“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.”
This is the introductory paragraph of the First Ammendment of the U. S. Constitution. It was made number one in the Bill of Rights due to the oppression of early American settlers by the British monarchy. The intention was to create a country where everyone has the freedom to practice the religion of their choice, express their personal or political opinions, and criticize their government without fear of retaliation, discrimination, punishment, or persecution.
While the First Ammendment does provide Americans with some benefits, it is also causes several of the problems that America faces in the present. In this article, we are going to break down the First Ammendment, cite and discuss the reasons it doesn’t work, and discuss how freedom of speech would apply if America were a meritocracy. For the sake of length, we will only be discussing the main components of the law which are religion, the press, belief/opinion/expression, demonstration and assembly, and what constitutes an imminent threat. Also, since several of the annotations are so closely related to others, we will be combining them.
Time to piss off the entire internet! Or at least every single irrational individual that doesn’t have the balls to read articles that upset them to the end or at all.
Freedom of Religion/Establishment of Religion/Free Exercise of Religion
These annotations make up the first three sections of the First Ammendment and were put into place due to the religous oppression faced by early American settlers prior to The Revolutionary War. It provides Americans with the right to choose which religion they follow, prevents the federal government from naming or establishing a single religion as the only legal religion, and establishes the separation of church and state.
The First Ammendment was adopted into law in 1791. Now, take a wild guess at how many times since then that it has been violated by the very people who swore to uphold it. The answer is: More than you can even count. Native Americans, for example, weren’t legally allowed to practice their religion until 1978 when The American Indian Religous Freedom Act was signed into law (see American Indian Religous Freedom Act on Wikipedia.) And, if you think that slaves were allowed to practice religions that were native to Africa then you are in dire need of several lessons on American history.
The fact is, despite the First Ammendment being the law of the land, both Native Americans and slaves were routinely persecuted and murdered for openly practicing their religions and were forced by the federal government and state to convert to forms of Christianity.
That is not religous freedom, it is oppression.
In present day, this is the exact law that makes America the most religiously diverse country in the world, and also the least tolerant. How? Because the one thing that every single religous person believes with every fiber of their being is that their religion is the only one that’s correct. Since indoctrination is the name of the game for every single Abrahamic religion, it makes it okay and perfectly legal for individuals and religous organizations to not only force their beliefs down the throats of others, but to discriminate against and openly express hatred for those who don’t follow their faiths or who live lifestyles that their religions deem wrong. And, when called out on their atrocious behavior they use this annotation as a scapegoat and cry about religous oppression.
This is what gives extremist organizations like Westborough Baptist Church the right to picket the funerals of soldiers who were killed in the line of duty with signs that read “America is doomed”, “You’re going to hell”, “God hates you”, “Fag troops”, “Semper fi fags” and “Thank God for dead soldiers” simply because one of their parents (in this case, the soldier’s father) happens to be homosexual.
In fact, the case of Snyder v. Phelps is an excellent example of a religous organization being allowed to use the first ammendment’s annotations on religous freedom to trample all over the rights of others. Not only that, it’s one of many examples where the Supreme Court upheld and provided legal protection for hate speech.
What the freedom of religion annotation ultimately does is, it creates the problem of people who are in the position of being tolerant of others being legally obligated to be tolerant of intolerant, uneducated, beliefs and opinions. It protects the “right” of hateful organizations and individuals to openly express their beliefs regardless of whether or not they are correct.
Freedom of the Press
This is the sixth annotation of the First Ammendment, and is a lengthy slippery slope of gray areas, specifically in regards to matters of national security. However, for this article we will be discussing it as it applies to what the media is allowed to publish.
Freedom of the press was introduced in 1789, and was intended to prohibit federal and state government from dictating which beliefs and opinions individuals and the press were and were not allowed to publish. It applies to written publications such as magazines, newspapers, blogs, and websites as well as television or radio broadcasts and any other form of recorded media. It is what prevents our justice system from sending people who’s published works have been deemed as radical to prison.
The only benefit that this annotation provides in present day America is that citizens are given a vague idea of what’s happening in their country and the rest of the world. It’s major flaw is that are absolutely no laws whatsoever in place that state that the information that’s published has to be based on factual evidence, cannot be based on religous or personal beliefs, or that the full story of events even has to be given to begin with. This means that individuals and media outlets get to choose which parts of the full story they publish and that they are allowed to leave out whichever facts do not support their position.
Fox News and MSNBC are prime examples of two major media outlets that routinely twist stories and leave out evidence based facts that don’t support their position or the position of their viewers. One twists facts and evidence in support of Republicans, the other twists facts and evidence in support of Democrats. Both play key roles in the problem of identity politics and are responsible for creating the massive amount of division that is currently taking place. Not only that, both of these entities are allowed to decide which stories they publish based on whether or not it will bring them views, ratings, and financial gain. Also, both of these outlets are owned and invested in by the elite who are notorious for manipulating them for their benefit.
This annotation is a major problem because it allows biased and incorrect information to be published, and provides citizens with exactly zero rights to get the full story and therefore form their own opinions based unbiased information. Instead, Americans are forced to form their opinions souly on the faith that the information they’re getting is correct, and most of them then choose to view information only from sources that support their opinion.
This means that the only chance American citizens have of viewing unbiased, correct information is to abandon mainstream media and seek out independent and unbiased sources, something that the majority of the population is too lazy to do. These sources can also be extremely difficult to find, especially online.
Clear and Present Danger/Imminent Threat
Annotation number ten of the First Ammendment is almost as long, confusing, and gray area filled as Freedom of the Press because it has to do with which words are used to convey beliefs and opinions and it ties in with Speech Plus, the law that protects the right to peaceful demonstration and assembly.
In Layman’s terms, what this law states is that as long as the words someone chooses to use don’t openly encourage violence or physical harm to others, they are free to say whatever they want regardless of how incorrect, offensive, toxic, hateful, or hurtful it is.
In short, not only does this annotation protect your right to say “fuck the government” and burn the flag, it protects hate speech.
This is another part of the First Ammendment that allows organizations like Westborough Baptist Church express the opinion that “God hates fags”. How? Because according to this section of the law, as long as their signs read “God hates fags” instead of “Kill all fags” they are not in violation since their words are not openly encouraging acts of violence.
Here’s a fun fact. The Ku Klux Klan is single handedly responsible for this annotation coming into existence. That’s right. The KKK has had a hand in shaping America’s Bill of Rights.
In the case of Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969) the Supreme Court not only upheld the KKK’s “right” to openly spew its racist views in public, but, because of this case, created a list of criteria (also called a test in legal terms) that must apply before speech is determined to be an imminent threat to others. In otherwords, it was decided that since the KKK didn’t specifically state that citizens of other racial backgrounds should be killed or physically harmed, it had a “legal right” to express its opinion.
This exact list of criteria was used again in 1990 in the case of R. A. V. v. City of Saint Paul where the Supreme Court struck down the city’s Bias-Motivated Crime Ordnance and reversed the conviction of a teenager who had been found guilty of burning a cross on the lawn of an African American family. Basically, because he didn’t openly threaten or cause physical harm to someone, behavior such as this is perfectly acceptable according to the Supreme Court. Ya know, because instilling the fear of being the victim of a hate crime in an innocent person isn’t damaging at all.
How fucking ass backwards does a society have to be to grant individuals and organizations like these with rights, let alone allow them to shape our constitution?
Freedom of Belief/Opinion/Expression
Because of how vague it is, annotation number eleven is by far the biggest dumpster fire in all of the First Ammendment. In fact, “The Right to Be Stupid” would be much more appropriate. This is the law that gives everyone the right to believe whatever they want and to express their beliefs and opinions in whichever way they see fit. While it is most commonly used in reference to religion, it also covers political beliefs, non-religious personal beliefs, and states that you cannot be punished by the state or federal government because of them.
Basically, according to this law it doesn’t matter if you are racist, homophobic, sexist, a flat earther, or an anti-vaxxer. You are correct. You are protected. You have the constitutional right to spew stupidity in public.
Like Immiment Threat, this annotation is, yet again giving racists, mysogynists, and homophobes protection and rights that they do not deserve, and it forces others to tolerate the expression of their idiotic opinions regardless of the fact that they are a completely toxic threat to other members of society. In fact, in reference to Immiment Threat, it simply refers back to the Clear and Present Danger annotation which, as has already been shown, is completely bullshit.
In addition, if you are an adult that is stuck in 1492 or chooses to believe the opinion of a former porn star over scientists and licensed medical professionals, you are incorrect and your beliefs don’t deserve legal protection. In fact, you have already caused a Measles outbreak and all of your attempts to manipulate science into proving the Earth is flat and that vaccines cause Autism can and have easily been disproven by actual scientists so please stop.
Speech Plus – The Right to Peaceful Demonstration & Assembly
Speech plus and the right to assembly are, for the most part, exactly the same thing. Both annotations give Americans the right to come together for peaceful demonstrations and to demand the government make changes or stop things that they don’t agree with. The only real difference is that speech plus covers propaganda such as signs, leaflets, and informational material whereas the right to assembly basically just states that you have the right to unite, demonstrate, and petition the government.
These annotations sound excellent. People should always reserve the right to stand up to their government and defend their rights. However, given the fact that these laws again, give everyone rights across the board, it’s flawed. The KKK, Neo-Nazi’s, and religious extremists should have zero rights under our constitution, especially the right to petition the government and demonstrate their toxic, hateful, damaging beliefs.
Another problem with these annotations is that given how the federal government and states respond to peaceful protests, they actually don’t exist. In otherwords, Americans have the right to protest on paper, but as soon as they exercise that right the government decides its time to deploy armed police officers and the National Guard who are allowed beat us, shoots us, hit us with tear gas grenades, arrest us, and in extreme cases, murder us regardless of the fact that we are unarmed.
The Dakota Access Pipeline protest that took place in 2016 is a perfect example. Native Americans (so, American citizens) came together to protest a multi-billion dollar, federally funded pipeline project that would have destroyed land that was historically and religously sacred to their tribe and would have endangered the water supply of thousands of people across the country. If you click on the link, you’ll see how the government responded. Heavy artillery, tear gas, beatings, rubber bullets, and arrests were all used in an effort to stop Native Americans from exercising their right to peacefully protest and petition the government.
Now, supporters of the right who only get their information from right-aligned sources will try to hit you with incorrect (not to mention racist) lines like “the damn Indians had guns moron.” when, in fact, protesters didn’t begin to arm themselves until the police and National Guard escalated the violence to the point where self defense was becoming necessary. In fact, to my knowledge, none of those weapons were used. That’s exactly what the Second Ammendment is for. So that you can take up arms against the government if it’s necessary for self defense or the defense of others. Leave it to the right to forget that white people aren’t the only ones who have the right to bare arms.
People should always maintain the right to peacefully protest and demonstrate. The government should not have the right to respond to peaceful protests and demonstrations with violence.
Meritocracy and Freedom of Speech
The only thing that Meritocracy upholds are the five meritocratic principles, which according to the UK Meritocracy Party’s website are:
- People before profit
- Equal opprotunities
- Rewarding merit
- Social capitalism
- Intellegent government
Since the Meritocracy Party is a world wide political party, wording of these principles may be different depending on country, however, they all essentially mean the same thing.
As you can see, Meritocracy does not support freedom of speech, or at least not total freedom of speech like we have currently. And, now that that statement has made all of the idiots rage quit, we will discuss what that means.
Meritocrats believe in the right to protest and petition the government. That is a right that every single human being on the planet is entitled to indefinitely, and it cannot be taken away. We believe in freedom of the press as long as all of the information is presented and varified as true in an unbiased manner. We believe in the freedom of belief, opinion, and expression as long as your beliefs and opinions are based on unbiased facts and evidence, not religion or personal feelings. And, as long as you are also presenting unbiased facts and evidence, you are free to express yourself or publish your work as you see fit.
Also, on the topic of opinion, under a meritocratic constitution, you have the right to an informed opinion. This means that any opinion that is expressed in public must be supported by evidence, and that unless you’re willing to do the work and educate yourself on a topic, no one cares what your opinion is because you haven’t earned the right to have one in the first place.
When it comes to imminent threat, Meritocrats believe that ALL lines of destructive speech are a danger to society and should not be tolerated in the least. In otherwords, it doesn’t matter if your sign reads “God hates fags” or “kill all fags” or if it reads “go back to Africa”, “death to negros” or “get back in the kitchen”. Under a meritocratic constitution you are in violation of the law. Therefore, if you are racist, sexist, or homophobic, you have no legal right to express your beliefs or opinions for any reason. In otherwords, under a meritocratic constitution, intolerant beliefs and opinions would not be tolerated, and hate speech of any kind would be illegal regardless of the choice of words.
Freedom of religion is also something that meritocrats do not support. In fact, the Abrahamic religions are so abusive and cause so much psychological damage to people that they would be outlawed. If a religion is responsible for racism, sexism, homophobia, war, famine, rape, slavery, and murder it and its followers do not deserve any kind of legal protection or rights.
Now, to the idiots who will finish reading this and claim that meritocrats want to take away freedom of speech, that’s not what’s being said. We support free speech as long as it’s informed and truthful and is not discriminatory against, threatening, or damaging to racial minorities, women, the LGBTQA community, or the rest of society. One thing that Americans are too dense to understand is that there is a huge difference between taking away freedom of speech and telling hate groups and extremists to sit down, shut up, and get out of our society.
Total freedom of speech is one of the many things keeping America divided. Why should it matter what uninformed, uneducated, hateful individuals have to say? Why should they be treated as if they are equal to someone who is well informed and educated? It’s high time that our constitution stop giving morons, bigots, and the insane rights that amount to a legal participation trophy.
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The Political Series by Michael Faust
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