Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Prior restraints and tyranny

David Codrea on why prior restraints on guns and free speech enable tyranny:
... The first flawed premise is that the Bill of Rights "gives" anything at all. It does not; it merely articulates specified (but not all) unalienable rights that are inherent to the condition of being human, that predate the formation of government or the adoption of any constitution, and that may not properly be deprived from full enfranchisement save when they are abused to the injury of others.

In other words, you can't be muzzled beforehand. You CAN yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Any time you feel like it. The government can impose no prior restraint on anything that you may say or write. To do so violates your unalienable rights under the Constitution; the only ones bound by prior restraints in such matters are the government.

I would, however, advise that there actually be a fire. Because if there's not, it's proper for your reckless action to meet with a penalizing response. And if someone is threatened or injured, it's just to expect punishment for your actions and restitution for your victims.

But you can still threaten your neighbors and coworkers, and shout from the rooftops whatever fabricated slur you want about anybody you choose, or publish libelous remarks impugning the good name of the most exalted among us. Any time at all. For instance, if I want to say that Rosie O'Donnell is a...wait, that's not a good example--it has to be untrue.

The point being, you need to do the crime before you do the time. If you harass, intimidate or terrorize someone with menacing words or demeanor, or if what you say or write is false and done with malice or reckless disregard, you've got a world of hurt coming your way, and deservedly so.

Like it or not, and those who would disregard it most certainly do not, the same holds true for the Second Amendment. You bet there are legitimate and just restraints that society can impose once you menace or harm someone, or otherwise prove yourself to be incompetent or untrustworthy. But until such time as you do, your right to keep and bear arms may not be infringed. ...

Read it all here.

No comments: