In the wake of the horrific rampage in Tucson, a lot of people are looking for ways to lower the hatefulness of the political rhetoric.
But one way not to go is to legislate more restrictions on free speech.
Already, Pennsylvania Democrat Rep. Robert Brady says he’s going to introduce a bill to make it illegal for people to make statements that could be construed as death threats against judges or Congresspeople.
Now some might say, "Better late than never." Or maybe, "Who could have known where this could lead?" On Sunday, "The Hysteria Beat (Ava and C.I.)" went up. Ava and C.I. covered the reality that Matthew couldn't address. From their article:
Blind cries of do-something, politicians given the go-ahead to crackdown on rights and liberties. How very sad that Corrente would publish this nonsense.
Frenzy and hysteria crack down on political speech throughout this country's history. One example, from Chris Hedges' Death Of The Liberal Class:
[President Woodrow] Wilson easily pushed through draconian laws to squelch dissent, but he hardly needed to have bothered. Congress passed the Espionage Act in 1917, which criminalized not only espionage but also speech deemed critical of the government. Wilson had hoped to include a provision for direct censorship of newspapers, but Congress denied his request. Next year Congress passed an amendment, known as the Seditious Act, that made it a crime to use "disloyal" or "profane" language that could encourage contempt for the Constitution or the flag. The Espionage Act and the Sedition Act became the coarse legal tools used by the Wilson administration to silence isolated progressives and the dwindling populist forces that questioned the war. Postmaster General Albert Burleson, empowered by the Espionage Act, cancelled the special mailing privileges of journals he condemned as unpatriotic, instantly hiking their postal rates and putting about a hundred out of business. A few thousand people, including the Socialist politician Eugene Debs, were arrested for their continued denunciation of the war and calls for draft resistance and strikes. Debs was imprisoned after making an antiwar speech in Canton, Ohio, in June 1918. The Washington Post wrote after his sentencing that "Debs is a public menace, and the country will be better off with him behind bars." Debs spent more than two years in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary until President Warren Harding commuted his sentence on Christmas Day 1921. Vigilante groups, roused by the enflamed war propaganda and nationalist call to arms, physically attacked and at times lynched war opponents.
As long as Newberry's pointing the finger at people using their free speech rights, maybe he should ponder how posts like "The Truth, an Open Letter on Why This America, and This Left, Are Doomed" might cause despair and lead the frustrated and impotent to a path of violence?
Ideas and language are the new weapons? Is that what's going to be argued next?
Only if Americans are stupid enough to fall into that trap.
A tragedy's taken place. A shooting has led to multiple deaths and many wounded. That's what's known. Probably a good thing to leave tea reading to the psychics. Or do we not remember the last attempt to whip up hysteria over a death?
Yeah, Matthew Rothschild, Ava and C.I. were there on Sunday. While you fanned the flames. While you did serious damage.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Tuesday: