Right now, Americans are more divided politically than at anytime since the Civil War. The reason is that half the country–Democrats–have moved so far to the left that they no longer support the traditional and uniquely American freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
Democrats gave up on the Second Amendment decades ago. Thirty years ago, Democratic candidates often won the endorsement of the National Rifle Association. Now they rarely do.
Democrats are shakey at best on the Fourth Amendment, as evinced by their lack of concern over the government’s domestic spying. They think the Tenth Amendment is a joke. And now they are turning on the First Amendment. Here’s a former Chairman of the Democrat Party:
And here’s the same statement from the Democrat Mayor of Portland.
Hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution.
Polls show that also the Democrat rank and file oppose free speech.
If the government is allowed to censor ‘hate speech’ then the government will be in the business of censoring speech, and the First Amendment will effectively become null and void. Anybody who claims some sort of ‘hate speech’ exception to the First Amendment has, as Reason‘s headline correctly states, abandoned the First Amendment.
If you require more evidence that the left opposes speech, just take a look at the college campuses. The universities are dominated by the political left. That’s where the left, more than anywhere else in America, gets to set the rules. And under the left’s rules, free speech is suppressed more than anywhere else in America. Speech is tightly regulated officially by speech codes, and unofficially by leftist mobs. Both faculty and students fear to speak their minds. The campuses offer a peek at what the left would do if it had the power. It would crush free speech.
Interestingly, the modern liberal’s hostility to free speech is a relatively recent development. Fifty years ago, Democrats were actually more strongly committed to free speech than were Republicans. James Burnham in his classic 1964 analysis of modern liberalism, The Suicide of the West, comments several times throughout the book on the modern liberal’s almost fanatical devotion to free speech. But that was following a period during the Cold War when attempts were made to censor the speech of communists. In those days, unlike today, liberals also liked Russia. They flipped on both Russia and speech for the same reason–both ceased to be communist causes.
American freedom is uniquely defined by the Bill of Rights, and in particular the First and Second Amendments. In the rest of the world, only a very few isolated places, such as San Marino, recognize anything like a citizen’s Second Amendment right to self defense. And essentially no place else in the world respects anything like a First Amendment right to free expression. Even in the English-speaking countries like the U.K. and its Commonwealth, which share a common legacy of political rights with the U.S., ‘hate speech’ is illegal and the state can and does persecute and prosecute citizens for their speech.
In their indifference (at best) or hostility (at worst) to the First and Second Amendments, Democrats are definitely in the majority, if not in the United States, then in the world. If Democrats had their way, the Bill of Rights would effectively whither away, and the United States would become a lot more like the rest of the world.
Becoming more like everyplace else might not sound so bad, but here’s the thing–the U.S. is supposed to be different. The U.S. was founded to be different, primarily in elevating the ordinary man. In America, unlike Europe and the rest of the world, the ordinary man was very big. He was a citizen, not a subject. But now when the ordinary man tries to exercise his uniquely American rights, Democrats condemn him for ‘clinging to guns and religion.’ Essentially Democrats have given up on America.
If Hillary Clinton had won the election, she would have appointed a Supreme Court majority hostile to both the First and Second Amendments, and a Court that also would have acceded to her administration’s inevitable lawlessness. This would mark the end of America as an oasis of ordered liberty.
If the Democrats succeed in destroying American freedom, then maybe it’s time for some of us to plan our escape. Brazil, for instance, starts to look relatively good. No Bill of Rights, but at least the food and weather are better.