Sunday, April 25, 2010

Free speech is not guaranteed by the 1st Amendment...

April 25, 2010
Colorado, USA

Excellent article!

Progressives in America
by Josie Wales
April 21, 2010

Alexis de Tocqueville traveled to the United States of America in 1831 on assignment from the French government to study the American prison system. One result of those travels was a rather prophetic study of American society, “Democracy in America.” The study consists of two volumes. The first considers American political society, and the second considers American civil society. The entire study is a must read, but my focus is on one of the last chapters.

What Sort of Despotism Democratic Nations Have to Fear

It would seem that, if despotism were to be established amongst the democratic nations of our days, it might assume a different character; it would be more extensive and more mild; it would degrade men without tormenting them.

Soft Tyranny

In essence, the sort of despotism we might find in America today would not be of the sort found in ancient Rome or imperial Russia. The tyrants exercising that sort of despotism were confined to tyranny upon the ruling classes. The vast majority of people would have been unaffected by the actions of one tyrant to another because they were not a source of power. Democracies derive their power from the people, which means despotism cannot exist openly, but that it also affects more people. It becomes “soft despotism,” operating both in the name, and at the expense, of the people.

For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritance: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?

If that statement does not describe the progressive-statist agenda, I do not know what does. Ever since the progressive movement began its push for social engineering funded by income taxation, government has extended its tendrils into every aspect of our lives. Bit by bit, the administrative state has expanded its grasp over the last century. And all of this has culminated in socialized medicine: government regulation over our very lives.

An association for political, commercial, or manufacturing purposes, or even for those of science and literature, is a powerful and enlightened member of the community, which cannot be disposed of at pleasure, or oppressed without remonstrance; and which, by defending its own rights against the encroachments of the government, saves the common liberties of the country.

This does not mean organizations like ACORN, Project Vote or the Secretary of State Project. These groups work for the expansion of government at the expense of liberty by promising false prosperity to the less fortunate in exchange for a vote. Instead, think Tea Party or Citizens United (2010). If anything, organizations that align themselves too closely to government should be viewed with extreme skepticism. Think “too big to fail” or SEIU.

It is therefore most especially in the present democratic times, that the true friends of the liberty and the greatness of man ought constantly to be on the alert, to prevent the power of government from lightly sacrificing the private rights of individuals to the general executions of its designs.

We were caught sleeping at the wheel. During President George W. Bush’s administration, the rhetoric of the progressives espoused the ideas presented in the previous quote. But rhetoric is merely the art of communication, and is separate from the critical thinking involved with logic. Many Americans, lulled to sleep by the “soft despotism” of the administrative state, assumed they were acting in the interest of liberty by electing the likes of President Barack H. Obama, and believed “transformative democracy” was a way to re-establish alleged liberties lost.

It is ever to be feared that revolutionary tendencies, becoming more gentle and more regular, without entirely disappearing from society, will be gradually transformed into habits of subjection to the administrative authority of the government.

Our rights exist outside of the government, or rather, the government is not the guarantor of our rights. As I have argued before, the right to free speech is not guaranteed by the 1st Amendment, but rather, the 1st Amendment precludes government intervention in our pre-existing right to free speech. The 9th Amendment reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people” (emphasis added). The message of “transformative democracy” championed by progressives represents the gentle revolution of subjugation for which de Tocqueville forewarns.

I have sought to point out the dangers to which the principle of equality exposes the independence of man, because I firmly believe that these dangers are the most formidable, as well as the least foreseen, of all those which futurity holds in store; but I do not think they are insurmountable.

And they are not!

Americans are re-awakening to the promises of liberty established and promoted from the founding of our nation.

I close with the final sentence of “Democracy in America”:

The nations of our time cannot prevent the conditions of men from becoming equal; but it depends upon themselves whether the principle of equality is to lead them to servitude or freedom, to knowledge or barbarism, to prosperity or wretchedness.

Source:, Progressives in America

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