September 20, 2018

The Best Anti-Nazi Strategy Is to Let Them Speak

the_blues_brothers_24While the country is still reeling from shocking images of the violence in Charlottesville, VA last weekend, CNN reports the so-called “Alt Right” is planning nine events for this weekend, including a “free speech rally” in Boston. As expected, counter-protests are being planned, although local police in most areas are planning to take measures to keep the adversarial groups apart to avoid violence.

I’m sure this strategy will be criticized because it will give White Supremacists, Neo-Nazis and others of their ilk a safe space to “spew hate.” That’s right; it will. And that’s precisely why it’s the right strategy, for a number of reasons. It should have been employed in Charlottesville. Everyone involved would have been both freer and safer.

The ACLU Is Right on This

A wise man once said, “We don’t have the First Amendment so we can talk about the weather. We have it so we can say very controversial things.” No reasonable person believes the attorneys for the ACLU have any sympathy for what the speakers at the Unite the Right rally were going to say last weekend. But they recognized how important it was to defend their right to assemble and exercise their rights, even to say things the overwhelming majority of Americans find offensive. So, the ACLU went into federal court to get a local decision to revoke the group’s permit overturned.

The pertinent question isn’t “Why let them speak?” It’s “Why not let them speak?” The answer to the latter question is fear. Well-meaning people are genuinely afraid of these people growing their movement. After all, it happened before, right? And it didn’t happen in some Third World backwater, but in one of the leading industrial nations of the world. There are still people alive today who survived that horror.

Read the rest at Foundation for Economic Education…

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

The Irony Everyone’s Missing in the Hamilton-Pence Controversy

hamilton-penceFour days after Mike Pence was lectured by the cast of the hit musical Hamiltonand booed by its audience, the controversy rages on. President-elect Trump sent out the expected angry tweet demanding an apology. The left melodramatically gasped, “freedom of speech,” even though no one has suggested government action against the actors. And, suddenly, the right is more offended than an SJW at an Ann Coulter lecture. Even Trump whined about the theater being a “safe space.”

The only person who doesn’t have a strong opinion on this is Mike Pence. He handledthe situation with uncommon grace, shrugging off the boos from the crowd with a line for the ages: “That is what freedom sounds like.”

All of this pales in comparison to the supreme irony everyone is missing in this whole overblown controversy. Here we have the cast of a musical that holds Alexander Hamilton in an admiring light expressing deep anxiety about a president who just won a stunning upset victory after running his campaign largely based on the political ideas of – wait for it – Alexander Hamilton.

Read the rest at the Foundation for Economic Freedom…

He, She, They, Him, Her. Period.

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Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Trump Protesters, Free Speech and Property Rights

Protestors rally outside the Plaza Hotel on December 11, 2015 in New York, where Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump was speaking at a fund-raising luncheon for the Pennsylvania Republican Party. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Donald Trump had another big night on Tuesday, winning at least three states, including winner-take-all Florida and its 99 delegates. This despite protesters disrupting Trump rallies in Ohio and Kansas and shutting Trump down in Chicago.

The protests have both pro-Trump and anti-Trump factions invoking the First Amendment. Pro-Trumpers say the protesters are violating Trump’s and their own right to free speech. Anti-Trumpers say they are exercising their own. The media are all over the road. The worst assertion is that some sort of “balance” or “compromise” between the two groups’ rights is necessary. It isn’t.

First, let’s get the First Amendment out of the way. There is no way any private citizen can violate the First Amendment. The First Amendment doesn’t govern the citizens. It governs the government. It begins, “Congress shall make no law…”

Originally, this restriction applied only to the federal government. Since a 1947 Supreme Court decision, the courts have considered the First Amendment applicable to state governments as well. But in no case does it apply to private citizens. So, let’s please dispense with statements that include “violating their First Amendment rights,” in relation to Trump, his supporters or their opponents.

The right of free speech doesn’t come from the First Amendment. The right preexists the government. The First Amendment merely guarantees the government won’t violate it, in keeping with the purpose of government itself, according to the Declaration of Independence: to secure these (natural, preexistent) rights.” The First Amendment recognizes the right preexists government explicitly when it says “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech.”

We don’t talk enough about natural, inalienable rights. “Inalienable” means they can’t be taken away, not even by majority vote. So how do we know where one person’s rights end and another person’s begin? The answer can be summed up in two words: property rights.

Read the rest at The Huffington Post…

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

The Right Has It Wrong on Media Matters Campaign Against Limbaugh (Huffington Post)

Three weeks after issuing an apology for his controversial statements about Sandra Fluke, Rush Limbaugh still finds himself under attack. The latest development is Media Matters’ $100,000 ad campaign to persuade advertisers and stations to drop him. Conservative media has come out in support of Limbaugh, arguing that the campaign is “censorship” and an attack on rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.

There are so many parties wrong in this ugly dispute that it’s hard to take any side. Let’s start with a few disclaimers.

I’m a libertarian and while that doesn’t necessarily mean that I agree with conservatives on everything, I agree with Limbaugh’s substantive position on the original issue. I do not believe that the government should force insurance companies to pay for contraceptives. That’s an easy one, because I don’t believe that the government should force any party to a voluntary contract to do anything.

I didn’t particularly like the way that Limbaugh chose to express his position. I don’t believe it was necessary to hurl such vile insults to make his point. At the same time, I don’t think it calls for a campaign to ruin his livelihood. Throughout all of human history, the remedy for an insult has been an apology, even back when overdressed men in stockings used to shoot at each other at twenty paces over them.

Continue at The Huffington Post…

The Free Market Resolved the Sandra Fluke Affair (Tom Mullen on the Daily Caller)

The controversy over Rush Limbaugh’s incendiary statements about Sandra Fluke and Limbaugh’s subsequent apology has reached its second week. In this age of 24-hour news cycles and government involvement in just about everything, we’ve been treated to opinions on this from presidential candidates, pundits, reporters and, of course, the president. Even in the wake of his apology, Limbaugh continues to weigh in.

We’ve also heard this incident discussed from just about every angle. Is this about religious freedom? Is it about a supposed “right to health care”? Is it about “silencing women,” as Fluke herself claimed in a recent interview?

Even Ron Paul missed an opportunity when he opined, “I think he’s [apologizing] because people were taking their advertisements off his program.”

Yes, Limbaugh apologized because he was losing sponsors. But no one on the right or the left seems to be gleaning the most important point here: the free market solved this problem.

Read the rest of the article at The Daily Caller

Orlando Sentinel Op Ed: Vitriol Has Been a Proud Tradition

In the past, it has taken a war for the government to summon the courage to attack the very first right protected in the “Bill of Rights.” While constantly under attack, the right of free speech has withstood the invocation of all manner of horrors to convince people that it must be violated by the government to keep us safe. Now, it seems, the solitary act of a mentally ill man is enough to persuade Americans to falter.

The shooting in Arizona on January 9 was tragic. However, the argument that “irresponsible speech” had somehow helped to motivate it is completely separated from reality. In fact, the assertion that political speech is more “extreme” now than in the past is false. The spewing of raw invective at political figures is one of America’s oldest and proudest traditions.