October 15, 2009

Irresistible Entry into the Left-Right Thumb Wrestle

Justin Katz

Alright, so it's low-hanging fruit, but the letter to the editor reply of Nicholas Kondon (Hope Valley) to a prior letter by Evelyn Zifcak (North Smithfield) simply begs a response. Wrote Ms. Zifcak:

Tea parties get a bad rap, especially the Washington, D.C., march where 1 million folks from all over the country exercised their God-given and constitutional right to assemble and protest peacefully. Thank heaven that right is still alive and well!

To which Mr. Kondon rebuffs:

To begin with, can anyone provide us with the word of God that gives us the right to assemble and protest? Would we find that in the Old or New Testament? I’m sure it's there; God seems always to provide citations for the right wing.

Hmmm. I'm pretty sure the founding documents of our nation — not the Bible — offer the philosophical acknowledgment of our God-given rights as something prior to and superseding the state. The Declaration of Independence relates God, people, and the government thus:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...

God grants rights, and the government secures them. Toward enumerating some of the more important or vulnerable of these rights, the U.S. Congress collected, and the United States adopted, a Bill of Rights, the first one of which includes the following language:

the right of the people peaceably to assemble

Kondon goes on:

With a casual wave of her hand, Ms Zifcak says some placards, only a few, "were in poor taste." In my lexicon, poor taste does not include comparing this president, or any president, to Hitler, or advocating his death.

One wonders what he thinks of the pictures to be found here of anti-Bush rallies. Perhaps he'll hold them to be something other than "poor taste," but whether he'd call them outrageous or well justified, I have my suspicions.

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Mr.Kondon needs to read more carefully.The signs he's complaining about said to bury ObamaCARE with kennedy.IOW bury a piece of legislation.
Calling for the president's death is actually a prosecutable Federal crime.
Mr.Kondon sounds like a solid Obama/Emanuel supporter.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 15, 2009 6:20 PM

"Calling for the president's death is actually a prosecutable Federal crime."

Under what law?

Posted by: Dan at October 15, 2009 6:31 PM

The "Hitler" signs were done by the Lyndon LaRouche (who is a Democrat) backers, not by the Tea Party folks.

Joe is correct about making oral threats regarding the person of the president as being a federal offense. If anybody would know that, it's Joe. For the record, I believe the applicable section of the United States Code is 18 USC 871.

Posted by: Will at October 15, 2009 7:18 PM

One of my partners,a former White House police officer,wound up transferring back to Treasury in the Secret Service.He was assigned to the "nut squad" initially where all he did was track down and interview lamebrains who were threatening the President.
The Secret Service once turned over a Mexican illegal alien to us in Chicago who was threatening the Mexican president.It turns out it isn't a crime in this country.The guy was a lunatic.We wound up calling him "Aquaman" because he would stick his head in the flush right after another detainee had used it and slurp up the water.He also developed a crush on a transvestite hooker from Mexico I had arrested.They made a cute couple.At least the job had a low boredom factor.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 15, 2009 7:30 PM

Just a question, if rights are God-given, does that mean that atheists have no rights?

Posted by: Patrick at October 15, 2009 8:02 PM

Patrick-sure-just because atheists don't believe in a Creator,it doesn't have to follow that the Creator pays attention to them.
The way I see it atheists have all the rights I do-they are free to have foolish notions.I just don't want them imposing their belief system(yes,they have a belief system)on the rest of society by trying to scourge any public acknowledgement of the Creator,or God,or whatever one chooses to say from our sight or hearing.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 15, 2009 9:37 PM


I'm not sure how to answer, because I'm not sure why you're asking. Joe's answer is obvious.

What's behind the question?

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 15, 2009 10:05 PM

Well, I'm no legal slouch myself.

Only one problem though.

Advocating for the death of somebody in abstract or from a policy standpoint is not a threat.

Posted by: Dan at October 15, 2009 10:09 PM

Actually, it was half-jokingly, but when you think about it, if rights are God-given, and you don't believe in a God, then by some property (associative?), there are no rights either.

To Joe's answer, yeah, your and my Creator pays attention to them, but to them, no one does. I guess I'm more asking from their point of view. Do they believe in the US Constitution? Do they believe in the Declaration of Independence? If so, then how do they square away that part about rights being God-given and thus they still have rights? I would assume that they believe rights are man-given, no?

Sorry for the tangent. :)

Posted by: Patrick at October 15, 2009 11:55 PM

In that case, my response is that you've hit on one of the reasons that atheism is civically dangerous. From the atheist's perspective, if rights do not come from God, they must come from government or by individual power.

But everybody does have those rights, whatever the kulterkampf promotes.

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 16, 2009 5:21 AM

Dan-you're right insofar as a person saying "so-snd so should get brain cancer and die"-it's not a threat that can be carried out.A direct threat or exhortation to violence is what I was referring to.
The signs didn't refer to Obama personally in any event,but the left wing BS machine presented what they felt like,as usual.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 16, 2009 6:36 AM
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