The Entire Bill of Rights Must Be Respected
The lawlessness in Kenosha, Wisc., has brought forth a very important question. That is, why are some rights treated like they are secondary to other rights? All of the provisions in the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution are God-given and not be infringed, but a culture has emerged that allows for some rights to be restricted while others are deemed sacrosanct.
The recent violence across the country has exposed this divide. As Americans who love our constitutional rights, we should be very wary of the path we seem to be taking.
Free Speech Rights
Freedom of expression generally has always been an interesting issue in the US. Since Patrick Henry uttered the words “give me liberty or give me death,” Americans have had an affinity for being able to say what we want. Free speech, however, is for those who will stand up. Henry did not hide who he was, and he also knew that he could die when he made that famous speech. Now we have extrapolated the right of free speech to the anonymity of the Internet.
Free speech was never meant to be incognito; free speech was designed to protect those who had the fortitude to make a statement even if it would be dangerous or pose consequences. The argument made by keyboard crusaders and masked Antifa extremists that free speech protects their actions and anger is nonsense; anonymity is already afforded those who attack from the shadows. Further, case law and statutes have made it clear that the actions taken by looters and rioters consist of unprotected speech and instead are crimes that should be punished to the full extent of the law.
Freedom of Expression
The misbegotten brother of free speech is the freedom of expression. This is an orchestrated right derived from years of corrupt court cases. Free speech is political speech; read the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers should further clarification be required. It was never meant to ensure that people could swear on the radio, that others could create obscene artwork, or that cowards could hurl insults from behind a mask or via the anonymity of the Internet. Yet the courts have orchestrated a man-made rule that they seem to have placed in the pantheon of God-given rights.
This is relevant in the present situation because this rule is being treated as a right. In the US, you must be 18 to buy a gun (21 to buy a pistol) which is an infringement of the right to bear arms, full stop. Due process (e.g., being adjudicated a criminal or mentally unfit) is the only way that a right can be removed from an individual. Freedom of expression, however, has been used to protect pornography.
Imagine, if you will, that a gun shop offered free samples to children to get them “hooked” on the feel of owning a gun (not just shooting one). Think of the reaction by the left-wing media and liberal government overseers. Now juxtapose this with gaining access to porn sites which require no actual verification and that simply say at the top of the screen that “You must be over 18 to view this.”
Can you imagine if a gun shop could merely take a child’s word that they were 18 to buy a gun? Or if minors could obtain firearms ordered online direct to their home with just a click of a button. However, if you oppose the “right” of pornography companies to provide “free and unrestricted services,” you could be branded a bigot or a prude (or maybe even racist). A man-made rule is treated differently than a God-given right. Kids around the world now are unfortunately being groomed through open access to pornography.
The Right to Bear Arms
Although all the facts have yet to come out, the young man in Kenosha who is now under arrest had a right to have that firearm, just like any mentally competent, non-felon in the US above the age of reason. Further, his use of a weapon to prevent loss of life or limb demonstrates why that the right exists. The young man was attacked not once, not twice, but three times as he fled the area to seek police protection.
The government is not responsible for protecting you on an individual basis, however. Although police officers do their best to maintain the peace, when somebody is under attack, self-defense is often required, depending upon the circumstances.
Some historians or would-be historians consider the order of the amendments as an indication of their priority. The right to free speech is arguably the most important because it is contained in the First Amendment, although freedom of religion is mentioned first. Thee Bill of Rights consists of three triads. The first consists of God-given rights, the second comprises God-given rights against the state, and third, the rights of the states and the people collectively.
The First Amendment rights to freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to peacefully assemble, and freedom to petition are among the most important liberty interests that we enjoy. Our right to keep and bear arms in the Second Amendment, in part, provides backup to those rights against potential tyranny. We rely on the remaining amendments to remind the government of its boundaries.
The Third and Fourth Amendments define the sanctity of the home, the person, and the property therein. US citizens do not exist at the behest of the state; the state exists for the protection of the people and their property. The Fifth and Sixth Amendment provide due process that we are all expected to enjoy. The Seventh and Eighth Amendments ensure a fair trial and punishment when someone does violate the rights of another.
The final two amendments in the Bill of Rights prevent government overreach, and they are seldom taught in a classroom. Personally, I believe that the government would like us to forget them. These rights signify that the powers not set forth for the federal government in the Constitution are retained by the states, and authority not specifically claimed by the states are retained by the people.
The Present State of the Nation
Our rights are under attack because the elites believe that there is no need for rights to be vested in the people rather than because of a government that is apathetic to freedom. The wealthy will always have power and influence over the middle and lower classes. Thanks to the US Constitution, rights exist to protect us from overreach of that power. Unless we band together and demand that our rights be respected, however, we could lose them. If that happens, we could wind up forfeiting the grand experiment that we call the United States of America.
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Dr. Christopher Smithmyer is a writer for NRN, the Vice President of International Affairs at Brav Online Conflict Management, and an Adjunct Professor of MBA Business at Doane University. He is also part of the founding team at BlackWalletLTD, one of the leaders in stable coin 2.0 ecosystem maintenance. Dr. Smithmyer’s focus is international business and finance, along with reviews of board games, weapons platforms, and survival items.