Tag Archives: Constitution

David Davenport: Free Speech Under Threat

Compromise

This summer, Commentary magazine published a forum on the question: Is free speech under threat in the United States?

Ironically, in a country where the Constitution and the courts carefully protect free speech, many people do not feel free to speak freely. Why? Because of a smothering blanket of political correctness that starts in our colleges and permeates our society.

Speakers with points of view that differ from the liberal orthodoxy are not welcome on many campuses, and in some cases have been subject to threats and violence. Students are supposed to be protected from so-called trigger words and microaggressions in the classroom. So much for free speech and the open debate of competing ideas.

The problem is that the First Amendment protects free speech from limitations by government, but the big challenges to free speech come from our culture and our campuses. It will take a strong fight to protect free speech, which is clearly under threat.

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David Davenport: A Silver Lining In the Cloud of Controversy

Compromise

President Trump’s approval numbers are low and controversies are high, nevertheless some good things are happening in our democratic system.

Congress, for example, is stepping up to its responsibilities to debate and decide policy. With Trump less interested in policy particulars, Congress can become what the founders intended, the first of the branches of government. They are debating health care, tax reform and war powers instead of waiting for the president.

Federalism is also flourishing, with states and cities becoming more proactive in policy affairs. I don’t always agree with them, but California and other states have figured out that they can make decisions about immigration or the environment. Again, that’s how the republic is supposed to work.

There’s even a new appreciation for checks and balances and separations of power as the Constitution established them.

Call them unintended good consequences of Donald Trump’s presidency, perhaps, but these are healthy signs for our democratic system.

 

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David Davenport: California’s Bully Federalism

Compromise

California’s travel ban, forbidding the expenditure of state money to travel to states that have policies they don’t like, is what I call bully federalism.

You may remember federalism, the idea that state and local governments retain considerable power in our federal system. Under the 10th Amendment, states can fight back and defend their powers against Washington.

But California’s federalism is not defending against federal power, it is offensive in nature, seeking to force its policies onto other states.

California doesn’t want state officials—or even university students—to travel to states that do not agree with its policies on LGBT issues. With the 6th largest economy in the world, California has the economic power to be a bully.

Do we all have to be like California? Is California the only state that gets things right? Is there no respect for the laws of other states, as seems to be called for by the “full faith and credit” provision of the Constitution?

No one likes bullies.

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Hugh Hewitt: Venezuela’s Maduro Is Now a Dicatator

U.S. Senate

Nicolas Maduro, president—really dictator—of Venezuela recently held a sham election to rewrite the country’s constitution. The pretext for the vote was to create a new National Constituent Assembly to draft a new Venezuelan constitution.

Speaking in the White House briefing room, General H.R. McMaster said, “The sham election of the National Constituent Assembly [in Venezuela] represents a very serious blow to democracy in our hemisphere. Maduro is not just a bad leader. He is now a dictator.”

Shortly after the so-called election, opposition leaders were seized from their homes by Venezuela’s secret police. It is a humanitarian crisis in addition to a political one.

The United States has responded by imposing strict sanctions. No one in the U.S. can do business with Venezuela. Mr. Maduro also joins a very short list of heads of state who are personally sanctioned by our government.

Nonetheless, the question remains: Can the United States allow a dictator with ties to Iran to set up in Venezuela?

No. The U.S. must act.

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David Davenport: Free Speech Under Threat

Compromise

This summer, Commentary magazine published a forum on the question: Is free speech under threat in the United States?

Ironically, in a country where the Constitution and the courts carefully protect free speech, many people do not feel free to speak freely. Why? Because of a smothering blanket of political correctness that starts in our colleges and permeates our society.

Speakers with points of view that differ from the liberal orthodoxy are not welcome on many campuses, and in some cases have been subject to threats and violence. Students are supposed to be protected from so-called trigger words and microaggressions in the classroom. So much for free speech and the open debate of competing ideas.

The problem is that the First Amendment protects free speech from limitations by government, but the big challenges to free speech come from our culture and our campuses. It will take a strong fight to protect free speech, which is clearly under threat.

Read More »

David Davenport: Young People Robbed Of Individualism

Compromise

America used to be a land of “rugged individualism.” People came to this country so that the key decisions about their lives would no longer be made by kings and queens, or the church, or their social class, but rather for themselves. Individual freedom was promised by the Declaration of Independence and protected by the Constitution.

But today individualism in America is in trouble. Not only has government taken over more and more of our money and decision-making, but young people are being coddled, first by helicopter parents, then in “safe spaces” in their college campuses. College used to be a time when kids went off to establish their own values and beliefs. Now we protect them from “micro-aggressions” and “trigger words.” We cleanse the campus of so-called controversial speakers and any real diversity of ideas.

Is it any surprise that young people are more open to socialism, for example, when we coddle them from birth through college? This does not bode well for America and its future.

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