In the money game, it is said that if you need hard money to control your ruling class, your ruling class will find a way around the limits of hard money. This is observationally true as every government in the history of man has found some way to corrupt their currency for short term advantage. For most of human history this has meant debasing the currency with cheap metal. In modern times, it means installing humanity’s worst schemers with the task of manipulating the currency.
That expression about money is a pithy way of pointing out that words on a piece of paper are never a restraint on the corrupt. The reason is the written law is just the formal expression of the unwritten law. Those words on the paper represent the spirit that organizes and limits the ruling class. If the people in the ruling class no longer abide by the spirit of the law, they will find a way around the letter of the law. This is something we can see plainly with the basics in America.
If you were to ask Americans to name the most fundamental freedom in the Constitution, they would surely say free speech. Some would point to other things, for sure, but the consensus would be speech. It is the thing America is most known for around the world. Europeans will often point to our first amendment right to speak our mind in public as the most important American right. It is the thing the world most identifies with being an American.
Despite that, the right to speak your mind is going away quickly. The most outrageous example is the recent trial of Douglas Mackey. He was arrested immediately after Biden was installed for the crime of mocking Clinton voters in 2016. Mackey operated the Ricky Vaughn account on Twitter, which was notorious for mocking the Left, especially the zombies who lined up to support Hillary Clinton. While obviously a satire account, it was comedy gold in the meme wars.
The government claimed that his jokes about the stupidity of Clinton voters denied these stupid Clinton voters the right to be stupid Clinton voters. That is not an exaggeration or a misrepresentation. The government offered no one who was denied their right to vote but managed to convince a judge and jury that these jokes tricked stupid Clinton voters out of their right to vote. The verdict is on appeal, but Mackey now faces ten years in prison.
Everyone involved in this case, except for Mackey, of course, made clear that they have no respect for the basic right of speech. The government found creative ways around the words on the page to charge Mackey. The judge found creative ways to rig the case in favor of the state. He then threatened the jury with lifetime sequestration when they were deadlocked. The jury then found a way to convict a fellow citizen of speaking mean words to rich people.
The thing about the Mackey case is not that it is rare, but that it is just a causal and blatant example of a pattern. Here is a new case where the Feds are charging people with holding the wrong opinions about Russia. They claim that these people were involved with Russian agents and spreading bad words to blacks. Most people would assume you have a right to spread bad words, even if they are about blacks and they come from a Russian citizen. It says so on the paper.
The recent Fox News settlement is another example of how thoroughly corrupt the courts are now. Fox was accused of doing fake news, a thing so common that the words no longer have meaning. The judge was determined to make sure they were punished, so Fox had no choice but to write a big check. Meanwhile, the New York Times manufactures fake news and deliberately defames people but enjoys blanket immunity from the court system.
Of course, the place where most speech occurs in the modern age is on the internet and the rulers are moving to close off that avenue. The Restrict Act is described as “a systematic framework for addressing technology-based threats to the security and safety of Americans.” The stated purpose is to let the government shut off services like TikTok, but in reality, it will let the party shutter any site they wish. It is the modern version of The Sedition Act of 1918.
There are two main differences between the assault on speech today versus the assault on speech a century ago. The most obvious is that The Sedition Act of 1918 was specifically aimed at anti-war speech. Today, the reason for stripping the rights of the citizens is personal and petty. The people in charge do not like being mocked by the peasants on the internet. The assault on your basic rights is part of a war waged from the top against the white middle-class.
The other main difference is that there was a clear limit on how long these limits on speech would last. This was a wartime act, and everyone agreed it was an exception to the general rule of open debate. In other words, the people who crafted the bill did so knowing the general rule was the default, but that in the extraordinary circumstances of the war, they were making an exception. Today, it is the reverse. The new default is you need permission to speak in public.
Looking back, this change in the spirit of the law, at least with respect to the ruling class, should have been obvious. The concept of the terms of service has proliferated with the spread of technology, despite running counter to Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence. The contract of adhesion has always been a carefully regulated exception to contract law, but now it is the default. Everything you do is becoming subject to a terms of service agreement imposed on you by the powerful.
It is why appeals to the letter of the law mean nothing now. The people who view the letter of the law through the lens of the terms of service, naturally look at the Constitution the same way. As the issuing party, they get to interpret the words on the paper however they wish. Every judge is now operating like a content moderator at a social media platform. You are free to choose another country provider, but as long as you are in this one, they control your content.
The only difference is that YouTube sends you an e-mail whenever they willy-nilly change their terms of service. In a Country As A Service, you learn about the new rules as they are booking you for violating the new rules. Those weird e-mails have been replaced by the sound of the jail door slamming on some poor victim of the new rules against hate speech or mean content. You can guess what “your account has been suspended” will soon mean.
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