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How the Police State Muzzles Our Right to Speak Truth to Power

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“History shows that governments sometimes seek to regulate our lives finely, acutely, thoroughly, and exhaustively. In our own time and place, criminal laws have grown so exuberantly and come to cover so much previously innocent conduct that almost anyone can be arrested for something. If the state could use these laws not for their intended purposes but to silence those who voice unpopular ideas, little would be left of our First Amendment liberties, and little would separate us from the tyrannies of the past or the malignant fiefdoms of our own age. The freedom to speak without risking arrest is ‘one of the principal characteristics by which we distinguish a free nation.’”—Justice Neil Gorsuch, dissenting, Nieves v. Bartlett (2019) What the First Amendment protects—and a healthy constitutional republic requires—are citizens who routinely exercise their right to speak truth to power. What the architects of the police state want are submissive, compliant, cooperative, obedient, ...

Who Is the Real Enemy of Freedom?

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The Fresno Grizzlies, a farm team of the Washington Nationals baseball team, are in hot water. At a Memorial Day game, the team showed an annual Cold War-era tribute video by Ronald Reagan that extolled the U.S. military and its foreign wars, including the Vietnam War, which, the film said, defended our freedoms here at home. The film also featured a picture of former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, who was identified as an “enemy of freedom.” But it’s clear that someone has edited and updated the film because in addition to Castro, the pictures of post-Cold War “enemies of freedom” are shown. These include photographs of a member of Antifa, the militant left-wing anti-fascist group, Kim Jong-Un, the communist dictator of North Korea, with whom, ironically, President Trump has fallen in love … and … self-described socialist Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Ocasio-Cortez? An enemy of freedom? Just like Castro and Kim Jong-Un? What’s she doing in Congress? She is obviously a ...

What Would a Free Society Actually Look Like?

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It is a common occurrence at sporting events. Someone is singing the U.S. national anthem — “The Star-Spangled Banner” — and when he gets to the last line of the first verse (although the song has four verses, the first verse is the only one that is ever sung), the crowd starts cheering and shouting after the singer utters the phrase “the land of the free.” Most of those same people have an equally high regard for the country song by Lee Greenwood, “God Bless the U.S.A.,” and especially the beginning of the chorus that says, “And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free.” Greenwood has sung the song at Republican and conservative political events. In churches on the Sunday before Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Veterans Day, the patriotic song “America” (“My country, ’tis of thee”) is often sung. It speaks of America as the “sweet land of liberty” and ...