Saturday, January 22, 2011

What the hell is a Counter Revolutionary Act?

A blogger whom I look up to intellectually: Billy Beck   said in an interview here that the Constitution of the United States was a "Counter Revolutionary Act".

To my mind the best example I can think of is this:
USC/Title 18/Part 1/Chapter115/Section 2385
Which says in part this:
"Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so;
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both."

The above statute (obviously) went through all of the steps we all remember from the video of how a bill becomes a law.  That is to say legally, lawfully, constitutionally.

Without a discussion of how "prints, publishes, edits, issues..." might, just might conflict with "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press"

How does it jibe with statements like this:
"God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.
The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is
wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts
they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions,
it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ...
And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not
warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of
resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as
to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost
in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from
time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
It is its natural manure."
Thomas Jefferson

Look, its printed: as that was what was available at the time, it was published: as we are reading it today, and it certainly advocates violence.

But Chris you say:  "That's not a founding document, that's just the ramblings of a dead white guy, who might have had some input in the Independence movement."

So I will refer to another historical text, lets say a "founding document", written by that same dead white dude.

"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it."

There is no mechanism in the Constitution to "abolish", there are many ways to alter, but none to abolish.

So the only way to exercise that particular "Right of the People" is via violence, QED.

By any rational reading of statute 2385 Jefferson would be in violation.

We have a Constitutionally passed law on the books that would jail the author of The Declaration of Independence for writing The Declaration of Independence!

That is quintessentially a "Counter Revolutionary Act"

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