July 2, 2007
Freedom Undercut by
Censorship this Fourth of July
We are approaching
another Independence Day holiday, the celebration of the anniversary of
the Founding Fathers' declaration of the American colonies' freedom from
England and, by extension, all mankind from all forms of tyranny. We
tend to take this freedom for granted after some 231 years, but if we do
not remain vigilant it can slip away, as unlikely as that may seem.
Perhaps the corollary to the self-evident truths in the Declaration is
that there is always a self-styled King George III out there trying to
prevent the exercise of our Creator-endowed rights.
This can be seen in
recent attempts to quash free speech, especially of the type that is
insufficiently politically correct or which exposes the truth that
incumbent politicians would rather not be told. The specter of
government dictating or controlling or limiting speech in any way should
be enough to offend all of us, from the most conservative to the most
liberal. Would that we could put aside our focus on the content and
simply defend the rights of those with whom we disagree the most. But
sadly, it doesn't appear that some are capable of that level of
There is, at present, a
three-pronged attack on the First Amendment. All of them serve to
promote the interests of the liberal left, incumbent politicians or
both. But even if that were reversed, these speech-silencing proposals
would be just as wrong and unconstitutional.
as it should be called, the Incumbent Protection Act. It speaks to just
how far down the slippery slope we've already gone that Congress could
pass a bill outlawing criticism of them by name within 60 days of an
election, get a president to sign it and a Supreme Court not to strike
it down immediately. The sheer chutzpah of this brazen attempt at
political censorship should not be ignored. Nor should the fact that the
main writer of this Constitution- trashing bill is running for an office
wherein he would swear an oath to "preserve, protect and defend" that
very same document. How Sen. John McCain hasn't been disqualified from
the campaign by default for this violation of the presidential oath
before even taking it is beyond me.
Roberts Supreme Court just struck down some of the most onerous
provisions, but they still declined to throw the entire monstrosity out.
This means it lies dormant but ready to be exploited to the maximum
extent it can be. And it still has the effect of eliminating the 99.9
percent of us that aren't already millionaires from being able to afford
running for office.
Or as it should be called, the Muzzling Conservative Talk Radio Act.
Never mind that the liberal bias of the mainstream media created the
market for this genre in the first place. Had they been more respectful
toward and accommodating of conservative ideas, perhaps the mainstream
media would still have a large market share and Rush Limbaugh wouldn't
have 20 million listeners. And now, precisely because the liberal
near-monopoly of the mainstream media has been broken, politicians of
that ideological ilk want to silence it by forcing any talk station to
carry a matching number of hours of liberal programming. At the same
time, they won't force CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, PBS, NPR, Time,
Newsweek, the New York Times, the Washington Post,
et. al. to spend half their time on conservative subjects. And that fact
should tell you what this is really all about. It's not enough for
liberals to have virtually the entire mainstream media spewing their
propaganda. The few outlets that espouse a countering view must be made
to spew it too. Or if not that, tie the stations up in expensive
litigation via the FCC and cause them to give up on the format as a
What should happen is
that the broadcast spectrum should be sold off, the FCC seriously scaled
back (if not abolished) and the free market allowed to sort out the
rest. (The idea that government could ever hold the technological means
of speech without inevitably attempting to abuse it for its own corrupt
ends was silly from the start.) If there is an audience for liberal talk
radio, it will survive if not thrive. Of course, the fact that Air
America totally tanked suggests that perhaps there isn't. And liberal
politicians know it, which is why their reaction is to attempt to force
it upon us. We citizens and consumers hold the ultimate power by our
willingness to ruthlessly utilize the remote control and/or off button.
Finally, the idea of government passing anything called the "Fairness
Doctrine" sounds more like something out of George Orwell's 1984
rather than reality. The pure creepiness of that phrase should be
This is the last prong of the attack, used to silence anyone who can be
tangentially related to a crime, however tenuous the link. Or even when
no crime has occurred at all and speech itself is considered a "hate
crime". The most prominent example of this presently is the prosecution
of Christian pastors in Canada and Scandinavia for preaching of the need
to repent of the sin of homosexual behavior. The inevitable effect of
legislation establishing special classes of citizens is that it will be
used as a weapon against those not in those classes or in agreement with
them. It is less about protection as everything from discrimination to
murder is already illegal than a thinly veiled attempt at thought
control. And much like the "Fairness Doctrine," it will run in one
direction only. Don't hold your breath waiting for someone to be charged
with a "hate crime" if it's perpetrated by black on white, female on
male or unbeliever on Christian. In the land where "all men are created
equal," we should not be trying to make some of them more equal than
So on this Fourth of
July, as you enjoy a warm summer evening and watch fireworks light up
the skies, remember the reason this is occurring. Then go find someone
with whom you disagree and resolve together to keep government out of
the censorship business, for both of your sakes.
© 2007 North Star Writers
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