Mass Murder and a Fallen Democrat Provide an Opportunity to Reenact the Fairness Doctrine

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 10th, 2011

The Left wants a Fairness Doctrine to Stifle Political Dissent

And here it is.  The big one.  What the Left really wants.  The ability to censor the opposing viewpoint so they can easily advance their agenda without political dissent.  You know what it is.  It’s called the Fairness Doctrine.  To stifle that vitriol we call free speech.  Our First Amendment right.  Which some are saying caused the Arizona Shooting rampage (see Clyburn: Words can be danger by Yvonne Wenger posted 1/10/2011 on The Post and Courier).

U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in Congress, said Sunday the deadly shooting in Arizona should get the country thinking about what’s acceptable to say publicly and when people should keep their mouths shut.

Clyburn said he thinks vitriol in public discourse led to a 22-year-old suspect opening fire Saturday at an event Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords held for her constituents in Tucson, Ariz. Six people were killed and 14 others were injured, including Giffords.

Clyburn thinks wrong.  From what we’re learning, it sounds like the shooter wasn’t even aware of reality let alone the public discourse.  Of course, you wouldn’t know this if you rush to some kind of judgment.  Or are just using the tragedy to advance a stalled agenda.

The shooting is cause for the country to rethink parameters on free speech, Clyburn said from his office, just blocks from the South Carolina Statehouse. He wants standards put in place to guarantee balanced media coverage with a reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine, in addition to calling on elected officials and media pundits to use ‘better judgment.’

The Fairness Doctrine.  Statutory censorship.  You see, back then there were only three networks and PBS.  And the Fairness Doctrine was to keep them fair and balanced.  If they aired a story favoring one viewpoint, they then had to give time for the opposing viewpoint.  Or face a fine.  Sounds fair, doesn’t it?  But it’s just a fancy way to enact state censorship.

Here’s how.  Who’s to determine what programming meets the balancing requirement of the Fairness Doctrine?  The FCC.  Which is part of the executive branch of the government.  So the president had the power to determine what was appropriate speech.  And what wasn’t.  That’s a lot of power.  And JFK and LBJ put that power to good uses.  They used it to harass their political enemies.  Made it so costly to air a point of view opposing theirs that stations would refuse to air them.  It really stifled political dissent.  And made it a lot easier to pass the Great Society legislation.

Ah, yes, those were the good old days.  When you didn’t have all that messiness we call free speech.  The 1960s and 1970s were Big Government decades.  Times were good for the liberal left.  That is until Ronald Reagan came along to spoil everything.  For it was Reagan who repealed the Fairness Doctrine.  And ever since the Left has wanted it back.

The Left wants a Fairness Doctrine to Hush Rush

The party really ended in the 1980s.  Not only did they lose their beloved doctrine, but there was a new kid on the block.  Talk radio.  It was bad enough not to have ‘fairness’ as they saw fairness, but now there was more than three networks and PBS.  There was content all over the place that they couldn’t control.  And it really pissed them off.  Especially a guy by the name of Rush Limbaugh.  He was such a thorn in Bill Clinton’s side that some called the Fairness Doctrine the ‘Hush Rush’ bill. 

You have to remember how Bill Clinton won the election.  He won with one of the lowest percentages of the popular vote.  Ross Perot was a third-party candidate that drained votes away from both candidates.  But, more importantly, he turned the election into a media circus.  Everyone was following what wacky thing he would say or do next that few paid attention to Clinton’s less than spotless past.  And people were spitting mad about George H.W. Bush‘s broken pledge not to raise taxes.  You take these two things away and Bush the elder would have been a two-term president.  So Clinton wasn’t very popular with the people to begin with. 

During the Nineties, some 20 million people a week were tuning in to listen to Rush.  Why was he so popular?  For the simple reason that he held the same views as some 20 million people in the country.  And these people were tired of the media bias.  For them Rush was a breath of fresh air.  His radio show was the only place this huge mass of people could go and not hear the Democrat spin on everything.  And this was a real threat to the Left.  They blamed him for their failure to nationalize health care.  And the Left blamed Rush for Whitewater, Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky, the blue dress, etc.  Hillary Clinton called the Lewinsky affair a vast right-wing conspiracy.  And if it wasn’t for Rush and talk radio, those things would have remained hidden. So you can see why they hated him.

The Shooting of a Democrat Allows the Left to Attack Conservatives

It was bad for Bill Clinton.  But President Obama has it even worse.  The FOX News channel has blown away the cable competition.  The Internet has come of age.  There’s more content out there than ever before.  And the old guard (the three networks, PBS and the liberal newspapers) are losing more and more of their influence.  In other words, they need the Fairness Doctrine like never before.  Because there is way too much free speech for their liking.  It’s just not a good time if you’re trying to be devious.

So when a mass murder comes along and a Democrat is shot in the head, they pounce.  Representative Clyburn uses this tragedy to advance the Fairness Doctrine.  Even though he knew little at the time.  But that didn’t stop him.  They have no evidence, but the Left has blamed the Tea Party, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, FOX News, and anyone else who has ever held a contrary viewpoint.

So, what, then, motivated this killer in Arizona? 

Who is Jared Loughner

Well, let’s hear what a close friend of the shooter, Jared Loughner, says.  Bryce Tierney knew him since high school.  Even went to college with him.  And from what he says, Loughner doesn’t sound like he was influenced by anyone on the right (see Exclusive: Loughner Friend Explains Alleged Gunman’s Grudge Against Giffords by Nick Baumann posted 1/10/2011 on Mother Jones).

Tierney tells Mother Jones in an exclusive interview that Loughner held a years-long grudge against Giffords and had repeatedly derided her as a “fake.” Loughner’s animus toward Giffords intensified after he attended one of her campaign events and she did not, in his view, sufficiently answer a question he had posed, Tierney says. He also describes Loughner as being obsessed with “lucid dreaming”—that is, the idea that conscious dreams are an alternative reality that a person can inhabit and control—and says Loughner became “more interested in this world than our reality.” Tierney adds, “I saw his dream journal once. That’s the golden piece of evidence. You want to know what goes on in Jared Loughner’s mind, there’s a dream journal that will tell you everything…”

But the thing I remember most is just that question. I don’t remember him stalking her or anything.” Tierney notes that Loughner did not display any specific political or ideological bent: “It wasn’t like he was in a certain party or went to rallies…It’s not like he’d go on political rants.”  But Loughner did, according to Tierney, believe that government is “fucking us over.” He never heard Loughner vent about the perils of “currency,” as Loughner did on one YouTube video he created… 

Once, Tierney recalls, Loughner told him, “I’m pretty sure I’ve come to the conclusion that words mean nothing.” Loughner would also tell Tierney and his friends that life “means nothing…”

Tierney believes that Loughner was very interested in pushing people’s buttons—and that may have been why he listed Hitler’s Mein Kampf as one of his favorite books on his YouTube page. (Loughner’s mom is Jewish, according to Tierney.) Loughner sometimes approached strangers and would say “weird” things, Tierney recalls. “He would do it because he thought people were below him and he knew they wouldn’t know what he was talking about.”

In college, Loughner became increasingly intrigued with “lucid dreaming,” and he grew convinced that he could control his dreams, according to Tierney. In a series of rambling videos posted to his YouTube page, dreams are a frequent topic. In a video posted on December 15, Loughner writes, “My favorite activity is conscience dreaming: the greatest inspiration for my political business information. Some of you don’t dream—sadly.” In another video, he writes, “The population of dreamers in the United States of America is less than 5%!” Later in the same video he says,  “I’m a sleepwalker—who turns off the alarm clock.”

Loughner believed that dreams could be a sort of alternative, Matrix-style reality, and “that when you realize you’re dreaming, you can do anything, you can create anything,” Tierney says. Loughner started his “dream journal” in an attempt to take more control of his dreams, his friend notes, and he kept this journal for over a year…

After Loughner apparently gave up drugs and booze, “his theories got worse,” Tierney says. “After he quit, he was just off the wall.” And Loughner started to drift away from his group of friends about a year ago. By early 2010, dreaming had become Loughner’s “waking life, his reality,” Tierney says. “He sort of drifted off, didn’t really care about hanging out with friends. He’d be sleeping a lot.” Loughner’s alternate reality was attractive, Tierney says. “He figured out he could fly.” Loughner, according to Tierney, told his friends, “I’m so into it because I can create things and fly. I’m everything I’m not in this world.”

But in this world, Loughner seemed ticked off by what he believed to be a pervasive authoritarianism. “The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar,” he wrote in one YouTube video. In another, Loughner complains that when he tried to join the military, he was handed a “mini-Bible.” That upset him: “I didn’t write a belief on my Army application and the recruiter wrote on the application: None,” he wrote on YouTube. In messages on MySpace last month, Loughner declared, “I’ll see you on National T.v.! This is foreshadow.” He also noted on the website, “I don’t feel good: I’m ready to kill a police officer! I can say it…”

Since hearing of the rampage, Tierney has been trying to figure out why Loughner did what he allegedly did. “More chaos, maybe,” he says. “I think the reason he did it was mainly to just promote chaos. He wanted the media to freak out about this whole thing. He wanted exactly what’s happening. He wants all of that.” Tierney thinks that Loughner’s mindset was like the Joker in the most recent Batman movie: “He fucks things up to fuck shit up, there’s no rhyme or reason, he wants to watch the world burn. He probably wanted to take everyone out of their monotonous lives: ‘Another Saturday, going to go get groceries’—to take people out of these norms that he thought society had trapped us in.”

It wasn’t Vitriol, it was Insanity

Well, he doesn’t sound like a Tea Party guy.  Or a fan of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman or FOX News.  He doesn’t sound like a religious guy.  He may have been anti-Semitic.  He felt superior to those around him.  He liked to dream and spend a lot of time in his imagination.  He may have liked the movie The Matrix.  Maybe even thought he was in a ‘Matrix‘ fantasyland.  He did drugs and drank at one time.  When he went sober, though, he seemed to go deeper into his imagination.  He was pretty certain that the government was controlling people with an insidious form of grammar.  And he wasn’t a fan of authority figures and thought killing a cop would cheer him up.

I don’t know, maybe it’s me, but I wouldn’t call this guy a conservative.  And I don’t think there was any vitriol egging him on.  I doubt any vitriol could compete with what was going on in his imagination.  This guy had serious mental issues.  He was unstable.  And dangerous.  And the only reason why he shot Representative Giffords is because she had the misfortune of being his representative.

So Representative Clyburn, and the far left, are wrong.  No one on the right is responsible for this tragedy in Arizona.  The shooter was just a nutcase.  Little solace for the victims’ families.  But it does say that we don’t need a Fairness Doctrine.  For it would NOT have altered what happened in Tucson, Arizona, this past Saturday.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

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LESSONS LEARNED #18: “Man-given rights are only privileges allowed by the privileged elite.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 17th, 2010

GOD WAS HERE before the Marine Corps. So you can give your heart to Jesus, but your ass belongs to The Corps.

(From the movie Full Metal Jacket, 1987.)

In Roman Catholicism, this is the doctrine of the two swords.  The spiritual sword is the Church.  The temporal sword is the state.  Martin Luther had the doctrine of two kingdoms.  The religious and civil.  Going back to the source, Jesus Christ put it this way:

Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s 

The original separation of church and state.  Of course, back then, this was all intended to limit the state’s interference into spiritual matters.  Today it’s reversed.  It’s the state that is trying to hold the spiritual sword at bay.

THE FOUNDING FATHERS were gentlemen of the Enlightenment.  This makes them complex.  The Enlightenment was the Age of Reason.  And guess what we did during the Age of Reason?  We thought.  Rationally.  There was a philosophical revolution going on in Europe.  Simply put, things weren’t what they were because the Church said so.  There were other explanations.  Other laws.  And the Church could be wrong.

So, if the Founding Fathers had lived in the 20th century, they would have probably been fans of the rock group Rush.  And Ayn Rand.  Who influenced Rush.  Thomas Jefferson probably would have an iPod filled with their songs, including Tom Sawyer:

No his mind is not for rent
To any god or government

They questioned ALL authority.  And some may have been Deists.  But they were not atheists.  Even Jefferson.  He may not have believed in the Trinity or Christ’s divinity, but he still believed in God.  And he worshipped Jesus in his own way.  As the world’s greatest philosopher, with his Sermon on the Mount being the best philosophy man could ask for.

THE FOUNDING FATHERS were gentlemen of the Enlightenment.  Now the other part.  The thing that makes them complex.  The gentlemen part.  What did this mean in the 18th century?  Here are some adjectives that describe a gentleman.  Honorable.  Virtuous.  Reputable.  A gentleman strived to achieve moral excellence and righteousness.  He was ethical.  His life was a steadfast adherence to a strict moral code.  And when he served in public office, it was with selfless disinterest.  He would go out of his way to NOT gain personally from his time in public office.  Some did it better than others.  But all tried.  And when they fell short, they at least put on an appearance of disinterest.  It was that important.  And expected.

In a word, restraint.  This is what a gentleman practiced.  George Washington exercised this restraint to such a degree that many found him cold and aloof.  Few saw him smile.  Few saw public displays of emotion.  What they did see was an exemplary life of virtue, honor and moral excellence.  And they would forever look at him with awe and reverence.  We do to this day.

These students of the Enlightenment, then, espoused Judeo-Christian ethics.  They questioned all authority oppressing man, whether it be Church or state.  But they did not throw out the baby with the bath water.  They remained religious.  They just wouldn’t yield to it unconditionally.  Not to the Pope.  To a bishop.  Or any other tyranny of a minority, privileged elite.  Even after their Revolution.

And they would extend this restraint to the new nation they would found.  It would be a government that would govern with the consent of the people.  But it would not be mob-rule.  Not a true democracy.  It would be representative government.  The idea was to restrain the extreme passions of the people.  They would not exchange one tyranny for another.  There would be no tyranny of the majority.

FRANCE HAD PROBLEMS in the late 18th century.  The toll of war was bankrupting the country.  Their financing of the American Revolution didn’t help either.  Food was scarce and expensive.  Famine and malnutrition were commonplace.  Among the Third Estate (the poor).  The First Estate (the Church) was doing well.  The Second Estate (the nobility), too.  Unemployed and hungry, the poor looked at the clergy and the nobility who were not. 

The Church was largely exempt from paying taxes. And the Church was the largest landholder in France.  The Church levied a 10% tax (i.e., a tithe) on the general population.  A lot of that was collected in-kind (food crops).  So the Church had more land, money and food than the starving, suffering masses.  Who became an angry mob.  That demanded democracy.

The people stormed the Bastille.  Confiscated Church property.  Overthrew the monarchy.  And sent the king and queen, and many others, to the guillotine.  Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins unleashed the Reign of Terror.  They executed political enemies, including priests, and displayed their severed heads to the angry mob.  They de-Christianized France, destroying churches and religious symbols.  They tried to do away with the Church altogether and replace it with civic and community events and organizations.  It was a revolution against Church and state.  Against law and order.  Against restraint.  They would send Robespierre himself to the guillotine at the end of his terror.  Then another terror followed to avenge the previous terror. 

There’s more to the French Revolution.  But that should suffice for now. 

FRANCE WAS IN the epicenter of the Enlightenment.  Some of the great minds of the Enlightenment were French.  But France was older than America.  And more populated.  With centuries of wrongs to right.  It was anything but a blank canvas.  Egalitarianism soon devolved into angry mob rule.  Democracy.  They went from the tyranny of a minority to the tyranny of the majority without stopping in that fertile middle ground.  As was the case in America.  Why?

It’s that blank canvas thing.  We weren’t overthrowing our history to start anew.  We had little history.  Maybe a century or two of English colonists who literally started with raw earth.  There wasn’t a rich and privileged Church.  So there wasn’t a festering resentment against the Church.  No, the early colonists escaped religious oppression and came here for religious freedom.  Which they found.  And enjoyed.

The American Revolution was more restrained.  There were no bloody reprisals after the War.  There were isolated instances of mob violence during the War, but the ‘mob’ was never in control.  The ‘gentlemen’ were always in control.  Gentlemen steeped in Judeo-Christian ethics.  From the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution, the Founding Fathers built a new nation upon the Rule of Law.  And at its heart were the God-given rights enumerated in those documents.  That no man, or minority, or majority, or mob, could take away.

GOD WAS HERE before the United States.  So we can give our heart to Jesus.  But our ass belongs to the Rule of Law.

Or something like that.  We are a secular nation with a de-emphasis on the religious part.  Yes, legal punishment may dissuade you from doing wrong.  If you think the cops can catch you.  But it’s our morality that will keep us from doing wrong in the first place.  And the people at our founding were moral.  And Christian.  Or deists with Judeo-Christian ethics.

And to those who fear antidisestablishmentarianism, don’t.  I doubt the Catholics and the Protestants could agree on what an established church would be, let alone the myriad other religions peacefully coexisting with each other.  No, more religion would not result in an established church.  It may, though, result in government leaders who fear God and, maybe, they would be better leaders for it.  It sure beats us living in fear of them.

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