“If there is a bedrock principle of the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.”
Source: United States Suprime Court Justice William J. Brennan
I went looking for just the right words to start this post. And found them coming from what, at first glance, might be considered a very odd choice. Justice Brennan is considered by many to be one of the most, if not the most progressive Justice of the last century. For much of that hundred years, those on the left and far left, embraced the first amendment with an almost singular passion and devotion. Other amendments may have caught their eye from time to time, as the situation warranted, but the first … ahhh the first … that was theirs! Freedom of Speech was paramount, above all else. Nothing (and no body) was sacred in their free flowing verbal onslaught. Especially from the mid 60’s to the current day, it was “Truth to Power” baby!
For those of us in our 50’s and older who remember the changing of the guard with Cronkite’s overt handling of the news vis-a-vie Viet Nam, and Woodward & Bernstein as the media tipping point (for the most part) and the actions of a portion of our fellow “youth” of that time, and of course the rebels on campus, in the media, and print. The seeds may have been planted a generation or two before ours, but the rotted fruit from those seeds was there for the taking starting in the mid 60s. And it never stopped.
Now here is the first part which will perhaps make you wonder. Other than those who went beyond mere thoughts and words, the ones who actually acted on what they said or specifically provided plans of action and specific timetables for same (the Weather Underground for example), even though I may find the content of their words to be offensive on any level it is with in their “rights” to put it out there. What kind of verbal response they get for it is something they might not like, expect, or agree with. But such is the result of having a society in which freedom of speech, especially that which is of a political nature is going to produce.
Some speech is thought provoking, some provocative. Other is offensive and childish. Some is just plain stupid. (Or at best poorly thought out.) But all is protected by the first amendment.
Or it was up until a day or so ago.
It would appear those very same folks who champion the first amendment. will seek to limit its authority, its status as an inalienable right, to those whose ideals, thoughts, and words are not in alignment with theirs. (Hypocrisy meet Progressives, Progressives meet Hypocrisy … oh I see you both are well aquatinted … never mind, shall we continue?)
Now I don’t know Travis Corcoran. I know I have seen him around the net, and I know I have visited his site. I provide the link but as noted elsewhere, it is down with both a 403 AND 404 errors popping up. I would like to believe this is due to heavy traffic, vice government interference, but the cynic in me wonders. In any case, I hope he is back up and about soon. I don’t agree with what he said, but to quote Evelyn Beatrice Hall (who is paraphrasing Voltaire); “I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
This is as far as this whole thing should have transpired. Apparently the Arlington Ma. PD felt differently (whether acting alone, or on additional information, or pressure from outside sources, or sources higher up, remains to be seen at this point). They have not only revoked his firearms license, but have confiscated at least some, if not all, of his personal “collection” of firearms. As noted at Borepatch, Neanderpundit , and many others to come, this is a direct violation of the second amendment.
For whatever reason, it appears the government has been targeting those who are not in alignment with them or their agenda. This is, to the best of my memory the most blatent act against the first two amendments which I can ever recall seeing.
Remember the following, it is directly applicable to this.
First they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Source: Pastor Martin Niemoller
It is for this reason, if there were no others*, like Borepatch, and Og at Neanderpundit, I too am TJIC.
And with the welcome addition of Mark Alger at Baby Troll Blog and at Eternity Road , the ranks grow larger. Borepatch has a much more detailed list here.
Also, as an aside, like Borepatch notes at his site feel free to take the graphic above (and attribue same to Borepatch, by linking to his original post please!!). The one in the sidebar was based on his work, but modified by me. I would consider it a kindness, should you chose to use it, to attribute it to him as well. All I did was fine tune it a bit.
Apparently USA Today finds all of us who are gathering together in voicing our outrage to Travis’s travails, along with our general distain toward those who would trample on our 1st and 2nd amendment rights, as being “associates” of Travis. Personally I would not mind that at all, if it were true. But alas, I have never met the man in person, nor have any of us received our boatloads of cash from the vaults of the vast right wing conspiracy (though I wait by my mail box every day hoping a check will show up … guess they are like the old Publisher’s Clearing House, just a bunch of big teases).
*I am willing to bet TJIC and I may share more then just our fondness for comics, I doubt we are in lock step, but I bet we would find a beer or two and some good conversation to be quite a good thing.