Statist Media Courtesan: All Rights are "Infringe"-ableby Will Grigg
Jan. 18, 2013
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Responding to critics of the Obama administration’s gun control proposals, MSNBC Anchor Andrea Mitchell argued that it is permissible for the federal government to infringe rights described as “unalienable” – such as freedom of speech and the right to bear arms.
According to Mitchell: “They can be infringed … I have to obey all sorts of regulations from the FCC, [and] there are things we can’t say in a crowded theater….”
Mitchell ignores the fact that the Federal Communications Commission is an unconstitutional agency. She also doesn’t understand that the cliché about shouting fire in a crowded theater was coined to justify a horrible Supreme Court ruling that upheld the prosecution of an individual who used his rights under the First Amendment to protest the draft during World War I. Rather than building on such bad precedents we should be correcting the abuses they produced.
Leaving those matters aside, however, Mitchell apparently doesn’t understand that even in those cases, the government did not infringe rights through prior restraint – that is, pre-emptively punishing people for crimes they haven’t committed. That’s one of the myriad evils embodied in so-called gun control measures.