US Constitution Discussion, Part 12: Amendment I

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US Constitution Discussion, Part 12: Amendment I

Post by Martin Blank » Fri Sep 05, 2003 9:25 pm

Previous discussion part: US Constitution Discussion, Part 11: Articles V, VI, & VII

Articles and Sections are offset by bold text; and underlined text has been modified, superseded, or repealed by Amendments, and generally are no longer in effect.

Article I.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Ratification completed 15 Dec, 1791.
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Post by Martin Blank » Fri Sep 05, 2003 9:28 pm

What some consider the most basic of all freedoms, the right to speak one's own mind, is enshrined in the First Amendment. With scant limitation (that which is slanderous, libelous, patently obscene, or creates a clear and present danger to others), people are free to speak their minds.

Should there be limits? What should they be? How should people be punished for crossing any lines?
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Post by StruckingFuggle » Fri Sep 05, 2003 9:39 pm

Notice also, Congressional establishment of religion is enshrined BEFORE freedom of speech. Granted also that "freedom of religion" inherently creates "freedom from religion", and one wonders how all these neo-conservative religious assholes can even have so much power. Sigh.

I have almost rant-length thoughts on assembly and freedom of speech, but I'll post them later. Wanted to point out that freedom of/from religion comes first.

And also to ask what the bit about "and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" means.
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Re: US Constitution Discussion, Part 12: Amendment I

Post by Deacon » Fri Sep 05, 2003 11:14 pm

[quote="Martin Blank";p="151528"]Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion[/quote]
Why is that so hard for people to understand? Do a list of basic rules of conduct in a public place indicate a law respecting an establishment of religion? Of course not. Does a meaningful quote from the Quran violate the first ammendment? Of course not. Does passing a law forbidding someone from having a copy of the Quran or the Bible violate the first ammendment? YES.

Also, can someone do me a favor and point out where the "freedom of expression" clause is housed in the Constitution?
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Post by Phong » Fri Sep 05, 2003 11:23 pm

Can someone please tell me what the hell a "Neo" Conservative is ? I was always under the impression that it was a former liberal who had become a conservative in their later years. And is conservative not on base issuses of Religion and Morality, but mostly when it comes to foreign policy, and the economy. But Strucking's use of it seems to discount my definition of the term.
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Post by Fishmonger » Fri Sep 05, 2003 11:42 pm

A neo-conservative (sometimes abbreviated as neo-con) is an adherent of any of several distinct political ideologies. They are not consistent worldwide, unlike the neoliberal political economy which underlies corporate globalization. To heighten the confusion, most neo-conservative groups adhere to at least part of the neoliberal agenda. However, they add to this a profound obsession with one or more cultural traits. Some see all of the neoconservative movements as different excuses to impose and defend a global neoclassical economics, which excuses differ from those of the neoliberal. In particular, the neoconservative ideology seems obsessed with defense as opposed to development, and thus is similar to the conservative/liberal divisions seen within each country in the polity of pre-globalization states.

Each neoconservative ideology is treated separately and in detail below:

In the context of the United States, it refers to a right-wing movement of former political leftists. As Michael Lind has observed, "Most neoconservative defense intellectuals have their roots on the left, not the right. They are products of the influential Jewish-American sector of the Trotskyist movement of the 1930s and 1940s, which morphed into anti-communist liberalism between the 1950s and 1970s and finally into a kind of militaristic and imperial right with no precedents in American culture or political history. Their admiration for the Israeli Likud party's tactics, including preventive warfare such as Israel's 1981 raid on Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor, is mixed with odd bursts of ideological enthusiasm for 'democracy.' They call their revolutionary ideology 'Wilsonianism' (after President Woodrow Wilson), but it is really Trotsky's theory of the permanent revolution mingled with the far-right Likud strain of Zionism. Genuine American Wilsonians believe in self-determination for people such as the Palestinians."[1]

The ideology of neoconservatism developed during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Six-Day War between Israel and Arab states was a watershed, as that conflict turned much of the left against Israel, while the founders of the neoconservative movement remained passionate advocates for Israel. The movement has been increasingly influential in the United States and within the Republican Party. Its weight has especially been felt within foreign policy. One of its main tenents is the vital importance of Israel as a strategic partner to the U.S.

The early leaders of the neoconservative movement were Irving Kristol (author of 1983 book Reflections of a Neoconservative) and Norman Podhoretz, both of whom have served as editors of Commentary Magazine. Important neoconservatives in American politics include Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, David Wurmser, William Kristol (son of Irving Kristol), Elliot Abrams (son-in-law to Norman Podhoretz) and Douglas Jay Feith. Some neoconservatives embrace the teachings of philosopher Leo Strauss, a German who fled his country in the 1930s and eventually found refuge in the U.S., teaching at the University of Chicago. Wolfowitz is among those self-identified as a Straussian.

The philosophy of Strauss is controversial with ideals that go contrary to democracy. In an analysis by Jim Lobe for the Inter Press Service News Agency, Lobe writes:


Hersh wrote that Strauss believed the world to be a place where "isolated liberal democracies live in constant danger from hostile elements abroad", and where policy advisers may have to deceive their own publics and even their rulers in order to protect their countries.

Shadia Drury, author of 1999's Leo Strauss and the American Right, says Hersh is right on the second count but dead wrong on the first.

"Strauss was neither a liberal nor a democrat," she said in a telephone interview from her office at the University of Calgary in Canada. "Perpetual deception of the citizens by those in power is critical (in Strauss's view) because they need to be led, and they need strong rulers to tell them what's good for them."

"The Weimar Republic (in Germany) was his model of liberal democracy for which he had huge contempt," added Drury. Liberalism in Weimar, in Strauss's view, led ultimately to the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews.

Like Plato, Strauss taught that within societies, "some are fit to lead, and others to be led", according to Drury. But, unlike Plato, who believed that leaders had to be people with such high moral standards that they could resist the temptations of power, Strauss thought that "those who are fit to rule are those who realise there is no morality and that there is only one natural right, the right of the superior to rule over the inferior".

For Strauss, "religion is the glue that holds society together", said Drury, who added that Irving Kristol, among other neo-conservatives, has argued that separating church and state was the biggest mistake made by the founders of the U.S. republic.

"Secular society in their view is the worst possible thing", because it leads to individualism, liberalism and relativism, precisely those traits that might encourage dissent, which in turn could dangerously weaken society's ability to cope with external threats. "You want a crowd that you can manipulate like putty," according to Drury. [2]
Neo-conservative policies are also strongly influenced by Michael Ledeen. Ledeen has worked for the Pentagon, U.S. State Department, and the National Security Council, and he was involved with the arms transfers to Iran during the Iran/Contra affair, which he documents in his book Perilous Statecraft: An Insider's Account of the Iran-Contra Affair. William O. Beeman writes the following about Michael Ledeen for the Pacific News Service:


Ledeen's ideas are repeated daily by such figures as Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz. His views virtually define the stark departure from American foreign policy philosophy that existed before the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001. He basically believes that violence in the service of the spread of democracy is America's manifest destiny. Consequently, he has become the philosophical legitimator of the American occupation of Iraq.

Quotes from Ledeen's works reveal a peculiar set of beliefs about American attitudes toward violence. "Change -- above all violent change -- is the essence of human history," he proclaims in his book, Machiavelli on Modern Leadership: Why Machiavelli's Iron Rules Are as Timely and Important Today as Five Centuries Ago. In an influential essay in the National Review Online he asserts, "Creative destruction is our middle name. We do it automatically ... it is time once again to export the democratic revolution."

Ledeen has become the driving philosophical force behind the neoconservative movement and the military actions it has spawned. His 1996 book, Freedom Betrayed; How the United States Led a Global Domocratic Revolution, Won the Cold War, and Walked Away, reveals the basic neoconservative obsession: the United States never "won" the Cold War; the Soviet Union collapsed of its own weight without a shot being fired. Had the United States truly won, democratic institutions would be sprouting everywhere the threat of Communism had been rife.

Iraq, Iran and Syria are the first and foremost nations where this should happen, according to Ledeen. The process by which this should be achieved is a violent one, termed "total war."

"Total war not only destroys the enemy's military forces, but also brings the enemy society to an extremely personal point of decision, so that they are willing to accept a reversal of the cultural trends," Ledeen writes. "The sparing of civilian lives cannot be the total war's first priority ... The purpose of total war is to permanently force your will onto another people." [3]
Many neoconservatives found important positions in the Department of Defense under George W. Bush. They had long argued for a preventive war against Iraq in particular, but also several other Middle Eastern countries (Iran, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia). Immediately following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, they renewed their calls for attack on Iraq. The Bush administration chose to first invade Afghanistan, but the neoconservatives eventually prevailed.

Several neoconservatives have worked closely with Israel's Likud party. This is true for instance of Perle, Feith and Wurmser. They authored the 1996 position paper "Securing the Realm: A Clean Break" for the Benjamin Netanyahu government, and the paper argued, among other things, for a preventive war against Iraq. The report also argued for Israel to reaffirm its claim to the West Bank and Gaza and to refrain from participating in any peace process.

The leading outlet of the neoconservative movement has been Commentary Magazine, the flagship publication of the American Jewish Council. Other magazines include The Weekly Standard, currently edited by William Kristol and owned by Rupert Murdoch. The editorial page of Wall Street Journal can generally be relied upon to promote solidly neoconservative analysis. Neoconservative pundits are also prominent in columns of the the weekly U.S. News and World Report, owned by Mortimer Zuckerman (also Chairman of The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations).

Think tanks and organizations closely related to the neoconservatives include American Enterprise Institute, Project for the New American Century and JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs).

Former UNSCOM weapons inspector Scott Ritter, who has become a prominent opponent of the war with Iraq, sees neo-conservatives as "those who reject anything outside their ideological framework." By contrast with traditional conservatives, who "can listen to moderates and at least consider other viewpoints," he says that neo-conservatives are "so committed to their ideology they won't consider anything else. ... [T]hey've developed what is, to be honest, a fringe viewpoint on Iraq."

In Ritter's opinion, "After Bush failed to get the mandate he needs in the election to reach out and bring in Democrats and more moderate voices, he had to fall back on his neo-conservative base, which suddenly empowered these fringe thinkers. These people are definitely not representative of mainstream thinking in America. They now have their hands on the reins of government ..." [4]

Neo-conservatism is opposed by many traditional conservatives, even conservatives of the far right such as John F. McManus. Writing in The New American, a publication of the John Birch Society, McManus defines a neo-conservative as a Socialist Conservative, which he describes as "an opponent of Communism but a supporter of socialism and internationalism. Lenin’s once revered partner in crime, Leon Trotsky, was perhaps the first neoconservative, although a case can be made that Karl Marx himself was a neocon. ... [N]eocons are for the New Deal - which is socialism. And they despise 'isolationism', which means Kristol and his neocon friends are internationalists. In a 1993 article appearing in the Wall Street Journal, Kristol expressed his enthusiasm for [www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Security Social Security], Medicare, food stamps, Medicaid, even cash allowances for unwed mothers. ... These neocons have taken over the conservative wing of the Republican party. And they have succeeded in doing so to the degree that the word 'conservative' is now being applied to individuals and ideas that are, in fact, liberal (in the leftist sense), socialist, and totally undeserving of the conservative label."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A Special Report issued by Foreign Policy in Focus in 2002, says that

"Neoconservatives constitute an intellectual current that emerged from the cold war liberalism of the Democratic Party. Unlike other elements of the conservative mainstream, neoconservatives have historical social roots in liberal and leftist politics. Disillusioned first with socialism and communism and later with new Democrats (like George McGovern) who came to dominate the Democratic Party in the 1970s, neoconservatives played a key role in boosting the New Right into political dominance in the 1980s. For the most part, neoconservatives—who are disproportionately Jewish and Catholic—are not politicians but rather political analysts, activist ideologues, and scholars who have played a central role in forging the agendas of numerous right-wing think tanks, front groups, and foundations. Neoconservatives have a profound belief in America’s moral superiority, which facilitates alliances with the Christian Right and other social conservatives. But unlike either core traditionalists of American conservatism or those with isolationist tendencies, neoconservatives are committed internationalists. As they did in the 1970s, the neoconservatives were instrumental in the late 1990s in helping to fuse diverse elements of the right into a unified force based on a new agenda of U.S. supremacy."

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Sorry about the length its a cut and paste


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Post by StruckingFuggle » Sat Sep 06, 2003 12:05 am

Woah. I've always heard the term neo-con to mean 'not conservative in the traditional sense' (the traditional sense being largely against large government) and then the neocons would be the ones who want to use government to control public life (war on drugs) and especially, they tend to be strongly religious and use their religion as basis for legislating morality (sex laws, antihomosexuality). So that's what it means when I use it.
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Re: US Constitution Discussion, Part 12: Amendment I

Post by StruckingFuggle » Sat Sep 06, 2003 12:09 am

[quote="Deacon";p="151572"]
Also, can someone do me a favor and point out where the "freedom of expression" clause is housed in the Constitution?[/quote]

Sure:

[quote="Martin Blank";p="151528"] "or abridging the freedom of speech," [/quote]


... I'd consider that to protect expression, as well. Because speech IS expression. The first amendment does not cover the 'form' of speech - i.e., verbal discourse - but rather the 'content' of speech - the expressions you're using and the ideas you're expressing.

Else only talking would be protected - there would be no first amendment rights on the internet, for example. Video games and movies and books would not be protected as well.
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"In your histories, there are continual justifications for all manner of hellish actions. Claims of nobility and heritage and honor to cover up every bit of genocide, assassination, and massacre. At least the Horde is honest in their naked lust for power."

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Post by Dr. Tower » Sat Sep 06, 2003 12:35 am

Books would by freedom of the press which is expressly given as well. And you may be able to call movies the press as well because it is still a form to communicate ideas to the masses (even if they are for entertainment purposes for the most part). On the internet, well, it would boil down to the type of site. A news or entertainment site would be protected by the press, where as a personal site would be protected by the freedom of speech.

But as it is, most things on the internet do fall under freedom of speech, but not all.
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Re: US Constitution Discussion, Part 12: Amendment I

Post by Martin Blank » Sat Sep 06, 2003 2:09 am

[quote="Deacon";p="151572"]Why is that so hard for people to understand? Do a list of basic rules of conduct in a public place indicate a law respecting an establishment of religion?[/quote]
When it is from one religion solely, yes, it does violate the First Amendment. It is the government taking up a position that a single religion is better than others. That Chief Justice Roy Moore stepped up and declared that this nation's laws are derived from God's law, he made policy that Christianity -- his version of it, as shown by the version of the Ten Commandments used -- held sway in the Alabama justice system, when the US Constitution, by its own words, is the "supreme law of the land", and overrides state constitutions and Chief Justice Moore's beliefs.

The US Supreme Court has let lower courts strike down the posting of the Ten Commandments numerous times, and has declined in every case to accept arguments on them. While there is no clear ruling from them on it, every district has an appellate court ruling prohibiting the display of the Ten Commandments in public on government property. Therefore, for all intents and purposes, it is considered to be unconstitutional, following the spirit of the amendment by expanding law to include policy.
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Post by StruckingFuggle » Sat Sep 06, 2003 2:35 am

Plus, the first five commandments have NOTHING to do with modern law. Hell, the first commandment is antithetical to the first amendment.

And the last half are common in most ancient Western law systems, so it hardly has anything to do with Christianity, too.

Mrr, you'd think they'd REALIZE this, but I guess logic is beyond their grasp.
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Post by StruckingFuggle » Sat Sep 06, 2003 4:55 am

Hm? Have I brought up any beliefs in that post? I'm right, in that case. The first five commandments have nothing to do with modern law, even in a basis, and the first commandment and first ammendment run contrary to each other.

Want to bring up an actual problem with something I said, instead of a generalized attack?
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"In your histories, there are continual justifications for all manner of hellish actions. Claims of nobility and heritage and honor to cover up every bit of genocide, assassination, and massacre. At least the Horde is honest in their naked lust for power."

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Post by Phong » Sat Sep 06, 2003 4:58 am

I had removed my comment, but I'll point out that you didn't just make your point you also claimed that "logic is beyond their grasp"
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Post by StruckingFuggle » Sat Sep 06, 2003 5:23 am

Well, if you're going to insist on something that is obviously not true ... and could be noticed to not true if you'd think about it and look at what you're saying ... that sounds like you'd kicked down logic and started pissing on it, doesn't it?
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"In your histories, there are continual justifications for all manner of hellish actions. Claims of nobility and heritage and honor to cover up every bit of genocide, assassination, and massacre. At least the Horde is honest in their naked lust for power."

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Post by Deacon » Sat Sep 06, 2003 5:33 am

Just remember not to slip a Bible in your backpack. Or if you do, don't let anyone find out about it, or you'll be subject to disciplinary measures. Oh, but make sure you sign up for the eastern mysticism class. You want to be a very well-rounded person, don't you?
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