Students at Sam Houston State University (SHSU) evidently learned the hard way that speech is no longer free, at least not on their campus. After receiving permission from the school, on September 22 four students groups — SHSU Lovers of Liberty, Bearkat Democrats, Sam Houston Democratic Socialists, and College Republicans — had erected a "free speech wall" in protest against SHSU’s new social media policy.
The four groups also garnered 130 signatures on a petition indicating that “they never want the Social Media Policy and Procedures Manual” to go into effect. According to the school's policy, the letters “SHSU” and all similar terms have been trademarked, and therefore any student organizations seeking to use those terms in their online identities must join a speech-restrictive “Official Community,” which gives the university the authority to approve any member group’s “official profile images/avatars” and to edit and/or delete its social media content. If a group refuses to adhere to this policy, it may not use the terms trademarked by SHSU.
On this wall students expressed a vast array of philosophies and dispositions — ranging from “Legalize Weed” and “My boyfriend is a liar!” to “If you make less than $200,000, Republicans don’t care about you." Only when Professor Joe Kirk discovered that “F*** Obama” had been written on the wall, did he take action against any of those posting messages.
I have noticed that there are some on the libertarian right who appear to consider themselves kindred spirits with those who have spent the last few weeks “occupying” Wall Street and other cities throughout America and beyond. This is disheartening, for what it reveals is that those who should presumably know better than all others how best to nurture and strengthen liberty are, in actuality, as ignorant of its true character as its greatest enemies.
Note, I do not suggest that the libertarian’s professions of love for liberty are insincere. Quite the contrary, for it is most likely his fanaticism for his beloved that imperils the latter. It is the libertarian’s zeal for liberty that corrupts his intellect. Like the hyper-jealous husband whose obsession with his wife renders him either forgetful of or oblivious to the real nature of marital love, so the libertarian is similarly forgetful of or oblivious to the real nature of liberty.
Bear in mind that the libertarianism that is the object of my critique is not the only school of thought so-called. “Libertarianism” is a term invariably associated today with a particular cast of mind. But there is another, older political philosophic orientation that, though of a fundamentally different kind, is no less deserving of the name.
As GOP presidential contender Herman Cain is contending with allegations of sexual harassment, some critics assert there are more pressing items for which Cain should answer, most notably, his foreign policy and his views on the engagement of war. Appearing on Fox News’ most popular program, The O’Reilly Factor, Cain indicated that he sees no issue with entering into a military confrontation with Iran.
A District Court judge in Goffstown, New Hampshire has dismissed a criminal charge against a Weare man for recording his conversation with a police officer during a traffic stop. Judge Edward Tenney followed a recent First Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Boston in Glik v. Cunniffe in ruling that William Alleman was within his constitutional rights when making an audio recording of Weare Police Officer Brandon Montplaisir during the traffic stop on July 10, 2010.
The recording was made via cellphone when Alleman called Porcupine 911, an answering service for libertarian activists, as the officer approached Alleman's car. Though the charge was not filed until the following February, Alleman's attorney, Seth Hipple, told The New American on Thursday that the officer was aware at the time he was being recorded and told Alleman that it was illegal to record him without his permission. Alleman insisted he had a right to do so, and Judge Tenney agreed, citing the First Circuit's ruling in the Glik case.
“Glik leaves no doubt that engaging in an audio recording of a police officer in the course of his official duties in a public place is protected speech under the First Amendment,” Tenney wrote. The judge also found that Alleman had in no way interfered with the officer in the performance of his duties.
“The fact that Officer Montplaisir may have been unwilling or unhappy being recorded does not make a lawful exercise of the defendant's First Amendment rights a crime,” Tenney wrote.
A Federal Communications Commission ruling on closed captioning of television programs could jeopardize the continued broadcast of shows produced by “some 300 small- to medium-sized churches,” according to Politico. At issue is whether or not these programs should be exempt from FCC requirements for closed captioning. “The Telecommunications Act of 1996 required the FCC to establish a suitable timetable by which television broadcasters and equipment manufacturers would be required to provide closed captioning,” explains the Christian Post. “The FCC required broadcasters to fulfill the closed captioning requirement by January 2006,” the report adds. However, the agency exempted certain religious broadcasters from the requirement under the so-called “Anglers Order,” named for the ministry, Anglers for Christ, that had requested the exemption.
When news broke of two women making sexual harassment allegations against GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain, the women's identities were kept confidential to protect their privacy. Days after the story broke, however, one of Cain’s accusers — frustrated because of Cain's constant denials of such inappropriate conduct — indicated that she wanted to come forward and tell her side of the story. Yesterday evening, however, the Washington Post reported, “Joel P. Bennett, a lawyer representing one of two women who made the claims against Cain, said Tuesday that his client is barred from publicly relating her side because of a non-disclosure agreement she signed upon leaving the National Restaurant Association, where Cain served as president from 1996 through 1999.”
On Sunday, Politico reported that during Cain’s tenure as president and CEO of the restaurant association, two women complained of sexually suggestive behavior by Cain that made them “angry and uncomfortable.” Reports indicate that the women ultimately left the restaurant association after they signed non-disclosure agreements and were given financial payouts to settle the matter.
The story almost immediately went viral, prompting often-inconsistent answers from the Cain campaign. Cain attempted to explain his inconsistencies by asserting that because a significant amount of time had passed, he could not remember the details of the charges lodged against him. “When I was initially hit with this … I didn’t recall it right away,” he told conservative radio host Laura Ingraham this morning, adding that he was “not changing the story but trying to fill as many details as I could possibly recall.”
Congress should end federal aid to education. This aid has not improved reading scores.
After Moammar Gadhafi's downfall as Libya's tyrannical ruler, politicians and "experts" in the U.S. and elsewhere, including French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, are saying that his death marked the end of 42 years of tyranny and the beginning of democracy in Libya. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said Gadhafi's death represented an opportunity for Libya to make a peaceful and responsible transition to democracy. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said, "Now it is time for Libya's Transitional National Council to show the world that it will respect the rights of all Libyans (and) guide the nation to democracy." German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that "Libya must now quickly make further determined steps in the direction of democracy." It's good to see the removal of a tyrant, but if we're going to be realistic, there's little hope for the emergence of what we in the West call a democracy. Let's look at it.
Throughout most of mankind's history, personal liberty, private property rights and rule of law have always won a hostile reception. There's little older in most of human history than: the notion that a few people are to give orders while others obey those orders; the political leadership classes are exempt from laws that the masses are obliged to heed; and the rights of individuals are only secondary to the rights of the state. The exception to this vision feebly emerged in the West, mainly in England, in 1215 with the Magna Carta, a charter that limited the power of the king and required him to proclaim and recognize the liberties of English subjects.
A three-judge panel of the Kentucky Court of Appeals has ruled that it is permissible for the state to acknowledge its dependence upon God. The decision overturns a 2009 lower court ruling that a state law requiring the acknowledgement of God “created an official government position on God.”
Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Kentucky state lawmakers issued a legislative “finding” that “the safety and security of the commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance on Almighty God.” And in 2006, as it passed legislation creating the state Office of Homeland Security, the legislature included a requirement that the executive director acknowledge “dependence on Almighty God” in training manuals and on a plaque at the entrance to the department’s headquarters.
In 2008, after a group of individuals challenged the legislation in a lawsuit, 35 of Kentucky’s 38 state senators and 96 of its 100 state representatives signed friend-of-the-court briefs defending the law.
Although his commitment to “limited government” is unsurpassed, establishment Republicans in both politics and the so-called “conservative media” labor incessantly to discredit Texan Congressman and GOP presidential contender, Ron Paul. On its face, who couldn’t judge this phenomenon, the phenomenon of the most vocal champions of liberty ridiculing and trivializing the most vocal champion of liberty, as anything other than bizarre? Any remotely curious observer couldn’t resist the impulse to inquire into the roots of this enigma.
We needn’t dig too deeply to discover that the establishment Republican’s apparently irrational conduct toward Paul stems from his angst regarding Paul’s foreign policy vision. Paul, you see, rejects in no uncertain terms the notion that Big Government is not only permissible, but desirable, as long as it is non-American citizens abroad upon whom our government’s designs would be brought to bear. Loudly and unapologetically, he rejects the idea that “social engineering” is a good thing as long as it is other societies that our government seeks to “engineer.” Paul makes no secret of his utter contempt, a contempt born of his passion for liberty and individuality, for the belief that policies rooted in utopian fantasy are worthy of pursuit as long as it is not America, but the world, that our government seeks to perfect.