more expansively defining”

          1. "shall not be infringed" and "shall pass no law" are pretty damned specific.
            They can only be misunderstood by a totalitarian dictator.

            1. More explicitly written rights provide support in legal cases, which, you might have noticed, is where the practical implementation of our rights gets defined, I.e, our de facto rights.

      2. As soon as the Supreme Court copied the 1972 LP plank securing individual rights for pregnant women, Gods Own Prohibitionists began cranking out race suicide amendments to reword the 14th and force dem bitches into labor. Women responded with the ERA, to which the Republicans reacted in 1988 with another rabid amendment bill copied from the Prohibition Party. Canada struck down ALL laws designed to coerce women in 1988. The LP would be wise to endorse the ERA before the 2020 campaign.

        1. How many rightwingers are confused on this? What an amendment does is PROTECT a right. Or a SCOTUS ruling.

          VOTING is a positive right.
          Marriage equality is a positive right

          The attack on ALL positive rights is how the authoritarian right "justifies" it's denial of those rights. Who needs niggers and fags anyhow? (/sarc) And what the fuck is "consent of the governed," compared with MY diktats! Harrumph..

    2. It's not libertarians who think that our rights would be better protected if they were unlisted, it's that many of realize that when the government spells our rights out specifically, they often try to suggest that if our rights aren't listed by the government, then they don't exist.

      In fact, this was the reason why so many of the framers were initially against the Bill of Rights. In order to get enough of them on board, they included the Ninth Amendment (plenty of libertarians' favorite), which reads:

      "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

      ----Ninth Amendment

      There's an old adage about comparative politics:

      Our right to choose our own religion, the right to criticize our government, the right to own and bear a firearm, and the right not to testify against ourselves would still exist anyway. These rights were not created by government, and the government cannot take them away. Our Constitution does a good job of protecting them in law, but never forget that our rights exist regardless of whether the government recognizes, spells out, or violates them--and that's according to the Ninth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

      1. "It’s not libertarians who think that our rights would be better protected if they were unlisted, it’s that many of realize that when the government spells our rights out specifically, they often try to suggest that if our rights aren’t listed by the government, then they don’t exist..."

        Such bullshit is spouted by many who should know better; the Chron editorial staff as an example:
        'Nowhere in the Constitution does it say...'
        They did not print my reply where I mentioned that nowhere in the Constitution is it written that I can go to the ball park and have a beer.

        1. I think the effect of their propaganda is torn down when we point out to people that rights are choices, and we'd have the right to make choices for ourselves--regardless of whether the government said so. Who can defend the argument that we don't have the right to make choices for ourselves unless the government says so?

          We get distracted when they talk about whether our choice of firearm should be restricted or whether we should be allowed to choose whom we marry. At its core, however, none of them will argue in public that we don't have the right to make choices for ourselves. It's too embarrassing.

          1. Good point.

      2. "There’s an old adage about comparative politics:"

        I meant to blast that, but since I left it in by accident, . . .

        The old adage goes:

        In the USA, if it isn't illegal, it's legal.
        In Germany, if it isn't legal, it's illegal.
        In the Soviet Union, even if it's legal, it's illegal.
        In France, even if it's illegal, it's legal.

        That general rule about how if it's isn't illegal, it's legal in the USA comes from our legal code grappling with the recognition that there are legal choices we can make that are not circumscribed by law and that we have a right to make those choices. Not every code is necessarily like that in every code.

        Point is, you can't have a situation in which everything is legal unless it's illegal unless you have some kind of understanding that people's legal choices aren't completely circumscribed by law. There's a word for a place where no one is allowed to do anything without the permission of the government. It's called "authoritarianism", and when you extend the law to circumscribe people's thinking, it's called "totalitarianism".

        1. The number of choices one could possibly make is so vast that it'd be hopeless to try to adopt a system wherein nothing is legal unless specifically stated as such. Who would ever have time to list all the legal colors of socks one could wear on one's left foot, and also on the right foot, and at this hour and that hour, etc.? Who could possibly list, even just to the nearest foot, all the coordinate locations you could choose to place your chair in your room, let alone in your entire home?

          There's only one milieu in which such specificity can be applied: games — and even then, only certain kinds of games. For instance, chessmen can be on only one of 64 squares, not in between, not beyond. But of course there's still the choice of whether to play the game, and whether to play it at 1:00, 2:00, etc.

          So there has never been, really, a legal system in which everything is illegal by default. There are, however, systems in which a small number of broadly specified things are illegal, with narrowly specified exceptions to illegality within.

      3. Always count on Schultz to screw up. Nothing better than unknown and undeclared rights,. (lol)

        The alt-right agenda reveals its fascism, when they WHINE that it's NOT SCOTUS empowered to "acknowledge" those unenumerated rights ... as a check and balance against the other two branches, the only branches that can abuse them.

        It is DEEPLY ingrained in the wacky right, that
        1) there are NOT three coequal branches, only two,
        2) States have powers never delegated.
        3) We have NO protection from rights abuses at the state level.

        That's the doctrine of "states rights," as first espoused by the KKK and southern racists, more recently by the alt-right of Ron Paul and Ted Cruz, among others, also known as Jim Crow,

        1. You need to re-read the 10th amendment again, hihn-bot.

          This time slowly and for comprehension.



            I'll read it to you, and teach you what it means.

            "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

            We have powers, never listed, which NO level of government may deny or disparage.

            THINK: That LIMITS the 10th Amendment. States have NO POWERS that are superior to rights ... except to right-wing authoritarians, who SNEER at our entire founding principles.

            NOT a government of delegated powers, he says

            A LIE, he screeches that governments derive their JUST powers by CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED,

            This time slowly and for comprehension.

            You MAY be able to redeem your colossal blunder. Simply name the rights protected by 9A. Not all of them. A dozen will suffice.

            The raging fascism of a Paul-bot. JIM CROW FOREVER!!!

    3. “ Without the bill of rights we would have way less freedom”

      Nonsense. The Bill off Rights creates no new rights.

      The US government is supposed to have a finite set of enumerated powers. Americans retain the infinity of all other rights.

      1. I think the point is that without the BoR the government could more easily trample our rights.

        1. Just stop talking about “our rights”. In the US m, we have no rights, we have limited government of enumerated powers.


            In the US m, we have no rights, we have limited government of enumerated powers.

            Was he falling down drunk?

            At one time, only proggies confused the two

  10. People care about the rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights. It's just that they often don't realize how much they care about them until their rights are actually violated in a way that makes them notice.'

    They don't have the Bill of Rights in Hong Kong, but if that isn't what it looks like when people care about freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, etc., then I don't know what people caring about their rights looks like.

    The great thing about the Bill of Rights is that they work to prevent our rights from being violated in the first place, even if they do so imperfectly and inconsistently. That's great because it means they work even when people aren't all upset after our rights have been violated.

    The more people care about them, the better their deterrent effect works, and I guess our job as libertarians is persuading our fellow Americans to care about them more. This is the libertarian upside of patriotism. The rights in enshrined in the First and Second Amendments may be universal, but the way they're protected in the First and Second Amendments is unusual--even among other countries that evolved from English common law and parliamentary systems. The First and Second Amendments don't just serve to protect our rights. They're also what makes us American, and feeding other people's patriotism on precisely that kind of rational pride is an underutilized strategy by libertarians.

    First Amendment + Second Amendment = America, Fuck Yeah!

  11. I’d care more if she was topless.

  12. This is ridiculous. I care about my bill of rights, but the majority of America says I'm a bigot for promoting them, so whatevs.

    But this holiday nonsense is stupid. Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, 4th of July. Maybe minor memorial day to remember my grandparents and others. But this growing list of [insert random word here] days is getting ridiculous.

  13. "An even larger 57 percent think "the government should be able to take action against newspapers and TV stations that publish content that is biased, inflammatory, or false.""

    JD, question:

    Why wouldn't/shouldn't intentionally false news be considered fraud? I mean, we purchase this service with the expectation that it will provide accurate information on which to form opinions and take action.

    I'd agree that inflammatory biased content is protected speech, and even mistakenly false information is protected speech. But intentionally false information in the media is no different than a used car salesman winding back an odometer.

    Be interested to hear your justification for implying that the media has right to lie.

    1. Exactly such a plank is in the National Socialist platform written by Adolf Hitler in 1920. "23. We demand legal measures against the conscious political lie and its propagation through the press."
      There's your religious conservative respect for the First Amendment.

      1. So are you claiming that lying to a customer isn't fraud or that fraud shouldn't be a crime under libertarian philosophy?

    2. That poll question itself is inflammatory. The very fact that people are asked the question is suggestive. Why raise it as a possibility? I doubt many people are thinking along those lines, but if you ask it of them, the very act of asking will get a lot of them to say yes. When a poll taker asks for an opinion about something, that legitimizes whatever it is. I mean, come on, somebody important is spending money to find out, so that must means it's being taken seriously, so if I'm a serious person I must take it seriously...this very natural thought process alone biases the answer to above 50%.

  14. I didn't think Americans cared, but the line at the mall to sit on James Madison's lap and get a photo was out the door.

  15. I'm overhearing a discussion about those horrible military cadets who made the "white supremacist" symbol at a game.

    1. Discussion centers on what punishment they should get - expulsion or re-education?

  16. Slaves!!!!!

  17. old-fashioned sex panic

    Nice band name.

  18. What is needed is a 28th amendment, "Government shall not initiate force." It solves every problem.

    1. "He triggered me with his violent rhetoric!"

    2. What is needed is a 28th amendment, “Government shall not initiate force.”

      No amendment needed! It's already there. But right-wing hysteria ...

  19. Jerry, or somebody, tell me why, as a committed libertarian, I should be interested in this article. It doesn't even seem to have a news hook, let alone actual news.

    This is what I've always disliked about Hit & Run (I'm spelling it out because the name matters) as a libertarian forum compared to those that were popular in years past. There are too many articles as "thread starters", hitting and running to satisfy a schedule, instead of just discussing topics as desired for as long as we want, whether connected to something in the news or not. I was hoping renaming it from Hit & Run would promote more of the old Libernet-d feeling, but since we're used here to discussing these things chronologically, Latest is just as bad.

    Well, maybe everything was hashed out by 2000, and there's nothing left but relatively small talk based on the news.

    And this is all before complaining about the weird orientation the blog has taken in recent years. It'd already gotten a little flaky before TDS, but now it's totally disingenuous. The worst thing about it is that it casts into doubt all that the same bloggers ever wrote here or anywhere.

    1. Are you a committed libertarian or a committed Libertarian? (I'll leave out the obvious joke that if you're Libertarian you should be committed.)

      Today is Bill of Rights Day, there's your news hook for a discussion of what libertarians should think of the Bill of Rights. You're right, it is a conversation starter for a philosophical discussion rather than hard news reporting, but that's all libertarianism really is. Liberty sounds good, but it's contrary to human nature. It would be nice to think that "everybody should just leave everybody else alone" would be a compelling argument for being left alone, but it's only a compelling argument if you've got a shotgun to do the compelling. Shotguns are serious, philosophy is not.

      You want more serious political discussion? Brush up on your Machiavelli: "Many men have imagined republics and principalities that never really existed at all. Yet the way men live is so far removed from the way they ought to live that anyone who abandons what is for what should be pursues his downfall rather than his preservation; for a man who strives after goodness in all his acts is sure to come to ruin, since there are so many men who are not good."

      There's a slogan, "Libertarians: Diligently Plotting to Take Over the World And Leave You Alone" - you're not going to take over the world by leaving people alone. The people who specialize in not leaving people alone are the ones who will be taking over the world.

  20. Any law passed by any level of govt that is in violation of the Declaration of Independence or Bill of Rights is illegal period. The people have the right (not the courts) to nullify any law which in any way impedes on our natural rights.

    Democracy is mob rule without natural laws that cannot be voted away.

    The wokesters have been attacking our BOR since their commie ancestors immigrated here from socialist land (Russia) 100 years ago...look for someone attacking the BOR and they often have the same diaper babies

  21. OT (sort of)
    In a pathetic reflection of US hag supporters, UK Labor symps are still trying to claim that Johnson didn't 'win-win', and Corbyn really didn't lose and Brexit is still an open question:

    I'm waiting to see if the scumbags there (like the scumbags here) start an 'investigation' to somehow 'prove' the voters were just sheep...

    1. CLICK SEVO'S LINK ..... undeniable proof that he's a crazed psycho of the alt-right ... AGAIN fomenting SHEER HYSTERIA for his fellow GOOBERS

      SEE AND HEAR FOR YOURSELF. TOTALLY full of shit on video content!!
      1) NOT the labor party.
      2) The Communications Director for a fringe group.
      3) NEVER says "Johnson didn't win-win, and Corbyn really didn't lose." INSANE
      4) Wacko group DOES say Brexit is still an open question ... BUT ... because Johnson's win is a majority in PARLIAMENT ... but not a majority OF THE COUNTRY!!!! ... after an election where it was THE key issue.


      ***Sevo is a conspiracy freak ... like those CRAZY CONSPIRACY EMAILS, which ALWAYS have a link to snopes, or some other source ... a PHONY link because NOBODY will check it ,... WHICH IS HIS CON JOB HERE!!


      Sevo NEVER cares if YOU swallow any of his wacky rages ,... he KNOWS all the goobers will believe it, their bobbleheads nodding in excitement.

      And ME? ... I'm PART OF the vast conspiracy!
      even those SCARY monsters lurking under your bed
      (That was satire. For the goobers and Gomers)
      Oh .... My ... God .... I am now SHAKING IN TERROR that Sevo will throw ANOTHER fit of rage ... in the language of a semi-literate thug.

      Oh well ...

      1. The crazed psycho is you, Hihn. Go away.

        1. CHECK THE LINK!!!


          A *PROUD* THUG!!!

          1. FUCK OFF AND DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. A lot of really stupid Americans care, those that want to shut down the first and second amendments. No free speech, and no right to bear arms. The stupidity doesn't stop there though, they want to get rid of the electoral college. In other words if you don't live in the 3 biggest states, your vote will no longer count.

    1. Chicken Little hysteria is back!

      And THIS is the ABSOLUTE most STUPID comment of the entire year!

      They want to get rid of the electoral college. In other words if you don’t live in the 3 biggest states, your vote will no longer count.

      I'd ask him or her to explain so massive a blunder in elementary school math ... but I doubt he/she would understand the question!

      (As anyone smarter than a box of rocks knows, eliminating the Electoral College would make your state of residence .... ummm, what's the word? ..... IRRELEVANT.)

      Apologies if that was intentional satire

      1. You don't think with a popular vote the candidates would only campaign in the largest states? Those states would be relevant in that scenario.

        1. These people are SCARY!

          You don’t think with a popular vote the candidates would only campaign in the largest states?

          THAT;S WHAT THEY DO NOW!!!!

          Those states would be relevant in that scenario.

          How and why?

      2. 10 States, including CA, NY, TX, FL, PA, IL, OH, MI, GA, and NC [in descending order of registered voters] have over one half of all registered voters in the US; so I would say if you don't live in one of the big 10, your vote will still count [assuming we are talking about a simple majority] but will likely be less relevant

        However when we count these same 10 states, even if a substantial majority of its registered voters choose a particular candidate, only comprise 256 electoral votes, 24 shy of a majority.
        This would be true even if lets say 2/3 of the 76.6 registered voters of those 10 States cast some 53 million votes [more than 1/3 of all registered voters] for a particular candidate. It would remain the case even if [theoretically] if ALL of their registered voters, nearly 77 million, all voted the same way.

        So the electoral college does mitigate the relative size among States. Just takes more than 3.

        1. the electoral college does mitigate the relative size among States.

          Junior High Math.

          California has 55 electoral votes and 39.75 million people.
          Each elector represents 723,000 voters

          Wyoming has 3 Electoral votes and 570,000 people.
          Each elector represents 190,000 voters


          Now the ratios. Per 190,000 voters in each state.
          Wyoming = 1 elector
          California = 0.26 elector

          With no Electoral College:
          190,000 Wyoming voters = same weight as 190,000 voters.

          Any questions?

          (Almost every small state is Republican. THAT is why their leaders invent all the crazy-ass shit about the Electoral College. And Trump.)

          "Mitigate" does NOT mean "fucks over"

          1. "Any questions?"

            Yeah, when will you fuck off and die?

          2. Almost every small state is Republican. THAT is why their leaders invent all the crazy-ass shit about the Electoral College

            The Founders were all Republicans? I did not know that.

            Notice the country is not named The United People of America. Rather, it is named The United States of America reflecting that states are first class entities in their own right and explaining the Senate and the EC vote balance. Recall that the Constitution, as originally ratified, had the Senate representing the states, not the people -- state legislatures picked the Senators and NO vote of the people was required to advise them in that decision.

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  24. "It's Bill of Rights Day. Do Americans Still Care?"

    They're too busy finger fucking their phones.

  25. There's a good chance that Americans are turning against their own liberty because they're deeply concerned that it might be enjoyed by people who disagree with them.

    In the case of some, I think they naively think that their conduct is so obviously correct that it would never fall under the proposed limitations or the likely continued expansion of those limitations. They are, of course, mistaken.

    For example, on liberal web sites (one, in particular, whose primary color theme is rather like this one) it often seems that commenters are in favor of banning "hate speech". And sometimes in the same post use derogatory terms and hateful speech while stereotyping people who they don't relate to - such as Whites, Republicans, Christians, and rural populations.

    It's is rather amusing at times. They seem to live in extremely insular and intolerant worlds where they take turns preaching to the choir, they don't recognize reality. Sometimes I see comments like "I don't know anyone who voted for Trump". I can't decide if it would be worse if they eschew diversity to the point that is actually a true statement or if they are so naive to think that everyone preaches about politics to everyone and that anyone "smart enough" to associate with them certainly would not have voted for Trump even as the lesser of two evils.

    Of course, some of these same people were predicting that the Republican party was forever irrelevant when Obama won and that he was playing 12-Dimensional chess every time (before he lost the House in the first midterm) he seemed to be compromising about something. These people now often believe that if Warren or Sanders is elected, that will be the end of the Republican party and the permanent rise of pure and correct progressive thought.

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