The Horse Sense Blog compares the nonsense in today's news with good ol' fashioned horse sense


“…I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve.… It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.” - Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775


"The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." - George Orwell

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

First Amendment Free Speech Going, Going, Gone

Here's the Nonsense:  The First Amendment is fine.  Some people have become too offensive with their rhetoric and it's time to have the government force them to stop saying such offensive things.   

Here's the Horse Sense:  America's founders fought and died for the right to say whatever they chose.  They felt it more important to allow a person to speak their mind and offend someone than to shut them down and take away their basic freedom of speech.  They knew that without freedom of speech that freedoms are lost and never realized.

NYMag.com is reporting on a Pew poll that 40% of Millenials are okay with the government banning offensive speech. The Millenials clearly show no knowledge or forethought in coming to that conclusion.  They have no idea what fulfillment of that view will mean to their freedom.  But there's something far more important that this poll exposes.

To think it's okay to ban offensive speech assumes that you will always be the arbiter of what is offensive.  What the Millennials don't think about is what happens when the government comes under control of people who think what the Millennials say, think, or believe is offensive.  Then, suddenly, they are on the receiving end.  What was once okay in their minds (banning what others said that they disagreed with) suddenly becomes a horror story when they realize that they can no longer express themselves the way they once did.  The government that they thought was their friend becomes their slave master.

Millennials (18-34 year olds) will determine the future of your children and grandchildren.  They are the future, even though they are ignorant about the lessons of history.  They will determine the freedom or slavery that Americans will have, even though they don't understand they are destroying the First Amendment rights that have given all of us the freedom we have enjoyed for over two centuries.  

But those who think the government should  control speech don't realize that when that happens the lives they enjoy in America today will never be the same. 

Half of these Millennials aren't even adults.  You may argue with that statement saying that they're 18 and older so they're all adults.  I'd argue not only that science has proved that the human brain isn't mature until well into your 20s, which means that if they're adults it's certainly not due to maturity of their brains, only due to an arbitrary age determined by people as worthy of being called adult.  

And it could also be argued that our own government has established laws under Obamacare that tell us they are considered children until they are 27.  Considering the ridiculous and often horrendous things students are taught and indoctrinated with in our schools, maybe it would be wise to consider changing voting age to at least 27 so they've had a little time to mature (In fact, 35 might be even better so they have some life experience under their belt.).

But, while the lack of maturity plagues our society today, I have gotten away from the main point of what I see in this poll.  The fact is that while the result being focused on in this poll is important, what is even more interesting is something that is glaring in the results and should teach us about our society.  Look at this chart:


Notice that while 40% of Millennials support government controlled speech, 27% of Gen Xers (35-50 years old) support it, 24% of Baby Boomers (51-69 years old) support it, but only 12% of the Silent generation (70-87 years old) support it.

That last number may be the most significant in the poll.  The Silent generation have 88% who are against the government controlling speech.  

Why is that significant?  Because the Silent generation are the last people who were alive during World War II.  They are the last people who could truly understand what it's like to live through the horrors of the Nazi regime.  And that life experience would shape more clearly a person's views about freedom than the rest of us could understand.  (Yes, there have been other terrible governments since that time, but none that have caused a war so big that a world war was fought to stop the atrocities from spreading throughout the world.)

Since that time, those of us who are younger have lived at a distance from what happened.  Some of us, like myself, had parents who served in the military during World War II.  For others it was grandparents or even great grandparents.  And as each generation has become further removed from what happened our society has forgotten more and more of the atrocities and the cost paid to maintain freedom in the world.  Add to that our educational system has taught less and less about World War II and students know little, if anything about what happened, why it happened, and why it is important to make sure it never happens again.  Not knowing and understanding history is a curse that causes us to repeat it.

I've had the honor and privilege of meeting Nazi concentration camp survivors and hearing from them exactly what they went through.  I've heard the stories of the soldiers who liberated the concentration camps and the horrors they found.  And I go out of my way to read at least one or two books every year about what happened because it is so important that we understand and don't forget it.

Why am I addressing this poll in light of World War II? Because what happened in that time has a great chance of happening again if we don't remember it, learn from it, and fight to make sure it doesn't.  And the loss of our First Amendment rights is the cornerstone of protection from that happening.

Today we see a growing acceptance of foolish thought that says "you shouldn't have the right to offend me."  Unlike our country's founders who fought and died for the right to be offended, today more and more people wear their feelings on their sleeve and are more worried about hurt feelings than about freedom.

Whatever happened to teaching our children that sticks and stones can break our bones but words can never hurt me?  

Certainly we don't want to offend people intentionally.  And we want to teach our children to be respectful, even of those with differing ideas and beliefs.  But when it comes down to it, the freedom to say what you believe is essential to a free society, even if it offends someone.  Without freedom of speech, freedom is gone.

Many conservatives think we are in danger of losing our First Amendment rights, especially that of free speech.  I've written and spoken many times about not just the threat of losing those rights, but the fact that they are already lost.  

Sure, you can still say what you think about many things in many places.  But if push comes to shove and you end up in court, don't bank on a defense based on the Constitution being ruled in your favor.  The Supreme Court has already ruled against supporting the First Amendment, even though they'd not say it in those words.  But if push comes to shove and you end up in court, because we've seen the Supreme Court not uphold the First Amendment rights of citizens, there's no guarantee how the court will rule on any future First Amendment cases.

To make sure you don't get court protection, a large number of Americans are now lining up to agree that the government should abandon the First Amendment take away your right to say what you think.  We are currently seeing many examples of this on college campuses in protests and classrooms, along with media figures promoting this idea, too. 

You may think that a new president will fix all of these types of problems.  But that won't happen no matter who the new president is.  The problem is in the American people.  

The American people aren't involved in our government, even though our founders created our nation to be controlled by the citizens, not a group of self-proclaimed elites in Washington.  We have allowed these misfits to take over our government (and I'm speaking of those in both parties, not just Democrats).  We've also forsaken our responsibility to raise our children to understand how our government works, what their responsibilities are, and that they must be involved and hold politicians accountable or our nation will fail.

Today we have foolish, immature and uneducated children throughout our society at all ages, not just those who are legally still of an age considered to be pre-adult.  They have no idea what's happening in our government or that our nation is about to collapse.  They are more concerned with self than with anything else.  

Instead of putting others first, they have learned to put themselves first and the result is going to be an America under complete control of the progressive communists.  Freedom will be redefined to be what the government wants and American citizens will ignorantly accept it because they won't have any knowledge of how and why America was created or what has made America exceptional above all other nations on earth.

It's time that people with the mindset exposed in this poll be awakened with a harsh dose of reality to get them on track to support America.  

There are far too many people agreeing with them to think that America's future is bright unless a change occurs very quickly.  Those who do understand need to be educating those around them.  Knowledge is our best weapon to take America back.  But if we don't let others know what is happening and why it's important, the American voters won't have the knowledge to make the decisions necessary to elect the people we need to save our country.