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Ted Cruz Doesn’t Understand the First Amendment

By Ed Brayton on December 27, 2013 in Civic Blog
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Actually, he does. Ted Cruz is, by all accounts, a brilliant attorney who has been called by liberal law profs at Harvard Law one of the best con law students they ever had. So he must know that when he claims that the bigot from Duck Dynasty is having his free speech and religious liberty rights violated, he’s just lying for political gain.13024413_l

After A&E suspended Robertson for comparing homosexuality to bestiality, Cruz took to Facebook to defend the Duck Commander company founder.

“Free speech matters,” Cruz wrote. “If you believe in free speech or religious liberty, you should be deeply dismayed over the treatment of Phil Robertson. Phil expressed his personal views and his own religious faith; for that, he was suspended from his job.”

“In a free society, anyone is free to disagree with him–but the mainstream media should not behave as the thought police censoring the views with which they disagree,” he continued. “And, as PC enforcers often forget, tolerance is a two-way street.”

Right. Just like a couple weeks ago, Cruz stood up for the free speech rights of Martin Bashier when MSNBC fired him for making crude remarks about Sarah Palin. Oh wait, he wasn’t? Imagine that. And remember, this is someone who believes that corporations are people (and they are, legally, in many cases, including this one) and that the free market should decide everything. So why isn’t it a violation of A&E’s free speech rights to force them to air a show that they believe will hurt their ability to procure advertisers? Isn’t that the free market deciding what should be aired? Shouldn’t a conservative be all for that?

In reality, this has absolutely nothing to do with free speech. The First Amendment only protects you from government censorship or coercion, not from the consequences of stupid, bigoted things you say in public.

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN. He regularly contributes to Civic Blog and posts daily at Dispatches from the Culture Wars. The above piece was originally puiblished there on December 23rd 2013.

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