EDITORIAL: Putting the kibosh on ‘bad actors’

Far too many Americans have never read the brief text of the First Amendment. And of those who have, an alarming number let its meaning and intent fly right over their heads. That’s unfortunate, because the U.S. Constitution is unique in the liberties it affords American citizens. It’s especially true of the First Amendment itself. Many gun rights advocates are firmly convinced that without the Second Amendment, the First Amendment is destined to fall. They are foolish – and stunningly so. The Framers, despite all their flaws in terms of modern-day values, knew what they were doing. The truth is, without freedom of speech and expression, even if the Second Amendment remains, it won’t for long. Those who would strip away freedom of speech would certainly remove the right to bear arms in tandem or shortly thereafter – once the public no longer had the right to talk about the atrocity. “Freedom of speech” doesn’t give people the right to say whatever they want. What it’s really about is being able to speak one’s mind without fear of government reprisal – especially when it comes to criticizing the government itself. It’s important that Americans understand the distinction, because in recent years, politicians have been able to get away with telling outrageous lies about their opponents, the media, and anyone else they deem a threat to their power. Human scruples, however shallow they might be, used to keep most people at least partly in check. Not anymore. With freedom comes […]

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