Tuesday, February 14, 2006

First Amendment Dissident

... law and economics be darned.
Here, burning a cross on a black person's lawn was recently protected as free speech by the Supreme Court. It's obviously a big subject, but the First Amendment, which keeps Congress from making laws that punish speech, doesn't say, for instance, that I have a right to say what I want, let alone that I have a right to say it on NBC or CBS. After I have expressed myself, the government isn't supposed to punish me. ...

... So the First Amendment protects the speech of Thomas Jefferson, but has Sally Hemmings ever said a word anyone knows about? My own experience is that speech is not free; it costs a lot.
Andrea Dworkin, please take a bow.

(And no, I don't believe the Supremes really said it was okay to burn a cross on a black person's lawn. Because if there's one thing that this nation holds holy, it is property rights. In fact, I would argue that to American conservatives, Christianity is a political stance; their real religion is private property.

(But yes, I think Dworkin makes a valuable comment on the limitations and (say it softly) inadequacy of the First Amendment. Whether that inadequacy can be usefully addressed within a legal framework, I'm not sure. Ask me in three years.)


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