Today's G-File at National Review Online
is about criticism and the First Amendment. How many times (especially of late) do we hear criticisms answered by: "I have a first amendment right to say this" or something similar? Yeah, so? How does criticism squelch your right to speech? In fact, if one thinks about it, the implicit argument is that one does not have the right to criticize. Commonly referred to as "freedom of speech for me, none for thee".
In practice though it is an attempt to change the subject and to put the critic on defense. In fact, don't most writers when criticizing a person often include a standard disclaimer about The First Amendment?
Jonah has fun with the column and starts off saying some things that are fist amendment protected:
The Constitution allows me to make a very long list of statements. I can say George W. Bush is in the pocket of Zionists and oil interests, as a certain woman hanging out in Crawford, Texas does. I can also say that George W. Bush is little bunny fru-fru hopping through the forest. I can say that the difference between him and a duck is ice cream because, after all, a vest has no sleeves. Or I can say that the Stifler dance scene in American Wedding made complete sense. In other words, I can say any crazy old thing I want. I can say America is a racist, sexist, homophobic country of hate with mean icing and a bigoted cherry on top. Or I can say that I have armadillos in my trousers. Source: The Goldberg File - Storm Troopers vs. Cindy Sheehan The Left's authentic nonsense.
In fact, I can actually put armadillos in my trousers (though I suspect there's barely room for one) and then say all of the above. Because, you see, I can make statements almost anywhere I like about almost anything I like. I can say it in Texas, I can say it in front of the White House. I can say it dressed like a mouse, I can say it like a souse.
Okay I hate rhymes. So enough of that.
Of course, I can't say any of this inside the White House unless I've been invited inside. Otherwise, I'd be arrested for trespassing, not for presidential sassing.
The point of the whole thing is that the first amendment does not imply what someone says is to be free from criticism.