Liberty of speech inviteth and provoketh liberty to be used again, and so bringeth much to a man’s knowledge – Francis Bacon, 1605
Give me the liberty to know, utter and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties – John Milton, 1644
Yesterday, the State of California charged two people with violations of State Law in the secret filming of Planned Parenthood staffers who – according to the edited videos – made stunning revelations about the operations of the agency behind closed doors. Many on the Right condemned the prosecution as political in nature and in violation of the 1st Amendment.
For whatever it’s worth, I don’t disagree. This is a political motivated prosecution. But that is not to what we should be paying attention.
Some years ago a lawmaker in Texas proposed a law that would make filming of Police in action a crime, unless the person doing the filming was a “Registered” Journalist. The concern, as explained by the Lawmaker, was that “too many” people were filming Cops and sooner or later – it hadn’t happened yet – somebody was going to get hurt. He was concerned about “keeping people safe” and so proposed that the State would decide who and who was not a “journalist,” thus making Cop Filming safe for Texans.
The law never made it past the proposal State, but other laws did. In one case, Texas has created an exemption to its own procedures for Civil Torts (Lawsuits) that allows “members of the of the electronic and print media, or a person whose communication appears in, or is published by the electronic or print media, to immediately appeal a trial court decision that involves free speech or free press rights.”
The question the Court recently refused to consider is simply whether or not a blog is considered “electronic media?” In the words of one Justice on the Texas Supreme Court, the so-called “Primary Business Test” has the effect of chilling free speech and forces the courts to focus on who does the publishing rather than what was published.
In effect, the debate has moved from the actual speech to the person/entity making the speech. It is “approved” or is it rogue? This is how the State, be it a totalitarian dictatorship or the Republic of California, controls media and consequently, public consumption of that media. Simply by determining who is and who is not allowed to present information, is in effect, a part of Norm Chomskys propaganda model known as “Sourcing.” That is, controlling the sources allowed to be used.
We are left to wonder whose blog is “Media,” and whose blog is “not Media?”
And just who is it that is left to actually provoke liberty?
Tonight, all across the corn intensive State of Iowa, voters will gather in gymnasiums and cafeterias, churches and Elks Lodges for the famous Iowa Caucus. While the winner of tonight’s festivities – at least on the GOP side – is traditionally unlikely to win the eventual nomination, the process by which we got to this evenings events is both fascinating and frustrating.
First of all, these primaries and caucuses are reactionary in nature to the control that the Party Bosses had over the nomination process. As more and more of the people wanted a say in who their Party chose to run, the primaries became more and more common. Followed, as a matter of course, by the Party’s and States moving to control who could and could not participate in the process and the degree to which the process controlled things.
From 1923 infamous Texas State Law which banned black men from voting in the Democrat Primary (note: not the Republican one, just the Democrat Primary), to the all around disaster that was the 1968 Election process, the battle has always been between the Party Bosses and the people to control who could participate and ultimately choose the Party’s nominee.
Even today, there are still yet attempts to control and limit who can participate, such as California’s Prop 14. And so the battle for the heart and souls of the Parties and their ultimate level of control starts again tonight, in the cornfields of Iowa…
Texas Governor Greg Abbott is the latest in a line of Conservative politicians on the national stage calling for an Article V Convention of the States to, as he puts it in his 90 page Convention document, “restore the rule of the current [Constitution].” Make no mistake though, Governor Abbott wants more than a “return” to the Constitution, he wants amendments that could significantly change the way the American’s live their lives today.
Perhaps those changes would be for the better, but the bigger questions remains unanswered: What is Governor Abbott willing to compromise upon in order to get the things that he wants in such a convention? And for those who support his (and others) vision of such a convention, what do they propose as the actual goal to be accomplished?
And again, what are you willing to compromise upon to get what you want?
If you refuse to compromise, your proposed convention will end exactly as the last one did. Wait… you didn’t know that there has been a Convention of the States before? There was… and it failed.
So instead of a Convention, how about a return to electing leaders who support and defend the Constitution as oppose to ignoring it? And educating people who vote that liberty is more precious than a government handout?