Anti-gun advocates love to defend their gun control agenda by pointing out supposed First Amendment “restrictions” against shouting fire in a crowded theater. It is by far one of the most nonsensical argument they make to justify their farcical gun control agenda.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at an event at the Good Day Cafe, Sunday, June 5, 2016, in Vallejo, Calif. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton came close to once again rehashing the ridiculous “fire” argument in a recent interview with George Stephanopoulos but stopped short. Instead, she stated [emphasis added]:
I think that for most of our history, there was a nuanced reading of the Second Amendment until the decision by the late Justice Scalia, and there was no argument until then that localities and states and the federal government had a right, as we do with every amendment, to impose reasonable regulations. So I believe we can have common-sense gun safety measures consistent with the Second Amendment.
With these words, Clinton has emphatically stated that all of our civil rights are subject to government permission. This was a surprising bit of honesty about her radical ideology coming from a woman best known for her dishonesty.
She is indeed accurate that many of our constitutional rights are regulated by the government. They shouldn’t be, but they are.
That is why I don’t understand the tendency of many on the left to default to the most absurd example when there are no shortages of real limitations, restrictions, and exceptions they can pull from.
Why use fire in a crowded theater as an example at all? Is it a diversion?
Could it be that the party of civil liberties doesn’t want people to understand they actually have a history of restricting and advocating against civil rights? Or is it to hide the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the way they flip the meaning of the Bill of Rights in virtually any direction to fit their political agenda?
In order to accomplish many of their restrictions against our civil rights they use a complex method of political gymnastics to bounce around on how rights should ultimately be applied.
In Citizens United v. the Federal Elections Commission, progressives argued that the First Amendment only applied to individuals and not to corporations and non-profits. They also argued that money spent by these collectives of individuals is not speech.
The government was essentially defining the freedom of speech as only an individual right to avert political speech. Thus government gave themselves permission to prevent individuals from pooling their money to spread a common political message and give it greater reach.
Fortunately the Supreme Court upheld the First Amendment in this case, but progressives continue to advocate making permanent freedom of speech limitation through a constitutional amendment.
Then, even though the First Amendment lists freedom of speech and religion in the same sentence, they claim these rights should be regulated differently. They argue freedom of religion actually only applies to the collective worship within non-profit corporations known as churches, but not to individuals who happen to own a for-profit corporation.
They convolute the intent of the First Amendment by isolating it into subcategories and micromanaging when and how each should be applied.
Your church’s rights to participate in political speech that is significant to their religious beliefs is severely limited by government regulations. They are forced to either surrender the ability to do more charitable activities by paying taxes, in order to take political stances, or become a non-profit and severely restrict its speech in the political sphere.
But these civil rights gymnastics are not just limited to the First Amendment; this tumbling and flipping around extends, as Hillary Clinton said, to nearly every other constitutional amendment.
The protections of the Fourth Amendment which is supposed to protect individuals against unreasonable searches and seizures was graciously defined to exempt information held or transmitted by a third party corporation. The government doesn’t have to have probable cause to gain access to your personal communications or information if it was passed through a third party.
Then gun-control advocates have no second thoughts about advocating the denial of an American citizens Second Amendment right by denying American citizens their Sixth Amendment Right and place them on a no-fly list without the opportunity to face their accusers or respond to the accusations.
The Ninth Amendment further specifies that just because the Constitution only enumerates specific rights, it should not think it has the right to deny other presumed rights of the people. Government can pretty much ignore this amendment since it already makes its own presumption about rights that are actually enumerated in the constitution. To think the federal government won’t presume authority over ones not specifically addressed is just naive.
The Tenth Amendment reserves all powers not specifically delegated to the Federal government as property of the states. Unless of course it involves interstate commerce, which it defines as pretty much EVERYTHING, in which case government gives itself permission to regulate anything it wants.
After contemplating these “rights,” I’m not so sure the Constitution is anything more than a façade to hide the sick reality that we are now living in a post-constitutional America. I don’t want to believe that, but it certainly feels like any rights we think we have are little more than permission slips granted by an all-powerful federal government.
Given the current state of Washington, and our most likely future prospects, I see little sense in fighting the endless back and forth battle of congressional and presidential elections where our rights are continually hanging by a thread.
Instead, disenfranchised conservatives should be determined to do everything in their power to ensure strong constitutionalists are being elected to every State office. No more representatives or governors who simply go along to get along, or sell out to get gain from federal dollars.
We cannot count on the Supreme Court to be our firewall to our constitutional rights, either; it’s time to bring that burden home to more sensible hands. It is time for our states to act as a check on federal power.
Fire (Karl Knighton)
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