Friday, August 27, 2021

Personal freedom

I was thinking about this notion of "personal freedom" and making vaccines and mask mandates about individual liberties, rather than the common good.

It's ironic when you think about how the framers of the constitution set it up as a collective good and it even starts with the line "we the people…" As opposed to "hey it's all about me"

You have rights and privileges, but must act for the common good. To use a famous kennedy phrase "ask not what your country can do for, but what you can do for your country" is spot on in today's world.

And what of the parallel to personal liberty known as "personal accountability?" When you talk about your freedoms, who are you accountable to? Yourself? Your family? Your friends? Your community? The nation on the whole?

Get over yourself and do what's in the best interest of our nation. One whose constitution you *think* you know and understand. But in our experiment, you surely can't appreciate.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Holmes Dissenting in Abrams v. United States, 1919

This is a really interesting dissenting opinion. And it's well worth reading. 

"Persecution for the expression of opinions seems to me perfectly logical. If you have no doubt of your premises or your power and want a certain result with all your heart you naturally express your wishes in law and sweep away all opposition. To allow opposition by speech seems to indicate that you think the speech impotent, as when a man says that he has squared the circle, or that you do not care whole heartedly for the result, or that you doubt either your power or your premises. But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas-that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution. It is an experiment, as all life is an experiment. Every year if not every day we have to wager our salvation upon some prophecy based upon imperfect knowledge. While that experiment is part of our system I think that we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death, unless they so imminently threaten immediate interference with the lawful and pressing purposes of the law that an immediate check is required to save the country. I wholly disagree with the argument of the Government that the First Amendment left the common law as to seditious libel in force. History seems to me against the notion. I had conceived that the United States through many years had shown its repentance for the Sedition Act of 1798 (Act July 14, 1798, c. 73, 1 Stat. 596), by repaying fines that it imposed. Only the emergency that makes it immediately dangerous to leave the correction of evil counsels to time warrants [250 U.S. 616, 631] making any exception to the sweeping command, 'Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.' Of course I am speaking only of expressions of opinion and exhortations, which were all that were uttered here, but I regret that I cannot put into more impressive words my belief that in their conviction upon this indictment the defendants were deprived of their rights under the Constitution of the United States."

You can also hear the deeper cut of this story on a RadioLab episode:

Short. Sweet. To the point. That's the beauty Dave's iPhone. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Up With People - Freedom Isn't Free

Back in the 70s and early 80s, Up With People achieved some national acclaim. I had s teacher in middle school who was friends with the founder/director, so they were at least popular in my school. 

When we’d do musical productions, they would often include at least one song from the repertoire. And we learned the words to many songs. 

Lately, this one has been running through my head. 

You gotta pay the price. You gotta sacrifice for your liberty. 

Wear a damn mask. And get vaccinated.