Ethics Quote Of The Day AND Incompetent Elected Official Of the Month, Plus KABOOM! and “ARGHHHHHH!” : Rep. Nancy Pelosi

“The Constitution does not say that a person can yell ‘wolf’ in a crowded theater. If you are endangering people, you don’t have a constitutional right to do that.”

—-Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi in an interview with KRON4’s Pam Moore, as the party leader explained why she believed that alt-right advocates should not have the benefits of freedom of speech and assembly.

Observations:

  • This is a classic. Biff and his various incarnations in the “Back to the Future” trilogy must be kicking themselves.  They said,

 “Eight o’clock Monday, runt. If you ain’t here, I’ll hunt you and shoot you down like a duck.”
(“Mad Dog” Tannen’s Gang Member : “It’s “dog”, Buford. Shoot him down like a dog.“)

and

“Why don’t you make like a tree and get outta here?

and

“I’m not one to look a gift horse in the butt.”

and

“It’s time to race the music.”

and  Biff’s great-great-grandson Ziff Tannen said,

 “I’m going to make like a banana and skedaddle!”

And more. But “crying wolf in a crowded theater” is funnier—and dumber— than any of them.

  • The statement is triply ridiculous: it’s a mistaken interpretation of the law, it misstates the 1919 Supreme Court case Schenck v. United States, and it mixes up Oliver Wendell Holmes with Aesop.

Well, it’s not entirely ridiculous. It’s also scary.

  • Here, once again, is Ken White’s definitive “Stop quoting this case to justify censorship, you idiots!” post. It concludes:

Holmes’ shocking callousness in this quote is different than his language in Schenck, but his casual and colloquial approach to endorsing government power over individuals is the same. As in Schenck, he offers a catchy slogan where a meticulous and principled standard is called for. Bear all of that in mind the next time someone name-drops Holmes and cites Schenck as part of a broad endorsement of censorship. The problem isn’t that they’re incorrectly citing Holmes. The problem is that they are citing him exactly right, for the vague, censorious, and fortunately long-departed “standard” he articulated. Justice Holmes, three generations of hearing your sound-bite are enough.

  • What do you think is the likelihood that Pelosi has read the opinion she tried to quote, or knows that the case involved was affirming the criminal conviction under the Espionage Act. of socialist Eugene V. Debs, who was sentenced to ten years in prison for a speech criticizing the government? My guess: zero. Is it responsible for public officials to falsely and misleadingly refer to SCOTUS decisions that have neither read nor understand?

Of course not.

  • Says Reason: “The whole thing is even better because, in this case, Pelosi is playing the role of the boy (or congresswoman) who cried wolf. She’s calling for a reaction against a threat that hasn’t materialized yet. That’s what all prior restraints on speech are, of course, but she’s calling for a very specific action to be taken against a very specific group of people who haven’t even gathered yet, much less done anything that could be rightfully called “inciting violence.”

Even mangled, Pelosi’s statement shows a support for speech suppression, which increasingly is the position her party advocates.

  • Pelosi’s Biff-ism is signature significance for something; the question is what. My sister, a Democrat, immediately said, upon me reading her the quote, “She’s senile.” (Ironic, no, that Democrats have been periodically defaulting to the claim that the President is mentally unfit to lead?) Could a non-senile individual let such a stupid statement escape her lips without saying immediately–“Wait! That wasn’t right!” I think so. An incredibly ignorant person could, for example.

I think that Occam’s Razor applies here. Pelosi’s statement could only be made by an official who does not understand nor support the First Amendment.

That’s not funny at all.

________________________

Source: Reason

21 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Incompetent Elected Officials, Kaboom!, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Popular Culture, Rights

21 responses to “Ethics Quote Of The Day AND Incompetent Elected Official Of the Month, Plus KABOOM! and “ARGHHHHHH!” : Rep. Nancy Pelosi

  1. If she did hurriedly try to correct herself, then she would be thrashing around like a bull in China.

  2. Please let me know when a non-conservative media source notes this episode. So far, I’ve found none. Gee, do you think they would see it as news if Trump said or tweeted something this stupid? Let me know of Stephen Colbert or Samantha Bee or SNL mentions it.

    The news media ran with “covfefe’ for days, but I guess an obvious typo is more damning than a Congressional leader demonstrating utter Constitutional ignorance.

  3. Presumably, she doesn’t believe that the alt-right should have the freedom of speech, not for the innocuous things they might say, but because of racist and inflammatory speech. But she also cannot possibly believe that legislation can be passed banning the offensive, inflammatory speech of JUST the alt-right. So, what I don’t understand is how she can desire a ban on racist speech used by the alt-right because it might incite violence, while simultaneously allowing the use of those same words by different groups of people, because (in theory) less offense will be taken.

    There’s nothing to stop a black person from saying, literally, the exact same kind of racist speech that an alt-right member would. Whether a black person would or not is immaterial; it’s possible. So, if an alt-righter should be punished (in her mind) for their speech, would a black be punished for the exact same speech? Or, is she proposing that laws should be based on race?

    • The only logical argument to make requires a premise that infantilizes the Left: that is the claim that a component on the Left cannot keep itself from violence when it hears scary things like “Don’t tear down this monument”.

      Without the premise that swathes of the left are incapable of containing their passions from spilling into the violence– that it is a foregone conclusion that they WILL resort to lashing out tantrum style when they hear or see something they disagree with, then of course Pelosi’s comment is illogical.

      BUT, if that component Left indeed CANNOT display a modicum of self control and civility when “triggered” by ideas and will go on destructive rampages and riots, then indeed, “crying fire in a crowded theater causes panic and harm” doctrine applies…insomuch as “crying liberty on a crowded college campus causes arson and vandalism”.

      But like I said, unless we presume the Left is incapable of managing its emotions from turning into violence, then yes, the “crying fire in a crowded theater” is completely devoid of any logic whatsoever.

      • we presume the Left is incapable of managing its emotions from turning into violence…

        Substitute ‘Muslims’ for ‘the Left’ and you have the argument for making infidel women in their own countries cover themselves. Muslim men cannot be responsible for the inflamed passions such flagrant views of skin create, or something.

        Just sayin’ it has passed muster before.

        • The Left already makes that argument for Muslims, don’t draw that pirate wretch Mohammad, the Muslims will burn down the town. Don’t insult the piratical decrees in the Koran, a bunch of people will get beheaded.

          It’s infantilizing. The Left, in their ivory tower, make this excuse for all manner of groups, like they believe those groups are incapable of operating like mature civilized adults. They *actually* treat them, you know exactly the same way they merely *allege* conservatives of treating them.

          But it’s free rein on Christ, his followers somehow manage to keep from murdering swathes of people when they are insulted.

          • But it’s free rein on Christ, his followers somehow manage to keep from murdering swathes of people when they are insulted.

            For now. Many CINOs* (Christian In Name Only) have the name without the inconvenient restrictions… and are learning that they are being targeted by progressives.

            *Church only on Holidays, live immoral lives, and so on… you know, morons! …er, deplorables!

  4. Chris Marschner

    I saw many statements suggesting that the supremacists inspired the violence in Charlotte because they came garbed in military style attire toting weapons (legally). This behavior served to justify the violent reaction from the opposition.

    Does this mean that when a young attractive girl wearing skimpy clothes walks down the street, causing some males to react in an offensive manner we should blame the girl for the reaction?

    Until someone hits me over the head with their sign, I will not stop them from speaking. I reserve the right to ignore.

    Just asking.

    PS. Jack, keep doing what you are doing. Every person in the war against tyranny is vital. However, I don’t begrudge you a vacation.

    • “Until someone hits me over the head with their sign, I will not stop them from speaking. I reserve the right to ignore.”

      Exactly. Someone famous (I cannot remember who) deftly pointed out that restricting speech doesn’t just infringe upon the speaker, but also places limits on my ability to decide what I want to hear.

      The people wanting to do the silencing have (in theory) heard the speech, no matter how offensive, and were not swayed to agree with it. Why do they have so little faith in me, or anyone else, that we won’t come to the same conclusion if the speech really isn’t that convincing? It’s as if they’re saying that I am not as smart as they, so I should just trust what they say. Either that, or that I’m less fragile than they, and will fall to pieces upon hearing certain speech. Either way, why isn’t that my decision, to decide what I do and do not consume audibly?

      Isnt that what “keep your morality/laws off my body” is supposed to mean?

      • Rusty Rebar

        I feel the same way when I hear (mostly the left) talk about how we should ban “fake news”. I think I can decide for myself what is fake and what is not, I do need nor want anyone else to pre-judge that for me.

  5. John Billingsley

    I can’t wait to see Snopes’ take on this. Claim: Nancy Peolosi said, “The Constitution does not allow alt-right members to turn into werewolves in crowded theaters and endanger people by spewing forth their venom.”

  6. Scott GF

    Maybe she was referring to the scene in American Werewolf in London, where there was a wolf in the theater.
    An American werewolf.
    In London…

  7. Other Bill

    Ironic to me in so far as the Dems have been crying wolf every since early November of last year. I guess it’s unconstitutional.

  8. Wayne

    Maybe she was referring to wolf whistling in a crowded theater:

  9. Tippy Scales

    I think it was a Freudian slip. All this Nazi hysteria is exactly like “The Boy that Cried Wolf.”

  10. Dwayne N. Zechman

    Obviously she meant that it was wrong to shout “You’re Fired” in a crowded theater while wearing a wool suit (i.e. “sheep’s clothing”).

    TRUMP!!!

    –Dwayne

  11. Linda

    It seems to me the left’s definition of alt-right is very loose and they are letting the wolves ravage and the fires burn while encouraging one and fanning the flames of the other.

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