Posted on | September 26, 2012 | 16 Comments
. . .Americans need to learn that the rest of the world—and not just Muslims—see no sense in the First Amendment. Even other Western nations take a more circumspect position on freedom of expression than we do, realizing that often free speech must yield to other values and the need for order. Our own history suggests that they might have a point.
Despite its 18th-century constitutional provenance, the First Amendment did not play a significant role in U.S. law until the second half of the 20th century. The First Amendment did not protect anarchists, socialists, Communists, pacifists, and various other dissenters when the U.S. government cracked down on them, as it regularly did during times of war and stress.
The First Amendment earned its sacred status only in the 1960s, and then only among liberals and the left, who cheered when the courts ruled that government could not suppress the speech of dissenters, critics, scandalous artistic types, and even pornographers. Conservatives objected that these rulings helped America’s enemies while undermining public order and morality at home, but their complaints fell on deaf ears.
We can argue over ‘significant’ WRT the Sedition Act, Posner, but let me lay this on you: American Exceptionalism (my definition) is the idea that the individual precedes and is superior to the State. This is in stark contrast to Yglesias:
The concept of “redistribution” falsely implies that the existence of property is prior to the existence of the state. #mythofownership
— Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias) September 18, 2012
The rest of the world can be a parade of socialist, green, gay, global warming, theocratic fascists for all I care. The reason that “the rest of the world see no sense in the First Amendment” is that they lack our tradition of self-government. Even the Europeans ate the Treaty of Lisbon. Probably because they are unarmed. Ah, the Second Amendment!
American Exceptionalism is an affront to aristocracy. Or, as we now call it, the Progress. The “Rule of Experts”. Pay no attention to the debt, deficit, lack of a budget, and 2ook pages of U.S. Code. Aristocracy hates liberty, absence of hierarchy in society. So they substitute hedonism for liberty, emotional plays for thought, bullying for leadership, and Socialist Utopia fables for economically sound social systems in a quest to amass, retain, and wield power. But it’s worse. If you review the S.R.C. Hicks series I did a while back, you find gems from the Lefty playbook like:
On the one hand, all cultures are equally deserving of respect; on the other, Western culture is uniquely destructive and bad.
While I don’t mind tolerating others, after a while, a lack of reciprocity leaves the impression that my good nature is being used against me. And I’m having none of that, not from people overseas, and not from my countrymen who, for all their high position, seem to maintain a low opinion of what this country is about.
This is an Exceptional country, and cleaning up the mess of your ilk may take decades, Posner & Yglesias, but your ideas and cheap ploys are going down. A Philippe Reines sign-off to both of you.