Wednesday, March 16, 2005

FEC: I Like to Watch

As I said a few days ago, there is a real problem here. Believing government officials are good people, and won't abuse their powers, is not what we are about.

An update from Patterico, via GR.

I try to make this point to students all the time, but most of them just don't see the difference. Here is the way to make the point, in my view: Consider

1. The U.S. First Amendment
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.

Not many qualifiers, not much about trade-offs. No law.

2. Now, the analogous part of the French Dec'n of the Rights of Man
10. No one shall be disquieted on account of his opinions, including his religious views, provided their manifestation does not disturb the public order established by law.

11. The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law.

WHAAAAAAT? Opinions can't disquiet the public order established by law? I have to be responsible for abuses as shall be defined by law?

In other words, you can say or write anything you want, so long as it is not against the law. But any speech, writing or thoughts prescribed by law are not protected.

I wonder if "FEC" stands for "French Election Commission".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I see the states, across this big nation
I see the laws made in washington, d.c.
I think of the ones I consider my favorites
I think of the people that are working for me

Some civil servants are just like my loved ones
They work so hard and they try to be strong