In 2007, Harvard University Press published a remarkable book by Yale professor Bruce Ackerman, The Failure of the Founding Fathers (hereafter Failure). Best I remember, I read the book because I was startled by the sacrilegiousness of the title: Ackerman was violating the cultural canons mandating unqualified awe of the Founders and Framers by suggesting that, in writing the Constitution, they had failed in some way. (To say that the Framers failed because they compromised with the slave States to get the Constitution ratified is a truism. Ackerman had something else in mind, however.) He convinced me, though I persist in believing that the “perfect storm” of synergistic malfunctions that very nearly deadlocked the election of 1800, and that almost led to the dissolution of the Union
The third pillar of the First Amendment's temple of liberty is the "abridgement" clause: ... 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.
The "abridgement" clause comprises three distinct but intimately related parts: freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly.
-- Freedom of the press
Freedom of the press is arguably the area in which the United States is distinct from all other nations in the latitude permitted the press, electronic and otherwise, in the dissemination of opinions. It is true enough that virtually all other nations, especially those whose ideological DNA can be traced back to the 18th-century European Enlightenment, have free media, a
To unmask them, to knock them off the pedestal they have hoisted themselves on, to hold them up to scorn is a campaign no one should remain indifferent to. For at any price, we must keep those who have too clear a conscience from living and dying in peace. -- E. M. Cioran, "Thinking Against Oneself", in The Temptation to Exist
One of the more painful effects of the presidential Election of 2016 is that I was impelled by considerations of personal integrity to terminate about a dozen friendships, about half on Facebook and about half in real-life. In each such case, the reason for the break was that the people whose friendships I chose to end were people who were determined to vote, either directly or by default, for Donald J. Trump for President. This, for reasons of conscience, I could...