Thursday, February 21, 2013

Our new p3 motto

This blog has a new motto:
May the First Amendment always triumph over the Second.
As a corollary* to that:
The proper response to free speech you don't like is more free speech.
And as a corollary to that:
If the only way your ideas can get any traction is by shutting down public discussion of any alternative, then your ideas probably aren't very good.
The inspiration to share this formulation with you was a a Charlie Pierce post this morning, cataloging the various enterprising efforts by Republican state legislators from a very-predictable region of the country to ban discussion of things they don't like, such as gun control, or the notion of sustainability in energy policy.

Nota bene: Not shut down gun control or sustainable energy policy, but even the public discussion of those topics.   

(It goes beyond the reach of Pierce's news round-up today, but we could also add evolution, LGBT rights, and women's right to control their own bodies to the list of topics that conservatives have tried, by hook or by crook, to outlaw from public discussion -- and in the case of women's reproductive health, even from private discussion between a woman and her physician).

Pierce also generously traces the you-aren't-allowed-to-talk-about-this impulse back some 176 years in American political discourse, and the results generally confirm our point: The ideas that need this kind of anti-First Amendment (we may as well say anti-American) protection tend to be the ones that are on the losing side of history to begin with.

Pierce's post goes on the Readings list.

* Yes, yes. Strictly speaking, theorems (not mottoes) have corollaries. A less-dedicated supporter of the First Amendment might say, "Shut up." But precisely because of this corollary, I say instead, "Go start your own blog." See how I did that right there?

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