The former “paper of record” has finally copped to the political left’s disdain for the First Amendment and freedom of speech.
‘[L]iberals who once championed expansive First Amendment rights are now uneasy about them,” says a New York Times piece called “How Conservatives Weaponized the First Amendment.”
“Many on the left have traded an absolutist commitment to free speech for one sensitive to the harms it can inflict,” the report says.
The reason for the uneasiness, according to the Times, is that Supreme Court rulings, including the Citizens United ruling, have won cases for “conservative causes” on First Amendment grounds. The Citizens United case allows corporations to donate as much money as they want to political campaigns. The Supreme Court ruled that donations were a form of political speech and not to be denied.
Citing unspecified court decisions, the Times accuses the political right of using the First Amendment for “discrimination against gay couples and attacks on the regulation of tobacco, pharmaceuticals and guns.” That’s quite the charge to levy without any evidence.
“The left was once not just on board but leading in supporting the broadest First Amendment protections,” First Amendment lawyer Flyod Abrams told the Times. “Now the progressive community is at least skeptical and sometimes distraught at the level of First Amendment protection which is being afforded in cases brought by litigants on the right.”
The report even quotes law professors who have reconsidered their commitment to the First Amendment.
“When I was younger, I had more of the standard liberal view of civil liberties,” said Georgetown Law Professor Louis Michael Seidman. “And I’ve gradually changed my mind about it. What I have come to see is that it’s a mistake to think of free speech as an effective means to accomplish a more just society.”
Consider the meaning of Seidman’s quote. According to him, free speech is not effective in promoting justice, thereby free speech must curbed to promote justice. Liberals are now openly admitting that they believe America’s most fundamental right to be problematic. That is insane.
The Times then quoted an even more radical position from another law professor.
“Legally, what was, toward the beginning of the 20th century, a shield for radicals, artists and activists, socialists and pacifists, the excluded and the dispossessed, has become a sword for authoritarians, racists and misogynists, Nazis and Klansmen, pornographers and corporations buying elections,” wrote University of Michigan Law professor Catharine A. MacKinnon in an essay published last year.
In other words, the First Amendment is great, as long the political left is benefitting from it. But if anyone to the right of Che Guevara demands his right to free expression as afforded to him in the Bill of Rights, he is a bigoted Nazi who must be silenced.
This is the current state of the American political left. As long as the political right is winning, the left will happily bemoan the First Amendment, and even suggest that freedom of expression should be curtailed, all while slandering the political right as “authoritarian.”
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