Alexis de Tocqueville expressed in best in his class work, Democracy in America.
Chains and executioners: such were the crude instruments on which tyranny once relied. But civilization has today brought improvement to everything, even to despotism, which seemed to have nothing left to learn. Princes made violence a physical thing, but today’s democratic republics have made it as intellectual as the human will it seeks to coerce. Under the absolute government of one man, despotism tried to reach the soul by striking crudely at the body; and the soul, eluding such blows, rose gloriously above it. Tyranny in democratic republics does not proceed in the same way, however. It ignores the body and goes straight for the soul. The master no longer says: You will think as I do or die. He says: You are free not to think as I do. You may keep your life, your property, and everything else. But from this day forth you shall be as a stranger among us. You will retain your civic privileges, but they will be of no use to you… You will remain among men, but you will forfeit your rights to humanity. When you approach your fellow creatures, they will shun you as one who is impure. And even those who believe in your innocence will abandon you, lest they, too, be shunned in turn. Go in peace, I will not take your life, but the life I leave you with is worse than death.
Not surprisingly, de Tocqueville coined the phrase "tyranny of the majority."
Several recent news stories in the past couple of weeks have reinforced my fear and suspicions of the exalted First Amendment. A high school newspaper in Wichita, Kansas, published an opinion piece calling on gay kids to be executed. School and district officials defended the piece by appealing to the almighty First Amendment. Case closed. Discussion over. About a week later, the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment was so sacred that anti-gay demon, Fred Phelps, could spew his hatred at a soldier's funeral. And yesterday, the Advocate published an article about a school in Arizona that arrested a bullied gay 5th grader for saying he wished he had a gun to use against the bullies who ruthlessly savage him on a daily basis.
When the law protects the cruel and the vile, and exonerates such abominations like Fred Phelps and other anti-gay bullies, then I will not worship it. I'm a second class citizen in this country. A piece of filth like Fred Phelps has more rights than I do. So, forgive me if I don't give a crap about his civil rights being violated right now. When I am at least equal to his ilk before the law, then maybe I'll start to worship the precious First Amendment.
Read the article that sparked today blog here.
Copyright © By Jay Jordan Hawke, March 12, 2011.