Cheap Seats 2021
Clear and Present Danger - 10/13
By Rich Trzupek
Did you know there was a time when liberals believed in free speech? It’s true and it wasn’t all that long ago. I’m talking about real liberals of course, not these boobs and blowhards who call themselves “progressive” today.
The late Hugo Black is a great example of how liberals used to feel about free speech and the 1st Amendment. Black was a Supreme Court justice, should you not recognize the name. He was appointed by FDR and served as an associate justice from 1937 through 1971.
During his time on the court, several important cases involving freedom of speech and freedom of the press were decided. Black was a passionate absolutist of the first order when opining on these cases, famously saying at one point: “I do not believe that any federal agencies, including Congress and the Court, have power or authority to subordinate speech and press to what they think are more important interests.”
He did distinguish between speech and conduct, as most did back then. Freedom of speech did not include a right to break into somebody’s home or place of business and scream insults at the top of your lungs, for example. Black didn’t have any problem with people screaming insults per se, so long as the screaming took place in an appropriate venue.
Public meetings were an appropriate venue for the exercise of free speech to old-school liberals like Black. The very point of a public meeting is to exchange information and opinions. Under the absolutist-view of the First Amendment, those exchanges cannot be limited and voices cannot be censored.
One cannot help but wonder what Hugo Black would have thought about the Attorney General of the United States issuing a memo that says, in part: “…I am directing the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with each United States Attorney, to convene meetings with federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial leaders in each federal judicial district within 30 days of the issuance of this memorandum. These meetings will facilitate the discussion of strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers and staff, and will open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment and response.”
That’s Merrick Garland, President Dementia the Unifier’s Attorney General addressing the rampant violence that’s been occurred at school board meetings across the country last year. No. Wait. I’m sorry, that rampant violence was all about Antifa and BLM. The “threats” at school board meetings where parents questioning teaching ‘critical race theory’ and pointless mask mandates for kids are all about mean-speak, which managed to become the primary threat to the union when President Mean-Tweets was in charge.
Now the educated idiots who introduced idiotic concepts like “micro-aggressions” and “hate speech” into our culture have found allies ready, willing and able to use their pathetic thought processes to justify naked grabs at power. I seriously doubt that the number of people in the Biden-Harris administration who actually believe in that intellectual gobbilty-gook exceeds much more than a few percent of the whole. Equating speech with violence simply provides professional political handlers with a way to manage their message. And, the skill with which Democrat PR pro’s manage messaging is simply astounding. If you’re a Democrat who happens to read this, you are more than likely to be absolutely, positively convinced that parents being angry or saying mean things at school board meetings is a clear and present danger to the safety of school board members.
The idea that “clear and present dangers” could be defined by the use of words and therefore used to limit speech was an idea that Black and most all traditional liberals rejected 50 years ago. Merrick Garland’s ready willingness to re-embrace that discredited doctrine is deeply troubling, and in the view of your not-so-humble correspondent, represents an actual immediate clear and present danger to the rule of law in our republic.