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Posts Tagged ‘habeas corpus’

Our Free Speech Crisis – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 10, 2019

We should reject any restriction on free speech. We might ask ourselves, “What’s the true test of one’s commitment to free speech?” It does not come when people permit others to say or publish ideas with which they agree. The true test of one’s commitment to free speech comes when others are permitted to say and publish ideas they deem offensive.


The First Amendment to our Constitution was proposed by the 1788 Virginia ratification convention during its narrow 89 to 79 vote to ratify the Constitution. Virginia’s resolution held that the free exercise of religion, right to assembly and free speech could not be canceled, abridged or restrained. These Madisonian principles were eventually ratified by the states on March 1, 1792.

Gettysburg College professor Allen C. Guelzo, in his article “Free Speech and Its Present Crisis,” appearing in the autumn 2018 edition of City Journal, explores the trials and tribulations associated with the First Amendment. The early attempts to suppress free speech were signed into law by President John Adams and became known as the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. Later attempts to suppress free speech came during the Civil War, when President Abraham Lincoln and his generals attacked newspapers and suspended habeas corpus. It wasn’t until 1919, in the case of Abrams v. United States, when the U.S. Supreme Court finally and unambiguously prohibited any kind of censorship.

Today, there is growing contempt for free speech, most of which is found on the nation’s college and university campuses. Guelzo cites the free speech vision of Princeton University professor Carolyn Rouse, who is chairperson of the department of Anthropology. Rouse shared her vision on speech during last year’s Constitution Day lecture. She called free speech a political illusion, a baseless ruse to enable people to “say whatever they want, in any context, with no social, economic, legal or political repercussions.” As an example, she says that a climate change skeptic has no right to make “claims about climate change, as if all the science discovered over the last X-number of centuries were irrelevant.”…

We should reject any restriction on free speech. We might ask ourselves, “What’s the true test of one’s commitment to free speech?” It does not come when people permit others to say or publish ideas with which they agree. The true test of one’s commitment to free speech comes when others are permitted to say and publish ideas they deem offensive…

I am afraid that too many of my fellow Americans are hostile to the principles of liberty. Most people want liberty for themselves. I differ. I want liberty for me and liberty for my fellow man.

Be seeing you


Citizen: “What are you protesting against” Johnny: “What have you got?” The Wild One




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Lincoln and Trump: Two of a Kind? | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on July 4, 2019

Did you learn this in government school? Me neither.

President Trump has outraged legions of political opponents with his plan to give a Fourth of July speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. A Washington Post columnist frets that Trump’s speech will leave a “stain” that “won’t ever completely wash away.” But before any more teeth-gnashing occurs, we should recognize the surprising parallels between Trump and President Lincoln.

Trump sparked an uproar in 2017 by tweeting derisively about the “so-called judge” who blocked his order severely restricting immigration from seven nations. Twitter was not around in the 1860s so Lincoln never took online swipes at the judiciary. However, when Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney ruled in 1861 that Lincoln had no right to suspend habeas corpus along a railroad corridor, Lincoln ignored his decision. The following year, Lincoln greatly expanded the suspension, resulting in the arrest and military trials of people who had done nothing more than insult the president. Up to 15,000 northerners became political prisoners as a result of Lincoln’s orders.

Trump mortifies the press corps and millions of non-ink-stained wretches when he denounces that the media is “the enemy of the American people.” Lincoln refrained from such rude comments during his four years in the White House. However, on May 18, 1864, Lincoln issued an executive order for “arrest and imprisonment of irresponsible newspaper reporters and editors” after the New York World and Journal of Commerce published an incorrect report on a pending expansion of conscription. Lincoln forcibly shut down 300 newspapers in the North that were insufficiently supportive of military policies and hundreds of editors, publishers, and reporters were tossed into prison without charges.

Trump has been widely condemned for canceling the Obama administration mandate compelling every public school to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice. Transgender rights were not an issue in the 1860s, but Lincoln’s treatment of the most reviled ethnic group of his era was not his finest hour. In 1862, Lincoln approved the largest mass execution in American history — 39 Sioux Indians. In 1863, Lincoln approved brutally expelling Navajos and Apaches from the New Mexico territory. In 1864, John Evans, a personal friend of Lincoln’s and his appointee as Colorado territorial governor, launched a military campaign that culminated in the U.S. cavalry slaughtering more than 100 peaceful Indian women and children at Sand Creek, an unprovoked attack that even Congress labeled a “massacre.”

Trump was denounced for his “tyrannical and despotic” attempt to withhold federal funds from self-proclaimed “sanctuary cities” that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. Rather than sanctuary cities, Lincoln dealt with border states that threatened to secede and he did not rely on sweet words alone. In September 1861, Lincoln sent federal troops to arrest pro-southern members of the Maryland legislature. In Kentucky, Union commanders targeted Southern sympathizers with roving “execution squads,” as the New York Times noted. Vast swaths of southern Missouri were devastated and depopulated to prevent any support for Confederate forces.

Trump suggested in 2016 that the U.S. government could kill the families of terrorists to dissuade others from launching attacks — and to hell with Geneva Conventions rules protecting non-combatants. Lincoln also relied on a catch-all notion of collective guilt. Shortly before his 1864 march across Georgia, Union Gen. William Sherman telegramed Washington that “there is a class of people — men, women, and children — who must be killed or banished before you can hope for peace and order.” Lincoln congratulated Sherman for a ruthless destructive campaign that made “Georgia howl.” After Union Gen. Phil Sheridan torched much of Virginia, Lincoln sent him a message declaring “my own personal admiration and gratitude for the month’s operation in the Shenandoah Valley.” Historians swept Lincoln’s brutal tactics under the rug long before his memorial was consecrated in 1922.

Trump and Lincoln are soulmates on today’s most contentious economic issue. Trump portrays imports as a pox while his trade wars are ravaging American farmers and many manufacturers. Promising high tariffs helped Lincoln capture the presidency in 1860 and he cheered in February 1861 when congressional Republicans boosted tariffs as high as 216%. The New York Times denounced that bill as a “disastrous measure” that “alienates extensive sections of the country we seek to retain” and will “deal a deadly blow … at the measures now in progress to heal our political differences.” That tariff law helped drive Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee out of the Union, thereby making the Civil War far more destructive. Protectionism remains as idiotic now as it was 150 years ago but politicians continue to demagogue the issue…

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