The Growing Contempt For Freedom Of Speech

Walter E. Williams posted an article at Newsbusters today about the attack on free speech.

The Professor notes:

The First Amendment to our Constitution was proposed by the 1788 Virginia ratification convention during its narrow 89 to 79 vote to ratify the Constitution. Virginia’s resolution held that the free exercise of religion, right to assembly and free speech could not be canceled, abridged or restrained. These Madisonian principles were eventually ratified by the states on March 1, 1792.

Gettysburg College professor Allen C. Guelzo, in his article “Free Speech and Its Present Crisis,” appearing in the autumn 2018 edition of City Journal, explores the trials and tribulations associated with the First Amendment. The early attempts to suppress free speech were signed into law by President John Adams and became known as the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. Later attempts to suppress free speech came during the Civil War, when President Abraham Lincoln and his generals attacked newspapers and suspended habeas corpus. It wasn’t until 1919, in the case of Abrams v. United States, when the U.S. Supreme Court finally and unambiguously prohibited any kind of censorship.

Unfortunately many of our college campuses have lost the concept of free speech and open debate.

The article reports:

Today, there is growing contempt for free speech, most of which is found on the nation’s college and university campuses. Guelzo cites the free speech vision of Princeton University professor Carolyn Rouse, who is chairperson of the department of Anthropology. Rouse shared her vision on speech during last year’s Constitution Day lecture. She called free speech a political illusion, a baseless ruse to enable people to “say whatever they want, in any context, with no social, economic, legal or political repercussions.” As an example, she says that a climate change skeptic has no right to make “claims about climate change, as if all the science discovered over the last X-number of centuries were irrelevant.”

Rouse is by no means unique in her contempt for our First Amendment rights. Faculty leaders of the University of California consider certain statements racist microagressions: “America is a melting pot”; “America is the land of opportunity”; “Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough”; and “There is only one race, the human race.” The latter statement is seen as denying the individual as a racial/cultural being. Then there’s “I believe the most qualified person should get the job.” That’s “racist” speech because it gives the impression that “people of color are given extra unfair benefits because of their race.” Other seemingly innocuous statements deemed unacceptable are: “When I look at you, I don’t see color,” or “Affirmative action is racist.” Perhaps worst of all is, “Where are you from, or where were you born?”

We should reject any restriction on free speech. We might ask ourselves, “What’s the true test of one’s commitment to free speech?” It does not come when people permit others to say or publish ideas with which they agree. The true test of one’s commitment to free speech comes when others are permitted to say and publish ideas they deem offensive.

I hated it when the neo-Nazis were allowed to march in Skokie, Illinois, but that is what free speech means. The concept of hate speech is the antithesis of free speech–it is an excuse for censorship. If you are not comfortable enough in your own ideas to be willing to let others who do not share those ideas speak, then maybe living in a free country isn’t your cup of tea.

A Bit Of Saturday Morning Irreverence

Yesterday Howie Carr posted a wonderful article at The Boston Herald.

The article included the following statement made by President Obama at the Democratic National Convention:

“I can say with confidence there has never been a man or woman — not me, not Bill, nobody — more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.”

Wow. I guess he needs to know more people.

A few gems from the article:

Dwight Eisenhower was the Supreme Allied Commander. Hillary ran the Bimbo Eruptions Unit.

Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. Hillary wrote “It Takes a Village.”

Teddy Roosevelt charged up San Juan Hill. Hillary dodged sniper fire on the tarmac at Tuzla.

Honest Abe, Crooked Hillary.

Lincoln slept in the Lincoln bedroom. Hillary rented it out.

Reagan said, “Tear down this wall.” Hillary said, “Delete them all.”

William Howard Taft threw out the first pitch at a baseball opener. Hillary threw the first vase at a president.

Gerald Ford appointed Justice Stevens. Hillary abandoned Ambassador Stevens.

George Washington wrote letters to John Paul Jones. Hillary wrote a check for $850,000 to Paula Jones.

JFK said, “Ask not….” Hillary said, “Don’t ask.”

George H.W. Bush built oil rigs. Hillary rigged elections.

Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. Hillary delivered three speeches to Goldman Sachs … for $675,000.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It reminds us how short Hillary Clinton’s list of real accomplishments actually is.

 

Parents Need To Pay Attention To What Their Children Are Being Taught In School

Yesterday Fox News posted an article about a paper a Harold McCormick Elementary School in Elizabethton, Tennessee student brought home.

The article reports:

The handout asked “What does it take to be on Mount Rushmore?

The handout then explains that George Washington hailed from Virginia, a “prime breeder of black people.” Of Theodore Roosevelt, it was alleged he called Africans “ape-like.” There were also disparaging remarks made of Thomas Jefferson (he enslaved 200 Africans) and Abraham Lincoln.

Obviously this sort of handout does not encourage racial harmony in the classroom.

The article continues the story:

She (Sommer Bauer) said her jaw dropped when she followed the link to a website that was listed on the handout. Imagine her surprise when up popped the Nation of Islam home page.

The Nation of Islam believes there is no God but Allah. They also aren’t all that keen on white folks or Jewish folks. 

“It raised a number of red flags,” she said. “They are basically saying our Founding Fathers are racists.”

Sommer told me she reached out to the teacher for an explanation – hoping it was an honest mistake.

“At first, she did not recall which paper it was,” she said. “Later in the day, she found the paper and told me she didn’t like what it said – and said she must have printed it by mistake.”

The teacher also told Sommer that her son was not supposed to take the Nation of Islam handout home. It was supposed to stay in the classroom. That bit of news caused her great alarm.

Mrs. Bauer had the common sense to reassure her son that he could bring any papers home from school to his parents because they have his best interests at heart.

The story continues:

The school’s version of events is somewhat different.

Alexander (Superintendent EC Alexander) told me the handout was never meant for public distribution. He said the child took the handout from the teacher’s work station without her permission. He said the teacher had been preparing for a presentation on Mount Rushmore and had discarded the controversial handout.

“It was not an authorized handout,” Alexander said.

Julie West is the president of Parents For Truth in Education, a Tennessee-based group that is opposed to Common Core.

At this point there is no indication the Nation of Islam assignment was connected to Common Core. However, West said she is alarmed by whatever happened at Harold McCormick Elementary School.

“The fact that students were cautioned against allowing their parents to see anything is deeply troubling,” West told me. “The only reasonable explanation is they don’t want parents to know what it is their children are learning.”

I certainly don’t mean to be an apologist for the school – but what if it was just an honest-to-goodness mistake?

“Whatever the reason it came into the classroom, it’s not okay,” she said. “These are not advanced high school students. This is third grade. They should be learning the basics of our country.”

What in the world was a handout from the Nation of Islam doing in an American elementary school classroom?

Ignoring History

One of the best headlines of the day comes from Steven Hayward at Power Line. The headline reads, “Did Something Happen at Gettysburg?” This week is the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Gettysburg. There have been commemorative observances all week of the sesquicentennial observances all week. Neither the President or the Vice-President has attended any of the observances.The mainstream media has not widely covered the events.

Breitbart.com posted the following:

Guelzo (Historian Allen Guelzo, author of the New York Times bestselling book Gettysburg: The Last Invasion) noted that it was mostly just ordinary people who showed up to the Gettysburg memorial, not just Americans but people from around the world who wanted to pay tribute to perhaps the most significant event and moment of sacrifice in our nation’s history. He also noted that the three-day commemoration of the event, July 1-3, was not covered by any of the major networks.

 “Where is the Today Show? Where is Good Morning America?” said Guelzo.

 Attendees have mostly shown great reverence to the honor and sacrifice of the men who fought on both sides of the battle, according to Guelzo. Most have honored Abraham Lincoln’s dictate in the famous Gettysburg Address: “never forget what they did here.” The “they” that Lincoln referred to were the soldiers in uniform on the battlefield 150 years ago who bled and died for the cause and the country that they believed in. 

 Visitors endured torrential rainfall to see the battlefield as tens of thousands came to pay tribute to this special moment in American and world history.

Gettysburg was an important event in American history. It is a shame that the Obama Administration and the mainstream media have ignored it.

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