Category: Progressives

What’s so hard about the First Amendment?

I would have thought that the most understood and accepted amendment to the Constitution would be the First Amendment. After all, how hard is it to grasp what freedom of speech means? Put simply, it means you can express yourself and your point of view without being silenced by someone else. Seems simple, right? Well, apparently the folks over at IO9 have only the most strained grasp of what our natural right to freedom of speech is all about.

The first thing we need to understand about freedom of speech, as it was laid out by our founding fathers, is that it is implicitly designed to cover the speech we hate the most. If it wasn’t there would be no reason to acknowledge it in an amendment. Those words should remind us that there is no need to protect a right that we can all agree with – so the intent was to cover ALL speech – particularly the speech we despise.

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Why racists and race baiters are broken in the same way.

I have never understood racism. I suppose we could have a critical discussion about cultural influences that occur because of cultures that are unified primarily by race, but that is a whole other point. No, today I wanted to focus on the fundamental stupidity of racism and how that fundamental stupidity is shared by race baiters.

Racists will run to race as the cause of problems out of intellectual laziness. If a man loses his job, it is easier to blame that black, brown or red family that moved in down the street than it is to explore the idea that they may have just really sucked at their job. Did crime increase in your neighborhood? Must be those [insert race other than your own] that bought the house next door. It is the stupidest kind of cause and effect logic you will find and it allows someone to come to a conclusion that may make them feel better about themselves without having to deal with the pesky realities.

Enter, the race baiter. These folks have come out of the woodwork lately as America wrestles with the Obama administrations policies, Eric Holders interesting approach to law enforcement and an array of other issues. These folks do the exact same thing as your typical racist. No matter how many issues you site as things you have a problem with, their response? “The critics hate Blacks”. It may make them feel better. It may allow them to quickly short circuit any intelligence based assessment of what is going on. But at its core, it is an intellectually bankrupt approach that would feel very comfortable and familiar to anyone with a swastika tattooed on their arm.

The worst part of this is that for those that are just arguing the issues, they feel as if they need to shut up and avert their eyes when these race baiters start heading off into the weeds with their race based accusations. Their logic is faulty. Obama was voted on by a whole lot of folks who were not black. The idea that these same people have suddenly woken up and said to themselves “Holy crap! We elected a black man!” and now attack him because of his race is just plain stupid.

What’s worse is that those of us who let these baiters falsely shame us into silence need to stand and point out the stupidity of their case. Of course, when we see these folks they tend to be on networks where they are left not only unchallenged, but frequently the talking heads in the studio seem to agree with their idiotic conclusion.

We need to each own our little piece of the intellectual battle here. When we are faced with someone buying into this stupidity, we need to make the point that we can have a long, drawn out conversation about what is wrong with the administrations policies without ever needing to mention what color anyone is. If only we could get the members of the media to ask the same hard questions, we would all be better off.

Van Jones and real justice

Over on, I came across a snippet from a speech that Van Jones recently made. I found what he said interesting. Here is the clip:

It is interesting that he first seems to believe that the concept of Justice does not play a central part in what motivates many of us who stand for smaller government, more responsible economic policy and less government handouts, regulations and controls.

On the contrary, Justice is at the heart of what we believe. Mr. Jones however, seems to believe in some sort of croney justice. According to him, each little group deserves their own justice. Blacks, Native Americans, Gays, etc. all seem to need some “Special” justice. ┬áSo yes Mr. Jones. Given that as your definition of justice, we don’t believe in it.

What we believe in is true Justice. The kind of Justice that comes from laws that apply to all people equally. Whether you are a bricklayer or a senator – you get equal Justice under the law. Rich or poor, black or white, gay or straight – ALL enjoy EQUAL justice.

What Mr. Jones seems to believe in is some perversion of “Justice” where it becomes a tool of cronyism and manipulation. He can have it.

Does anyone want to live in a system where an act can be considered just for one group but not for another? Can you imagine the despotism that would flourish under such “Justice”?

Apparently there is a room full of people somewhere listening to this type of rhetoric and they are not taking the next step and actually thinking about what it actually means.

Lets all stand up and make clear that any true Justice is one which applies to all, equally.