Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Pelosi's "War on Civil Society"

Many Republicans wryly welcomed the reign of Madam Speaker Pelosi, as the gaffe-prone San Franciscan representative was sure to provide a spectacle of liberal lunacy. She is surely a crusader for the far left and perceives the world through a peculiar lens. For example, on Thursday she declared:

The fact is this president has been so respectful of the Republicans in Congress. He has given them every opportunity for the executive and the legislative branch to work together, to have a solution that has bipartisan support. He's been criticized by some for taking the time that it takes to find out that they're never going to give him a break, which is a compromise

These must be new definitions of respect, bipartisan and compromise of which I was previously unaware.

Now comes news that Pelosi has endorsed a constitutional amendment to strip free speech rights from everyone but individual persons. The People's Rights Amendment reads:

Section 1. We the people who ordain and establish this Constitution intend the rights protected by this Constitution to be the rights of natural persons.

Section 2. People, person, or persons as used in this Constitution does not include corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities established by the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state, and such corporate entities are subject to such regulation as the people, through their elected state and federal representatives, deem reasonable and are otherwise consistent with the powers of Congress and the States under this Constitution.

Section 3. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to limit the people's rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, free exercise of religion, and such other rights of the people, which rights are inalienable.

As Eugene Volokh notes, Pelosi's amendment would deprive newspapers, churches, non-profits and all corporate entities of free-speech.

So just as Congress could therefore ban the speech of nonmedia business corporations, it could ban publications by corporate-run newspapers and magazines -- which I think includes nearly all such newspapers and magazines in the country. ...

Congress could also ban the speech and religious practice of most churches, which are generally organized as corporation. It could ban the speech of nonprofit organizations that are organized as corporations. (Congressman McGovern confirms this: "My 'People's Rights Amendment' is simple and straightforward. It would make clear that all corporate entities -- for-profit and non-profit alike -- are not people with constitutional rights. It treats all corporations, including incorporated unions and non-profits, in the same way: as artificial creatures of the state that we the people govern, not the other way around.") Congress could ban speech about elections and any other speech, whether about religion, politics, or anything else. It could also ban speech in viewpoint-based ways.

This is not an attack on evil corporations. It is an attack on "civil society" - defined as the "mediating layer between the individual and the state." Pelosi's strategy dovetails Obama's war on the Catholic Church, in that they are attempting to dismantle and eliminate all non-governmental entities which share power and influence over individuals. Churches, private societies and all other such organizations in which individuals gather together provide alternatives to - and therefore dilute the authority of - the leviathan of government.

There is a reason that so many people deride liberal democrats as socialists and communists - they both have a seemingly unlimited deference to the state and a concomitant distaste for any other form of public assemblage. They view society as individuals under the state bureaucracy with no room for light between the two. Conservatives rightly view individuals and the state as commingling in public (that is, "political") forums. But we also recognize that the majorities of our lives take place outside the realm of politics, within a variety of religious, social and private venues collectively known as civil society. 

Pelosi's and the like have no appreciation that they would cripple society - in the same manner that communism invariably crippled societies - by deteriorating the non-political social bonds of civil society.
Categories > Progressivism

Discussions - 4 Comments

If Nancy Pelosi would quit or if we could even imagine the slight possiblity of her being voted out of office the approval rating in Congress would probably go up 50%.

This only reinforces the obvious conclusion that the Left is deeply authoritarian. They worship power, period. And what lets them get away with this is the profound immaturity of most people, who spend their lives looking for someone else to take care of them.

The longer I live, the more I am forced to conclude that the solution to our problems lies in culture rather than politics or economics. Oh sure, some economic reforms can help, and political structure is deeply important, but none of this "sticks" if the fabric of culture is rotten.

Can anybody say Fairness Doctrine?? Bye-bye talk radio and Fox news.

I've been hearing warnings about that one forever now. I wonder what Obama and his Marxist Thug Mob (how am I doing?) are waiting for?

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