Freedom for me, but not for thee

I saw Ed Brayton’s brief commentary on this article and had to throw in my two cents. The article is in WorldNutDaily, so you already know it’s gonna be goatballs crazy. But even by WND standards, it’s a whopper. The author, Erik Rush, calls his column “The Other Rush”, which one would think means that he’s happy being second fiddle to America’s most notoriously bloviating gas bag. But it seems rather that he’s trying to one-up Limbaugh in terms of just what a hateful right wing authoritarian he can be.

The title lets you know exactly what you’re in for:

How to disarm the Mainstream Media
Exclusive: Erik Rush wants ‘treasonous’ reporters prosecuted for misuse of free speech

“Misuse” of free speech isn’t very clearly defined in US law, Holmes’ overrated “fire in a crowded theater” standard notwithstanding. Regardless, if the purpose is to “disarm” the “mainstream media”, then it’s pretty clear that whatever this is about, it’s unconstitutional. The First Amendment explicitly protects the press from being disarmed. Kinda like how all those rednecks keep reminding us the Second Amendment does for American gun owners. Except in this case, the media isn’t actually gonna blow anybody’s head off.

Well, it’s Free Speech Week, an annual celebration of Americans’ right to free speech hosted by the Media Institute. Partnering organizations include media organizations across the political spectrum. What’s ironic is the extent to which Americans’ free speech is under assault at present. While this is more evident among the non-liberal, non-secular folks among us, this oppression is just part of a design that will ultimately stifle all of our speech and liberties to varying extents.

I think we need to start a Self Awareness Week. During Self Awareness Week, people will be encouraged to pay attention not only to what they’re doing but also to the context in which it’s done, and to notice things like the fact that you’re publishing this on the internet without any repercussions whatsoever so obviously no one has taken away your free speech you stupid fuck.

Since it is Free Speech Week, I can’t think of a more perfect time to clarify just what free speech is and, more importantly, what it is not.

Translation: I’m gonna make sure free speech only applies to “non-liberal, non-secular folk”.

I’m going to get ahead of myself here and presuppose a Mitt Romney victory in November. This is the only scenario in which America will be able to get her feet back under her, so to speak, and plot a course out of the bog in which President Obama has situated us. An Obama re-election will essentially mean a national bracing for impact, and all bets may be off with regard to preserving our liberties to any meaningful degree.

What liberties, exactly, has Obama taken from you? At least with Bush people could point to specific legislation, the PATRIOT Act, for example, which expressly curtailed certain freedoms. But what has Obama done that affects anyone’s freedom? Usually the “freedom” people accuse Obama of taking away is the “freedom” to take away other freedoms, such as the “right” to deny birth control coverage to an employee. And, as we’ll see, the “freedom” to take away other people’s freedoms is exactly the kind of “freedom” Rush wants to protect.

Yes, many Americans are now cognizant of the fact that progressives have “progressed” America dangerously close to being a Marxist-socialist nation and that we are collectively responsible for not having checked that progress.

Have you ever read the writings of Marx or any other socialist? America is nothing like the society they envisioned. It’s not even close. America is about as Marxist as Honey Boo Boo is talented.

…there are other widespread, organized threats to America’s ongoing concern as a representative republic with guaranteed personal liberties, free speech foremost among them.

Here, I am speaking of the press

Fucking First Amendment! It violates the First Amendment! Or something…

the conglomeration of national broadcast, digital and print media organizations that has been incrementally packed with ideological liberals and socialists, and so has disqualified itself as the impartial government watchdog it once was.

Okay, a few things here. 1.) If you think the media was ever impartial, I’ve got three words for you: William Randolf Hearst. 2.) Being liberal disqualifies you from being a government watchdog? I see what you did there. 3.) The existence of Fox News contradicts all such “liberal mainstream media” demagoguery. 4.) HOW THE FUCK DOES THIS AFFECT YOUR FREE SPEECH? You can’t have free speech so long as liberals have free speech? You do realize that free speech doesn’t mean freedom from being disagreed with.

Oh, wait, we’re operating on the right wing conception of “freedom”, which means “taking freedom from others.”

During my lifetime, I have seen the press become an advance force for social engineering and global socialism.

During my lifetime I’ve seen the press become an ADHD fever dream of sensationalistic headlines and flashy graphics that convey almost no information and perpetuate the “careers” of people like Paris Hilton far beyond their expiration dates. But, yeah, global socialism and all that.

In the matter of this president, the press largely facilitated the ascension of Barack Obama. The instances wherein they have promoted, shielded and aided him are beyond enumeration.

This goes beyond such things as MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and his man crush on Obama – I’m talking about treasonous collusion.

You keep using that word “treason”. I do not think it means what you think it means.

And how exactly is supporting the President “treason”? When people on Fox gushed about Bush, was that treason too?

One particularly scandalous incident occurred during the second presidential debate, when CNN moderator Candy Crowley made an interjection that appeared to have been as spontaneous as Ambassador Chris Stevens’ murder, and which led to a solid point scored for Obama.

Romney said something which was demonstrably false, and she asserted so. I don’t know if it’s flattering or frightening that you see “true” as meaning “a solid point for Obama”.

Most recently, after Mitt Romney brought up Obama’s 2009 “Apology Tour,” the press did their best to support Obama’s claim that this never happened, despite boundless reams of footage that exist chronicling the event.

Well, the footage proves that there was a tour. But it’s the whole “apology tour” thing that the press is denying. And so they should, as the tour had nothing to do with apologies. But when exactly do you plan to get to the part where any of this is treason?

In perhaps the worst recent transgression, on Oct. 21, Phoenix, Ariz., CBS affiliate KPHO ran a lower-third graphic indicating that President Obama had won the Nov. 6 election over Gov. Mitt Romney. A technician’s cute stunt, or subliminal propaganda? In any case, it was technically a prosecutable offense the Federal Election Commission and the Federal Communications Commission should be all over.

What’s that? Some low level techie at a local TV affiliate in Arizona made a dumb mistake? Kill him! Kill him!

You think I’m kidding about the kill him part?

It is improbable that the framers of the Constitution anticipated a situation in which the press were entirely given over to seditious, anti-American policies. If they had, it is likely that their modus operandi would be similar to that for any faction found guilty of high crimes. Trials for treason and the requisite sentences would apply, and I would have no qualms about seeing such sentences executed, no matter how severe.

Still think I’m kidding? Treason is a capital crime, so Rush is in fact saying that people who support liberalism in the media should be killed. No joke.

And as for the “improbable” situation that Rush alludes to, something of this nature, in which people were saying “un-American” things in the press like “Let’s secede from the Union”, did in fact happen to our founders, culminating in the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798. And SOME of them, such as John Adams, did support rounding up dissenters and jailing them. OTHERS, such a Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, opposed the act. The Founders weren’t a homogeneous unit that agreed on everything. They had disagreements just like everybody else. And, in the case of the Alien and Sedition Act, it would surely be ruled unconstitutional today, and it led to numerous problems for the people who supported it. In fact, Jefferson (a Democratic-Republican) pardoned those convicted under the act, and then turned around and used the act against the very Federalists who had originally supported it!

The lesson? As our founders learned, if you support laws to prosecute your enemies for their speech, it won’t be long before that law is turned around and used on you. So don’t support such laws. But learning this lesson requires self awareness and foresight, things which are entirely lacking in today’s right wing.

This is not likely to occur, however. Radio personality and nascent media mogul Glenn Beck…

*Snort* Just a sec. I gotta take a moment to laugh at even the suggestion that Glenn Beck is a “media mogul”. I’m better now, please continue…

…has the intention of putting the establishment press out of business. While I wish him every success, it doesn’t seem likely that he will accomplish this through his organizations alone. In addition to the advent of powerful alternative media sources, I believe it will be necessary to codify – or reaffirm – the nature of crimes against the Constitution and the American people. In this manner, we can thwart the designs not only of the press, but all global socialists operating in America.

Again, what are these crimes, other than the “crimes” of disagreeing with you and (allegedly) supporting a candidate that you don’t support? And who the hell are these global socialists? And what exactly is so threatening about the media?

Let me check up on our Illuminati Lizard People Overlords over at CNN just to see what dastardly plots are unfolding… Oh God. They have a headline on the front page of their website that reads “‘Dancing With The Stars’ Goes Country”. Rush was right! This truly is the end!

Those whose speech and actions impinge upon the God-given rights set forth in the Declaration of Independence and codified in the Constitution are, by definition, excepted from protection under the First Amendment (as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment).

So God gave you the “liberty” of not having other people vocalize opinions that differ from your own? And how much of a fucking pussy are you if you can’t even handle people in the media saying things you disagree with?

The wingnuts, if we took them seriously, would have us believe that America is simultaneously the strongest country on Earth and so fragile that it could be taken down by puffy faced blabberers like Chris Matthews. And that the only way to protect liberty is to take it away. And that we should make government smaller by expanding its ability to control individual expression. And that our unbridled, exploitative capitalist economy is “Marxist” and should be replaced by unbridled, exploitative capitalism. And that Chuck Norris has interesting things to say.

This is a very important concept to consider, because it is based on these presumptions of protected speech and equal protection for all that progressives and socialists have engaged in their predation upon our liberties.

They think they can effect change through free speech! How un-American! Don’t they know that here in America we effect change by shutting down people who suggest we might need to change something?

If these truths can be acknowledged and widely accepted as such (as opposed to progressives’ Orwellian interpretations), then the political disenfranchisement of liberals, progressives, socialists and Marxists can begin in earnest, and in the open.

The right wing sure is getting bold, isn’t it? My guess is that ten years ago WorldNutDaily would never have published such an unambiguous call for all those who oppose them to be silenced by force. Fascism was indecorous back then. But now, as a lovely infographic over at xkcd illustrates, the far right has pushed itself into the mainstream by taking over a big chunk of Congress (especially the House), and as the mainstream becomes more looney, the looneys see this as an opportunity to push the boundaries of “acceptable” lunacy.

The Overton Window has shifted, and we’re now living in a world where right wing authoritarianism can rear its ugly head unabashed and unafraid. Tell rape victims that God wants them to have that child? Sure. Declare that corporations are people? Why not. Call 47% of Americans freeloaders and unapologetically praise the greed of the wealthiest Americans? Of course! Transvaginal ultrasounds? Disenfranchising black voters? More warmongering with Iran after two failed wars? Second Amendment remedies? Women who use birth control are sluts? Football players should be silenced when they express an opinion? Jail people for being liberal in public on the charge of crimes against the constitution? Hey, the sky’s the limit!

Ed (not Brayton) over at Gin and Tacos gave a rather bleak assessment of our current cultural dialogue. While I’m not as pessimistic as he is, I have to agree that we as liberals have failed at something basic. In our misguided attempts to be “fair and balanced”, we’ve let the meaning of terms shift (including the term “fair and balanced”), and we’ve allowed the looniest of the far right lunatics to control the tenor of the debate and say the most ludicrous things without fear of reprisal or scorn.

Of course, I’m not a lunatic like Rush, and under no circumstances should even lunatics being censored just for disagreeing (I say this even when it comes to “hate speech” laws in Canada and Europe that penalize people for spouting homophobic garbage). But allowing free speech should never mean failing to mock and deride people who says stupid or bigoted things. Just look at Rush’s article for an example of how dangerous it is to play the “respect people’s beliefs” gambit. Rush is so emboldened that he now believes it is a CRIME to disagree with him. He’s grown so accustomed to seeing the media put kid gloves on when dealing with creationists, global warming deniers, market dogmatists, homophobes, and all sorts of goatfucking crazy people that he now perceives the mere presence of liberals to be treasonous.

When somebody says something stupid, there should be a chorus of dissenters pointing out how wrong and stupid the claim is. Of course the stupid person will say that being called stupid is a violation of the First Amendment, but the fact that he or she believes this is part of what makes him or her stupid. The people with truly indefensible ideas can’t withstand scrutiny, so their only recourse is to silence those who would contradict them. Bad ideas need external, non-intellectual support. And as long as we have this mentality of “respecting beliefs” no matter how insane or demonstrably false those beliefs are, we are giving them that support, and opening a window for them to completely alter how our nation discusses important issues.

I say let the wingnuts like Rush have their word. But then I’m gonna have my word. And if the wingnuts don’t like it, they can go fuck themselves.

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