Do You Really Want Freedom, Or Are You Just Kidding Yourself?
“The people have always some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness. This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.” ~ Plato “Wherever is found what is called a paternal government, there is found state education. It has been discovered that the best way to ensure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery.” ~ Disraeli A recurring theme among some of the libertarians with whom I interact is: How can we bring freedom and liberty to pass more quickly? How can we mobilize our efforts to topple the coercive state, starting now? One might also ask why these pleas always have an inherent collectivist bent. Why must “we” do anything? I’ve written about this quest before, although contrary to popular belief, I am under no illusion that a fully-anarchic, i.e., stateless, society would be a utopia. That’s not even the point! In fact, I don’t even care one way or the other. (I am not an advocate of freedom for utilitarian reasons.) The unspoken belief seems to be that freedom and liberty arise from strategic planning. (After pretty much every essay I get published, I receive a note from some well-meaning soul who has the next can’t-miss new strategy that will topple the State by the end of the week.) While one could argue that much of the prose on Internet sites such as this one is similarly intended, I would disagree. What I attempt to do here, and what I see others doing here, is exploring the fullness of the libertarian paradigm. That paradigm is based upon individual choices made without aggression upon others. It is only when one’s choices infringe directly upon others that anyone should have a genuine concern. Generally speaking then, the focus is within, not without. Education is a primary goal. Philosophy is the primary focus. Borrowing from Stephen Covey, many people seem overly concerned with changing and/or fixing the world, despite the fact that their bedroom closet might more urgently need attention. As an aside, I won’t venture into the fallacy of the commons (or even the tragedy of the commons) right now, because this essay won’t be long enough. Suffice it to say that the bleeding-heart tendency to impose one’s beliefs on everyone else in the name of a third party—the children, the poor, the homeless, the environment, etc.—got old for me years ago. (The subject does deserve some analysis, though. Maybe I’ll attempt to address it in a subsequent essay.) During a recent long run, I got to thinking about this issue: Getting to “real freedom” and all that. Amidst my own pondering, something I’d heard my market anarchist friend and colleague StefanMolyneux say over and over rang in my thoughts: Freedom begins at home, with you, with that over which you ultimately have the most control. If you are tied to positive obligations that were thrust upon you coercively, from friends, or from family, or dating back to poor childhood lessons, then worrying about the State is a huge waste of time. The vital point: The lessons one uses in direct interaction with those closest to him are reflected back by the society he inhabits, often by the authority paradigm of that society. Stop, in the Name of the Law! While I’m relatively certain that most people were appalled when they read, quite some time ago now, about the 8th grader who was strip-searched for Ibuprofen in California, I fear that if we were to share parenting tactics, our uneasiness with such behavior as that of the vice principal in the story would be more a matter of degree than of morality. More pointedly: Have you ever humiliated one of your children or a supposedly close friend to make a point? Do you remember ever being humiliated by your parents as they strove to establish dominance and authority over you? Have you ever seen an adult humiliated by another adult? Agents of the State act in exactly this way, almost universally. The actions of that police officer in Dallas are but the latest example in long line of repeated scenes form the same shitty movie. Visit almost any airport and you too can “enjoy” similar treatment. There is a reason why people like Manadel al-Jamadi are treated like sub-humans. The belief system that informs people like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld (and all the thugs who have replaced them) also convinces them that they can take any step, no matter how heinous, to maintain the authority they think they’ve been given—morals and ethics be damned. The same could be said of Officer Robert Powell, the Dallas cop noted in the story linked above. According to Business Daily’s Mark Weisenmiller, quoting from Jane Mayer’s “Dark Side,” Jamidi’s last few minutes on Earth were not pleasant: Jamadi was driven first to an Army base for debriefing, where the US Navy SEALs punched, kicked, and struck him with their rifle muzzles for some 20 minutes. Weisenmiller goes on to say: Jamadi was later interrogated by CIA operatives at Abu Ghraib prison, where he was hung up by his wrists, and subsequently killed. This is an extreme example, but it points to what I believe is a general trend. How can one protect freedom by taking it away from someone else, without regard for basic morality? Here’s a video of a sheriff’s deputy “laying the wood” to a suspect in an undercover drug bust. While most freedom advocates would label such behavior as both heinous and dastardly, I would be willing to bet that there are people reading this column who feel, conversely, that punishment such as spanking, slapping, or other physical infringements are sometimes appropriate. (A relative of mine told me that Plaxico Burress deserves whatever he gets, for the heinous infraction of carrying a gun without the state-mandated paperwork.) My question: How does one decide? Here’s the thing: If you can punish a slave to your heart’s content when he’s “yours,” why wouldn’t he take the same approach when he gets the chance, if and when the tables are turned? It is this psychological phenomenon that made “straw bosses” so effective during the times of chattel slavery in the U.S. Similarly, it is this psychological phenomenon that supports putting the child who is the biggest behavior problem in charge while the teacher is out of the room. Further, and maybe more worrisome is this: At what point does the type of heinous behavior and treatment of prisoners at places like Abu Ghraib become commonplace in detention centers in the U.S. ? (Hell, for all I know, it’s already happening.) At what point will the punishment for previously-minor offenses migrate up towards the death penalty, like some episode of Star Trek gone terribly off-track? We already have people in the U.S. serving prison time for the offense of lying. When an agent of the State believes that his orders justify the most basic mistreatment of his fellow man, it’s only a hop, skip, and jump to enemy combatants on home soil —and I’m not talking about only people who look like Muslims—being treated the same way. If the Milgram Experiments and the Stanford Prison Experiments taught us anything, it’s that people will follow orders—naked authority—to almost any end, despite data and indications (and even signals from conscience) to the contrary. It is this seminal truth that guarantees that the State, any state, no matter how constructed, no matter who is “elected” to run it, no matter what documents supposedly justify its creation and protect those under its control, will, in time, become a bubbling cesspool of rights infringement and totalitarian conduct. He That Treats Others as a Child Will Himself Be Treated Like a Child? Do lessons learned early in one’s life, both in the home and at school, drastically negatively affect the ability of a society to embrace liberty and freedom? Examining childhood lessons, some would say we over-protect our children. I tend to agree. Says one pundit: Fears regarding safety and litigation have resulted in playgrounds that are unchallenging and unappealing to young people. Parents are obsessively concerned with protecting their children and this is leading to their offspring not developing the resilience and physical skills that they need. While one might argue about how much actual resilience is developed on the playground, and I don’t care to do so, few would argue (I hope) with the negative effect of the creeping sheep-like treatment the State gives its citizenry. The State systematically over-protects its citizens, to very negative effect. The State is composed of people with beliefs. How much of this penchant toward over-protection stems from ideas developed during childhood only later to be implemented? One could certainly blame public education for much of this problem, but that might also be a convenient scapegoat. One could also suggest that such behavior—protectionism versus freedom—is endemic in humans. No matter how one learns such lessons, one thing is undeniable: the State treats each of us as children because too many of us believe that such behavior is appropriate. More troubling, we ourselves practice this behavior. For example, focusing on one specific area, and returning again to children and family, almost everyone has heard the phrase: “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” I’ve heard it more times than I care to remember. (In full disclosure, I also believed it, or so I thought, for far longer than I’d care to admit.) I don’t intend to debate the morality of corporal punishment. Instead, I wish to place it in the same moral context as similar punishments meted out by agents of the State. Ironically, while getting my periodic dose of The Blog of Tim Ferriss, of “The 4-Hour Work Week” fame, I came across a fascinating post from a woman who “escaped” from her Amish sect. In the comments of response to her story one can find, among several interesting musings, a discussion of this supposedly Biblically-derived phrase which is generally used to justify physical punishment of children. The fascinating tidbit was this: The Bible doesn’t actually contain that phrase. The sentiment is apparently a paraphrase of Proverbs 13:24, which says: He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. While I’m certainly no Biblical scholar, it seems to me a bit of a self-fulfilling prophesy to use that single verse as a justification for physical abuse. Back on Ferriss’s blog, a poster simply shown as “Betsy” offered what I believe is the most humane (and libertarian) translation of that verse: “Spare the rod and spoil the child” is actually analogous to the rod of the shepherd. It’s really a beautiful, sentimental teaching that has been totally perverted by some. The poster went on: A good shepherd never beats the sheep, but uses the rod to guide them with a gentle touch. That this homily should justify child abuse is the exact opposite of its intended meaning, which is “by failing to guide your child with love and instilling discipline (not punishment) in a consistent and gentle way, you ruin the child’s chances of successfully functioning in relationships and society as a whole.” Indeed! This sentiment seems to resonate with the non-aggression axiom. How can the thugs with whom so many of us deal claim to be protecting anyone from anything? (They certainly aren’t gently guiding anyone, either.) Here’s the real irony: The people who take actions such as those police officers or that vice principal, on behalf of the State, very likely learned those lessons at home or at school, as children themselves. Each time one teaches those closest to him from this playbook, he deepens the chasm between freedom and the routine acceptance of the State’s naked authority. He also lengthens the time it will take to fill that chasm. Frank Herbert, the author of Dune, is credited with saying: If you think of yourselves as helpless and ineffectual, it is certain that you will create a despotic government to be your master. The wise despot, therefore, maintains among his subjects a popular sense that they are helpless and ineffectual. There is an important corollary to this insight. If you think of others as helpless and ineffectual, you will erect systems—often despotic systems—designed, so you think, to help those people overcome their helplessness. As a result, you will only enslave them. In the effort, you will eventually enslave yourself as well. Please note that this is true no matter the supposedly objective evidence one uses to justify the treatment, be it age, race, gender, culture or something else. Conclusion One of the most interesting theories I have ever heard regarding freedom came from Molyneux during one of many discussions. He asserted that much of the damage to the fabric of voluntary interaction in society stemmed from violent, coercive behavior in the family unit. I admit that this hypothesis initially took me aback. (With apologies to Dune, I guess my imperial conditioning was strong.) Honestly though, the assertion that family violence is all too common is not worthy of much debate. If one can’t see the similarity among how a TSA screener treats an airline passenger; how a teacher or principal treats a student; and how far too many parents treat their children—well, freedom and liberty are much further away than I could ever hope. (Of course, the parent who really wants to prepare his children for well-practiced performance during airport screening can obtain a Playmobil Security Check Point toy. Start them young!) C.S. Lewis was prescient when he said: Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. While it’s neither my place nor my goal to advise anyone about how to raise their children, several observations seem reasonable. These observations seem particularly germane to the statist authority paradigm and from where it seems to emanate. Whether it’s letting a child out of the house without prior written permission and accompanying signed documents, selecting the foods your son or daughter can eat, without discussion or education, or (my personal favorite) slapping your child in the mouth for being sassy, the similarities remain clear. Anyone who thinks such practices make sense probably shouldn’t be too aghast if the State seeks to forcibly protect them from transfats. Neither should they be surprised when somebody gets tased for not kowtowing to some random person wearing a uniform. These examples occupy different social contexts but exemplify strikingly similar moral content. Krishnamurti pointed out the truth when he said: Your parents are frightened, your educators are frightened, the governments and religions are frightened of your becoming a total individual, because they all want you to remain safely within the prison of environmental and cultural influences. I’d say it’s about time we each break out of that prison. Sure, the State is a huge problem, but the State is just people. The treatment we practice, the treatment we allow, and the treatments we will receive are inexorably linked. Maybe liberty is a learned behavior and maybe we all need to change the lessons we allow and practice? And now, if you'll excuse me, my bedroom closet needs attention.Source: Strike the Root
"In a Democracy there is no right not to be offended. Anyone ought to be free to say whatever they like. If someone says things that are offensive, gratuitous and stupid, one has to assume there will be others able to demonstrate that what someone said was offensive, gratuitous and stupid."
"The holocaust is an ideological club, used to hold Germany in a vice like grip. In the early nineties these organisations discovered an opportunity to shake down European Governments and now they have run amok. They are pursuing blackmail and therefore they should be indicted and tried as criminals before the courts."
"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all. "
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Make Congress Read Their Bills Before Voting
Make Congress read every word of every bill they create before they vote on it. Urge your Representative and your Senators to sponsor DownsizeDC.org's “Read the Bills Act” (RTBA).
TWIC - A Backdoor Real ID Card
Real ID is dying. But the Department of Homeland Security has a new plan to subject every American to a national ID card anyway. They plan to pick off one occupational field at a time, starting with the maritime industry. One man is fighting back. Meet him, and help stop this backdoor Real ID plan.
Make Congress pass DownsizeDC.org's “One Subject at a Time Act”
Most Americans probably believe a bill has to have majority support in Congress before it can become the law of the land. Sadly, this common sense expectation is totally wrong. Congressional leaders routinely pass laws that a majority opposes. DownsizeDC.org believes every bill should have to stand or fall on its own merits. Toward this end we have crafted the “One Subject at a Time Act” (OSTA).
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Unelected bureaucrats create tens-of-thousands of new dictates each year. Making rules is the job of Congress, not bureaucrats. DownsizeDC.org has drafted the “Write the Laws Act” to end bureaucratic “legislation without representation."
Bring John Shadegg's 'Enumerated Powers Act' to a Vote
t's time for Congress to, "Cite it, chapter and verse." Where do they derive their authority? When they pass new laws or spend taxpayer money, they should be required to point to specific language in the Constitution. The Enumerated Powers Act would require them to do precisely that. Help us bring this bill to a vote.
Top 11 Reasons You Should Fight Hate Laws
Unless we resist now, a thought crimes bureaucracy like those regulating Australia, Canada and Europe will soon rule America. In these nations, federal hate laws have destroyed citizens' rights to free speech. Punishment of politically incorrect bias is the ultimate goal of this legislation.
A national hate law would shatter Americans' First Amendment rights, which are now sadly unique among Western democracies. We would lose our precious freedom to express politically incorrect ideas, moral judgments, or whatever personal convictions the reigning thought police deem "hateful."
Think this can't happen in America? Think again.
Hostile work environment law and campus speech bans already severely curtail free expression in American workplaces and universities. A US federal hate law would follow the examples of Europe, Canada, and Australia where Christian pastors have been indicted simply for quoting politically incorrect Scripture in their sermons. Iceland's Orwellian hate law, for example, promises two years' jail if you verbally "insult" a person on the basis of their nationality, skin color, race, religion, or sexual orientation.
If a federal hate law were passed, free expression across the political spectrum would be threatened. What would happen to blasphemous art like Piss Christ or South Park, to Ann Coulter or Al Franken, to Christians protesting sodomy or homosexuals attacking the Bible? Every American, from left-leaning feminists to red state Republicans, should protest "anti-hate" legislation. If Rosie O'Donnell were an Icelander, she could have been prosecuted for verbal "assault" for her recent statement that radical Christianity is as dangerous as radical Islam. Political activists in nations with hate laws have already been indicted for criticizing Islam, Zionism, and homosexuality. Hate laws threaten your freedom to speak your mind, no matter what's on it.
Here are some of the most powerful, bipartisan reasons to fight this legislation.
1. Speech bans are a political weapon used by those in power to silence their opponents and politically unpopular minorities.
Hate laws empower the government to enforce the orthodoxy of whoever happens to be in charge. The government can define which biases or "hatreds" are unacceptable and which are okay. For instance, hate laws in our PC age allow women to derogate men but would silence men from legitimate (though possibly hurtful) speech like a discussion of biological gender differences.
In 2004 Swedish feminist Joanna Rytel wrote a hate-filled screed published in a major daily. Her article describes white men as arrogant, sex-obsessed and exploitative, explaining that Rytel just wants to "puke" on them. Stockholm authorities refused to indict Rytel under their hate law, saying it was passed to protect ethnic minorities, not white Swedes. This is one example of speech bans' uneven enforcement; they are used to punish certain kinds of hate and allow others.
Because almost every exercise of free speech offends someone, government officials would end up enforcing speech bans on the basis of their own bias. Speech bans simply can't be evenhanded unless everyone is shut up altogether.
In the real world, speech can and does wound. That's a cost of life. We naturally resent painful realities like economic competition, unfair comments, and hard work. But in each case, the cures we've tried were far worse than the sickness. Speech bans might censor some hurtful speech but would empower government to silence minorities and strip the intellectual marketplace of legitimate and needed expression-the kind that creates positive, social change precisely because it is minority and challenges the sins of the group.
2. Hate speech bans don't work.
Genuine racism and false hatreds exist in this world. Bans on hate speech, however, won't solve the problem. If you only break off a tick's body, its head will burrow deep beneath the skin. The only effective response to bad ideas is the truth. We should combat falsehoods with more and freer discussion, not less.
3. Hate laws aren't necessary.
ADL claims an epidemic of hate sweeps America that can only be fought with stiffened penalties for bias-driven crimes. Yet the FBI's 2005 Uniform Crime Report shows alleged hate crimes form a tiny 1/15 of 1 percent of all crime in America. Law enforcers' time would be far better spent fighting the 99.85 percent of crime that's happening every minute across our nation rather than getting entangled in discerning and testifying against the perceived motivations of a tiny minority of criminals.
Hate laws would require vast government bureaucracies, complicate law enforcement, and distract police and prosecutors from dealing with actual physical crimes. Government and law enforcement should focus on criminal acts, not words or motivations, in a nation where someone is murdered every 22 minutes, raped every 5, robbed every 49 seconds and burgled every 10 seconds. Discerning and prosecuting criminal motivations would only be a good plan if law enforcers had God's omniscience and time to waste. Ours have neither.
4. Hate speech bans are unconstitutional.
Because the First Amendment underwrites our most precious civil liberty, the US Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled against speech bans. In 1972 the Court declared, "[A]bove all else, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its contents." (Police Department of Chicago v. Mosley, 408 U.S. 92)
Some forms of speech are restricted; these include threats and "fighting words" that incite "an immediate breach of peace." But these restrictions are (and must remain) extremely narrow and content-neutral-the government is not allowed to censor speech based on the viewpoint it expresses but only on whether it constitutes an immediate threat. Hate laws, however, would punish the viewpoints expressed in speech, in violation of the Constitution.
International use of ADL-designed hate laws shows that the first kinds of speech to be sanctioned are extreme right, white nationalist speech and Holocaust reductionism. The average person is slow to defend such speech. But hate laws quickly broaden to punish forms of expression the average citizen would never dream of stifling. Sweden's 2002 modified hate law, for example, explicitly exposes Christian sermons to prosecution!
All forms of controversial political and religious speech are potentially vulnerable to prosecution under hate laws. This contradicts Supreme Court Justice Holmes Jr. who said in 1929, "[I]f there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment [loyal defense] than any other, it is the principle of free thought-not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought we hate."
5. Speech bans will be used against the very minorities they were meant to protect.
Speech bans silence some to protect the feelings of others. But when the government has power to silence expression that power can be wielded against the very people who once enjoyed its protection. Liberals, the champions of unrestrained speech in the 1960s, now vote as a bloc in Congress to support speech restrictions. Yet already in countries such as Canada, England and Australia, leftist critics of Islam have become the victims of hate laws, indicted for religious "hate speech."
Leftist artists Rowan Atkinson and Salman Rushdie realize hate laws don't just threaten white nationalists like David Duke but liberals as well- they recently fought for revision of Britain's hate law because it could be used to outlaw art that blasphemes or criticizes religion. Atkinson and Rushdie are just a few of hate laws' leftist critics who know that persons of all political persuasions have a stake in defeating this legislation.
6. Speech bans chill legitimate and valuable speech.
Under the threat of possible indictment, many people will refrain from discussing controversial but important ideas. Speech bans are often broad and vague, leaving citizens unsure what might get them hauled into court.
This is what has happened in American workplaces, where hostile work environment law has left many employees unsure what they can say. Many Americans avoid all controversial speech and voluntarily refrain from exercising First Amendment rights at work. Hate laws would extend this dangerous minefield to the national political scene.
Legal philosopher Edmond Cahn points out that speech bans would leave our bookshelves empty. "[T]he officials could begin by prosecuting anyone who distributes the Christian gospels, because they contain many defamatory statements not only about Jews but also about ChristiansThen the officials could ban Greek literature for calling the rest of the world "barbarians." Roman authors could be suppressed because when they were not defaming the Gallic and Teutonic tribes, they were disparaging the ItaliansThen there is Shakespeare, who openly affronts the French, the Welsh, the Danes" (Beyond the Burning Cross, E. Cleary, Random House, 1994)
7. Speech bans greatly reduce the possibility of healthy, democratic change.
Criminalizing speech that expresses "hate" or "bias" would require us to outlaw history's most valuable speech, especially the political and religious speech that threatens social stasis and ignites progress.
Aggressive speech is often the only tool available to political, social, or religious minorities whose access to government lobbying and mass media is limited. Those agitating for social change often need to use inflammatory and even "hateful" language to startle the public into hearing their message. Socrates compared himself to a horsefly biting the lazy flanks of his republic. We should certainly know enough by now to prefer the annoyance of stinging speech (even when we don't see its value) to a tyrannical majority that plods, unchallenged, toward slavery.
Americans are so used to our mudslinging, no-holds-barred political discourse that we find it hard to envision the way freedom of speech could disappear. But the freedom we enjoy is extremely rare in history, and quickly lost. Free expression for intellectuals is the first thing to go when tyrants rise to power; the history of oppressive regimes makes it clear that freedom of political speech is a delicate exception and the overarching tendency is for majorities or elites to get power and silence all opposition.
8. The government's interest in reducing violent crime does not outweigh our interest in preserving civil liberty.
Hate law advocates including the ADL argue that hateful speech incites violence, and appeal to the government's interest in reducing violent crime. But it would be unfair to ban, for instance, white racist speech or Christian sermons against homosexuality without also banning the plethora of other speech that might incite crime. Gangsta rap and videogames would be open to censure; we would also have to ban pornography, especially sadomasochistic porn, which certainly inspires violence against women.
Yet bans against these kinds of speech have been repeatedly declared unconstitutional. The government has an interest in lowering violent crime of all stripes but has always found the value of the First Amendment to be greater. It's unjust to argue that a few kinds of speech must be banned because they possibly incite violence (e.g., criticism of Jewish actions or homosexuality) yet permit huge categories of speech (violent sexual entertainment) that do the same. This would happen, however, under hate laws' unequal and partial enforcement. The ADL is not truly driven by the desire to reduce violent crime but rather to enforce a social and political orthodoxy.
Instead of passing a hate law that would shatter the First Amendment and impossibly complicate law enforcement, people concerned with hate-driven crimes should focus on improving our existing justice system and making sure hard crimes don't go unpunished.
9. Speech bans are offensively paternalistic.
They presume we can't think for ourselves, reject racist or hateful ideas for ourselves, or deal with the hurt caused by others' free expression. Are we such children that we need the government to cover our ears? Speech bans especially condescend toward the minorities they portray as helpless victims whose feelings must be sheltered from ideas they can't combat in a free intellectual market.
10. Speech bans permit government to do something an individual could not morally do.
Frederic Bastiat's classic treatise on The Law says government exists only to prevent injustice by defending our basic rights to person, liberty, and property. Government does not exist to guarantee our economic outcomes, redistribute our wealth, or protect our psyches. Speech bans would empower government to silence individuals by force. This is immoral whether it's one person silencing another person or the government silencing a fringe group of dissenters. Human fallibility requires at least enough humility to allow others to question, challenge, and dissent from our ideas. John Stuart Mill explains, "If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
11. Speech bans deny self-determination and individual freedom by criminalizing self-expression.
By censoring speech, hate laws censor thought and restrict our access to ideas. This is the essence of mind control. They deny the personal growth that comes from sharing ideas-including hateful, prejudiced, or false ideas-and having them challenged in a free intellectual marketplace.
Hate law speech bans have been repeatedly declared unconstitutional and would rend the very foundation of our freedom and democracy. Far from combating hate, The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act is actually the most hateful and enslaving legislation to ever reach Congress; it would invade states' rights in law enforcement, enabling a hate crimes bureaucracy to police our thoughts and expression. Government could censor by force all speech that dissents from the reigning orthodoxy. Every American must speak up now in defense of the freedom for which our forefathers gave their very lives.
Freedom of expression is one of the most fundamental rights that individuals enjoy. It is fundamental to the existence of democracy and the respect of human dignity. It is also one of the most dangerous rights, because freedom of expression means the freedom to express one's discontent with the status quo and the desire to change it. As such, it is one of the most threatened rights, with governments - and even human rights groups - all over the world constantly trying to curtail it.
Make your voice heard today or it will be silenced tomorrow.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."
"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government. . . lest it come to dominate our lives and interests."
"Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle! Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."
Edward R. Murrow
"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it."
"“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.”
"You measure democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists."
Martin Luther King Jr.
"An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law. "