Two-hundred and forty-four years ago today, fifty-six brave men took their lives in their own hands and signed their names to a document almost unprecedented in human history. The Declaration of Independence is a profound statement of Enlightenment principles and has guided the progress and development of human rights and liberal constitutionalism in this nation and across the world. Our nation, and the men who founded it, did not always live up to the lofty principles espoused in our founding documents; chattel slavery, forcible relocation of Native American tribes, Jim Crow, and Japanese internment all are examples of horrendous episodes in which we fell short of those ideals. But to abrogate them entirely because of past hypocrisy or failure is a fool’s errand. In 2020 America (despite all of its flaws), we can say what we wish without fear of government action, worship (or not worship) however we please, advocate for our favored policies without concern for our liberty, and defend ourselves to the fullest extent possible. No matter who resides in the White House, who controls the Congress, or who sits on the Supreme Court, our natural rights remain protected from the avarice or evil of those who would wish to deny us them. In no other society on earth does the individual have more control over his own choices in life, personally, politically, and professionally. We live in the most prosperous, liberal, diverse society that has ever existed in human history; it would do us well to remember that and to see ourselves as lottery winners in a broader world full of tyranny, slavery, and oppression. The United States of America has been a shining city on a hill not only because we have grand ideals of freedom and liberty, but because we have worked incredibly hard over myriad generations to fully embrace and fulfill the promises of the founding. Let us as Americans continue that worthy mission and move our great nation even closer to the full flowering of liberty. Happy Independence Day.
Today, November 21, 2017, will go down in African history as Zimbabwe’s second Independence Day, as the nation’s only leader to this point, 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe, resigned in a letter to the country’s Parliament just as they were in the midst of impeachment proceedings. Crowds in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, have been in riotous celebrations ever since the news broke earlier today, as their 37-year quest to seek new leadership in their artificially-impoverished nation has finally come to fruition.Read More »
“If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”
– Justice Louis Brandeis, Whitney v. California
Before getting into the meat of this section, I have a simple question for you to consider: since the defeat of the Third Reich in 1945, has the United States or any American state ever been governed by a party or individual that has openly espoused fascist or Nazi ideology?Read More »
“It is easy to defend freedom of speech when the message is something many people find at least reasonable. But the defense of freedom of speech is most critical when the message is one most people find repulsive. That was true when the Nazis marched in Skokie. It remains true today.”
Now that I’ve gone through a less-than-concise legal history of the First Amendment in the 20th Century, let’s talk about an organization that has made its own impact on the popular understanding of free speech and assembly in the United States: the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU. Read More »
UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT! WARNING, CONTENT AHEAD MAY BE CONTROVERSIAL OR PROVOCATIVE.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I want to talk about an issue that has been on my mind for a few months now, and that has been in and out of the news since August: the First Amendment to our Constitution and how we should view it in light of today’s rapidly changing political environment.Read More »