Waiving or waving the Constitution 5

We ask an urgent question:

MILLIONS OF OUR ANCESTORS GAVE THEIR LIVES TO SAVE OUR LIBERTY. WILL WE NOW GIVE UP LIBERTY TO SAVE OUR LIVES?

Governors are using fear of the coronavirus pandemic to assume tyrannical powers.

The Democratic governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, for example, believes she has the right in such an emergency to issue dictatorial orders.

But the Republican governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem, takes a contrary view. She defends the liberty granted to all Americans by the Constitution, in which there is no instruction that it must – or may – be suspended if a pandemic occurs.

We quote from an article by Jodi Giddings from Victory Girls, where “outspoken conservative women” express their opinions:

Americans are growing restless. We’ve done a decent job of doing what we can to help quell the coronavirus outbreak, but some of us are recognizing that many of our governors and other officials are jumping headlong into dictator-status in their efforts to fight coronavirus (or at least that’s the excuse they’re using). In response, a growing number of us are opposing the overreach. We’re Americans; we’re hard workers; we love our freedom; so it’s in our nature to resist anyone usurping our rights. And no two governors in America stand in starker contrast than Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer and South Dakota’s Kristi Noem.

You might have heard that Whitmer restricted hydroxychloroquine a couple of weeks back, and most recently ordered that no group of any size may congregate, and has decided for her constituents what is and is not “essential” to their daily lives. … So, no, you can’t buy seeds and plants for which to grow your own food until she says you can, plebes. And to you small businesses: go get a small business loan and shut up.

Except Michiganders are not shutting up.

More than 15,000  cars and trucks “descend[ed] on Michigan’s state capital on Wednesday to protest what they’re calling Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s tyrannical new guidelines to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in the state”.

Why? Because they recognize that freshman Governor Whitmer has governed like a dictator. …

She was forced, by active protest and a lawsuit, to “amend her dictate”.

The media had to report, though no doubt they hated to:

“Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is backing down in t“““he face of a pro-life activist’s federal lawsuit against her and Detroit police.”

… She got caught violating the First Amendment rights of her constituents. But make no mistake, the woman who’s made herself the decider of what is and isn’t “essential” would have continued trampling all over the Bill of Rights had no one punched her in the neck.

“Quarantine is when you restrict movement of sick people. Tyranny is when you restrict the movement of healthy people,” Meshawn Maddock, an organizer of the protest with the Michigan Conservative Coalition, told Fox News. “Every person has learned a harsh lesson about social distancing. We don’t need a nanny state to tell people how to be careful.”

The other governor discussed in the article has no wish to be a political nanny:

In contrast, Governor Noem of South Dakota has thus far refused issuing a stay-at-home order, or dictates that tell her citizens what they can and cannot buy, or where they can and cannot go….

For which she was subjected to “near-constant slings and arrows from just about every direction”, especially from the media.

She’s issued guidelines [for keeping safe], but Noem, to her credit … remains rooted in the principles of freedom and personal responsibility.

She declared that she had faith in the people of South Dakota. Which is to say, in their common sense.

The South Dakota Medical Association sent Noem a letter last week asking her to issue a stay-at-home order but there’s no indication she has any plans to reverse course.

And just yesterday, Noem proactively announced a statewide hydroxychloroquine clinical trial to test the malaria drug’s effectiveness on battling, and even preventing, coronavirus.

She said:

“The public deserves the truth. And the truth is all the facts. And I would appreciate it if our media would remember that.”

Jodi Giddings believes South Dakota will gain residents. And we expect it will. Because people move from oppression to freedom.

I predict South Dakota will gain itself some freedom-seeking residents post haste

The moral of the story is this: we are witnessing in real time what socialism looks like. The bread lines, the joblessness, the freedom-crushing dictates, the withholding of life-sustaining necessities that are inherent in that destructive system are on full display all across our nation. But we are also witnessing what the bedrock, unwavering principles of liberty look like, where a governor with a spine of steel, against massive pressure from all around her, has resisted the siren song of “give up your liberty for a little security”.  Instead she has empowered both her citizens to make their own decisions on how to keep themselves and others safe amid this health crisis, and her state’s medical professionals to make the right decisions for their patients without her interference. … And the [clinical] trial will both save lives and provide further data about the drug’s effectiveness to the country itself in its time of need, all without draconian dictates from the executive.

The contrasts between the two governors amid this crisis are clear: tyranny versus freedom; dependence versus self-reliance.

The shut-downs must end; Americans need to get back to work.

No to liberty, yes to libertinism 5

Yesterday we discussed the Left’s excitement over the prospect of controlling us all by using the internet and a multitude of other surveillance techniques. (See the post immediately below: The end of liberty? April 28, 2020)

Now we note an exception. There is one activity the would-be controllers, or at least an avant-garde among them, do not want to control. Do not want anyone to control. Would not allow anyone to control.

Even – or especially – self-control is to be discouraged. No, forbidden.

The name of this exception?

Sexual intercourse. 

In this vision of lust set free, there are no moral restrictions. No one will be let off because of feelings of shame or modesty. Every body must be ungrudgingly available to every other body.

But has such a vision been actually added to an avant-garde progressive agenda? Is this concupiscent dream being openly expressed?

Well yes – incipiently. There is a slow viscous movement, likely to flow strongly soon, towards normalizing polygamy, polyamory, “non-monogamism”.

Monogamy is above all things hated by its proponents. But they are not just against marriage and the “nuclear family”. They are for

John Murawski, writing at The Daily Signal, explains what they are for:

Activists are moving to dismantle the legal and social barriers to polyamory, and say their goals are beginning to take shape….

Polyamorists are at present scorned, but the arc of lechery bends towards libertinism:

Not too long ago … marginalized groups [such as homosexuals] were also viewed as unnatural, depraved, or inferior, until negative judgments became socially unacceptable and often illegal.

The aspirations of non-monogamists don’t sound like such a moonshot in an increasingly tolerant society where a transgender man can menstruate and experience childbirth, and Pete Buttigieg, a gay man married to another man, can make a serious run for U.S. president.

As the topic breaks into the mainstream, some churches are beginning to grapple with the issue, and polyamorous students are forming university clubs and organizing events.

“There is plenty of evidence that consensual non-monogamy is an emerging civil rights movement,” said Heath Schechinger, a counseling psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, and co-chair of the Consensual Non-Monogamy Task Force, recently created within the American Psychological Association. “I’ve heard from a number of people advocating for relationship structure diversity over the past 20 years who are elated about this issue finally gaining traction.”

What? Is this a satire, you ask? Not at all. The issue is serious and important.

Activists are already working with elected officials in more than a dozen local governments, especially in California, to expand local anti-discrimination ordinances to include a new protected class, “relationship structure,” said Berkeley psychologist and poly activist Dave Doleshal.

Most efforts are at the informal stage but the city of Berkeley did consider a formal proposal to extend protections in housing, employment, business practices, city facilities, or education to swingers, polyamorists, and other non-monogamists.

The proposal stalled last year amid concerns that it would have required employers to provide health insurance to numerous sexual and romantic partners outside of marriage.

Undaunted by that setback, advocates continue to generate a body of ideas and theories that normalize non-monogamy as a form of positive sexuality—and possibly an identity—following a script followed by other marginalized groups.

Their efforts have led to reassessments of non-monogamy in the psychological and legal fields, contending the relationships are emotionally healthy and ethical, and thus forging a social movement with a shared identity, shared vocabulary, shared history, and a shared desire for full recognition.

And, yes, there is already a polyamory pride flag.

 

Over the past two decades, nearly 600 academic papers have been written on the subject of non-monogamy, according to one count, including an assessment of the benefits to children in polyamorous families.

Such research creates a body of scholarship to counteract ingrained social attitudes that poly advocates call prejudices and misconceptions.

At the same time, the field has spawned more than 50 books, mostly written by women, said Kenneth Haslam, 85, a retired anesthesiologist and polyamorist in Durham, North Carolina, who helped create the polyamory history archive at the Kinsey Institute in Bloomington, Indiana.

Brian Watson, author of Annals of Pornographie [sic]: How Porn Became “Bad” (2016), is co-authoring a book on non-monogamy throughout history. He said it will feature 50 to 100 prominent figures, such as Victor Hugo and Virginia Woolf, and is deliberately modeled on earlier works about famous gay people.

Just as women’s rights grew from feminist legal theory and LGBTQ rights from queer theory, non-monogamy is also developing its own historiography, scholarship, and theoretical frameworks.

Still, it’s not easy to pinpoint a polyamorist profile. They are less likely to identify as heterosexual or to conform to gender norms, but academic studies and anecdotal evidence don’t tell a single story.

While some non-monogamists consider themselves neo-pagans, anarchists, or socialists, others are libertarians or outwardly conventional suburbanites.

Some studies say the lifestyle attracts more men, others say more women. Some say it appeals to affluent whites, others say a polyamorist’s average annual income is under $40,000.

(That last sentence does not improve on re-reading.)

In the legal arena, sympathetic scholars are arguing for the extension of legal reforms adopted in family law in recent decades in response to the continued erosion of the nuclear family, which is no longer America’s dominant family structure.

At least a dozen states now recognize or allow for the possibility of a child having more than two parents, an accommodation for surrogate parents, grandparents, stepparents, and other nontraditional families, according to a February legal article by Edward Stein, a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York.

These expansions of the legal concept of family are potential pathways for non-monogamous families to win legal rights of their own, Stein said.

Another potential legal opening could be the existing precedents in domestic partnerships and civil unions that were set up locally for gays and lesbians before same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide in 2015.

In both cases, legal victories for one group could be extended to another group, a common way that legal developments happen, he said.

The first steps would likely have to be decriminalizing of adultery in the 38 states that don’t distinguish between consensual and non-consensual non-monogamy.

The prohibition of adultery is comparable to anti-sodomy laws whose repeal by the Supreme Court in 2003 cleared an obstacle for recognizing gay marriage, Stein said.

The world of polyamory overlaps with the subculture of kink and BDSM, which refers to the erotic practices of bondage, domination, submission, and sadomasochism. …

Conservatives had long warned that redefining marriage to allow same-sex unions would throw open the door to allowing any kind of marriage, from polygamy to incest.

Incest?

Well, clearly polyamorous non-monogamous persons are less likely to know who their own children are than married heterosexual couples. So isn’t there a danger … ?

We anticipate an answer from the Consensual Non-Monogamy Task Force or the University of California, Berkeley:

Are your consensual polyamorous copulations to be postponed because of a possibility that the object of your desire may be your own child or sibling? Are you to wait each time for the results of a DNA test? Ridiculous. The time has come to stop viewing incest as depraved or unnatural and make it socially acceptable and legal.

Because moral progress is unstoppable.

Posted under Anarchy, Leftism, liberty, tyranny, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, April 29, 2020

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The end of liberty? 7

“You are all, every one of you human beings living on this earth, threatened by an overwhelming disaster. It is coming for sure. It will mean the end of most of you, a painful end, and acutely difficult conditions for any survivors.”

“Oh, how dreadful! Can nothing be done to prevent it? Can it be mitigated? Can it be postponed? Does anyone have an answer?”

“Well, there are experts who understand this Thing. And yes, they do say that it can be mitigated. But it will take concerted effort. All of you, every single one of you, must join together and agree to take the action that the experts say is essential if you are to stand a chance of surviving and ever finding life tolerable again. Obey the experts implicitly, do what Those Who Know say you must do, tolerate no dissenters, backsliders, rebels, drop-outs, deniers, and there is a chance that the worst effects of this horror can be averted.

“We are the experts. Put yourselves totally in our hands. Do what we say without question. Do that, or suffer and perish.”

“But what is this horror? What is its nature? What is it called?” 

“It is called Global Warming. The earth is heating up and will become so intolerably hot that billions of you will die because YOU have damaged it with your so-called ‘civilized’ way of life, your industrial development, your reckless consumption of resources, your cars and aircraft, your begetting too many children so you have over-populated the planet –  in sum, with your selfish self-indulgence that you like to praise as the freedom to say and do just as you like.

“From now on, put yourselves in our hands, let us rule you, obey us in all things, and we will save you.”

That has been the message from Those Who Know – aka the collectivist Left – for some time now. But it hasn’t worked.

“We don’t believe the earth is burning up. We like our civilization. We still want the freedom to say and do just as we like.” 

But Those Who Know have not finished with their mission to put a stop to that. They speak again:

“We were not telling you everything. There is something worse than Global Warming. There is a Sickness so terrible that it will infect 80% of the world’s population and kill millions. Each and every one of you is threatened by it. You might save yourselves if you all obey us. Now close your businesses. Do not gather together. Keep well apart from each other. If you are sick with any but The Sickness do not seek medical help. If you see any of your neighbors doing anything to defy our rules, inform the police. The police are instructed to arrest the disobedient. Get used to doing what we tell you to do …”

And this time it nearly worked.

We obeyed. We regret that we did. Many among us are the poorer for it, some to the point of despair – and it turns out that The Sickness would not infect 80% of the world’s population. Or even 1%?

So what will be the outcome of this extraordinary historical episode? 

Some of us in America trust President Trump to restore our prosperity.

Some of us in America feel that we have had a taste of totalitarianism, of a police state, of socialism. And it has been horrible. We never again want the heavy hand of tyrannical government holding us down. From now on we want more liberty not less. 

Then there are those – on the Left, of course – who want to build on the success of the Great Obedience. Those Who Know are raising their voices louder than ever.  Only world government will save us, they say. Only socialist world government. A borderless world. The end of the nation-state. The end of the “nuclear family”. The end of private ownership. No great industries. Little travel, only by or with the permission of Those Who Know. The whole Green New Deal. And the end of liberty.

But hasn’t it been shown that not enough can be known for central planning to work?

“Ah,” say Those Who Know, “that used to be the case. Now we can know everything about every one of you. Because we have the Internet.”

Here are extracts are from an article in The Atlantic written by two professors of Law: Jack Goldsmith, a professor at Harvard Law School and a senior fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution [!] who was also an assistant attorney general in the George W. Bush administration; and Andrew Keane Woods, a professor at the University of Arizona College of Law.

The trend toward greater surveillance and speech control here, and toward the growing involvement of government, is undeniable and likely inexorable.

In the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong.

Significant monitoring and speech control are inevitable components of a mature and flourishing internet, and governments must play a large role in these practices to ensure that the internet is compatible with a society’s norms and values.

Who decides what they are?  Those Who Know, of course – who will be the government.

Ten years ago, speech on the American Internet was a free-for-all. There was relatively little monitoring and censorship—public or private—of what people posted, said, or did on Facebook, YouTube, and other sites. In part, this was due to the legal immunity that platforms enjoyed under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. And in part it was because the socially disruptive effects of digital networks—various forms of weaponized speech and misinformation—had not yet emerged. As the networks became filled with bullying, harassment, child sexual exploitation, revenge porn, disinformation campaigns, digitally manipulated videos, and other forms of harmful content, private platforms faced growing pressure from governments and users to fix the problems.

Actually, there was no crisis of free speech. There can be no such thing as a crisis of free speech.

The result a decade later is that most of our online speech now occurs in closely monitored playpens where many tens of thousands of human censors review flagged content to ensure compliance with ever-lengthier and more detailed “community standards” (or some equivalent). More and more, this human monitoring and censorship is supported—or replaced—by sophisticated [?] computer algorithms. The firms use these tools to define acceptable forms of speech and other content on their platforms, which in turn sets the effective boundaries for a great deal of speech in the U.S. public forum.

After the 2016 election debacle [the alleged interference by Russia], for example, the tech platforms took aggressive but still imperfect steps to fend off foreign adversaries. YouTube has an aggressive policy of removing what it deems to be deceptive practices and foreign-influence operations related to elections. It also makes judgments about and gives priority to what it calls “authoritative voices”. Facebook has deployed a multipronged strategy that includes removing fake accounts and eliminating or demoting “inauthentic behavior”. Twitter has a similar censorship policy aimed at “platform manipulation originating from bad-faith actors located in countries outside of the US”.  These platforms have engaged in “strategic collaboration” with the federal government, including by sharing information, to fight foreign electoral interference. …

Facebook, for example, also takes down hate speech

A “crime” invented by the Left and applying only to speech antagonistic to itself …

… terrorist propaganda, “cruel and insensitive” speech, and bullying speech, which are harder to identify objectively and more controversial to regulate or remove.

Yes. But objective judgment is not wanted by Those Who Know.

All these developments have taken place under pressure from Washington and Brussels.

From Washington? From the Trump administration? Or from the Deep State?

In hearings over the past few years, Congress has criticized the companies—not always in consistent ways—for allowing harmful speech. In 2018, Congress amended the previously untouchable Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to subject the platforms to the same liability that nondigital outlets face for enabling illegal sex trafficking. Additional amendments to Section 230 are now in the offing, as are various other threats to regulate digital speech. …

Against this background, the tech firms’ downgrading and outright censorship of speech related to COVID-19 are not large steps.  ..

 As in other contexts, Facebook relies on fact-checking organizations and “authorities” (from the World Health Organization to the governments of U.S. states) to ascertain which content to downgrade or remove.

The iniquitous, corrupt, lying WHO – obedient to the Communist Party of China – relied on as a trustworthy fact-checker!

What is different about speech regulation related to COVID-19 is the context: The problem is huge and the stakes are very high. But when the crisis is gone, there is no unregulated “normal” to return to.

We live—and for several years, we have been living—in a world of serious and growing harms resulting from digital speech. Governments will not stop worrying about these harms.

Which governments?

And private platforms will continue to expand their definition of offensive content …

“Offensive” according to the prejudices of the owners …

… and will use algorithms to regulate it ever more closely. The general trend toward more speech control will not abate.

And in addition to the Internet, “we have many other mechanisms for watching you”.

Over the past decade, network surveillance has grown in roughly the same proportion as speech control. Indeed, on many platforms, ubiquitous surveillance is a prerequisite to speech control.

The public has been told over and over that the hundreds of computers we interact with daily—smartphones, laptops, desktops, automobiles, cameras, audio recorders, payment mechanisms, and more—collect, emit, and analyze data about us that are, in turn, packaged and exploited in various ways to influence and control our lives. We have also learned a lot—but surely not the whole picture—about the extent to which governments exploit this gargantuan pool of data.

Police use subpoenas to tap into huge warehouses of personal data collected by private companies. They have used these tools to gain access to doorbell cameras that now line city blocks, microphones in the Alexa devices in millions of homes, privately owned license-plate readers that track every car, and the data in DNA databases that people voluntarily pay to enter. They also get access to information collected on smart-home devices and home-surveillance cameras—a growing share of which are capable of facial recognition—to solve crimes. And they pay to access private tow trucks equipped with cameras tracking the movements of cars throughout a city. …

The harms from digital speech will also continue to grow, as will speech controls on these networks. And invariably, government involvement will grow. At the moment, the private sector is making most of the important decisions, though often under government pressure. But … the firms may not be able to regulate speech legitimately without heavier government guidance and involvement. It is also unclear whether, for example, the companies can adequately contain foreign misinformation and prevent digital tampering with voting mechanisms without more government surveillance.

The First and Fourth Amendments as currently interpreted, and the American aversion to excessive government-private-sector collaboration, have stood as barriers to greater government involvement. Americans’ understanding of these laws, and the cultural norms they spawned, will be tested as the social costs of a relatively open internet multiply.

COVID-19 is a window into these future struggles. …

And a door into world socialist totalitarian government?

Which will force a reversion to primitivism? A highly sophisticated, technological primitivism. Primitivism-plus-the-internet. The simple life, highly regimented, constantly surveilled by Those Who Know.

The loss of civilization.

The end of liberty.

Revolution? 4

Is America in the throes of a revolution? Are we sliding unstoppably into totalitarian communism?

Angelo Codevilla writes at American Greatness:

Some conservatives, rejoicing that impeachment turned into yet another of #TheResistance’s political train wrecks and that President Trump is likely to be reelected by a bigger margin than in 2016, expect that a chastened ruling class will return to respecting the rest of us. They are mistaken.

Trump’s reelection, by itself, cannot protect us. The ruling class’s intolerance of the 2016 election’s results was intolerance of us.

Nor was their intolerance so much a choice as it was the expression of its growing sense of its own separate identity, of power and of entitlement to power. The halfhearted defenses with which the offensives of the ruling class have been met already advertise the fact that it need not and will not accept the outcome of any presidential election it does not win. Trump notwithstanding, this class will rule henceforth as it has in the past three years. So long as its hold on American institutions continues to grow, and they retain millions of clients, elections won’t really matter.

Our country is in a state of revolution, irreversibly, because society’s most influential people have retreated into moral autarchy, …

Autarchy, or autocracy, is rule by a dictator. Has any Democrat proclaimed a desire for a dictator, or to be a dictator? If so, we missed it. The Democrats want absolute power in their own hands, but have’t yet wished up a Stalin or a Mao. It’s highly likely that Bernie Sanders would like to be an American Stalin, but has he admitted it?

Besides which, there is not a single Democratic candidate for the presidency of the United States who could run a poll in Iowa, let alone the country. 

Moral autarchy? Not sure what that means. But okay, let’s accept the term in order to follow the writer’s argument.

… have seceded from America’s constitutional order, and because they browbeat their socio-political adversaries instead of trying to persuade them. Theirs is not a choice that can be reversed. It is a change in the character of millions of people.

Does character change? Does the character of a people – a nation – change? What characterizes any nation must by definition be what does not change about it. For a country to change its character it would have to have its population replaced by a different population – as is happening rapidly in Sweden, France, Spain, and Germany.  The Democrats seem to like the idea of America becoming more “Hispanic” than “Anglo”, but it hasn’t happened yet, and might never happen.

There has been a change in America over the last 70 years or so. It is not a change of character. In all their variety, Americans are recognizably the same as they were 100 years ago. What has changed in America are ideas about values and morals, about what matters and what doesn’t.

And that is what the article under discussion is really about.

The sooner conservatives realize that the Republic established between 1776 and 1789—the America we knew and loved—cannot return, the more fruitfully we will be able to manage the revolution’s clear and present challenges to ourselves. How are we to deal with a ruling class that insists on ruling—elections and generally applicable rules notwithstanding—because it regards us as lesser beings?

The resistance that reached its public peaks in the Brett Kavanaugh hearings and the impeachment imbroglio should have left no doubt about the socio-political arbitrariness that flows from the ruling class’s moral autarchy, about the socio-political power of the ruling class we’re forced to confront, or of its immediate threat to our freedom of speech.

Chief Justice John Roberts, presiding over the Senate’s impeachment trial, was as clear an example as any of that moral autarchy and its grip on institutions.

Pursuant to Senate rules, Senator Rand Paul sent a written question through Roberts to House Manager Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) regarding the extent of collaboration between Schiff’s staffer Sean Misko and his longtime fellow partisan, CIA officer Eric Ciaramella in starting the charges that led to impeachment. Roberts, having read the question to himself, declared: “The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted.”

The chief justice of the United States, freedom of speech’s guardian-in-chief, gave no reason for declining to read Paul’s question. The question was relevant to the proceedings. It violated no laws, no regulations. The names of the two persons were known to every member of the House and Senate, as well as to everyone around the globe who had followed news reports over the previous months. But the Democratic Party had been campaigning to drive from public discussion that this impeachment stemmed from the partisan collaboration between a CIA officer and a Democratic staffer.

“Collaboration” is the polite term for it; “conspiracy” the more accurate one.

Accordingly, the mainstream media had informally but totally banned discussion of this fact, supremely relevant but supremely embarrassing to Schiff in particular and to Democrats in general. Now, Paul was asking Schiff officially to comment on the relationship. Schiff could have explained it, or refused to explain it. But Roberts saved him the embarrassment and trouble—and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) spared senators the problem of voting on a challenge to Roberts’s  ruling. The curtain of official concealment, what the Mafia calls the omertà, remained intact. Why no reason?

Just as no dog wags his tail without a reason, neither did Roberts wag his without reason. Neither the laws of the United States nor the rules of the Senate told the presiding officer to suppress the senator’s question. Why was Roberts pleased to please those he pleased and to displease those he displeased? In short, why did this impartial presiding officer act as a man partial to one side against the other?

This professional judge could hardly have been impressed by the ruling class’s chosen instrument, Adam Schiff, or by Schiff’s superior regard for legal procedure. Since Schiff’s prosecution featured hiding the identity of the original accuser—after promising to feature his testimony—and since it featured secret depositions, blocked any cross-examination of its own witnesses, and prevented the defense from calling any of their own, it would have been strange if Chief Justice Roberts’s bias was a professional one.

Is it possible that Roberts favored the substance of the ruling class claim that neither President Trump nor any of his defenders have any right to focus public attention on the Biden family’s use of public office to obtain money in exchange for influence? That, after all, is what Washington is largely about. Could Roberts also love corruption so much as to help conceal it? No.

Roberts’s professional and ethical instincts incline him the other way. Nevertheless, he sustained the ruling class’s arbitrariness. Whose side did he take? His dinner companions’ side? The media’s? His wife’s? Roberts’s behavior—contrary as it was to his profession, to his morals, and to his political provenance—shows how great is the ruling class’s centripetal force.

The sad but inescapable consequence of this force is that conservatives have no choice but to follow the partisan logic of revolution—fully conscious of the danger that partisanship can make us as ridiculously dishonest as Adam Schiff or CNN’s talking heads, into rank-pullers like John Roberts, and into profiteers as much as any member of the Biden family.

Do conservatives have no choice but to go along with “the revolution”, with the abandonment of the values that inspired the Constitution, with corruption as a matter of indisputable but unchangeable fact?

The writer then seems to change his mind. He suggests there is a choice:

And yet, revolution is war, the proximate objective of which is to hurt the other side until it loses the capacity and the will to do us harm. That means treating institutions and people from the standpoint of our own adversarial interest: controlling what we can either for our own use or for bargaining purposes, discrediting and abandoning what we cannot take from our enemies.

Opposing them by the means they choose, the weapons they use? That – so the writer suggests – is our best recourse?

Unlike our enemies, our ultimate objective is, as Lincoln said, “peace among ourselves and with all nations”. But what kind of peace we may get depends on the extent to which we may compel our enemies to leave us in peace. And for that, we must do unto them more and before they do unto us.

Which is true? Do we have no choice but to join “the revolution” – a change from a free open society of self-reliant individuals into a government-controlled, race and sex obsessed, doom prophesying, totally organized community? Or are we still in control of our destiny? And if we fight our revolutionary enemy, must it be with their weapons, or ours? On their terms, or ours?

We do not see that there has been a revolution – though the Obama administration tried to make one. We do not think the only way to save America from totalitarian one-party rule is by following the rules laid down by the Gramsci-Alinsky school of sedition and the Cloward-Piven blueprint for chaos. (See here and here and here and here.)

By great good luck we have President Trump leading us in another direction, showing us another way, prioritizing better (characteristic) values: freedom, individual enterprise, innovation, industry, competence, patriotism, strength, ambition, self-confidence, prosperity. For a few more years at least. During which the Left revolutionaries may, in the fury of their frustration, stamp themselves into the ground.

On YouTube: the most important liberty 3

Here is the video of Professor Simon Heffer delivering the Third Jillian Becker Annual Lecture on February 3, 2020. (For written extracts from the speech, see our post of a few days ago, The most important liberty.)

The subject of each lecture has to be concerned with the importance of individual freedom and/or the importance of the nation state as the only reliable protector of  individual freedom.

Professor Heffer’s subject is freedom of speech.

The opening remarks are addressed to Simon Richards, CEO of The Freedom Association, under whose auspices the lectures are given. He is now retiring from the job which he has done superlatively well. Under his direction, The Freedom Association contributed substantially to the historic achievement of Brexit.

Posted under liberty, United Kingdom, Videos by Jillian Becker on Thursday, February 6, 2020

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The most important liberty 6

The Third Jillian Becker Annual Lecture is being delivered in London today, February 3, 2020, under the auspices of The Freedom Association, this year by our fellow atheist conservative Professor Simon Heffer of the University of Buckingham. He is an historian, author, and political commentator. He writes a regular column in the Sunday Telegraph, and is an active and influential Brexiteer.

We will post the YouTube video of the lecture when it becomes available.

Meanwhile, here are extracts from the lecture. The examples Professor Heffer cites to illustrate the points he makes are from Britain, but the lessons to be taken from them apply equally to America.

If any of you imagines we live in a country where freedom of speech still pertains, I fear that what I am about to say in the next 40 minutes or so may be the final act of disabusing you of that notion. Some of what I am about to tell you in support of this contention will be familiar; but some of what is familiar is so shocking that it bears repeating; and what is truly shocking is that such damage to our freedom of speech is allowed to happen, and is well-known, and yet too few people with the power to do so wish to raise a finger to stop it, thereby becoming complicit in the erosion of perhaps our most important liberty. And it must be stressed that, while some in public life and in high positions have more power than most to reverse what has become a disturbing trend, we all have a part to play in ensuring that discourse in our society is not closed down. For discourse is, in the end, the means by which rational and civilised people arrive at the truth. …

Few dare to teach history in a way that does not apply the values of a liberal elite in the 21st century to the questions of the past; and anyone who attempts to look at historical questions in their own context, to evaluate why what happened at the time happened, is regarded as a reactionary. By their behaviour they override the fundamental principle of learning, which is to arrive at the truth. But they also, by creating an atmosphere within academia of hostility and hatred, make an important part of the expansion of knowledge nearly impossible, by restricting civilised discussion between those of differing views.

Of course, this hijacking of academic disciplines for the purposes of thought-policing and the propagation of leftist tropes is not restricted to the discipline of history. English literature has long been given similar treatment, though some of the texts that have to be read are now, famously, issued with ‘trigger warnings’, because there so much in Shakespeare … that could upset the sensibilities of the average member of what is cruelly called ‘the snowflake generation’….

It is little wonder that, in their spare time, the students who endure what passes for this sort of teaching now try to close down expressions of opinion with which they disagree, usually for the preposterous reason that those expressions might cause offence, as if being offended is, to use another unfortunate modern expression, a hate crime – which many people think causing offence seriously is. We have lived with this for years. I recall an attempt at Cambridge when I was an undergraduate to ban a Conservative cabinet minister from speaking in the university by a group whose motto was ‘No Platform for Racists and Fascists’. For many of them, simply serving in the Thatcher government was sufficient to earn the label of a racist or a fascist …

Five years ago … [the feminist] Germaine Greer was no-platformed at Cardiff University because she wished to state her opinion that just because a man had had a series of operations to turn him into a woman did not make him like someone who had been female from birth. The University ordered the students to let the meeting go ahead, but said it would not condone ‘discriminatory language’. Professor Greer retorted that this stand by the university was ‘weak as piss’; she was not discriminating against anyone, merely hurting their feelings. Well, she said, her feelings were hurt all the time, and she just got on with it; but she refused to speak in an atmosphere of such unpleasantness, and cancelled her meeting altogether.

Then another celebrated ‘reactionary’, Peter Tatchell – one of the most principled men I have ever met, I hasten to add, principles he demonstrated in his repeated and courageous demonstrations against the aforementioned vicious tyrant, Robert Mugabe – was no-platformed at Canterbury Christ Church University for speaking out in defence of Professor Greer. For defending her right to express her views openly, Mr Tatchell was denounced as ‘racist’ – the catch-all chant for every bigot these days – and ‘transphobic’.

But then there are now many views that it is simply unacceptable to hold in our society today. The Church of England – possibly miraculously – sticks to the view that same-sex couples cannot be married in church because of what many senior clergy feel is the direct opposition such an act would present to scriptural teachings. I think the church is right, and I do so, again, from the point of view of an atheist.

I have a number of homosexual friends who go further even than that, and think the idea of same-sex marriage is patronising to them, and little more than a stunt. Try arguing this in one of our universities today and you would be shouted down, and would be likely to be the victim of a no-platforming campaign, with accusations of homophobia cast at you. The case, like that of Professor Greer stating what she believes to be an obvious fact about men who have sex changes, is an example of the failure by too many half-educated young people in our universities refusing, wilfully and often with the connivance of their teachers who should know better, to acknowledge a distinction between expressing a sincerely held belief, supported by factual evidence, and inciting others to commit some ghastly crime against those you are talking about. Professor Greer was inciting no-one to persecute transgender people; therefore Mr Tatchell was not defending a right for her to incite such people, for no such right exists or can exist in a civilised society; and saying one has a philosophical objection to the notion of same sex marriage is nothing like saying you dislike homosexual people, let alone that others ought to go out and make their lives a misery.

But these are the murky waters into which discourse in our universities has slipped, and, as one distinguished victim of such a process said to me last year, it has been allowed to slip there because of the refusal of heads of institutions or heads of faculties to law down the law with students who engage in this deliberate destruction of freedom of speech under the pretence of it being offensive to the closed minds of their students, and who do so because, in the end, they are afraid of those students.

It is little wonder that, in their spare time, the students who endure what passes for this sort of teaching now try to close down expressions of opinion with which they disagree, usually for the preposterous reason that those expressions might cause offence, as if being offended is, to use another unfortunate modern expression, a hate crime – which many people think causing offence seriously is. …

There is also one other current in some of our universities that I want to refer to, because it is a harbinger of a very unpleasant future unless we do something to check it. … Chinese money has helped develop facilities in some of our universities, but has from time to time occasioned the benefactors to seek to influence aspects of the curriculum. I believe those latter attempts have largely been resisted; but I hope any Chinese student in Britain who is put under pressure about his or her own activities should be able to tell his university authorities, and the authorities should give their full support. Sometimes students may feel their families back in China are at threat if they don’t conform. Universities have to think very carefully before they accept Chinese money about what they might be expected to do, or not do, in return.

Perhaps because the extremism of no platforming has been going on for so long now, many adults are now just as bad. Nearly 15 years ago I wrote an article for The Daily Telegraph about the death penalty. I said – and for what it is worth it is a belief I cling to today – that I felt some murders represented such an act of premeditated wickedness, whether the motive was financial gain or sexual gratification, that the only appropriate punishment given the enormity of the crime was a sentence of death; and that instead of the sentence being mandatory, as it had been for certain murders before abolition, it should be available to the jury, if convicting, to recommend to the judge before he passed sentence. The paper had a year or two before, in an attempt to appeal to that elusive younger reader, hired a right-on, or as we would now say, ‘woke’ comedian to write an arts column every week. He suddenly resigned, saying he could not continue to work for a newspaper that had another columnist (me) who believed in the death penalty, and would publish such a piece. It was my first, but not my last, direct confrontation with the phenomenon that does more to undermine freedom of speech than any other in our society: the professed and overt liberal who is completely intolerant of any opinion other than his or her own. Rather than engage in debate, they simply prefer to close it down. By treating another person, whose only crime is to have professed such an opinion, with the sort of disdain one would normally reserve for a paedophile or mass murderer, they hope to intimidate him or her, and anybody else who might be thinking of transgressing in such a way, into keeping their mouth shut in future, or, possibly, into making a full recantation. …

People have to understand that there is a difference between expressing a strong opinion that may cause offence to those who think entirely differently – such as a feminist arguing against another’s interpretation of transgender rights might – and someone who is inciting violence or hatred against the group they are criticising. In a free society, we just have to put up with the first; but we can never tolerate the second. Most of us are sufficiently mature to make a distinction between a point of view we find offensive – which to some on the left will include almost everything I am saying here today – and something that encourages people to act violently … To things that merely cause offence, all we should say is: grow up, get over it, and move on. We must as a culture stop putting out into adult life former students who have grown up thinking it is normal that people with the temerity to disagree with them should be silenced.

Posted under education, liberty by Jillian Becker on Monday, February 3, 2020

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Loving prayers, hate speech, and disinformation 1

Nancy Pelosi, Democrat Speaker of the House of Representatives and official leader of the campaign to destroy President Trump by impeaching him, furiously denied to a reporter that she hates Donald Trump when he asked her if she did:

“I don’t hate anybody,” responded Pelosi. “I was raised in a Catholic house. We don’t hate anybody, not anybody in the world. Don’t accuse me of hate.”

Being accused of hatred was, in Pelosi’s mind, the same as accusing her of being a bad Catholic.

“As a Catholic, I resent your using the word ‘hate’ in a sentence that addresses me,” she said. “I don’t hate anyone.”

Hatred was not part of her upbringing, she said. “I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love.”

On the contrary, she said, she always prays for the president. “I still pray for the president. I pray for the president all the time.”

How deeply reassuring for the president. (And the reporter – a rare one to provoke Speaker Pelosi! – must have felt warmly loved too.)

But in Reality, for the last four years, the Democrats, the Left everywhere, and the media have been spewing hatred of Donald Trump non-stop, night and day. They hate him.

It’s not that they merely don’t like what he stands for, what he does or how he does it. They certainly don’t, and they would be against anyone who stood for the same and did the same. But their intense hatred is plainly for the man himself.  

The hatred is totally irrational, and for those of us who much admire and like President Trump, impossible to understand. Is their hatred motivated by envy? Can they not bear it that Donald Trump is a successful businessman, a billionaire, a TV star, and on top of it all, president of the United States, the most powerful man in the world? And he has a very beautiful wife. And successful children. How dare he?

They – the politicians, the celebrities, the globalists, the socialists, the America-haters, the intersectionalists, the feminists, the environmentalists, the climate alarmists, the Antifa activists, the professors, the media hacks – hate him with a hatred that drives them to any length in their effort to destroy him. For days, weeks, months, years on end they rage against him in the House and the Senate. They make up absurd lies about him. There is no accusation, however farfetched, however unlikely, however ridiculous, however crazy, however impossible that they have not or will not level against him, over and over again.

Has there ever before been so much hate speech poured out against an elected American leader?  

No matter how much good he does for the country – and he has done a lot; no matter how competent he is – and he is highly competent; no matter how generous he is – and he is generous, even giving away his salary: they hate him, hate him, hate him. They want him thrown out of office; they want him humiliated; they want him tortured; they want him dead. 

To help them achieve his ruin, to help them advance the great cause of destroying Donald Trump, the media (most of them) lie about him. They spread misinformation, disinformation, scurrilous rumors, obscene tales, filthy smears.   

And at the same time they all – the politicians, the celebrities, the globalists, the socialists, the America-haters, the intersectionalists, the feminists, the environmentalists, the climate alarmists, the Antifa actvists, the professors, the media hacksceaselessly rail against “hate speech and disinformation”.

What they mean by “hate speech” is the expression of any opinion that differs from their own. And by “disinformation” they mean any contradiction, any disproof, any exposure of their lies.

They want “hate speech and disinformation” stopped. Pronto. It’s intolerable to them that people go on saying things they don’t like. It’s too provoking! People .. people … do it, go on and on doing it, in the “social media”. Freely. Saying whatever they like. No regulation. No punishment. Good grief, they behave as if the United States of America were Liberty Hall!

We quote parts of an article by Paul Bradford at American Greatness:

 Joe Biden wants to punish Facebook and Twitter so they will censor more.

Biden endorsed one of the most aggressive proposals against Big Tech last week in an interview with the New York Times. He wants to eliminate Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects tech platforms from publisher liabilities.

“Section 230 should be revoked, immediately should be revoked, number one,” Biden said. “For [Mark] Zuckerberg [CEO of Facebook] and other platforms.”

“It should be revoked because [Facebook] is not merely an internet company,” Biden said. “It is propagating falsehoods they know to be false, and we should be setting standards not unlike the Europeans are doing relative to privacy. You guys still have editors. I’m sitting with them. Not a joke. There is no editorial impact at all on Facebook. None. None whatsoever. It’s irresponsible. It’s totally irresponsible.”

Biden also won’t rule out criminal penalties for Zuckerberg over alleged collusion with the Russian government.

Biden, it needs to be borne in mind, was vice president when Barack Obama was president and they were colluding with the Russians.

He implied the Facebook executive is selling out American democracy to foreign tyrants for cold hard cash.

Biden, it should also be borne in mind, and through him his brothers and his son and his sister and his son-in-law, corruptly raked in cold hard cash, much of it from foreign tyrants, by the million when he was vice-president. He sold his office.

Biden is particularly upset with the number of ads Trump runs on Facebook.

He sees a terrible risk that if Trump is allowed to do that, he could get himself re-elected! Why can’t Zuckerberg and the other tech giants see what danger they’re running America into?

Nearly every Democratic presidential candidate, both former and current, wants to punish tech companies for allowing “hate speech” and “disinformation” on their platforms.

Three candidates besides Biden want to target Section 230. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wants to look into Section 230 to make sure “right-wing groups don’t abuse regulation to advance their agenda” and that tech platforms censor hate speech. He doesn’t call for the outright elimination of Section 230 but his meaning is plain enough.

Similarly, Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), a forgotten presidential candidate, wants to revise Section 230 to hold Big Tech accountable for “misinformation and hate speech on their platforms”.

The other candidates also want to pressure Big Tech to censor more, but haven’t specifically mentioned Section 230. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wants to break up Facebook and other tech giants as punishment for “profiting off of hate speech and disinformation campaigns”.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg says his administration would investigate and call out platforms that “traffic in hate and encourage or fail to moderate abuse and hate”. Buttigieg wants more aggressive measures to suppress ads that liberals deem to be erroneous.

Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), another former presidential candidate, also wants Big Tech punished for alleged hate speech. “We will hold social media platforms responsible for the hate infiltrating their platforms, because they have a responsibility to help fight against this threat to our democracy,” she told the NAACP last year.

No matter who wins the Democratic nomination, that candidate will demand more online censorship. Every major candidate sees what they call “hate speech” as something that should not be protected by the First Amendment. Every single one of them wants to use state power to push Facebook, Twitter and other platforms into only allowing liberal discourse.

In fact, in Reality – the sphere where Leftists do not like to live – conservatives are constantly being censored, suspended, rebuked, and outright banned by the Powers that govern the internet. Every one of those Powers is Left-biased. But some conservative opinion does get published to the world, and how can the Left, and especially those in it who have been raised in a way that fills their hearts with love, be expected to tolerate such a state of affairs?

His story 3

Tommy Robinson’s acceptance speech when he is awarded the Free Speech prize at the Danish Parliament:

It’s long, but it’s a must-watch.

Posted under Denmark, Fascism, Islam, Law, liberty, Muslims, tyranny, United Kingdom by Jillian Becker on Monday, January 20, 2020

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Tommy Robinson justly honored 3

Three loud cheers!

A great award, a just reward, is being bestowed on Britain’s one true hero of our time,

TOMMY ROBINSON

 

Posted under liberty by Jillian Becker on Friday, January 17, 2020

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Is the world getting better? 9

Yesterday (November 28, 2019), Douglas Carswell ex-MP delivered – very engagingly – an invigorating lecture in London titled Cheer Up! Why The World is Getting Better. 

It was the second Jillian Becker Annual Lecture under the auspices of The Freedom Association. (The first was given in 2018 by the writer Theodore Dalrymple.)

Jillian Becker is editor-in-chief of this website, and a long standing member of the council of the Freedom Association.

The annual lecture must always be about individual liberty or the importance of the nation-state, or both.

Here’s the half-hour lecture:

We think he makes a good case for human life having improved in quality not just over the millennia, which is obvious, but over a couple of centuries, and acceleratingly over the last few decades. He attributes the improvement largely to the spread of liberty, and the resultant prosperity and innovation, with which we heartily agree.

He argues that optimism is a force for improvement in itself; that with it, our lives will go on getting better. He mentions some of the grave threats to our liberty – and so to prosperity and innovation – that confront us now: “terror attacks, wars in the Middle East, migration crises …”. He moves on, however, without explaining why he does not consider at least some of them – notably for instance the migration of peoples who do not value individual freedom into the Western world, threatening to change the demographic composition of many countries permanently – strong impediments to the advance of liberty.

If you listen to the lecture, please tell us if you agree with him, and if so – wholly or partly? If only partly, with what in particular do you disagree?

Posted under liberty by Jillian Becker on Friday, November 29, 2019

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