A Utah brewery has lost its appeal of a North Carolina decision to bar the sale of “Polygamy Porter” in the state, on the basis that “polygamy is illegal.”
Officials banned the beer and Wasatch Brewery challenged the policy with the North Carolina Alcohol Beverage Control Commission, which ruled against it. This is pure speech censorship. Polygamy is illegal, but talking about it, depicting it and drawing pictures of it is not, and cannot be.
Jonathan Turley, who found this ridiculous story, notes that there are other beers with references to illegal acts, like My Favorite Murder beer. However local boards practicing censorship have banned other cheekily named beverages, like “Beergasm,” “Kissing Cousins,” “Daddy Needs His Juice,” and “Wine for the Super Hero.”
I don’t care about beer names, but I do care, as should all of us, about threats to bedrock American rights and values. It is because so many members of the public have been badly educated regarding our Bill of Rights that a board could make such a boneheaded ruling without the members’ First Amendment Alarms going off at an earsplitting level. It is such weak comprehension of what “freedom of speech” means that creates a genuine threat to our democracy, by allowing unscrupulous politicians, unethical scholars and pandering leaders to erode free speech, or attempt to, by assertions that “hate speech” should be made illegal and “dangerous opinions” like skepticism regarding climate change should trigger legal penalties.
“First they came for Polygamy Porter, and I did nothing…”
“This is not history; it is a remnant from a bygone era.”
—–San Francisco School Board Member Alison M. Collins, expounding to the New York Times and expressing her displeasure with the school board’s vote to nullified an earlier vote to spend over $600,000 to paint over Depression-era school murals depicting slavery and the deaths of Native Americans.
I love this unethical quote; it might be my favorite of all the unethical quotes Ethics Alarms has ever featured. It tells us so much in so few words.
Ethics Alarms wrote about the school board’s earlier vote that this one, for now, at least, undid, last June, noting,
The San Francisco school board unanimously voted this week to spend at least $600,000 of taxpayer money to eliminate the “Life of Washington,” a 13-panel, 1,600-square-foot mural that has been on view in the city’s George Washington High School since 1936. It was considered politically incorrect at the time, but in a way that explicated American history rather than whitewashing it. Among the mural’s many scenes is one depicting slaves picking cotton at Mount Vernon and Virginia colonists walking past a dead Native American. The Horror. Although these scenes are historically accurate as well as provocative, “The truth will make you free” has been substantially abandoned by the Left in the U.S. Taking their cues from the dead and rotten Soviet Union and “1984”, the new slogan is George Orwell’s “Who controls the past controls the future.”
Ms. Collins’ classic quote perfectly expresses how her city, her party and her ideological clones reached the state of delusion and the worship of manipulated reality (remember, the Democratic Party’s leading contender for the White House “gaffed” by admitting last week that “we choose about truth, not facts”) that have so many of our political leaders flirting openly with totalitarianism.
The idea is to prevent young citizens (and older ones too) from acquiring the kind of messy information that requires critical thought to sort out, the information known as “history”and “life.”Without forceful filtering, people of sound and open minds are liable to reach conclusions that don’t advance those of the ascendant (they think) re-engineers of American values and culture. Those poisoned by the past and traditional American values might be willing to treat with fairness and respect, rather than contempt and abuse, those who hold non-conforming, non-woke positions and policies. They might tolerate the rebels and iconoclasts who refuse to follow in lock-step their betters of superior virtue and wisdom . Continue reading
Friends and followers: Don’t let anyone get away with this. Using “The New Colossus,” the 1883 poem that appears on the Statue of Liberty as authority in any current debate over national policy is either fatuous, ignorant, dishonest, stupid, or a cynical effort to appeal to the emotions of those who have no grasp of history or logic.
There is are periodic outbreaks of silly Lazerus worship every now and then, and we’re in the middle of another one. Indignant memes showing Lady Liberty and some or all of Emma’s one hit poem are popping up all over social media. Anyone who posts one is either an ignoramus, a liar, or shamelessly trying to suck up to progressive friends who are dishonest and ignorant, hoping that nobody will notice. I notice, and so should you. Call them on it. Appealing to the words of “The New Colussus” is approximately as valid as extolling the words of “Imagine,” “Jabberwocky,” or “Me So Horny.” Anyone who tries it should be mocked and shamed.
The Trump administration issued a final rule yesterday empowering federal officials to deny green cards to legal immigrants who have received certain public benefits or who are deemed likely to do so in the future. Good. This is sensible and responsible policy, and while polls are inaccurate and the public doesn’t understand what it says it approves or disapproves of much of the time, it is also policy about 3/4 of the public seems to agree with.
Of course, Democrats are calling it “racist,” since anything that the Trump administration does is racist. The negative stereotype of the immigrant who dashes to the welfare office the second he becomes a citizen has been around for decades…
but Americans don’t find the behavior funny, and should not. Expecting new Americans given the privilege of using our individual liberties to succeed to the extent their abilities, creativity and diligence will take them to be self-sufficient is completely reasonable and responsible. It also is 100% consistent with the expectations when Emma Lazarus wrote her poem. There was no welfare, public housing, food stamps or other public assistance waiting for those tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free. There was just the air to breathe free, and the opportunity to succeed or fail. Continue reading
I assume you know what to do by now: keep on topic, keep it simple, make me proud.
Did you have an ethical day?
Ethics are cool, you know.
(So was Bing…)
1. The New York Times this morning, apparently determined to double down on the deliberately dishonest assertion that El Paso’s Walmart shooter was channeling the sentiments of “right wing pundits” and the President, plastered a tiny print excerpt from the manifesto—which, last I checked, it has still refused to publish in complete or readable form—on the front page, with the word “invasion” highlighted every time it appeared. As I wrote in Part Two of the Ethics Alarms’ post about the screed (and the news media’s unconscionable conspiracy to withhold it from the public while journalists misrepresent its contents…)
“Yes, it is true that both President Trump and the shooter use the term “invasion,” and to many critics this single convergence is sufficient to claim that the President is “responsible” for the El Paso shooting. “Invasion” is a word, not a theory or a philosophy, and the two apply it differently. President Trump has used it to describe illegal immigration, for which it is a defensible, if inflammatory, description.
Describing legal immigration as an invasion is not defensible—invasions are not legal—and is materially different. Ironically, it is the President’s foes, who intentionally refuse to distinguish between the validity of illegal and legal immigration—just like the shooter!—who have spread the lie that the President has called immigration itself “an invasion.”
Invasion is a loaded and pejorative term, but still a fair and accurate one. Illegal immigration advocates don’t like it because the term frames the unlawful migration as destructive and wrong, which it is. The word is not misleading, as the illegal immigration apologists ‘ use of “immigration” to describe illegal immigration, and “immigrants” (or “migrants”) to describe illegals is. Nor is it deceptive, like calling support for ending the lives of unborn children support for “choice,” or calling the President’s statements “racist: when they meet no definition of racism, or calling thge standard law enforcement procedure of separating children from law-breaking parents when the parents have brought their children along as they breached the law, “putting children in cages.” The obsession with “invasion” is both hypocritical and petulant: it’s a more powerful and more accurate framing of an issue than the progressive cover-words. Yesterday a Level-5 Trump-Deranged Facebook friend started using the word “inaction” as a substitute for “The Second Amendment,” “individual rights,” and the refusal to pass useless, symbolic, incremental laws in hopes of eventually reaching gun confiscation—the real objective. Continue reading