By Nathan Barton
The recent discussion of the increasing discrimination of “major” social media companies and major information technology companies, against lovers of freedom deserves more discussion. We are condemned as being evil monsters, promoting such things as firearms, disobedience to government, resistance to the “wrong kinds of tyranny,” and as being racist, sexist, exclusivist, and even nationalists and fascists, because of the principals we seek to follow and teach.
I pointed out that we are finding ourselves in (or being pushed into) ghettos and modern technological equivalents. We are finding a need to create enclaves in which we can live and trade. At the same time we are being put into Coventry by the other three corners of the political diamond. These discussions prompt this thought.
What are “human rights”?
Specifically, is not the buying and selling of goods and services, trade, a human right? Is it not inherent in the very concept of “private property” as we understand it?
Are we not entitled by our humanity to spend our time, use our skills, and take resources available to us to produce material things which are valuable to other people? And trade them for things which we need or find valuable? Or to take something we own (whether purchased by us or given to us) and sell it to someone else?
Yet the FedGov and state and local government have erected this vast edifice of laws which DO prevent us from selling and buying what we will from whom we will – not just “illegal substances” or “illegal devices” or “illicit services.” But virtually everything!
Will we give these rights – these God-given rights – up? The Nazgul of the FedGov have made it clear that “commercial rights” are NOT (in their eyes) human rights.
We can see it most clearly in “free speech.”
“Commercial speech” was removed from “free speech” decades ago when SCOTUS found that the FedGov (in the form of Congress and the FCC) could outlaw certain kinds of free speech: specifically advertising for tobacco products, liquor and other alcoholic beverages. And when Congress mandated certain packaging and labels: the infamous warnings on cigarette packs and cartons. They called it “commercial speech,” and even had the gall to call it “commercial free speech,” even though it was anything BUT free. In any definition of that word.
There is no distinction whatsoever in the Declaration of Independence or the US Constitution between “private” and “commercial” free speech – or freedoms of any sort. What about corporations? The current federal restrictions on commercial free speech purport to apply to sole proprietors, partners, and all kinds of business organizations. Want to advertise or radio or television for your little cigarette and tobacco selling handcart? Sorry, that is “against the law.”
Except that any “law” that violates the Constitution is not a law.
Our right of free speech (freedom of expression) must, of necessity, include the right to NOT speak, to NOT write, to NOT publish something which we do not want to speak, write, or publish. But our governments here in the Fifty States, as they near totalitarian goals, demand that we (and our businesses) say and write certain things. Funny how a school child cannot be made to say the Pledge of Allegiance, but a manufacturer of tobacco products (even a sole proprietor) can be forced to print warning labels condemning their own product. And a clinic established to provide alternatives to abortion can be forced to advertise where abortions are provided.
And we have no recourse to “free trade zones” or “open ports.” Or “free speech zones” for commercial speech – that only applies to petitions and protests and the like.
Of course, there is more to this idea of human rights than just speech and its variations. Those are topics for future commentaries.
Consider this quote:
- Section 242 of Title 18 makes it a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.
For the purpose of Section 242, acts under “color of law” include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the their lawful authority, but also acts done beyond the bounds of that official’s lawful authority, if the acts are done while the official is purporting to or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. Persons acting under color of law within the meaning of this statute include police officers, prisons guards and other law enforcement officials, as well as judges, care providers in public health facilities, and others who are acting as public officials. It is not necessary that the crime be motivated by animus toward the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin of the victim.
The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.
Funny, but that is found on an official FedGov website.