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WE THE PRESS
Me ... I'm acting as "the Press," that's the whole point! ^.^ ^ | April 19, 2006 | Rurudyne

Posted on 05/07/2006 10:38:46 PM PDT by Rurudyne

Recently I put up an essay on deviantART that may be of interest to anyone who has a BLOG, EXPECIALLY if they sometimes become a bit ... political.

Now, a fellow by the "name" of Spctrghst offered a comment that had me respond in an effort to clarify my statements. If you have any of the same problems he had (don't know if I answered his issues yet) then maybe (hopefuly) my responce to his comment will be helpful.

Here's the full text what I'd first posted (follow the link to the original article and my response to Spctrghst):

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the 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.

If you're familiar with my position on the above text, please forgive me that I dwell on it for a while.

The current fashion of interpreting the 1st Amendment is to consider it a list of separate and unrelated rights. Thus there is a right to assemble and a right to petition, a right to speak and a right to publish, finally a right to worship as one sees fit. Each stands on its own and these were simply lumped together, possibly to avoid needless repetition of that odious phrase "Congress shall make no law".

There is a consistency to this view that separates things which are private from things which are public – at least where the courts and Congress are concerned. Religion is always considered by some: a private matter ... one that – as per Enlightenment theory – should not unduly influence things which are public. Likewise, free speech has evolved to include a distinction between those who merely speak their minds and those whose profession it is to speak their minds. Finally, there is a growing tendency to view assembly and petition only in terms of direct democratic action, and in doing so segregate public forums that are deemed suitable for assembly and petition from all others.

In times past, I've called this a little list of civic privileges.

I would call your attention to the structure and flow of the amendment: to see that it is neither haphazard nor does it arising from mere happenstance brought about by a pursuit of convenience.

I would also suggest that, far from being unrelated, each item informs the others within a context that is provided by the text.

Consider what it means to have a good conscience, to be in possession of one's senses, aware and deliberate in a good way. What does one need to exercise such a faculty? One would have to be able to exercise his or her conscience in three societies: with the divine, with humanity, and with human institutions.

I will suggest that the structure and flow of the 1st Amendment demands that it is really all about a fundamental right to a good conscience and not some arbitrary little list. Each clause and subclause informs and supports the whole.

Thus the right of a good conscience before Government demands that the People be able to petition the same for any redress of grievances. Moreover, the ability of the People to do so is incumbent on their ability to peaceably assemble. To protect one form of peaceable assembly demands that you protect all forms of peaceable assembly: otherwise Government is left in the position of judging which forms conscience or causes for assembly are NOT suitable to be considered proper.

A government may say that it respects its people; but, if the tanks start rolling at the first sign of peaceable assembly then one has to wonder if that government isn't being just a bit fast and loose with the facts.

This brings up the question: why should the People assemble? What motivates them to do so? I'll quote the opinion from Griswold:

The right of “association,” like the right of belief (Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624), is more than the right to attend a meeting; it includes the right to express one’s attitudes or philosophies by membership in a group or by affiliation with it or by other lawful means. Association in that context is a form of expression of opinion; and while it is not expressly included in the First Amendment its existence is necessary in making the express guarantees fully meaningful.

The motive for assembly arises from the views of those who assemble. Thus there must be some mechanism by which the People who have the right to petition Government may mobilize opinion towards those ends. That mechanism is the press.

But what is the press, really? Is it really just the professional print and broadcast news media as is suggested today? Or is it really the case that our current interpretation has arisen by confusing historical conditions with the meaning of the words?

Back to conscience. A right to a good conscience before your fellow man demands that individuals have the right speak their mind if they do so from a good conscience (lies, perjury, slanders and the like have NEVER been protected). Moreover, the ability of individuals to do so is incumbent on their ability to make their ideas, opinions, news or facts known to as wide an audience as will agree to hear them. Thus there is special protection given to the actions of an estate (the press) which embodies the activity of publishing and disseminating ideas, opinions, news and facts.

The act of publishing thus becomes parallel to the act of petitioning, except that it is other Persons – and not the Government – who a writer is trying to petition and to convince them of his ideas, opinions, news and facts.

Just like I’m trying to do with you at this very moment.

As with the right of peaceable assembly: to protect one form of speech offered in good conscience to further enhance the ability of the People to approach their Government – i.e. political speech – it becomes necessary to protect all forms of speech offered in good conscience: or else the Government should be placed in the position of deciding what is or is not a proper motivation to speak one's mind.

A government may claim that it respects the views of its citizens, but when it tries to limit speech not made by professionals – speech which may be inconvenient to some elected officials – then one has to wonder if that government isn't being just a bit self serving and hypocritical.

So what is conscience then? What determines if it is a good conscience?

Normally, I begin any discussion of the 1st Amendment right here, with conscience and its ultimate expression – to have a good conscience before the divine, however it is understood.

This time I started at the other end.

So what do I say now about this first clause? If the People are to have a clean conscience before each other and their Government respectively, then it must follow that they should be free first and foremost in their consciences to the divine.

An individual who must hold at arms length, ignore or even trample on their most cherished beliefs in order to be either a good citizen of the nation or partisan of a political faction is one who has already violated their conscience if they agree to do so.

That's pretty strong language, to be sure, but I stand by it.

This is why I've written elsewhere that our Founding Fathers had rejected the Enlightenment as suitable for anything other than cultural seasoning.

It was the main achievement of the Enlightenment to separate things which are private from things which are public. Yet in the 1st Amendment we have a clear refutation of that principal, for it is the consciences of men informed by their faith that is presented as the ultimate valid basis for speech, the press, assembly and petition.

Also, the whole thing is held together by this clause:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,

This clause holds Congress (i.e. the Government) helpless before the political expression of individual conscience so informed by not allowing it the power to respect the establishment of one religious truth as a prerequisite for participation in that government.

That is what it means to respect an establishment of religion: to set up some standard or statement of religious truth and require public profession of same or else the one who does not profess will be unable to participate in some aspect of his society – be it government service, military service, buying or selling, or even to continue breathing.

Any representation of faith in the public place that does not attempt to exclude any nonconformist from any aspect of their society IS NOT respecting an establishment of religion.

Thus Enlightenment atheism, deism or humanism are by no means political defects, and yet they are also not commendable and to be preferred as is a common view today. People who hold such a view are actually cultural regressives who are trying to haul us back towards European Enlightenment and away from the genius of our founding, what some have called the American Heresy.

Thanks for bearing with me thus far.

A question: who or what is "the press?"

Is it only the professional media or is it anyone who has the ability to express their ideas, opinions, news or facts to a wider audience?

The answer lay in the nature of common law rights which were enjoined by the BoR: are these possessed by Persons or by entities? Since it is not "WE THE STRAWMEN" that heads up our Constitution it must be that it is the People and the institutions that serve the People which is the subject matter of the whole of the document.

In times past, when it was fairly difficult to address a wide audience it would’ve been a logical inference that the professional media should be seen as constituting “the press”; however, now that it’s actually quiet easy for individual Persons to disseminate their works to a wide audience and be accepted, such an inference is no longer logical.

In fact, it is hubris to assume that the ideas, opinions, news and facts offered by paid professionals in traditional forms of media should automatically be deemed of that superior kind, as to be exclusively associated with the words "the press."

"WE THE PEOPLE" have now become WE THE PRESS.

The Constitution affords no special protection to any media nor does it respect the establishment of an estate of professionals as being the sole providers or ideas, opinions, news or facts.

That would surrender a power granted to the People to a collection of entities which employ professionals. Instead, the professionals have their rights BECAUSE they are Persons.

Yet our Congress has taken the position in various self serving “reforms” that Persons do not in fact have rights which Congress has sought to abridge. If a paid professional speaks his mind in the waning days of an election: that is “the press”. But if an individual with a BLOG speaks his mind in the waning days of an election: that is a “campaign contribution.”

These asinine reforms are hopelessly unconstitutional and ripe for reversal.

I propose that this is the stance that all Persons engaging in any independent media should take.

I welcome and encourage any and all ideas, opinions, news and facts related to these matters which your good People, my readers, may deem to add to my ramblings.

“A man who frees himself owes only God His due” –Rurudyne


TOPICS: Computers/Internet; History; Religion; Society
KEYWORDS: 1stamendment; blog; constitution; history; press; religion; society
for anyone with a BLOG ...
1 posted on 05/07/2006 10:38:48 PM PDT by Rurudyne
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To: Rurudyne

Well said, my friend.


2 posted on 05/07/2006 11:58:42 PM PDT by ThePythonicCow (We are but Seekers of Truth, not the Source.)
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To: ThePythonicCow
Thanks. I really want to see if this dog will be allowed to hunt.

I know it can if given the opportunity, but capturing the imagination of a wide audience isn't easy.
3 posted on 05/08/2006 8:51:08 PM PDT by Rurudyne (Standup Philosopher)
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To: Rurudyne

What's one more shameless bump in the grand scheme of things?


4 posted on 05/09/2006 8:55:52 PM PDT by Rurudyne (Standup Philosopher)
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To: Rurudyne
Just a thought, the one significant limitation of ordinary persons acting on their 1st Amendment right to spread their ideas, opinions, news or facts is the method of distribution.

While Drudge and others like him may have a large following and the wherewithal to actually be "the press" for a living, most people are far more limited (i.e. we have to go to work among other things).

For example, I've barely a footprint here on Free Republic (very low post count) and have had few real opportunities to interact with other forumites. So 66+ views with about 40 more on my DeviantART page is actually pretty good.

On the other hand, over at the Hannity forums where I've spent a lot of time simply chatting with others as well as writing the odd essay (and some of those are long) my presence is far more pronounced.

It's really my own doing, I stay around there because I know people and they know me. Someone could probably tell me the same thing about Free Republic from their own experiences.

So why post this here?

I'm a standup philosopher and something called a facts curator. All of that means is that I absorb ideas and the like, think about them critically and then churn out my own BS ... er ... philosophical take.

I would be crass to assume that there aren't others like me out there, some of which may be better equipped to go to town with the ideas if they are worthy. So posting here is like a high risk investment ... who knows what sort of return will come my way.
5 posted on 05/11/2006 10:02:59 PM PDT by Rurudyne (Standup Philosopher)
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To: Rurudyne; FBD; BraveMan
"I know it can if given the opportunity, but capturing the imagination of a wide audience isn't easy."

Far too many more important issues out there capturing the imaginations of "patriots" {spit} these days.
Brittany Spears, Paris Hilton and Spitzer's concubine, for example, to name only three.
At the root of the problem it seems is liberty's not salacious enough, eh? :o)

Forget the constitution or the erosion, thereof.
I'm afraid even the arrival of the coming socialism won't wake 'em up from the daydream.

The other self appointed alpha dogs supposedly "fighting" the republic's quisling media probably won't respond, either.
You see for some it's unfortunately not the message they concern themselves with.
It's the messenger.

In any event, an excellent thesis nonetheless.

Most worthy of a bump. ;^)

... -BTTT-

6 posted on 03/13/2008 8:57:26 AM PDT by Landru (~& when the band you're in starts playing *different * tunes...)
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To: Landru

bttt^


7 posted on 03/13/2008 10:15:28 AM PDT by FBD (My carbon footprint is bigger then yours)
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To: Landru; Rurudyne; BraveMan

Btw, Rurudyne is one of the good guys still around here.
and there’s getting to be fewer and fewer of ‘em, eh?


8 posted on 03/13/2008 10:18:10 AM PDT by FBD (My carbon footprint is bigger then yours)
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To: FBD
"Btw, Rurudyne is one of the good guys still around here."

So I noticed. :^)

"...and there’s getting to be fewer and fewer of ‘em, eh?"

Well, the times as they say.

...are achangin'. ;^)

9 posted on 03/13/2008 12:50:48 PM PDT by Landru (~& when the band you're in starts playing *different * tunes...)
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