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Ted Cruz Doesn’t Understand the First Amendment

Actually, he does. Ted Cruz is, by all accounts, a brilliant attorney who has been called by liberal law profs at Harvard Law one of the best con law students they ever had. So he must know that when he claims that the bigot from Duck Dynasty is having his free speech and religious liberty rights violated, he’s just lying for political gain.

After A&E suspended Robertson for comparing homosexuality to bestiality, Cruz took to Facebook to defend the Duck Commander company founder.

“Free speech matters,” Cruz wrote. “If you believe in free speech or religious liberty, you should be deeply dismayed over the treatment of Phil Robertson. Phil expressed his personal views and his own religious faith; for that, he was suspended from his job.”

“In a free society, anyone is free to disagree with him–but the mainstream media should not behave as the thought police censoring the views with which they disagree,” he continued. “And, as PC enforcers often forget, tolerance is a two-way street.”

Right. Just like a couple weeks ago, Cruz stood up for the free speech rights of Martin Bashier when MSNBC fired him for making crude remarks about Sarah Palin. Oh wait, he wasn’t? Imagine that. And remember, this is someone who believes that corporations are people (and they are, legally, in many cases, including this one) and that the free market should decide everything. So why isn’t it a violation of A&E’s free speech rights to force them to air a show that they believe will hurt their ability to procure advertisers? Isn’t that the free market deciding what should be aired? Shouldn’t a conservative be all for that?

In reality, this has absolutely nothing to do with free speech. The First Amendment only protects you from government censorship or coercion, not from the consequences of stupid, bigoted things you say in public.

Comments

  1. bushrat says

    Come on now. I think we all know that free speech only counts when a Tru American ™ is involved, not one of those liberal, socialist, communazi, progressive, fake Americans (if you can even call them that) is involved.

  2. John Pieret says

    the mainstream media should not behave as the thought police censoring the views with which they disagree

    Umm … A&E didn’t censor him, he said it in a magazine interview. He can go on giving magazine interviews as long as his 15 minutes of fame last. Now, if he had tried to say such stupid stuff on the show, A&E doubtless has the right to edit it out which could be called a form of censorship but one actors and personalities regularly “suffer” and, as Ed points out is not covered by the 1st Amendment. But I suspect he was smart enough not to try to get such stuff into the show.

  3. colnago80 says

    It’s actually very simple. You have the right to free speech. However, no one is obligated to provide you with a forum.

  4. gertzedek says

    Isn’t it amazing how the “party of personal responsibility” never wants to take responsibility for the repercussions of its actions?

  5. Alverant says

    The ad in the upper left corner was from some “freedom and enterprise” group claiming A&E was silencing christians. So it seems Cruz isn’t the only one lying to whip up a phony storm of persecution.

  6. garnetstar says

    A&E didn’t even censor him by “suspending” him. Almost every episode of the next season of the show is already filmed, and it’s going to roll in January just as planned. They didn’t say they were suspending him without pay, either. It’s a suspension fo “indefinite” length, meaning they’ll pick up the next season’s shooting schedule exactly when they would have, as soon as everyone’s forgotten about this.

    So, how exactly is A&E persecuting him?

  7. Doug Little says

    In a free society, anyone is free to disagree with him–but the mainstream media should not behave as the thought police censoring the views with which they disagree

    So by actually reporting on what he said they are censuring him. WTF.

  8. culuriel says

    Is it just me, or are conservatives demanding the return of the Fairness Doctrine? Isn’t that a Commie policy?

  9. Alverant says

    I read the comments in that story, Wylann. Very disgusting especially from those who think there is a war on christianity.

  10. uzza says

    one of the best con law students

    That would be a student who studies cons, right? and Ted excels at them.

  11. meg says

    ok, so I missed this whole controversy cause a) don’t live in the US, b) don’t have pay TV and c) dislike reality TV intensely. But when I did finally work out the story, my reaction was fairly simple. How the hell did anyone watching this show NOT think that this guy’s attitude would be as revealed?

  12. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    This duckboy shit is going to ruin my Christmas with relatives. They’re all fans. They’re all Christian. They’re all right-wing. I can’t wait to hear all the twitter comments I’ve seen the past week come to life in all their face-shattering glory.

    Also, it might be a reach, but I could see Ted Cruz’s words as also applying to whether employers can deny insurance plans which involve contraception. Except, since it doesn’t favor the Christofascists, it won’t apply.

    Feh.

  13. Scr... Archivist says

    Alverant @8,

    They’re criticizing him!!! That’s persecution.

    It’s funny that you say that. Lately I’ve been womdering if the Right thinks that the “free” in free speech means “never challenged”.

  14. billgascoyne says

    The First Amendment only protects you from government censorship or coercion, not from the consequences of stupid, bigoted things you say in public.

    No, no, if you claim that the stupid, bigoted things you say are part of your (conservative-approved Christian) religion, then anything bad said about your remarks constitutes an attack on your freedom of religion. </sarcasm>

  15. Alverant says

    Some of the RWNJs are claiming that since his comments were religious in nature he can’t be fired for them.

    One clown who commented on the story Wylann linked to said liberals would defend a muslim who got fired after saying religiously offensive things. Except 1) no examples were given and 2) we know conservatives wouldn’t defend the muslim so I guess they only believe in freedom of religion for their religion.

  16. bahrfeldt says

    Like Rafael Edward Cruz, Bailin’ Pailin and the teabags in general, these quackers are as phony as 9-9-9. Here is a link to a display of some of the metamorphosis of the ducklings from one percenter dbags to prowrestling style fake stereotypical hillbillies (swampbillies?) to cash in deeper with the “reality” show.

    http://keep0smiling.blogspot.com/2013/07/duck-dynasty-before-and-after-beards-25.html

    nich @17- You betcha. The group popped up in today’s discussion.

  17. aluchko says

    In Cruz’s defense he never said anything about the 1st amendment, he said free speech which is generally considered a broader concept.

    I think there is a legitimate free speech argument that you should have some freedom to speak your conscience without getting fired. It’s not absolute but it’s still a moral consideration.

    I think the complication with the Phil Robertson fiasco is that A&E’s actions seem hypocritical, Robertson was hired because he’s a bigoted deeply conservative redneck, and got suspended for being that exact person.

  18. haitied says

    Good point Nich, I am not a big Dixie Chicks fan but I was afraid for their safety after they spoke out against Dear Leader. The attitude of people during the bush years was horrifying, the frothy mouthed repetition of “Luv it er leave it” was enough to creep anyone out.

  19. matty1 says

    I don’t think I want to know what a Duck Dynasty is but I do think a definition of free speech that holds there is only an issue if the government gets involved is too narrow. Government is the most powerful entity in society but it is not the only one with power.

    Consider for example a company town where people are fired and evicted from their homes if they criticise the corporation, I don’t think many people wou

  20. Michael Heath says

    aluchko writes:

    I think the complication with the Phil Robertson fiasco is that A&E’s actions seem hypocritical, Robertson was hired because he’s a bigoted deeply conservative redneck, and got suspended for being that exact person.

    A&E hired a conservative Christian. Most claim they are not bigots or racists. Once again reality and this population’s false version of it clash. This continues even in this episode given Mr. Robertson’s demonstrably false response to the ruckus after his defamatory GQ statements:

    I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me.

    So perhaps we should forgive A&E for believing what conservative Christians falsely claim to be vs. what they actually are.

  21. Michael Heath says

    I inadvertently posted @ 27 prior to finishing. A&E doesn’t deserve our forgiveness given they plan to continue to run episodes starring Mr. Robertson, episodes they already have in the can.

  22. says

    “Duck Dynasty” was never going to be watched by me (I don’t got no teevee) but now, when somebody tells me they “Like the show” and don’t care about Robertson’s “personal beliefs”, I’ll have to ask them how many Cat Stevens albums they own.

  23. LightningRose says

    It’s also worth pointing out that Louisiana is an “at will” state and any employee can be terminated for any or no reason at all.

    But I can’t see any dumb as dirt conservative rushing to correct such an egregious situation.

  24. howardhershey says

    They know that it has nothing to do with the First Amendment (which starts “Congress shall make no law…” or its extension to the states). They are simply upset that people are criticizing their views instead of praising it like they did in the past or in their circle of friends and family.

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