Joe Biden is the Gift That Keeps On Giving. Thank God for the man.
I’m a few days behind the curve on this one due to work pressures, but it still needs addressing. Eric Posner gave us this article in Slate onTuesday. Some key points:
But there is another possible response. This is that 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.
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.
Suddenly, the disparagement of other people and their beliefs is not an unfortunate fact but a positive good. It contributes to the “marketplace of ideas,” as though we would seriously admit that Nazis or terrorist fanatics might turn out to be right after all. Salman Rushdie recently claimed that bad ideas, “like vampires … die in the sunlight” rather than persist in a glamorized underground existence. But bad ideas never die: They are zombies, not vampires. Bad ideas like fascism, Communism, and white supremacy have roamed the countryside of many an open society.
The upshot of the article is, the modern interpretation of the First Amendment’s speech guarantees is relatively recent, all sides seem willing to give ground on the issue when their oxen are being gored, and that the prohibition on the government restricting speech in the interest of foreign policy is “bizarre”.
Look, I’m with this guy on aesthetic grounds. Americans have some righteously stupid ideas, ranging from simple naivete to brain-melting evil. I cringe at some of the things my countrymen say and commit to print, and I would love it if they would think through their ideas before spouting off. Disagreements become fights, good ideas sink in a swamp of dreck, and the innocent suffer needlessly. But…..
I recognize this as my problem, and only my problem. Nobody is bound to pay attention to my sensibilities, and I wouldn’t so bind them, even if I could. I may find no value in the views of the people behind Stormfront, for example, but the ideas are theirs, not mine, and it isn’t up to me to decide what they should be allowed to express.
There’s the core of the problem with any scheme to subject fundamental rights to the authority of others, and it’s an absolute dealbreaker: Nobody, but nobody, has the wisdom or moral authority to decide for me or any other functional adult how their life should be lived, what choices they must make, or how they may exercise their rights. Whether the subject is speech, or gun ownership, or anything else, no person or body of persons is any smarter, wiser, or better able to decide the good than anyone else. This is authority we did not cede to you, and you do not have our consent. You may persuade us if you can, you may lecture or rant or hector, but you may not compel.
Liberty by its very nature is messy. It is inefficient and inconvenient. It is supposed to be that way. Voluntary association creates pools of order, but the matrix is the chaos of people doing their own thing, and that chaos is where innovation happens and wealth is born. Stop trying to make free Americans into policy props.
Hello, everyone. I’m RustyGunner, and this is my blog. I’ll be talking about all the things that interest me, or puzzle me, or piss me off. The list is fairly long.
A bit of stage-setting first: I’m 52 years old, married to a delightful lady named Robin, with two children. Shannon is 14, and Christopher is 9. They are usually delightful, although they have their moments. I sell guns for a living, although I have a few sidelines and am trying to get my own business off the ground. I live in southern Maryland, in a pocket of ruraldom only an hour from Washington, DC.
I have a small collection of mostly military-surplus firearms (hence my handle). I enjoy shooting but am not really all that good at it. the core of my problem is that I am cross-dominant (right-handed but left-eyed), and my right eye has been getting weaker the last few years, which means I am having to relearn shooting left-handed.
I have been associated with an organization of very fine people called the Society for Creative Anachronism for 35 years off and on and lived in 4 kingdoms. I am very political, a small-L libertarian of the bombthrowing Minarchist stripe.
There are some basics. Welcome, again, and I hope you find my blog fun and informative. Drop in anytime.