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Second Amendment – National Constitution Center

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on Second Amendment – National Constitution Center
Oct 122015

The Second Amendment

Modern debates about the Second Amendment have focused on whether it protects a private right of individuals to keep and bear arms, or a right that can be exercised only through militia organizations like the National Guard. This question, however, was not even raised until long after the Bill of Rights was adopted.

Many in the Founding generation believed that governments are prone to use soldiers to oppress the people. English history suggested that this risk could be controlled by permitting the government to raise armies (consisting of full-time paid troops) only when needed to fight foreign adversaries. For other purposes, such as responding to sudden invasions or other emergencies, the government could rely on a militia that consisted of ordinary civilians who supplied their own weapons and received some part-time, unpaid military training.

The onset of war does not always allow time to raise and train an army, and the Revolutionary War showed that militia forces could not be relied on for national defense. The Constitutional Convention therefore decided that the federal government should have almost unfettered authority to establish peacetime standing armies and to regulate the militia.

This massive shift of power from the states to the federal government generated one of the chief objections to the proposed Constitution. Anti-Federalists argued that the proposed Constitution would take from the states their principal means of defense against federal usurpation. The Federalists responded that fears of federal oppression were overblown, in part because the American people were armed and would be almost impossible to subdue through military force.

Implicit in the debate between Federalists and Anti-Federalists were two shared assumptions. First, that the proposed new Constitution gave the federal government almost total legal authority over the army and militia. Second, that the federal government should not have any authority at all to disarm the citizenry. They disagreed only about whether an armed populace could adequately deter federal oppression.

The Second Amendment conceded nothing to the Anti-Federalists desire to sharply curtail the military power of the federal government, which would have required substantial changes in the original Constitution. Yet the Amendment was easily accepted because of widespread agreement that the federal government should not have the power to infringe the right of the people to keep and bear arms, any more than it should have the power to abridge the freedom of speech or prohibit the free exercise of religion.

Much has changed since 1791. The traditional militia fell into desuetude, and state-based militia organizations were eventually incorporated into the federal military structure. The nations military establishment has become enormously more powerful than eighteenth century armies. We still hear political rhetoric about federal tyranny, but most Americans do not fear the nations armed forces and virtually no one thinks that an armed populace could defeat those forces in battle. Furthermore, eighteenth century civilians routinely kept at home the very same weapons they would need if called to serve in the militia, while modern soldiers are equipped with weapons that differ significantly from those generally thought appropriate for civilian uses. Civilians no longer expect to use their household weapons for militia duty, although they still keep and bear arms to defend against common criminals (as well as for hunting and other forms of recreation).

The law has also changed. While states in the Founding era regulated gunsblacks were often prohibited from possessing firearms and militia weapons were frequently registered on government rollsgun laws today are more extensive and controversial. Another important legal development was the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Second Amendment originally applied only to the federal government, leaving the states to regulate weapons as they saw fit. Although there is substantial evidence that the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was meant to protect the right of individuals to keep and bear arms from infringement by the states, the Supreme Court rejected this interpretation in United States v. Cruikshank (1876).

Until recently, the judiciary treated the Second Amendment almost as a dead letter. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), however, the Supreme Court invalidated a federal law that forbade nearly all civilians from possessing handguns in the nations capital. A 54 majority ruled that the language and history of the Second Amendment showed that it protects a private right of individuals to have arms for their own defense, not a right of the states to maintain a militia.

The dissenters disagreed. They concluded that the Second Amendment protects a nominally individual right, though one that protects only the right of the people of each of the several States to maintain a well-regulated militia. They also argued that even if the Second Amendment did protect an individual right to have arms for self-defense, it should be interpreted to allow the government to ban handguns in high-crime urban areas.

Two years later, in McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010), the Court struck down a similar handgun ban at the state level, again by a 54 vote. Four Justices relied on judicial precedents under the Fourteenth Amendments Due Process Clause. Justice Thomas rejected those precedents in favor of reliance on the Privileges or Immunities Clause, but all five members of the majority concluded that the Fourteenth Amendment protects against state infringement the same individual right that is protected from federal infringement by the Second Amendment.

Notwithstanding the lengthy opinions in Heller and McDonald, they technically ruled only that government may not ban the possession of handguns by civilians in their homes. Heller tentatively suggested a list of presumptively lawful regulations, including bans on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, bans on carrying firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, laws restricting the commercial sale of arms, bans on the concealed carry of firearms, and bans on weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes. Many issues remain open, and the lower courts have disagreed with one another about some of them, including important questions involving restrictions on carrying weapons in public.

The right to keep and bear arms is a lot like the right to freedom of speech. In each case, the Constitution expressly protects a liberty that needs to be insulated from the ordinary political process.

Gun control is as much a part of the Second Amendment as the right to keep and bear arms. The text of the amendment, which refers to a well regulated Militia, suggests as much.

Not a Second Class Right: The Second Amendment Today by Nelson Lund

The right to keep and bear arms is a lot like the right to freedom of speech. In each case, the Constitution expressly protects a liberty that needs to be insulated from the ordinary political process. Neither right, however, is absolute. The First Amendment, for example, has never protected perjury, fraud, or countless other crimes that are committed through the use of speech. Similarly, no reasonable person could believe that violent criminals should have unrestricted access to guns, or that any individual should possess a nuclear weapon.

Inevitably, courts must draw lines, allowing government to carry out its duty to preserve an orderly society, without unduly infringing the legitimate interests of individuals in expressing their thoughts and protecting themselves from criminal violence. This is not a precise science or one that will ever be free from controversy.

One judicial approach, however, should be unequivocally rejected. During the nineteenth century, courts routinely refused to invalidate restrictions on free speech that struck the judges as reasonable. This meant that speech got virtually no judicial protection. Government suppression of speech can usually be thought to serve some reasonable purpose, such as reducing social discord or promoting healthy morals. Similarly, most gun control laws can be viewed as efforts to save lives and prevent crime, which are perfectly reasonable goals. If thats enough to justify infringements on individual liberty, neither constitutional guarantee means much of anything.

During the twentieth century, the Supreme Court finally started taking the First Amendment seriously. Today, individual freedom is generally protected unless the government can make a strong case that it has a real need to suppress speech or expressive conduct, and that its regulations are tailored to that need. The legal doctrines have become quite complex, and there is room for disagreement about many of the Courts specific decisions. Taken as a whole, however, this body of case law shows what the Court can do when it appreciates the value of an individual right enshrined in the Constitution.

The Second Amendment also raises issues about which reasonable people can disagree. But if the Supreme Court takes this provision of the Constitution as seriously as it now takes the First Amendment, which it should do, there will be some easy issues as well.

District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) is one example. The right of the people protected by the Second Amendment is an individual right, just like the right[s] of the people protected by the First and Fourth Amendments. The Constitution does not say that the Second Amendment protects a right of the states or a right of the militia, and nobody offered such an interpretation during the Founding era. Abundant historical evidence indicates that the Second Amendment was meant to leave citizens with the ability to defend themselves against unlawful violence. Such threats might come from usurpers of governmental power, but they might also come from criminals whom the government is unwilling or unable to control.

McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010) was also an easy case under the Courts precedents. Most other provisions of the Bill of Rights had already been applied to the states because they are deeply rooted in this Nations history and tradition. The right to keep and bear arms clearly meets this test.

The text of the Constitution expressly guarantees the right to bear arms, not just the right to keep them. The courts should invalidate regulations that prevent law-abiding citizens from carrying weapons in public, where the vast majority of violent crimes occur. First Amendment rights are not confined to the home, and neither are those protected by the Second Amendment.

Nor should the government be allowed to create burdensome bureaucratic obstacles designed to frustrate the exercise of Second Amendment rights. The courts are vigilant in preventing government from evading the First Amendment through regulations that indirectly abridge free speech rights by making them difficult to exercise. Courts should exercise the same vigilance in protecting Second Amendment rights.

Some other regulations that may appear innocuous should be struck down because they are little more than political stunts. Popular bans on so-called assault rifles, for example, define this class of guns in terms of cosmetic features, leaving functionally identical semi-automatic rifles to circulate freely. This is unconstitutional for the same reason that it would violate the First Amendment to ban words that have a French etymology, or to require that French fries be called freedom fries.

In most American states, including many with large urban population centers, responsible adults have easy access to ordinary firearms, and they are permitted to carry them in public. Experience has shown that these policies do not lead to increased levels of violence. Criminals pay no more attention to gun control regulations than they do to laws against murder, rape, and robbery. Armed citizens, however, prevent countless crimes and have saved many lives. Whats more, the most vulnerable peopleincluding women, the elderly, and those who live in high crime neighborhoodsare among the greatest beneficiaries of the Second Amendment. If the courts require the remaining jurisdictions to stop infringing on the constitutional right to keep and bear arms, their citizens will be more free and probably safer as well.

The Reasonable Right to Bear Arms by Adam Winkler

Gun control is as much a part of the Second Amendment as the right to keep and bear arms. The text of the amendment, which refers to a well regulated Militia, suggests as much. As the Supreme Court correctly noted in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the militia of the founding era was the body of ordinary citizens capable of taking up arms to defend the nation. While the Founders sought to protect the citizenry from being disarmed entirely, they did not wish to prevent government from adopting reasonable regulations of guns and gun owners.

Although Americans today often think that gun control is a modern invention, the Founding era had laws regulating the armed citizenry. There were laws designed to ensure an effective militia, such as laws requiring armed citizens to appear at mandatory musters where their guns would be inspected. Governments also compiled registries of civilian-owned guns appropriate for militia service, sometimes conducting door-to-door surveys. The Founders had broad bans on gun possession by people deemed untrustworthy, including slaves and loyalists. The Founders even had laws requiring people to have guns appropriate for militia service.

The wide range of Founding-era laws suggests that the Founders understood gun rights quite differently from many people today. The right to keep and bear arms was not a libertarian license for anyone to have any kind of ordinary firearm, anywhere they wanted. Nor did the Second Amendment protect a right to revolt against a tyrannical government. The Second Amendment was about ensuring public safety, and nothing in its language was thought to prevent what would be seen today as quite burdensome forms of regulation.

The Founding-era laws indicate why the First Amendment is not a good analogy to the Second. While there have always been laws restricting perjury and fraud by the spoken word, such speech was not thought to be part of the freedom of speech. The Second Amendment, by contrast, unambiguously recognizes that the armed citizenry must be regulatedand regulated well. This language most closely aligns with the Fourth Amendment, which protects a right to privacy but also recognizes the authority of the government to conduct reasonable searches and seizures.

The principle that reasonable regulations are consistent with the Second Amendment has been affirmed throughout American history. Ever since the first cases challenging gun controls for violating the Second Amendment or similar provisions in state constitutions, courts have repeatedly held that reasonable gun lawsthose that dont completely deny access to guns by law-abiding peopleare constitutionally permissible. For 150 years, this was the settled law of the landuntil Heller.

Heller, however, rejected the principle of reasonableness only in name, not in practice. The decision insisted that many types of gun control laws are presumptively lawful, including bans on possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, bans on concealed carry, bans on dangerous and unusual weapons, restrictions on guns in sensitive places like schools and government buildings, and commercial sale restrictions. Nearly all gun control laws today fit within these exceptions. Importantly, these exceptions for modern-day gun laws unheard of in the Founding era also show that lawmakers are not limited to the types of gun control in place at the time of the Second Amendments ratification.

In the years since Heller, the federal courts have upheld the overwhelming majority of gun control laws challenged under the Second Amendment. Bans on assault weapons have been consistently upheld, as have restrictions on gun magazines that hold more than a minimum number of rounds of ammunition. Bans on guns in national parks, post offices, bars, and college campuses also survived. These decisions make clear that lawmakers have wide leeway to restrict guns to promote public safety so long as the basic right of law-abiding people to have a gun for self-defense is preserved.

Perhaps the biggest open question after Heller is whether the Second Amendment protects a right to carry guns in public. While every state allows public carry, some states restrict that right to people who can show a special reason to have a gun on the street. To the extent these laws give local law enforcement unfettered discretion over who can carry, they are problematic. At the same time, however, many constitutional rights are far more limited in public than in the home. Parades can be required to have a permit, the police have broader powers to search pedestrians and motorists than private homes, and sexual intimacy in public places can be completely prohibited.

The Supreme Court may yet decide that more stringent limits on gun control are required under the Second Amendment. Such a decision, however, would be contrary to the text, history, and tradition of the right to keep and bear arms.

More here:
Second Amendment – National Constitution Center

Political freedom – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Freedom  Comments Off on Political freedom – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Oct 052015

“Freedoms” redirects here. For other uses, see Freedom.

Political freedom (also known as political autonomy or political agency) is a central concept in history and political thought and one of the most important (real or ideal) features of democratic societies.[1] It has been described as a relationship free of oppression[2] or coercion;[3] the absence of disabling conditions for an individual and the fulfillment of enabling conditions;[4] or the absence of life conditions of compulsion, e.g. economic compulsion, in a society.[5] Although political freedom is often interpreted negatively as the freedom from unreasonable external constraints on action,[6] it can also refer to the positive exercise of rights, capacities and possibilities for action, and the exercise of social or group rights.[7] The concept can also include freedom from “internal” constraints on political action or speech (e.g. social conformity, consistency, or “inauthentic” behaviour.)[8] The concept of political freedom is closely connected with the concepts of civil liberties and human rights, which in democratic societies are usually afforded legal protection from the state.

Various groups along the political spectrum naturally differ on what they believe constitutes “true” political freedom.

Left wing political philosophy generally couples the notion of freedom with that of positive liberty, or the enabling of a group or individual to determine their own life or realize their own potential. Freedom, in this sense, may include freedom from poverty, starvation, treatable disease, and oppression, as well as freedom from force and coercion, from whomever they may issue.

Friedrich Hayek, a well-known classical liberal, criticized this as a misconception of freedom:

[T]he use of “liberty” to describe the physical “ability to do what I want”, the power to satisfy our wishes, or the extent of the choice of alternatives open to us… has been deliberately fostered as part of the socialist argument… the notion of collective power over circumstances has been substituted for that of individual liberty.[9]

Anarcho-socialists see negative and positive liberty as complementary concepts of freedom. Such a view of rights may require utilitarian trade-offs, such as sacrificing the right to the product of one’s labor or freedom of association for less racial discrimination or more subsidies for housing. Social anarchists describe the negative liberty-centric view endorsed by capitalism as “selfish freedom”.[10]

Anarcho-capitalists see negative rights as a consistent system. Ayn Rand described it as “a moral principle defining and sanctioning a mans freedom of action in a social context. To such libertarians, positive liberty is contradictory, since so-called rights must be traded off against each other, debasing legitimate rights which, by definition, trump other moral considerations. Any alleged “right” which calls for an end result (e.g. housing, education, medical services) produced by people is, in effect, a purported “right” to enslave others.

Some notable philosophers, such as Alasdair MacIntyre, have theorized freedom in terms of our social interdependence with other people.[11]

According to political philosopher Nikolas Kompridis, the pursuit of freedom in the modern era can be broadly divided into two motivating ideals: freedom as autonomy or independence; and freedom as the ability to cooperatively initiate a new beginning.[12]

Political freedom has also been theorized in its opposition to (and a condition of) “power relations”, or the power of “action upon actions,” by Michel Foucault.[13] It has also been closely identified with certain kinds of artistic and cultural practice by Cornelius Castoriadis, Antonio Gramsci, Herbert Marcuse, Jacques Ranciere, and Theodor Adorno.

Environmentalists often argue that political freedoms should include some constraint on use of ecosystems. They maintain there is no such thing, for instance, as “freedom to pollute” or “freedom to deforest” given that such activities create negative externalities. The popularity of SUVs, golf, and urban sprawl has been used as evidence that some ideas of freedom and ecological conservation can clash. This leads at times to serious confrontations and clashes of values reflected in advertising campaigns, e.g. that of PETA regarding fur.

John Dalberg-Acton stated that “The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities.”[14]

Hannah Arendt traces the origins of the concept of freedom to the practice of politics in ancient Greece. According to her study, the concept of freedom was historically inseparable from political action. Politics could only be practiced by those who had freed themselves from the necessities of life, so that they could attend to the realm of political affairs. According to Arendt, the concept of freedom became associated with the Christian notion of freedom of the will, or inner freedom, around the 5th century C.E. and since then, freedom as a form of political action has been neglected, even though, as she says, freedom is “the raison d’tre of politics.”[15]

Arendt says that political freedom is historically opposed to sovereignty or will-power, since in ancient Greece and Rome, the concept of freedom was inseparable from performance, and did not arise as a conflict between the “will” and the “self.” Similarly, the idea of freedom as freedom from politics is a notion that developed in modern times. This is opposed to the idea of freedom as the capacity to “begin anew,” which Arendt sees as a corollary to the innate human condition of natality, or our nature as “new beginnings and hence beginners.”

In Arendt’s view, political action is an interruption of automatic process, either natural or historical. The freedom to begin anew is thus an extension of “the freedom to call something into being which did not exist before, which was not given, not even as an object of cognition or imagination, and which therefore, strictly speaking, could not be known.”

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Political freedom – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Charlotte SEO Experts | #1 Experts in Digital Marketing

 SEO  Comments Off on Charlotte SEO Experts | #1 Experts in Digital Marketing
Oct 052015

Were an SEO company based in Charlotte, North Carolina (as if the name wasnt obvious enough, eh?)

We offer a range of services to our clients, including:

What is SEO?

We learned SEO from the Miami SEO gurus, Webris ( Yes, we like them so much that we even gave them a link on OUR HOMEPAGE!

Webris is owned by Ryan Stewart, a digital marketing whiz with over 10 years of experience working as one of the best SEO companies in Miami.

SEO is the process of improving your websites rankings in search engines. This is extremely important because of the amount of online traffic and searches that take place on a daily basis.

For example Charlotte SEO services gets typed into Google 1,000 times EACH MONTH! Imagine the power of ranking first for that search team because those are people that are seeking your exact services.

The process is difficult. We first need to do a thorough on page evaluation of your website. Then we need to check the HTML and coding to make sure that everything is OK.

After that we begin by creating social media signals on networks like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. These are extremely important and should NOT be overlooked because of the impact that social media has on our every day lives. Search engines are reading these signals with increasing importance and weight.

Next comes the most debated part link building. We offer white hat link building services that get the web taking note of your website. Some of these include Press releases, web 2.0s, directory submissions and a variety of other link building tactics. We also utilize partner websites to build high quality links on there as well.

After that we build up your website and make it look fancy so when actual visitors come to your website, they will convert from clicks to customers. At the end of the day, all we want is them to pick up the phone and call you and that is EXACTLY what we will do for you.

We like to keep our website short and to the point. If you have any questions, please browse our services page or contact us directly. Please give us up to 48 business hours to respond to your questions, as we are very busy.

Continued here:
Charlotte SEO Experts | #1 Experts in Digital Marketing

Free Speech, Language, and the Rule of Law

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Free Speech, Language, and the Rule of Law
Oct 032015

Contents Some Thoughts on Free Speech, Language, and the Rule of Law by Thomas Streeter

(from Robert Jensen and David S. Allen (eds.), Freeing the First Amendment: Critical Perspectives on Freedom of Expression, New York University Press, 1995, pp. 31-53.)

This chapter discusses the relevance of research and reflection on language to recent critical trends in thinking on free speech. There is a tendency to interpret many of the recent revisionist approaches to free speech as if they were simply calls for exceptions to otherwise clear cut rules and principles, as if, say, pornography or racism are so exceptionally evil that they fall outside the parameters of the kinds of speech that are “obviously” protected under the First Amendment. This misses the fact that the new approaches, with varying degrees of explicitness, involve theoretical and epistemological challenges to the underlying premises of free speech law in general; over the long run, what the new approaches are calling for are not exceptions but a restructuring of free speech law as a whole. The ideas driving this profound rethinking come from a variety of traditions, including various currents of feminism, literary theory, and theories of race and ethnicity. This chapter focuses on just one of those traditions: the complex twentieth century theorizing of language, sometimes called the “linguistic turn” in twentieth century philosophy. Although the linguistic turn is only one aspect of the new thinking about free speech, and although its importance and character is not agreed upon by all those advocating the new thinking, calling attention to it is useful because it nicely highlights some conceptual difficulties of the traditional framework and because it helps differentiate the revisionist criticisms from social determinist and other subtly authoritarian criticisms of free speech.

On the one hand, this chapter argues that the linguistic turn involves some revelations about the nature of language and human communication that do not accord well with the understandings of language implicit in free speech law, particularly with the metaphor of the marketplace of ideas. On the other, it argues that part of what is at stake is the way American culture envisions the rule of law as a whole. In particular, important currents of the understanding of the rule of law suggest the possibility and necessity of constructing rules, procedures, and meanings that transcend or can be abstracted from context, whereas the linguistic turn suggests that this is impossible, that meanings can be determined only in relation to particular contexts. The final part of this chapter, therefore, suggests some avenues for exploring free speech in its historical and social context, as opposed to efforts to abstract it out of context.

In the course of a discussion of the campus hate speech controversy, literary critic Henry Louis Gates (speaking from an African American position) provided the following hypothetical examples of potentially “harmful” speech directed at a minority student:

Sociolinguistics offers an answer to the first question: the social phenomenon of linguistic style. It is not the contents of the first statement that give it force; the argument it makes is, at best, dubious and obfuscatory, whereas the second statement at least would communicate the true feelings of the speaker towards the hearer with considerable precision. The first statement’s power comes from its style.

It is a well established fact that fluency in any language involves mastery, not just of a single, “correct” version of a language, but of a variety of styles or codes appropriate to specific contexts.[2] Gates’ first example is a case of the formal or “elaborated” style of contemporary English, which is highly valued in academic and professional settings. It is characterized by, among other things, Latinate vocabulary (“demanding educational environments” instead of “tough schools”) and elaborate syntax. The second is an example of informal or restricted style, characterized by ellipsis (omitting “You get out of my face . . . “) and colloquial constructions.

Linguists also have long insisted that, in an absolute sense, formal style is no more correct or better for communication than informal style. Scientifically speaking, what makes a style appropriate or inappropriate is the social context in which it is used: in an academic setting, the formal character of the first example gives the statement force, but in another context, say, a working class bar, it might only elicit laughter and derision whereas the second statement might have considerable impact. In the appropriate context, therefore, one can use informal style brilliantly and subtly, and conversely, it is quite possible to speak in a thoroughly formal style and yet be inept, offensive, or simply unclear.[3]

What style differences communicate, then, are not specific contents, but social relations between speakers and listeners, i.e., relations of power, hierarchy, solidarity, intimacy, and so forth. In particular, formal language suggests a relation of impersonal authority between speaker and listener, whereas informal language suggests a more intimate (though not necessarily friendly) relationship. You can petrify a child by interjecting into an otherwise informal conversation, “No you may not.” The shift to formal style (no ellipsis, “may not” instead of “can’t”) shows that the speaker is not just making a request, but is asserting his or her powers of authority as an adult over the child listener.

Gates’s first example would be more wounding to a minority student, therefore, because, by couching itself in a formal, academic style, it is rhetorically structured as the expression of “impersonal,” rational, and thus institutionally sanctioned, sentiments. It thereby invokes the full force of the authority of the university against the student’s efforts to succeed in it. Gates’s second example, with its informal style, suggests that one individual, the speaker, harbors racist ill will towards the listener. The first example, by contrast, suggests that, not just one individual, but the entire institution of the university in all its impersonal, “rational” majesty, looks upon the student as unfit.

So why is it easier to penalize the second kind of statement than the first, when it is the first that is potentially more damaging (which is not necessarily to suggest that we should penalize the first kind of statement)? Contemporary law in general is insensitive to matters of linguistic style. Hollywood action movies have made a cliche of lampooning the incongruity of reading the highly formal, legalistic Miranda clause during arrests, which are typically emotional encounters between working class cops and criminals, i.e., contexts where informal style would be appropriate.[4] In First Amendment jurisprudence, where language is not only the vehicle but the subject matter of the law, this insensitivity can lead to conceptual confusion. Linguistic style may be a fact of life, but traditional legal liberal ways of thinking about free speech, especially those encapsulated in the metaphor of the “marketplace of ideas,” are strangely incapable of addressing it.

The marketplace metaphor in free speech law involves imagining symbolic and linguistic phenomena as if they were analogous to market exchange, which implies a number of things about language. Most obviously, it implies that language is primarily an exchange, a transference of something (perhaps “information”), from one person to another. Hence, in linguistic exchanges what matters is the contents of the exchange, not the style or form in which it is “packaged,” just as in real market exchanges it makes little difference if you pay by check or cash. Yet, as in Gates’ example, in language the “package” can be everything. The marketplace metaphor, then, draws our attention away from the importance of just the kind of stylistic differences that sociolinguists say are central to the workings of everyday language.

The marketplace metaphor, furthermore, tends to imply that the good that comes from unconstrained human speech comes from some neutral, universal, mechanical, and leveling process, a linguistic equivalent to the economist’s invisible hand out of which will emerge truth, or at least some form of democratic justice. That neutral, mechanical process, furthermore, is contrasted in law with “arbitrary” government interference. And yet, in several ways, linguistics has taught that language itself is arbitrary at its core; in language, the boundary between “natural” processes and arbitrary ones is difficult, some would argue impossible, to discern.

Linguists say that language is “arbitrary” in the sense that meaning emerges, not from anything logically inherent in words or their arrangement, but from the specific conventions and expectations shared by members of a given speech community, conventions and expectations that can and do change dramatically from time to time and place to place. Aside from language in general and perhaps some very deep-level aspects of syntax, there is very little that is universal, neutral, or mechanical about human languages. This insight grew out of the observation that languages differ profoundly from one another, not only in terms of the meanings of specific words, but in terms of basic aspects of the ways those words are arranged: some languages have only two or three words for color, for example, others have nothing English speakers would recognize as verb tenses. But it has also been bolstered by detailed analysis of the workings of language in general. Meanings are fixed neither by logic nor by some natural relation of words to things, but by the contextual and shifting system of interpretation shared by the members of a given speech community.

The arbitrariness of language presents two problems for traditional thinking about freedom of speech. One problem involves legal interpretation, the belief that properly expert judges and lawyers following the proper procedures can arrive at the correct interpretation of a dispute. Often described as the problem of the indeterminacy of law, the purely contextual character of meaning would suggest that legal decisions will always be forced to fall back on contingent, social or political values to decide where the boundaries in the law lie.[5] It is in the character of language, in other words, that a judge will never be able to look at the text of the Bill of Rights and legal precedents to decide whether or not flag burning is protected by the First Amendment; she will always in one way or another be forced to make a choice about whether or not she thinks it should be protected, and will always be faced with the possibility that a reasonable person could plausibly disagree.

Indeterminacy should not be mistaken for the absurd assertion that any word can mean any thing, that there is no stability to meaning whatsoever. As deconstructionist literary critic Barbara Johnson puts it,

A second problem suggested by the arbitrariness of language involves the impossibility of abstracting from context that is a linchpin of the formalist legal logic which today dominates thinking about freedom of speech. According to some understandings of the rule of law, justice is best served when applied according to indisputable, clear rules of procedure and decisionmaking. Hence the First Amendment protects Nazis marching in Skokie and flag burning, not because anything good is being accomplished in either case, but because the important thing is to uphold the rules impartially and unequivocally. And being impartial and unequivocal typically means that rules are upheld regardless of context.

If one were to suggest, say, that the harm from Nazis marching in a Jewish suburb outweighs the value of protecting their speech because of the history of the Holocaust and the irrational and violent character of Nazi ideology, or that flag burning is such an ineffectual form of political expression and so potentially offensive that nothing would be lost by restricting it, the formalist counterargument is that this would “blur” the boundaries, cross what lawyers call the bright lines, upon which our system of justice rests: the rules are more important than the context.

An important example of formalist reasoning is the Bellotti case, in which the Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts law limiting corporate campaign donations. The Court reached its decision, not simply by weighing the positive and negative effects of the law, nor by deciding that it was a good thing in this case to grant large corporations the same rights as private individuals. The decision was based on the argument that even considering the source of the campaign donations (the “speech” in question) was inappropriate; every individual has a right to unrestricted political speech, and even asking whether corporate “individuals” are as worthy of protection as ordinary individuals would blur the bright lines upon which the rule of law is based.[7] Another example would be American Booksellers Association, Inc. v. Hudnut, when the court threw out an anti-pornography ordinance. The court argued that, even if pornography has negative effects, the same might be said of other forms of protected speech. From this it concluded that “[i]f the fact that speech plays a role in a process of conditioning were enough to permit governmental regulation, that would be the end of freedom of speech,” and thus negative effects do not justify restrictions. As Stanley Fish has pointed out, this is a peculiar logic: faced with facts which call into question the speech/action distinction which underlies the law, the court upholds the law against the facts which would undermine it. But it is a typically formalist logic: the point is to uphold the rule of law, i.e., abstract, neutral principles and procedures; if the coherence of those abstract principles is threatened by facts, you throw out the facts, not the principles.[8]

The problem is that, if the meanings of statements emerge from convention, from social context, then the insistence on excluding context, on divorcing rules and their enforcement from social and political complexities of a situation, is an impossibility. This is not simply an argument that it would be reasonable to sometimes include a little bit of context in legal decisionmaking, that First Amendment law should lean towards a more policy-oriented weighing and balancing of principles and rights in special circumstances such as highly concentrated or technologically inaccessible media. Rather, the argument is that formalist arguments of free speech can not be doing what they claim, that context is present in decisions in spite of claims to the contrary. Decisions that grant protection to marching Nazis and flag burning are not simply decisions that show a preference for bright line rules over context; on the contrary, such decisions are themselves a product of a particular social and historical context, and in turn contribute to the making of particular contexts.

The collapse of the boundary between “natural” speech and arbitrary interference with it implied by indeterminacy creates a further problem for First Amendment interpretation: the collapse of the distinction between speech and conduct or speech and action. The exercise of free speech, the “free marketplace of ideas,” is imagined as a kind of neutral, free and equal exchange, contrasted with unfree or arbitrary coercion. What disappears in the face of the arbitrariness of language is the coherence of that contrast, the faith that there is an important categorical distinction between people talking and arguing and people coercing one another through some kind of action. It is now an axiom of sociolinguistics and many other schools of thought that language use is an important kind of social action, that words do not merely reflect reality or express ideas, they primarily are a way of doing things, a way of acting in the social world. Although J. L. Austin began his classic How to Do Things With Words by describing a limited category of statements that do things–“performatives”–he later enlarged the category and made its boundaries much less clear by acknowledging the frequency of “indirect performatives,” i.e., statements that might appear to be merely descriptive but in context can be shown to be in fact doing something.[9] Some have since argued that in a sense all utterances are performatives.

None of which is to suggest that a subtle verbal snub is identical to punching someone in the nose. We do not call trespassing on someone’s lawn and shooting them identical, though they are both categorized as violations, as coercive. When Stanley Fish argues that speech in everyday life should not be imagined as if it takes place in “the sterilized and weightless atmosphere of a philosophy seminar,”[10] or when Matsuda et. al argue that words can wound, the argument is not that every slight or insult ought to be treated as if it were assault and battery.[11] What they are criticizing is the belief that there is a fundamental, categorical dichotomy between speech and conduct, that the dichotomy is clear and generalizable enough to form one of the principle structures of our law and democracy.

All this points to a deeper critique of the marketplace metaphor. The metaphor implies that linguistic exchanges, like market exchanges, take place between individuals who, in the absence of some outside interference, exist merely as individuals, not as persons in particular contexts with particular backgrounds. These are the famous abstract individuals of legal liberalism, the persons referred to as “A” and “B” in law school lectures on contracts: persons bereft, in legal liberalism’s ideal world, of gender, class, ethnicity, history. People the world over, the marketplace metaphor suggests, all share the characteristics of being in essence rational, self-interested individuals, inherently active and desirous. Language use, then, is a matter of expressing pre-existing interests; it is a tool used by individuals to buy cheap and sell dear in the marketplace of ideas. Language is something one uses.

But, according to at least some schools of linguistics and language philosophy, language is also something that happens to us, something that “speaks us” as much as we speak it. Language is an inherently collective, social precondition to individuality. Most definitions of language exclude any notion of a language possessed by only one individual; for language to be language it must be shared. People do not choose, after all, their first language; in a sense it chooses people. And the particularities of the language that chooses people, many would say, in turn shapes their consciousness, their sense of what counts as reason, their perceptions of the world and their selves within it, even their desires.[12]

This is not to imply, however, some kind of simple social determinism. Here is where the linguistic turn in philosophy suggests something very different from the common assertion that individual behaviors are “caused” by social structures. For one of the central discoveries of linguistics and language theory is what Barthes called “a paradoxical idea of structure: a system with neither close nor center.”[13] Except for analytical purposes, linguistic structure does not exist outside of anyone’s use of it. Language is certainly structured, in some sense of that word; linguistic grammar is the central example of structure, although scholars have brought to our attention many higher-level structures like linguistic style. But that structure is not simply some kind of exterior constraint, a Hobbesian limit on individual action; it is not the “structure” of, say, Durkheimian sociology or orthodox Marxism. It is dynamic, changing, and creative. As Chomsky pointed out, one grammatical system is capable of generating an infinite variety of sentences. And grammar is a practical, thoroughly collective human accomplishment, not an exterior system imposed upon individuals by a reified “society.” It is enabling as well as constraining: linguistic structure is a precondition of self-expression, not just a limit to it.

Language thus troubles both legal liberalism’s happy vision of rational individuals and its dark side, its Hobbesian view of society as the basic constraint on individuals; it calls into question the marketplace metaphor’s notions of both individual freedom and social order. The attraction of the marketplace metaphor in law is much the same as the attraction of marketplace theory itself: it posits a realm that is both free of arbitrary constraint, and yet ordered by the certain yet neutral and unequivocal rules of the marketplace. What the fact of linguistic structure calls into question is not merely the “freedom” of linguistic exchange but also its certainty, its divisibility from “arbitrary” external restraints and interference.

When MacKinnon argues that pornography is a form of action, not of speech, or when Matsuda argues that the context of racism and the subjective experiences of minorities in the U.S. ought to be a primary consideration in the creation and interpretation of hate speech laws, in the long run what motivates these scholars is not just a desire for specific exceptions to an otherwise intact First Amendment doctrine.[14] The suggestion is not simply that pornography is so damaging, or that the specific horrors of slavery and its legacy of racism so evil that unusual exceptions to free speech protection are called for (though the evils of rape-culture and racism very well might be the most urgent problems in the U.S. today). Rather, the suggestion, at least implicitly, is that the evils of rape-culture and contemporary racism force us, or should force us, to fundamentally reconsider how American law thinks about freedom, speech, and their regulation.

Furthermore, the critique of the oppositions that underpin free speech law such as speech and action, rules and context, or politics and law, need not be read as a simple denial that any differences exist. It is obviously not the case that there is no difference between slighting someone with a racial epithet and hitting them in the head, or between decisionmaking in courts and decisionmaking in legislatures. The argument is rather that these differences are neither clear nor generalizable enough to coherently underwrite a system of decisionmaking that claims to be able to transcend context and achieve the neutrality that is the goal of law in the first place.

Inquiry does not come to an end when one accepts the criticisms of the formalist First Amendment framework, and acknowledges the inevitability of politics and context. Stanley Fish’s quip notwithstanding, there is such a thing as free speech. If something is not what we think it is, it does not follow that it does not exist. Free speech is one of the major and most influential political and legal discourses of this century; for better or worse, it has helped make American society, our world, what it is. So the task is to rethink the character of free speech, to specify its historical context and political incidence. This is a large task; here I can only speculate about one aspect of the historical context of free speech, its relation to notions of the rule of law, and one aspect of its political incidence, its relations to social class.

The concept of a neutral, objective system of law that transcends politics is not just an abstraction important to lawyers and judges. (Lawyers and judges, in fact, are often acutely aware of just how political and unstable legal interpretation can sometimes be on a day-to-day basis.) A faith in the neutral rule of law is an important element of American culture, of the popular imagination. Evidence for this can be seen in the way that legal institutions and documents are more often celebrated, more often used to define American democracy, than political institutions and accomplishments. One might think, for example, that in an electoral democracy the most important historical event, the event most widely celebrated, would be the extension of the vote to the majority of the population. Yet most citizens do not know the amendment or the year in which the vote was extended to women, much less the history of the long political struggles that led to the passage of the nineteenth amendment in 1920. On the other hand, the Constitution is regularly celebrated in fora ranging from scholarly conferences to reverential Philip Morris ads, even though that hallowed document underwrote a legal system that upheld slavery for three quarters of a century, excluded women from voting for more than half a century after that, and did not come to rigorously protect political dissent until about fifty years ago. Nonetheless, American culture tends to worship the Constitution and remain ignorant of the history of universal suffrage. The story of the Constitution is a story of law, whereas the story of women’s suffrage is a story of protracted political struggle. And in some ways, at least, mainstream American political culture worships the former more than the latter.

What is the substance of this worship? What makes law neutral, and how does it support democracy? The short answer might be that if a society makes its decisions according to fixed rules instead of individual or collective whims, individuals will be less able to gain systematic advantage over others. The long answer would involve an extended and controversial discussion of a large chunk of the literature of legal theory and political science. But there is a mid-range answer based in historical observations, which suggests that in the U.S. two patterns of argument or logics have tended to shape legal decisionmaking, particularly in this century. One logic has been called alternately formalist, classical, bright line, rule-based, or simply legal justice; the other, standards-based, revisionist, policy oriented, realist, or substantive justice.[15]

Arguably, the First Amendment has become the centerpiece of the American faith in the rule of law in this century, and not coincidentally, First Amendment law is also highly formalist. Formalism is not simply absolutism, a belief that there should be no exceptions. It is more a way of thinking about what law and legal interpretation are and how they work. (Describing the ACLU’s position on the First Amendment as “absolutist” is thus a bit of a red herring.) In at least many of its variations, formalism involves the claim that law is apolitical and neutral because it rests on a rigid, formal model, based on an ideal of axiomatic deduction from rules and unequivocal, “bright line” legal distinctions. The role of law, then, is to locate and uphold clear boundaries–bright lines–between the rights of individuals and between individuals and the state. Legal language and legal expertise are thought valuable precisely because they provide fixed, rigorous meanings unsullied by the political and social winds of the moment. Given a certain set of legal rules and a certain legally defined situation, it is assumed, a properly trained judge or lawyer, within certain boundaries, can use expertise in legal language and reasoning to arrive at, or at least approximate, the correct interpretation, which is generally a matter of pinpointing exactly where the boundaries lie.

Policy oriented decisionmaking, in contrast, tends to be context sensitive, accepting of blurry boundaries, functionalist, and messier. It is also much more common in legal decisionmaking than popular wisdom would suggest. In policy argument, justice is thought to be best served by subtle, well-informed analyses of particular contexts and judicial “balancing” of competing interests and principles; rights and values are treated, not as hard rules distinguished by bright lines, but as general standards that can be differentially implemented according to context. Administrative law, such as that involved in enacting the Federal Communication Commission’s public interest standard for broadcasters, is a classic example of policy oriented decisionmaking. Brown v. Board of Education also includes some exemplary policy argument.

Policy-oriented decisionmaking sometimes is justified in terms of head-on attacks on formalism of the type associated with the critiques of free speech just discussed. Both in practice and in theory, the argument goes, the supposedly “bright line” distinctions upon which formalism is based are rarely if ever as bright as imagined. Stanley Fish’s polemic, “There is no such thing as free speech,” is a recent example of such a critique, but in some ways his position echoes, for example, Felix Cohen’s legal realist argument earlier in the century, in “Transcendental Nonsense and the Functional Approach.”[16]

It is important, however, that outside the academy policy-oriented legal decisionmaking has been justified less by theoretical criticisms of formalism as a whole and more by a sense that, in certain limited and specialized contexts, policy-oriented decisionmaking is simply practical. Formalism seems to be the place our culture celebrates the ideal of the rule of law; policy argument seems to be the place where most of the detailed legal work of ordering society goes on. Policy argument dominates largely in domains unrelated to communication: the law of corporations, environmental law, urban planning, and so forth. The prominent example of policy logic in communication is probably government licensing of broadcast stations according to the public interest standard. Licensing was originally created because communication by radio waves was understood to be characterized by spectrum scarcity and other complicated and contingent technical matters, such as rapidly evolving technologies and strategic needs of the military. Treating broadcasters differently than newspapers was thus thought to be simply called for by context, not because there was thought to be a formal right or principle at stake such as the public’s right to access to communication.

It is sometimes suggested that policy arguments began to replace formalist ones in legal argument somewhere around the turn of the century, and formalism was finally defeated with the end of the Lochner era in 1937. On the level of legal metatheory, there may be truth to this, but it remains the case that in practice both logics remain today. Sometimes the two logics are associated with competing sides in a legal controversy. The argument that television violence ought to be censored because its measurably harmful effects on children outweigh considerations of free speech is a typical policy argument; arguing against such censorship because it would open the door to more serious restrictions of freedom of speech is to lean in a formalist direction. But the two logics are also often mixed in the context of any given argument. Conservatives argue that broadcast licensing violates free speech rights but also is inefficient in the context of new technologies; liberals argue that guarantied citizen access to mass communications would be beneficial for industrial society but also should be treated as a “new First Amendment right.”[17]

So it is perhaps the case that what has been changing over the years is not simply a shift from one kind of argument to the other, but a shift in the “mix” of the two, a shift in how the two kinds of argument have been used in which cases. And here the historical literature suggests that, gradually in this century, the focus of formalist argumentation has shifted from the realm of property and contract to free speech. Up through the late nineteenth century, during what Mensch calls the classical era of jurisprudence, property was the central, formal right; in theory property was celebrated as the essence of legal liberalism, and in practice it was used aggressively in a wide variety of areas. Property rights were invoked to justify bans on speaking in public parks, the picketing of factories during union drives, and turn-of-the-century social legislation. Gradually, this formalist application of property fell out of favor, and met its final demise in the 1937 overturn of Lochner, during the New Deal.[18]

Perhaps it is not entirely coincidental that, as formalist notions of property declined, the formalist understanding of free speech rose. In a familiar history, the First Amendment was gradually elevated to its current legal status, both in case law and in the popular imagination. What has triumphed in this period is not a policy-oriented understanding of free speech (in spite of the best efforts of a long line of scholars from Alexander Meiklejohn to Sunstein, but a rigidly formalist one. So today, property rights advocates who would like to see a return to something like the Lochner era interpretations of property, like Richard Epstein, argue that the rules applied to free speech should also be applied to property. Conversely, from somewhere towards the other end of the political spectrum, Cass Sunstein has called for “A New Deal for Free Speech” wherein the 1930s revisions of property law be extended to communication.[19]

Why has formalism in legal discourse shifted from property and contract to free speech? At this point, I can only speculate. It’s possible to put a cynical economic interpretation on the shift: Formal interpretations of property were abandoned because they became increasingly impractical in the face of the bureaucratic corporate form of business and other late nineteenth and early twentieth century economic developments. Conversely, the soap box speakers became sanctified in law precisely during the historical period that they ceased being effective. In the nineteenth century, union organizers, pacifists, and other “radicals” all made good use of the soap box–of face-to-face speaking in public places–as a communicative tool, and were regularly arrested for doing so. In this century, however, the key to popular communication has become access to radio, television, and other expensive technology-based mass media, which have rendered the soap box increasingly irrelevant as an organizing tool. A formalist interpretation of the First Amendment grants symbolic protection to soap boxes while in practice protecting media corporations much more effectively than dissidents.

Such an account of the shift, however, risks a functionalist tautology (explaining historical events in terms of the needs they serve for the power bloc) and fails to account for the imaginative power of First Amendment formalism. So a more comprehensive explanation might add two observations. First, from a distance, formalism is satisfying to a legal liberal vision of the rule of law, whereas policy argument can appear as arbitrary, obscure, and haughtily technocratic. College sophomores have little trouble understanding why it might be good for the rule of law to protect Nazis marching in Skokie, but it takes a lot of effort to convince them of the grand principles at stake in, say, the regulation requiring TV stations to charge political candidates the same rate for advertising time they charge their most favored advertiser instead of their standard rates. Second, from up close, from the perspective of those involved in everyday, small legal decisions, formalism is frequently impractical, whereas policy-oriented decisions seem reasonable and pragmatic. Few suburban homeowners would take kindly to the suggestion that their neighbors should be allowed to raise pigs or let their lawns go to weed on the grounds that to do so would be to uphold the sanctity of formal property rights.

It seems to be the case, then, that the American polity seems to want a legal system that can satisfy both the desire for legitimacy provided by formalism and the “practical” effectiveness of policy-oriented decisionmaking. Perhaps, therefore, the formalist interpretation of the First Amendment became popular in part because it came to take property’s place as a symbol of legal clarity and formal justice. In both the popular and legal imaginations, the image of the property-holding yeoman farmer was gradually supplanted by the soap box speaker as the central archetype and emblem of legally protected exercise of rights and freedoms in a democratic society.

1. Labor and Management

The polity, however, is not the public. The community of individuals who appreciate the formalist interpretation of free speech may include a wide range of people, such as lawyers, judges, politicians, journalists, professors, and many others in positions to directly or indirectly influence legal and political consciousness. And it includes a wide range of political positions: liberals at the ACLU seem to have little trouble agreeing with conservatives on the Supreme Court that flag burning is protected speech. But it certainly does not include everyone. The majority of the American public has a hard time seeing the justice of protecting flag burning. And this may not mean simply that the public disdains free speech. The ACLU reports that the majority of the complaints it receives come from workers who feel their speech has been restricted by their bosses–a kind of speech that the Supreme Court and the ACLU agree is not protected.

Elizabeth Mensch has remarked that, although many formerly bright lines have been blurred in twentieth century law, the boundary between capital and labor remains as bright and impermeable as ever.[20] The First Amendment, as it is currently interpreted, protects owners and managers more than individual speakers. It prevents government agencies from interfering with the speech of private agencies delineated by boundaries of ownership and management, not by individual human beings.

As a result, employees have basically no free speech rights with regards to their employers, including employees of media businesses. When a journalist is told by an editor to drop a story because it is politically inflammatory, the journalist can find little comfort in First Amendment law. Network program practices departments engage in systematic and thorough censorship of scripts for television series with all the zeal (if not the same principles) of Communist Party apparatchiks. Under law, there’s a sense in which A. J. Liebling’s bon mot–that the only freedom of speech in this country is for those who own one–is literally true.

For all that, Liebling’s quip is an oversimplification. There are many limits on the power of media owners to influence content, such as the resistance of the community of professional journalists to owner manipulation on both ethical and self-interested grounds. Evidence suggests that, among some groups, there probably is a popular ethic of free speech in the U.S. that extends beyond the powers of owners and managers. When conservative newspaper tycoon Rupert Murdoch bought the left-wing Village Voice and tried to dismiss its editor, for example, the threat of a staff walkout forced him to back down, and he left the paper’s editorial content alone thereafter.[21]

2. Social Class and Linguistic Style

Bringing “popular ethics” into the discussion, however, brings us back to the second question suggested by Gates’ examples: why does it seem easier to pass rules prohibiting direct racial epithets than elaborate, formal statements? It is well established that linguistic style is associated with social class. Sociolinguist Basil Bernstein demonstrated that children from middle and professional classes tend to do better in school than working class students in part because they speak more often and more fluently in formal style, or what Bernstein calls “elaborated code.” Working class students, in contrast, tend to be more comfortable, and are probably more fluent in, informal style, or what Bernstein calls “restricted code.”[22]

One style is not better than the other. Rather, each style is an adaptation to specific patterns of life and work. Informal style has the effect of stressing membership within a group; it is useful for interactions among people who are familiar with each other and work with each other on a regular basis, and thus live in “dense” social networks, i.e., high levels of interaction with a limited number of people. It has a high proportion of ellipsis and colloquialisms, not because such language is simpler, but because these take advantage of a higher degree of shared knowledge between speaker and listener. Similarly, it has a higher proportion of personal pronouns (you and they) and tag-questions soliciting agreement of the listener (nice day, isn’t it?), because these express a sense of cooperation and solidarity.[23]

Formal style, in contrast, is for people whose social networks are less dense, who regularly deal with strangers and thus communicate in contexts in which ellipsis and colloquialisms are more likely to generate confusion than solidarity. Similarly, formal style’s high proportion of subordinate clauses, passive verbs, and adjectives (besides connoting high-mindedness through its echo of Latin grammar) are adaptations to the need to explain details comprehensively when speaker and listener do not share as much background knowledge and cannot easily rely on features of the extra-linguistic context. Interestingly, in spite of the frequency of passive verbs, formal style also contains a higher proportion of pronoun “I.” This has the effect of imposing the speaker’s individuality on the utterance, of stressing her or his unique nature as a person, as opposed to expressing membership in a group. Some research suggests that formal style leads people to be judged as more intelligent, more educated, and less friendly and less likable than informal style.

It is not the case that working class people use only informal style and middle class people use only formal style. A garage mechanic will probably shift to formal speech when dealing with a customer irate over a bill, and only the most hopelessly pompous college professors use formal style when speaking with their friends and families. But mastery over the different styles is not evenly distributed. Bernstein’s work suggests that middle and professional class students’ relatively better skills and comfort with formal style functions as a form of what Bourdieu calls “cultural capital,” enhancing their life prospects.[24] Given the relation of style to the character of work, moreover, fluency in formal style (though not accent) is probably associated with a person’s present occupation, regardless of class background.

What does this have to do with free speech? James Carey has argued that the speech/action distinction in free speech law is an expression of distinctly middle class values and sensibilities. Carey tells the story of a middle class man who enters a working class bar and not long thereafter comes flying out the plate glass window; the man then says with astonishment, “but all I did was use words!” Carey’s point is that, to the working class individuals in the bar, words have power. For them, the difference between insulting someone’s mother and punching them in the nose is not as obvious or absolute as it is for the middle class person.

Carolyn Marvin has elaborated on these contrasting sets of values in our culture in terms of what she calls “text” and “body”:

The First Amendment as currently interpreted is envisioned largely in terms of that which middle and professional class people have mastery over, abstract formal expression in speech and writing. This is why it is harder to censure Gates’ first example than the second. Within the community of people who share those values, there is something equalizing about free speech. But it should not be surprising that, for people who do not make a living that way, for workers and other people whose bodies are the source of their value to society, formalist protection of free speech may not make sense, and might even appear as simply another way that people with privileges (such as academics writing about free speech) exercise their power over people who don’t.

The analyses and arguments of this chapter do not offer resolutions to all of the many important debates among non-formalist theorists of freedom of speech, such as those between Gates and Matsuda et al. over campus hate speech codes. But it does do two things. First, it tries to clarify some of the underlying principles and issues at stake today in debates over free speech, particularly the inevitability of context and the problems this poses for traditional formalist understandings of the rule of law. Second, it points in the direction of a rethinking of free speech based in context, and suggests two (among many possible) avenues to pursue: the historical shift of formalism from property to free speech and to matters of language and social class in both legal discourse and in nonlegal situations. Clearly, these examples of context-based analysis are intended only to be suggestive. But what they suggest, it is hoped, is that this kind of inquiry, if expanded into rich and subtle contextual analyses, might indeed help resolve some debates and contribute to a more fully democratic, substantive interpretation of the role of free speech in law and culture.

[1]. Henry Louis Gates, “Let Them Talk,” The New Republic, Sept. 20 & 27, 1993, pp. 37-49: p. 45.

[2]. “Style” is the generally accepted sociolinguistic term for language varieties that can be classified on a continuum for formal to informal. The word “code” is used by Basil Bernstein, Class, Codes And Control, 2d edition (Boston: Routledge & K. Paul, 1974).

[3]. William Labov, “The Logic of Nonstandard English,” in Giglioli (ed.) Language and Social Context (Penguin, 1972), pp. 179-216.

[4]. For a sociolinguistically informed analysis of the role of linguistic style during arrest and interrogation see, Janet E. Ainsworth, “In a Different Register: The Pragmatics of Powerlessness in Police Interrogation,” Yale Law Journal, 103 (November, 1993): 259-322.

[5]. Mark Kelman, A Guide to Critical Legal Studies (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1987), p. 12 and passim.

[6]. Barbara Johnson, A World of Difference (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1987), p. 6.

[7]. First National Bank of Boston v Bellotti, 435 US 765, 776 (1978)

[8]. 771 F.2d 323 (7th Cir. 1985), aff’d, 475 U.S. 1601 (1986), p. 329; quoted in Stanley Fish, “Fraught With Death: Skepticism, Progressivism, and the First Amendment,” University of Colorado Law Review, 64 Fall 1993: 1061-1086, p. 1065.

[9]. See Ainsworth, “In a Different Register,” note 15: “Austin initially adopts the intuitively appealing assumption that constative utterances, unlike performatives, are true or false. Having set up these opposing categories of performative and constative utterances, Austin ultimately deconstructs this dichotomy” with his analysis of indirect performatives.

[10]. Fish, “Fraught With Death,” p. 1061.

[11]. Mari J. Matsuda, Charles R. Lawrence III, Richard Delgado, and Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, Words that Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech, and the First Amendment (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1993).

[12]. The classic and extreme version of this notion is the “Sapir-Whorf hypothesis” named after linguists Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf. For a post-structuralist variation of it, see Rosalind Coward and John Ellis, Language and Materialism: Developments in Semiology and the Theory of the Subject (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1977).

[13]. Roland Barthes, Image, Music, Text (New York: Hill and Wang, 1977), p. 159.

[14]. Catharine A. MacKinnon, Only Words (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1993).

[15]. Elizabeth Mensch divides legal thought into classical and realist or revisionist forms. Duncan Kennedy talks of the distinction between rules and standards. Roberto Unger speaks of “legal justice” and “substantive justice.” See Elizabeth Mensch, “The History of Mainstream Legal Thought” in David Kairys, ed., The Politics of Law: A Progressive Critique (New York: Pantheon, 1982), pp. 18-39; Duncan Kennedy, “Form and Substance in Private Law Adjudication,” Harvard Law Review, 89 (1976): 1685, pp. 1687-89; see also Roberto M. Unger, Knowledge and Politics (New York: The Free Press, 1975), p. 91.

[16]. Stanley Fish, “There’s No Such Thing As Free Speech And It’s a Good Thing Too,” Boston Review, Feb. 1992, p. 3; Felix Cohen, “Transcendental Nonsense and the Functional Approach,” Columbia Law Review 35 (1935): 809.

[17]. For example, Jerome A. Barron, Freedom Of The Press For Whom? The Right Of Access To Mass Media (Bloomington: Indiana University Press 1973).

[18]. Jennifer Nedelsky, Private Property and the Limits of American Constitutionalism: The Madisonian Framework and Its Legacy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990).

[19]. Cass R. Sunstein, “Free Speech Now,” The University of Chicago Law Review, 59 (Winter 1992): 255; Richard A. Epstein, “Property, Speech, and the Politics of Distrust,” The University of Chicago law review 59 (Winter 1992): p. 41.

[20]. Mensch, “The History of Mainstream Legal Thought,” p. 26.

[21]. Alex S. Jones, “At Village Voice, A Clashing Of Visions,” The New York Times, June 28, 1985, Section B; p. 5, Column 1.

[22]. Bernstein, Class, Codes And Control.

[23]. This survey of Bernstein’s work relies heavily on Peter Trudgill, Sociolinguistics: An Introduction to Language and Society (London: Penguin Books, 1983, revised edition), pp. 132-140.

[24]. Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste, trans. R. Nice (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984).

[25]. Carolyn Marvin, “Theorizing the Flagbody: Symbolic Dimensions of the Flag Desecration Debate, or Why the Bill of Rights Does Not Fly in the Ballpark,” Critical Studies in Mass Communication, 8, (June, 1991): pp. 120-121.

[26]. Social class is of course a complex construct, and is used here suggestively, not comprehensively or precisely. Marvin points out that the values of “body” in fact extend to and in many ways are exemplified by military personnel, a group which overlaps with but is not limited to working class individuals.

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Liberty House Restaurant – Jersey City, NJ

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Oct 022015

Perfect Night Reviewed on 12/03/2012 Tracy S

The Liberty House was the site of our perfect Thanksgiving weekend wedding. Our family and friends were blown away at absolutely everything: the views, the gardens, the cocktail room, the reception space, and the food. Danielle was an AMAZING help for the year we planned our… Read More wedding and was always quick to respond to our many requests and the evening went off without a hitch. The staff at the Liberty House were phenomenal and worked so hard to make sure we were comfortable, fed, and filled with liquor! The space was beautiful and I can’t wait to return year after year to have an anniversary dinner at their restaurant.

I got married the week Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast. The entire state of New Jersey was in chaos and devastation. The Liberty House helped me have my dream wedding. Despite power loss and generator usage, they did everything in their power to make sure the wedding was as… Read More perfect as it could get. The entire venue was filled with candle light, the food was AMAZING, and the service was outstanding. My wedding turned out absolutely amazing – even without power!

I just had my wedding at the Liberty House and it was an AMAZING wedding. The staff, especially Danielle, Miriam and Virginia went above and beyond! Everything was great from the food to the service. My guests were raving to me all night (and still are) about how wonderful the… Read More place was. There really is no better backdrop for your wedding than the amazing views of NYC.

My wedding day was everything I hoped for, and more. I originally planned on having my wedding at a venue in Brooklyn, since that is where I reside. After my first walk through at the Liberty House I was convinced this was where I would marry the love of my life. Alex Argenio… Read More was my wedding coordinator and she was absolutely Amazing!!! She helped with planning all the details and made sure to be there on the big to ensure everything went as planned. We had the ceremony at the garden with 150 guest and I couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out. Having the ceremony and reception at the same location was the best decision for us, I think it helped in keeping everything on schedule and made it convenient for the guest to transition. I am so grateful for Vicky the maitre’d who took care of everything the groom and I needed for the night, she was phenomenal!!! I wanted a real wedding where family and friends could eat, drink and have a good time and The Liberty House was the perfect venue for such a special occasion. Following the wedding our guest were raving about the great customer service from the staff, how delicious the food was and the amazing back drop. The city view across the water combined with the greenery of the garden as well as the fire pits and modern chic outdoor decor made it for a stunning ambiance. Deciding where to have a once in a lifetime event it’s hard as It is, pick a place where they understand that notion and how much you’ll treasure these moments. Good luck bride to be !!!

The Liberty House is an amazingly beautiful venue for a wedding. The views of the city are breathtaking, and all our guests were blow away. We were married in the Liberty Room on the main level. What made our wedding unique is that during the reception we didnt have people… Read More all crammed on the dancefloor. Some people were dancing, some were sitting outside by the firepits toasting marshmallows, others were lighting sparklers, and others were enjoying a cigar and espresso. There was something for everyone. The food is also amazing, and there is tons of it! All our guests commented on how great the food was, and how wonderful and attentive the waitstaff was. The entire staff at the Liberty House was professional, helpful, and very kind. They are masters of creating an amazing wedding day and a countless number of our guests said it was the best wedding they have ever attended. It was the perfect venue for us, and I cant thank the Liberty House staff enough for helping create my dream wedding day!

Flawless Wedding First let me start by saying if Danielle Villa is not your coordinator then she should be! As she is AMAZING!! We had chosen the LH house due to the amazing views of NYC, which would allow for us to have a personal wedding with ~60 guests. The benefits… Read More that Danielle brought We are very busy with our jobs as both my wife and I do a lot of global travel, and we no longer live in NJ, so planning a remote wedding around our work schedules was hectic to say the least. So when we had a question we were delighted to get a quick and concise response from Danielle within 24 hours, and most of the time is was in less than 3 hrs. She was great at detailing out the next steps, as well as offering suggestions for the event. She set up the room, ceremony and our special champagne celebration perfectly! She made it a flawless, drama free day! Benefits of the Liberty house.our guests loved loved loved the food at the cocktail hour. And the views of Manhattan were amazing, especially since it was a blue moon that night. For our event we chose to do the cocktail hour first, this gave our guests time to get to know the venue and mingle with each other. From there we moved to the ceremony where we had the chairs set up in a heart shape, and a champagne bucket in each row allowing for an immediate toast after our I dos. We then moved back to cocktails for a short period before starting dinner. Dinner quickly moved to dancing, more pictures of the skyline, cake and Smores (which were a HUGE hit!). The service the day of our wedding was over the top. We had Chris that ensured things flowed as scheduled, and Elizabeth as our personal attendant and she made sure we had everything we needed. Our goal was to have an informal, fun event that our friends and family would rave about. And that is exactly what we got. Every guest could not say enough about the venue, food, view, and overall day. Overall, would not change a thing when it comes to the Liberty House. And can not stress enoughDanielle is a MUST to have in your corner!

Had our wedding reception at The Liberty House on June 7. Could not have asked for a better experience! Being an event planner, I had high expectations….Danielle Villa and the entire Liberty House staff blew me AWAY. I am more than thrilled with the way everything turned out…. Read More The view is to die for, the food is amazing, and the staff is so attentive (my bridal consultant, Leslie was a DOLL!). You don’t find this combination anywhere else. Our guests can’t stop talking about our wedding. Said it is the best they’ve ever been to! All thanks to the amazing Liberty House. To Danielle and team — thank you for EVERYTHING. it was my dream day!

Our wedding was almost a month ago and we are still getting compliments. All our guest raved about how beautiful the Liberty House was and how delicious the food tasted. My now husband and I had such a pleasant experience dealing with all the staff throughout our… Read More planning. On the day of our wedding, they made it such a special experience. We did not have to go to the bar once as our drinks were always being filled by the bridal attendant. My sister need a pin for my hair and the attendant appeared and had one for her to use. Everything was amazing and we are still talking about how much fun we had at the Liberty House.

When we visited the Liberty House for a friends wedding, we were in awe. We aspired that the venue would be our own one day and it was! We loved our wedding experience there too! We scheduled an appointment and got assigned Danielle. What a fire cracker! I loved her from the… Read More moment I met her. She was friendly, honest, professional, and REAL! When my fiance and I got home the appointment that night, we were still glowing! We called Danielle the next day and locked in our date! We got to know Danielle pretty well over the next few months, especially my husband who I assigned to our payments. We inundated her with silly questions, which were new to us, and she answered them all in a timely matter. She was always one step ahead and knew what documents/info to send over at the appropriate times. The days leading up to the wedding were stressful but having Danielle’s final meeting was soothing. We finalized all the details and made a checklist. She was so well organized that it made everything easy. The day of the wedding, everything went off without a hitch! Everything was set up where it was supposed to be and my bridal assistant, Leslie was a gem! Always pleasant and always asking if I needed anything! She was so accommodating; Ive never been so attended to and it felt great on such a special day! Thank you for the memories Liberty House! You are what we dreamt of! Lastly, leaving you with a few helpful tips: – Bring 4 people to your tasting trial. It makes it more fun and its a great way to include your bridal party. Six people was a little too crowded, especially when you had to share a salad. – You get what you pay for. Is the LH more than other locations, sure, but you cant beat the location. Perhaps, switch your wedding to the afternoon to save some bucks. We did. – Make a list of all supplies dropped off at the LH prior to the wedding. This ensures that nothing gets left behind!

My experience with the Liberty House was AMAZING! From beginning to end, Danielle was professional, knowledgeable, and extremely reliable. Throughout the planning process she was very helpful and easy to reach. We had both our ceremony and reception at the Liberty House. Our… Read More reception was in the Liberty Room downstairs, which also gave us access to the outdoor patio. I was very concerned about the weather, but Danielle continually assured me that they would make it work. We ended up having perfect weather, but I knew even if we didnt that Danielle would work hard to make sure everything was beautiful. You cant beat the food or atmosphere of the Liberty House. Our guests said it was the best food they ever tasted! The staff and service at the Liberty House is experienced and efficient. Leslie was my bridal assistant and I have to say that she was a life saver. From the second I stepped off the bus she was right there to help me with my dress and continued to be attentive until I stepped back on the bus at the end of the night. She was experienced and knowledgeable and helped the day to run smoothly for not only myself and my husband, but for our parents and the rest of the bridal party as well. Overall, the Liberty House was just wonderful! I would recommend them to anyone!

The Liberty House far exceeded all my expectations for our wedding reception. The room was stunning, the food was amazing, and the service was beyond compare. I worked closely with Danielle Villa through my two year engagement – she provided us great, responsive service and had… Read More amazing ideas on how to enhance our reception. We were fortunate enough to have a beautiful, clear, October night where people were able to hang out outside in the park during cocktail hour and on the balcony during the reception – and the view of NYC provided the perfect backdrop. Our bridal attendant Leslie was so amazing- she knew exactly what I needed before I knew I needed it!! I felt so taken care of all day and knew I was in capable hands from the moment we selected The Liberty House to host our reception. People are still raving about our beautiful wedding!!

Liberty House Restaurant was the perfect place for our wedding! The food was outstanding, the space is gorgeous, and the views of downtown Manhattan are stunning. Mara McMullen and her team kept me sane the months, weeks, and days leading up to our wedding and helped me with… Read More planning every step of the way. We could not have been happier with the Liberty House and look forward to spending our anniversaries at the restaurant year after year!

I got married at the Liberty House on November 7, 2014 and my guests are STILL talking about it. It was the most amazing wedding and it was everything I had ever dreamed of. I worked with Mara who was incredibly professional, responsive, and super sweet to deal with. She… Read More answered every question I had and worked with me on anything and everything I needed. I would highly recommend her to any bride looking for someone to help make your day a special one. The day/night was unbelievable. First of all the food is exceptional. My guests were raving about it (and still are). Everything from the cocktail hour to the main course and was just absolutely delicious. The view is unbeatable. I love Manhattan and having that be the backdrop of our wedding venue was magical. Walking into the room truly takes your breath away. I had Leslie as my bridal attendant that day and she was beyond amazing. She was there for anything I needed and was such a pleasure. Ladies ask for Leslie because she is amazing and such a wonderful person. She made every request I had and saw them through perfectly. I really cannot say enough about the wonderful experience I had at the Liberty House. Everyone there is amazing and the service the staff provided was outstanding. Here we are almost two weeks later and people who attended our wedding said two things: One, it was the best wedding they have ever been to, and two, the Liberty House was beautiful, the food was excellent, and its a one of a kind place. If you are a bride looking to steer clear from the typical catering hall feel, definitely look into Liberty House. Also the pictures you will get will blow you away. The backdrop of Manhattan is beautiful and my pictures came out amazing. Overall I was so incredibly happy with everything. It truly was the best day of our lives and we have to thank the wonderful staff there for all they did for us but especially to Mara, Leslie, and of course our maitre d Chris who made our day so special. We couldnt have asked for a better day and a better place to have our wedding.

The Liberty House was an amazing wedding venue from start to finish. I initially chose the wedding for the NYC skyline and it did not disappoint. My guest were all amazed with the view and all wanted to know how I found this venue space. In terms of the event the liberty house… Read More was great in adding little extras to my decorations and details to ensure a great reception look. They were very attentive during the entire event and made sure all of my needs and guests needs were met. I couldn’t be happier with the venue or service.

My daughter & son in law chose this venue for the breathtaking view of Manhattan. That turned out to be just one of the outstanding attributes of this venue. The food was exceptional, the service was above & beyond. We worked with Danielle as coordinator and Leslie as the… Read More bridal attendant. They both outdid themselves and couldn’t do enough for my daughter on the most important day of her life. Thank you to all at The Liberty House for a night we will never forget.

Our son and daughter in law held their wedding reception at The Liberty House in New Jersey earlier this month. We cannot say enough about the venue and the service. Our journey began with Danielle Villa as our coordinator and we were thrilled to be working with her. She was… Read More delightful and answered all of our questions. She responded almost immediately to every question or request. She was as happy as we were to be having this event. She made it oh so easy and fun. Stressless as it were. Jeanne Cretella, the owner of the venue also went out of her way to welcome us and make certain we were pleased with the service. The food was plentiful and very delicious. The service was a 10. The venue looked spectacular and the Manhattan view cannot be duplicated. We could not have asked for more. It was wonderful – a 15 out of 10 !!! We highly recommend this for your special day. Our guests would as well.

First things first.. My wedding was held on October 11th 2014. I am at a complete loss for words at how amazing it all turned out. The liberty house is a beautiful location and Danielle was amazing to work with. She helped bring my vision to life. From the beginning to the end I… Read More felt like a princess. My bridal attendant was on top of everything as well. My guests are still raving about the cocktail hour, dinner and viennese hour. I couldn’t be more happier that I chose the liberty house as the venue to work with and working with Danielle made it that much smoother. She is efficient and on top of things 110% and whoever else has their wedding here will feel the exact same way. Thank you landmark hospitality and Danielle for making my wedding fabulous!!

The Liberty House truly exceeded our expectations. To begin, the venue is spectacular with clear views of the downtown skyline. We worked with Danielle to coordinate and she was 100% on top of every last detail, helping to ease any concerns prior to the big day. Our maitre d and… Read More bridal attendant were phenomenal as well and the service was top notch from cocktail hour to end. We were so we’ll taken care of, I don’t know how anyone could do without this awesome team!

Our wedding coordinator Vivian was amazing! My friends and family loved the venue. The staff in the Liberty Room did a great job! A big thanks to the Liberty House Staff!!!!

We had both our wedding ceremony and reception at Liberty House and everything exceeded our expectations! Everyone we worked with was amazing, Mara was great, super helpful and easy to work with. The location and view are spectacular, add to that fantastic food, signature… Read More drinks, gorgeous fire pits, s’mores, people are still talking about it weeks later! I cannot recommend this venue enough, our day was magical and I couldn’t imagine having it anywhere else.

We had our wedding at the Liberty House and if you are at all considering having your wedding there, do it. NOW. Everything about it was amazing. Even if you can forget about the beautiful view and grounds (which you can’t), the food, staff, location – anything you can think… Read More of for a venue, was just perfect. We received so many compliments throughout the night and people are still talking about it days later. We loved every second of this experience and that is in large part thanks to the amazing people at Liberty House – especially Mara (our fantastic coordinator), Leslie (our amazing bridal attendant), Chris and another woman whose name I unfortunately can’t remember.

Liberty House was wonderful! It’s expensive but definitely worth it! The food, service, views and professionalism was outstanding. Our guest raved about the reception. Mara was our event coordinator and she was extremely personable, organized and professional. By husband and… Read More I had some last minute changes the week before the wedding and she was more than accommodating. My bridal attendant was fabulous! She brought us water a couple times while we were taking pictures and went above and beyond. Liberty House also packaged up all of our items for the reception and had them ready within 20 minutes. It was wonderful because we did not lose anything!

Danielle and the entire staff at The Liberty House made my wedding day the most amazing day of my life! No detail was left out and Danielle was incredible to work with. It was raining until 30 minutes before my wedding ceremony but Danielle had faith that everything would work… Read More out and it did! She had her entire staff wiping down chairs and tables up until minutes before guests arrived to ensure I had the wedding of my dreams. From the most delicious food to the most breathtaking grounds, I would recommend The Liberty House to anyone looking for the whole package. Thank you Danielle!

I have to say that I was nervous about this place, but my “Dreammaker” was the best ever. She never broke a sweat, and made our whole day amazing and flawless. They have the most attentive staff! My family is vegetarian, but they loved everything from the cocktail hour to the… Read More buffet dinner. There were soo many options for both the vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

I mean this place is truly amazing. From the views to the food to the service there was not a place they faltered even a little. Danielle was my coordinator and she was warm and helpful and answered all mine and my parents questions without a hint of annoyance. We had a bridal… Read More attendant the night of the event and let me tell you she was amazing as well. Never was my glass empty or my veil out of place. My wedding was perfect and I love that all of guests were able to enjoy the scenic views! Not a single complaint. I would also like to note that we were initially interested in Maritime Parc(across the parking lot) but have found their service lacking and of course their views are not as amazing. With the lawn at Liberty House as a wedding ceremony option, we are so so happy we chose Liberty House instead!

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Liberty House Restaurant – Jersey City, NJ

The Second Amendment: The Framers Intentions

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on The Second Amendment: The Framers Intentions
Sep 262015

by Daniel J. Schultz

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The reference to a “well regulated” militia, probably conjures up a connotation at odds with the meaning intended by the Framers. In today’s English, the term “well regulated” probably implies heavy and intense government regulation. However, that conclusion is erroneous.

The words “well regulated” had a far different meaning at the time the Second Amendment was drafted. In the context of the Constitution’s provisions for Congressional power over certain aspects of the militia, and in the context of the Framers’ definition of “militia,” government regulation was not the intended meaning. Rather, the term meant only what it says, that the necessary militia be well regulated, but not by the national government.

To determine the meaning of the Constitution, one must start with the words of the Constitution itself. If the meaning is plain, that meaning controls. To ascertain the meaning of the term “well regulated” as it was used in the Second Amendment, it is necessary to begin with the purpose of the Second Amendment itself. The overriding purpose of the Framers in guaranteeing the right of the people to keep and bear arms was as a check on the standing army, which the Constitution gave the Congress the power to “raise and support.”

As Noah Webster put it in a pamphlet urging ratification of the Constitution, “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe.” George Mason remarked to his Virginia delegates regarding the colonies’ recent experience with Britain, in which the Monarch’s goal had been “to disarm the people; that [that] . . . was the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” A widely reprinted article by Tench Coxe, an ally and correspondent of James Madison, described the Second Amendment’s overriding goal as a check upon the national government’s standing army: As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.

Thus, the well regulated militia necessary to the security of a free state was a militia that might someday fight against a standing army raised and supported by a tyrannical national government. Obviously, for that reason, the Framers did not say “A Militia well regulated by the Congress, being necessary to the security of a free State” — because a militia so regulated might not be separate enough from, or free enough from, the national government, in the sense of both physical and operational control, to preserve the “security of a free State.”

It is also helpful to contemplate the overriding purpose and object of the Bill of Rights in general. To secure ratification of the Constitution, the Federalists, urging passage of the Constitution by the States had committed themselves to the addition of the Bill of Rights, to serve as “further guards for private rights.” In that regard, the first ten amendments to the Constitution were designed to be a series of “shall nots,” telling the new national government again, in no uncertain terms, where it could not tread.

It would be incongruous to suppose or suggest the Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment, which were proscriptions on the powers of the national government, simultaneously acted as a grant of power to the national government. Similarly, as to the term “well regulated,” it would make no sense to suggest this referred to a grant of “regulation” power to the government (national or state), when the entire purpose of the Bill of Rights was to both declare individual rights and tell the national government where the scope of its enumerated powers ended.

In keeping with the intent and purpose of the Bill of Rights both of declaring individual rights and proscribing the powers of the national government, the use and meaning of the term “Militia” in the Second Amendment, which needs to be “well regulated,” helps explain what “well regulated” meant. When the Constitution was ratified, the Framers unanimously believed that the “militia” included all of the people capable of bearing arms.

George Mason, one of the Virginians who refused to sign the Constitution because it lacked a Bill of Rights, said: “Who are the Militia? They consist now of the whole people.” Likewise, the Federal Farmer, one of the most important Anti-Federalist opponents of the Constitution, referred to a “militia, when properly formed, [as] in fact the people themselves.” The list goes on and on.

By contrast, nowhere is to be found a contemporaneous definition of the militia, by any of the Framers, as anything other than the “whole body of the people.” Indeed, as one commentator said, the notion that the Framers intended the Second Amendment to protect the “collective” right of the states to maintain militias rather than the rights of individuals to keep and bear arms, “remains one of the most closely guarded secrets of the eighteenth century, for no known writing surviving from the period between 1787 and 1791 states such a thesis.”

Furthermore, returning to the text of the Second Amendment itself, the right to keep and bear arms is expressly retained by “the people,” not the states. Recently the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed this view, finding that the right to keep and bear arms was an individual right held by the “people,” — a “term of art employed in select parts of the Constitution,” specifically the Preamble and the First, Second, Fourth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments. Thus, the term “well regulated” ought to be considered in the context of the noun it modifies, the people themselves, the militia(s).

The above analysis leads us finally to the term “well regulated.” What did these two words mean at the time of ratification? Were they commonly used to refer to a governmental bureaucracy as we know it today, with countless rules and regulations and inspectors, or something quite different? We begin this analysis by examining how the term “regulate” was used elsewhere in the Constitution. In every other instance where the term “regulate” is used, or regulations are referred to, the Constitution specifies who is to do the regulating and what is being “regulated.” However, in the Second Amendment, the Framers chose only to use the term “well regulated” to describe a militia and chose not to define who or what would regulate it.

It is also important to note that the Framers’ chose to use the indefinite article “a” to refer to the militia, rather than the definite article “the.” This choice suggests that the Framers were not referring to any particular well regulated militia but, instead, only to the concept that well regulated militias, made up of citizens bearing arms, were necessary to secure a free State. Thus, the Framers chose not to explicitly define who, or what, would regulate the militias, nor what such regulation would consist of, nor how the regulation was to be accomplished.

This comparison of the Framers’ use of the term “well regulated” in the Second Amendment, and the words “regulate” and “regulation” elsewhere in the Constitution, clarifies the meaning of that term in reference to its object, namely, the Militia. There is no doubt the Framers understood that the term “militia” had multiple meanings. First, the Framers understood all of the people to be part of the unorganized militia. The unorganized militia members, “the people,” had the right to keep and bear arms. They could, individually, or in concert, “well regulate” themselves; that is, they could train to shoot accurately and to learn the basics of military tactics.

This interpretation is in keeping with English usage of the time, which included within the meaning of the verb “regulate” the concept of self- regulation or self-control (as it does still to this day). The concept that the people retained the right to self-regulate their local militia groups (or regulate themselves as individual militia members) is entirely consistent with the Framers’ use of the indefinite article “a” in the phrase “A well regulated Militia.”

This concept of the people’s self-regulation, that is, non-governmental regulation, is also in keeping with the limited grant of power to Congress “for calling forth” the militia for only certain, limited purposes, to “provide for” the militia only certain limited control and equipment, and the limited grant of power to the President regarding the militia, who only serves as Commander in Chief of that portion of the militia called into the actual service of the nation. The “well regula[tion]” of the militia set forth in the Second Amendment was apart from that control over the militia exercised by Congress and the President, which extended only to that part of the militia called into actual service of the Union. Thus, “well regula[tion]” referred to something else. Since the fundamental purpose of the militia was to serve as a check upon a standing army, it would seem the words “well regulated” referred to the necessity that the armed citizens making up the militia(s) have the level of equipment and training necessary to be an effective and formidable check upon the national government’s standing army.

This view is confirmed by Alexander Hamilton’s observation, in The Federalist, No. 29, regarding the people’s militias ability to be a match for a standing army: ” . . . but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights . . . .”

It is an absolute truism that law-abiding, armed citizens pose no threat to other law-abiding citizens. The Framers’ writings show they also believed this. As we have seen, the Framers understood that “well regulated” militias, that is, armed citizens, ready to form militias that would be well trained, self-regulated and disciplined, would pose no threat to their fellow citizens, but would, indeed, help to “insure domestic Tranquility” and “provide for the common defence.”


1. In constitutional or statutory construction, language should always be accorded its plain meaning. See, e.g., Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 14 U.S. (1 Wheat.) 304, 326 (1816).

2. “On every question of construction [of the Constitution] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.” Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, June 12, 1823, The Complete Jefferson, p. 32.

3. “The Congress shall have Power . . . To raise and support Armies . . . .” U.S. Const., Article I, Section 8, cl. 12.

4. Senate Subcommittee On The Constitution Of The Comm. On The Judiciary, 97th Cong., 2d Sess., The Right To Keep And Bear Arms (Comm. Print 1982), at 5.

5. 3 J. Elliot, Debates In The Several State Conventions 380 (2d ed. 1836).

6. Originally published under the pseudonym “A Pennsylvanian,” these “Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution” first appeared in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789, at 2, col. 1. They were reprinted by the New York Packet, June 23, 1789, at 2, cols. 1-2, and by the Boston Centennial, July 4, 1789, at 1, col. 2. The U.S. Supreme Court, in U.S. v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174, 83 L. Ed. 2d 1206, 59 S. Ct. 816 (1939), noted that the debates in the Constitutional Convention, the history and legislation of the colonies and states, and the writings of approved commentators showed that the militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense — a body enrolled for military discipline.

7. 11 Papers Of James Madison 307 (R. Rutland & C. Hobson ed. 1977) (letter of Oct. 20, 1788, from Madison to Edmund Pendleton)(emphasis added).

8. An examination of the other nine amendments of the Bill of Rights shows that they were designed, like the Second Amendment, to declare rights retained by the people (1-9), or the States (10), and to provide a clear list of powers not given to the national government: “Congress shall make no law . . . .” (Amendment I); “No soldier shall . . . .” (Amendment III); “The right of the people . . . shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue . . . .” (Amendment IV); “No person shall . . .; nor shall any person . . .; nor shall private property be taken . . . .” (Amendment V); “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy . . . .” (Amendment VI); “In Suits at common law . . . the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States . . . .” (Amendment VII); “Excessive bail shall not be required . . . .” (Amendment VIII); “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” (Amendment IX); “The Powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” (Amendment X).

9. 3 J. Elliot, Debates In The General State Conventions 425 (3d ed. 1937) (statement of George Mason, June 14, 1788), reprinted in Levinson, The Embarassing Second Amendment, 99 Yale L. Rev. 637, 647 (1989). See supra note 6 and accompanying text.

10. Letters From The Federal Farmer To The Republican 123 (W. Bennet ed. 1978) (ascribed to Richard Henry Lee), reprinted in Levinson, supra note 9, at 647. See supra note 6 and accompanying text.

11. S. Halbrook, That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right, p. 83 (The Independent Institute, 1984).

12. U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U.S. 259, 265 (1990) (“The Second Amendment protects ‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms’….”).

13. “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of choosing Senators.” (Article I, Section 4); “The Congress shall have power . . . To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes . . . .” (Article I, Section 8, cl. 3); “The Congress shall have power . . . To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures . . . .” (Article I, Section 8, cl. 5); “No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.” (Article I, Section 9); “In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.” (Article III, Section 2, cl. 2); “No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.” (Article IV, Section 2, cl. 3); “The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular state.” (Article IV, Section 3, cl. 2).

14. See supra, notes 6, 9 and 10 and accompanying text.

15. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the following examples of usage for the term “well regulated”: 1709: “If a liberal Education has formed in us . . . well-regulated Appetites, and worthy Inclinations.” 1714: “The practice of all well regulated courts of justice in the world.” 1812: “The equation of time . . . is the adjustment of the difference of time, as shown by a well-regulated clock and a true sun dial.” 1848: “A remissness for which I am sure every well-regulated person will blame the Major.” 1862: “It appeared to her well-regulated mind, like a clandestine proceeding.” 1894: “The newspaper, a never wanting adjunct to every well- regulated American embryo city.” One definition of the word “well” in the Oxford English Dictionary is “satisfactorily in respect of conduct or action.” One of The Oxford English Dictionary definitions for the term “regulated” is “b. Of troops: Properly disciplined.” The one example of usage is: “1690: Lond. Gaz. No. 2568/3 ‘We hear likewise that the French are in a great Allarm in Dauphine and Bresse, not having at present 1500 Men of regulated Troops on that side.'” The Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition (Clarendon Press, Oxford 1989).

16. “The Congress shall have Power . . . To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions . . . .” U. S. Const., Article I, Section 8, cl. 15.

17. “The Congress shall have Power . . . To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress . . . .” U.S. Const., Article I, Section 8, cl. 16.

18. “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several States, when called into the actual service of the United States . . . .” U.S. Const., Article II, Section 2, cl. 1.

19. U.S. Const., Preamble. —– from: The “Well Regulated” Militia of the Second Amendment: An Examination of the Framers’ Intentions, THE LIBERTY POLE V.II, No.2, The Official Publication of The Lawyer’s Second Amendment Society.

Daniel J. Schultz is a practicing attorney in Los Angeles and President of LSAS, a nationwide network of pro-right to keep and bear arms attorneys. Contact the LSAS at (818)734-3066 or 18034 Ventura Boulevard, #329, Encino, CA 91316.

—– Brought to you by – The ‘Lectric Law Library The Net’s Finest Legal Resource For Legal Pros & Laypeople Alike.


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The Second Amendment: The Framers Intentions

Its Hip! Its Cool! Its Libertarianism! – By Connor …

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Sep 232015

Calling yourself a libertarian today is a lot like wearing a mullet back in the nineteen eighties. It sends a clear signal: business up front, party in the back.

You know, those guys who call themselves socially liberal but fiscally conservative? Yeah. Its for them.

Today, the ruling class knows that theyve lost the culture wars. And unlike with our parents, they cant count on weeping eagles and the stars n bars to get us to fall in line. So libertarianism is their last ditch effort to ensure a succession to the throne.

Republicans freak you out but think the Democrats are wimps? You must be a libertarian! Want to sound smart and thoughtful in front of your boss without alienating your socially liberal buds? Just say the L-word, pass the coke and everyones happy!

Just look at how they play it up as the cool alternative to traditional conservatism. Its pathetic. George Will wore the bowtie. But Reason magazines Nick Gillespie wears an ironic D.A.R.E. t-shirt. And dont forget the rest of his all-black wardrobe, complete with leather jacket. What a totally with-it badass.


With such a bleak economic forecast for the Millennials, it shouldnt surprise anyone that our elites want to make libertarianism shorthand for political disaffection. Now theres a demographic with some growth potential. And its inspired a lot of poorly-sourced, speculative babble about how the kids have all gone Galt, almost always through the personal anecdotes of young white men.

A couple of months ago, after Harvard released a poll on the political views of Millennials, libertarians took to the internet to tell the world how the youth of America was little more than a giant anarcho-capitalist sleeper cellready to overthrow the state and privatize the air supply at a moments notice. So I took a look at the poll numbers. And you know what? Its utter horseshit.

Right off the bat, were told that 79% of Millennials dont consider themselves politically-engaged at all so, uh, keep that in mind.

Much is made of the fact that less than half of the survey respondents thought the government should provide free health care to those who cant afford it. What they dont mention is that that number (44 percent) is twice the percentage who say they stand against (22 percent) such hand outs. Nearly a third didnt think one way or the other.

Then we hear that the poll proves kids dont care about climate change. But they dont mention that slightly more Millennials wanted the government to do more on that front than theyre doing noweven if it hurt economic growth. Nearly half, you guessed it, neither agree nor disagree. (Come on kids, Rock the Vote!)

More Millennials identify as liberals than conservatives. Hardly any of them (10 percent) support the libertarian-embraced Tea Party. About three-quarters say they despise congressional Republicans.

Nearly two-thirds voted for Obama in 2008. Slightly over half approve of him now. Nearly three-quarters of Millennials hate congressional Republicans. 55% trust in the U.S. military, one of the largest state-socialist programs in the entire world, also responsible for, you know, those wars that libertarians supposedly hate.

Over a quarter put their faith in the federal government all or most of the time, and 55% some of the time. Only 17% answered never. And despite all their supposed Ron Paul love, they trust the globalist United Nations even more than they do the feds.

A little nibble here with only 36% approving of Obamas handling of the budget deficit, but then again, thats actually better than his rating on the deficit with Americans of all ages. Plus, worrying about the budget deficit is how dumb people have tried to sound smart since the days of FDR. And most people are dumb.

And when we finally get down to a hypothetical libertarian match-up between Obama and Ron Paul41 percent pick Obama and only 27 percent pick Paul.

Oh, but the kiddies are cool with gay marriage and tired of bombing brown people overseas? No shit. That just makes them normal people living in the 21st century. Im for single-payer health care and cant stand Barney Frank. Does that mean I sip the Kool-Aid at the Lyndon LaRouche compound?

None of this should be too surprising. For almost two decades, roughly two-thirds of the American public have supported what wed call a moderate European welfare stateputting the average U.S. citizen significantly to the left of the Democratic party, a center/center-right organization saddled, much to their dismay, with a perpetually-disappointed center-left constituency.

But hey, our ruling class would shit a brick if any of that wealth redistribution stuff happened over here. Which is why this is a center-right nation has been a favorite Fox News talking point for over ten years. Its only nowafter Occupy Wall Street forced their handthat the media is finally willing to admit that it might be bullshit.

But libertarianism? Our ruling class is totally fine with that. Smoke your reefer and sodomize whomever you please, just keep your mouth shut and hand over your Social Security account.


Never trust a hippietarian

I get the appeal. The states been sticking it to working folks for decades. It seems almost unimaginable that Big Government could ever be run by us and not the One Percent.

But child labor laws, the Civil Rights act, federal income tax, minimum wage laws, Social Security, Medicare, food safetylibertarians have accused all of them as infringements upon the free market that would lead to economic ruin. And over and over again, theyve been proven wrong. Life goes ona little less gruesomelyand society prospers.

There is no such thing as a free-market, economist Ha-Joon Chang has said repeatedly. A market looks free only because we so unconditionally accept its underlying restrictions that we fail to see them.

In other words, markets are social institutions, just as much under the thumb of politics and government as everything else. Which means theyre subject to democratic pressures, as they should be.

And what you earn from said markets? Chang: All our wages are, at root, politically determined. Despite what Ron Pauls trolls might have you believe, gold Krugerrands dont spray out your asshole every time you type up a spreadsheet or pour a Grande mochachino for your next customer.

Capitalism has always been a product of Big Government. Ever since the railroads of the nineteenth century, to Silicon Valley, Big Pharma and the banks, the Nanny State has been there all along, passing subsidies and tax breaks, and eating the costs the private sector doesnt want.

So whenever a libertarian says that capitalism is at odds with the state, laugh at him. Its like saying that the NFL is at war with football fields. To be a libertarian is to say that God or the universe marked up that field, squirted out the pigskins from the bowels of the earth and handed down the playbooks from Mt. Sinai.


When a Red like me wants to argue for something like universal health care or free college tuition, we can point to dozens of wealthy democratic societies doing just that. The Stalinist left is nothing more than a faint memory. But where are the libertarian Utopias?

General Pinochets Chile was a longtime favorite. But seeing as how it relied on a fascist coupwith a big assist from Nixon and KissingerChiles lost a bit of that Cold War luster. So these days, for the slightly more with-it libertarian, we get Singapore as the model of choice.

Hey, isnt that where the Facebook guy lives these days? Thats pretty hip!

Ah, Singapore: a city-state near the very top in the world when it comes to number of police and execution rate per capita. Its a charming little one-party state where soft-core pornography is outlawed, labor rights are almost nonexistent and gay sex is banned. Expect a caning if you break a window. And death for a baggie of cocaine.

But hey: no capital gains tax! (Freedom!)

Singapore: Libertarian Paradise

Its not like any of this will make it through the glassy eyes of the true-believers. Ludwig von Mises, another libertarian pin-up boy, wrote in 1927 that, Fascism and similar movements aiming at the establishment of dictatorships are full of the best intentions and that their intervention has, for the moment, saved European civilization.

Lately, Ron Pauls economic advisor has been claiming that Communist Party-ruled China has a freer market than the U.S.s.


So lets talk a little about this freedom theyre always going on about. Or, to paraphrase Lenin, the libertarians ultimate nemesis: freedom for who to do what?

Most American adults spend about half their waking hours at a job. And during that time, libertarians do not give a flying fuck about your liberty. Instead, they condone the most brutal of tyrannies all in the name of a private employers freedom.

Racial discrimination, verbal abuse, random drug testing, body-searches, sexual harassment, illegal termination, email monitoring, union busting, even withholding piss-breaksask any libertarian how they feel about workplace unfreedom and theyll tell you: Hey man, if you dont like it, you have the freedom to get another job. If folks are hiring. But with four-and-a-half applicants for every job, theyre probably not.

Heres another thing libertarians always forget to mention: a free-market capitalist society has never and by definition can never lead to full-employment. It has to be made to byyou guessed itthe Nanny State. Free market capitalism actually requires a huge mass of the unemployedits not just a side effect.

And make no mistake: corporate America loves a high unemployment rate.

When most everyone has a job, workers are less likely to take shit. They do nutty things like join unions, demand better wages and refuse to work off-the-clock. They start to stand up to real power: not to the EPA, and not the King of England, but to their bosses.

But with a real unemployment rate close to 20 percent, that aint happening. Well, fuck. Better sign up for that Big Government welfare state theyre always whining about. Hey, dont worry. You could always sell a little crack and turn a few tricks. Libertarians totally support that.

After all, thats your freedom, dude!


Libertarianism isnt some cutting-edge political philosophy that somehow transcends the traditional left to right spectrum. Its a radical, hard-right economic doctrine promoted by wealthy people who always end up backing Republican candidates, no matter how often they talk about civil liberties, ending the wars and legalizing pot. Funny how that works.

Its the third way for a society in which turning against capitalism or even taking your foot off the pedal is not an option. Thanks to our shitty constitution and the most violent labor history in the West, we never even got a social-democratic party like the rest of the developed world.

So what do we get? The libertarian line: No, no: the problem isnt that were too capitalist. Its that were not capitalist enough!


At a time in which our society has never been more interdependent in every possible way, libertarians think theyre John fucking Wayne looking out over his ranch with an Apache scalp in his belt, or John fucking Galt doingwhatever it is he does. (Collect vintage desk toys from the Sharper Image?)

Their whole ideology is like a big game of Dungeons & Dragons. Its all make-believe, except for the chain-mailthey brought that from home. Elves, dwarves and fair maidens for capital. Even with the supposedly good onesanti-war libertarianswere still talking about people who think Medicares going to lead to Stalinism.

So my advice is to call them out.

Ask them what their beef really is with the welfare state. First, theyll talk about the deficit and say we just cant afford entitlement programs. Well, thats obviously a joke, so move on. Then theyll say that it gives the government tyrannical power. Okay. Let me know when the Danes open a Guantnamo Bay in Greenland.

Heres the real reason libertarians hate the idea. The welfare state is a check against servility towards the rich. A strong welfare state would give us the power to say Fuck You to our bossesthis is the power to say Im gonna work odd jobs for twenty hours a week while I work on my driftwood sculptures and play keyboards in my chillwave band. And Ill still be able to go to the doctor and make rent.

Sounds like freedom to me.

Connor Kilpatrick is the managing editor of Jacobin magazine.

Would you like to know more? Read Thirty More Years of Hell and Silent Majority Millennials by Connor Kilpatrick.

Read more: child labor laws, deficit, democratic party, fascism, fdr, george will, ha-joon chang, libertarian, ludwig von mises, lyndon larouche, medicare, millennials, nick gillespie, pinochet, reason, ron paul, Singapore, social security, socialism, Tea Party, Connor Kilpatrick, Class War For Idiots, Libertards

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Its Hip! Its Cool! Its Libertarianism! – By Connor …

The Book | Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the men who …

 Tax Havens  Comments Off on The Book | Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the men who …
Sep 212015

Millions of people have a queasy feeling that something is not right in the global economy but they struggle to put their fingers on what exactly the problem is. Treasure Islands at last tells the real story of where it all went wrong. This is the great untold story of globalisation.

Tax havens are not exotic, murky sideshows at the fringes of the world economy: they lie at its centre. Half of world trade flows, at least on paper, through tax havens. Every multinational corporation uses them routinely. The biggest users of tax havens by far are not terrorists, spivs, celebrities or Mafiosi but banks.

Tax havens are the ultimate source of strength for our global elites. Just as European nobles once consolidated their unaccountable powers in fortified castles, to better subjugate and extract tribute from the surrounding peasantry, so financial capital has coalesced in their modern equivalent today: the tax havens. In these fortified nodes of secret, unaccountable political and economic power, financial and criminal interests have come together to capture local political systems and turn the havens into their own private law-making factories, protected against outside interference by the worlds most powerful countries most especially Britain. Treasure Islands will, for the first time, show the blood and guts of just how they do it.

Tax havens arent just about tax. They are about escape escape from criminal laws, escape from creditors, escape from tax, escape from prudent financial regulation above all, escape from democratic scrutiny and accountability. Tax havens get rich by taking fees for providing these escape routes. This is their core line of business. It is what they do.

These escape routes transform the merely powerful into the untouchable. Dont tax or regulate us or we will flee offshore! the financiers cry, and elected politicians around the world crawl on their bellies and capitulate. And so tax havens lead a global race to the bottom to offer deeper secrecy, ever laxer financial regulations, and ever more sophisticated tax loopholes. They have become the silent battering rams of financial deregulation, forcing countries to remove financial regulations, to cut taxes and restraints on the wealthy, and to shift all the risks, costs and taxes onto the backs of the rest of us. In the process democracy unravels and the offshore system pushes ever further onshore. The worlds two most important tax havens today are United States and Britain.

Without understanding offshore, we will never understand the history of the modern world.

Poverty in Africa? Offshore is at the heart of the matter. Industrial-scale corruption and the wholesale subversion of governments by criminalised interests, across the developing world? Offshore is central to the story, every time. The systematic looting of the former Soviet Union and the merging of the nuclear-armed countrys intelligence apparatus with organized crime, is a story that unfolds substantially in London and its offshore satellites. Saddam Hussein used tax havens to buttress his power, as does North Koreas Kim Jong-Il today. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconis strange hold over Italian politics is very much an offshore tale. The Elf Affair, Europes biggest ever corruption scandal, had secrecy jurisdictions at its core. Arms smuggling to terrorist organisations? The growth of mafia empires? Offshore. You can only fit about $1 million into a briefcase: without offshore, the illegal drugs trade would be a fraction of its size.

Private equity and hedge funds? Goldman Sachs? Citigroup? These are all creatures of offshore. The scandals of Enron, Parmalat, Long Term Capital Management, Lehman Brothers, AIG and many more? Tax havens lay behind them all. The rise of multinationals, the explosion of debt in advanced economies since the 1970s is substantially an offshore tale. Complex monopolies, frauds, insider trading rings these corruptions of free markets always have tax havens at their heart. As Treasure Islands explains in vivid, thrilling, horrifying detail, every big financial crisis since the 1970s including the great global crisis that erupted in 2007 has been a creature of the tax havens.

These problems all have other explanations too. Tax havens are never the only story, because offshore exists only in relation to elsewhere. That is why it is called offshore. Without understanding the tax havens, or the secrecy jurisdictions as I often prefer to call them, we cannot understand the world. Treasure Islands at last starts to fill this gigantic hole in modern history.

In short, it is the most important expos of tax havens ever published.

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The Book | Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the men who …

Freedom, New York –

 Freedom  Comments Off on Freedom, New York –
Sep 162015

We are giving away $1200 in prizes – enter simply by sending us your own city pictures!

Zip codes: 14065.

Freedom town income, earnings, and wages data

Estimated median house or condo value in 2013: $96,237 (it was $66,800 in 2000)

Freedom, NY residents, houses, and apartments details

Profiles of local businesses

Business Search – 14 Million verified businesses

Races in Freedom, NY (2010)

Races in Freedom detailed stats: ancestries, foreign born residents, place of birth

Latest news from Freedom, NY collected exclusively by from local newspapers, TV, and radio stations

Ancestries: German (34.6%), English (15.7%), Irish (13.5%), Polish (10.5%), United States (7.4%), Italian (7.1%).

Current Local Time: EST time zone

Land area: 40.3 square miles.

Population density: 60 people per square mile (very low).

21 residents are foreign born

Median real estate property taxes paid for housing units in 2000:

Nearest city with pop. 50,000+: Cheektowaga, NY (36.4 miles , pop. 79,988).

Nearest city with pop. 200,000+: Buffalo, NY (38.7 miles , pop. 292,648).

Nearest city with pop. 1,000,000+: Philadelphia, PA (239.5 miles , pop. 1,517,550).

Nearest cities: Farmersville, NY (2.3 miles ), Arcade, NY (2.3 miles ), Delevan, NY (2.4 miles ), Centerville, NY (2.5 miles ), Lime Lake, NY (2.5 miles ), Yorkshire, NY (2.6 miles ), Lime Lake-Machias, NY (2.6 miles ), Machias, NY (2.9 miles ).

Number of permits per 10,000 residents

Latitude: 42.47 N, Longitude: 78.36 W

This town’s Wikipedia profile

Work and jobs in Freedom: detailed stats about occupations, industries, unemployment, workers, commute

Based on data reported by over 4,000 weather stations

Freedom-area historical tornado activity is near New York state average. It is 63% smaller than the overall U.S. average.

On 7/24/1967, a category F3 (max. wind speeds 158-206 mph) tornado 11.3 miles away from the Freedom town center caused between $5000 and $50,000 in damages.

On 6/20/1969, a category F3 tornado 19.3 miles away from the town center caused between $500,000 and $5,000,000 in damages.

On 9/25/1998 at 19:52:52, a magnitude 5.2 (4.8 MB, 4.3 MS, 5.2 LG, 4.5 MW, Depth: 3.1 mi, Class: Moderate, Intensity: VI – VII) earthquake occurred 124.6 miles away from the city center On 1/31/1986 at 16:46:43, a magnitude 5.0 (5.0 MB) earthquake occurred 155.7 miles away from Freedom center On 10/7/1983 at 10:18:46, a magnitude 5.3 (5.1 MB, 5.3 LG, 5.1 ML) earthquake occurred 227.1 miles away from the city center On 4/20/2002 at 10:50:47, a magnitude 5.2 (5.2 MB, 4.2 MS, 5.2 MW, 5.0 MW, Depth: 6.8 mi) earthquake occurred 271.6 miles away from the city center On 1/26/2001 at 03:03:20, a magnitude 4.4 (3.9 MB, 4.4 LG, 4.3 LG, Depth: 3.1 mi, Class: Light, Intensity: IV – V) earthquake occurred 130.2 miles away from Freedom center On 1/16/1994 at 01:49:16, a magnitude 4.6 (4.6 MB, 4.6 LG, Depth: 3.1 mi) earthquake occurred 191.2 miles away from the city center Magnitude types: regional Lg-wave magnitude (LG), body-wave magnitude (MB), local magnitude (ML), surface-wave magnitude (MS), moment magnitude (MW)

Causes of natural disasters: Storms: 10, Floods: 8, Snowstorms: 3, Blizzard: 1, Hurricane: 1, Ice Storm: 1, Power Outage: 1, Snow: 1, Tornado: 1, Tropical Storm: 1, Winter Storm: 1, Other: 1 (Note: Some incidents may be assigned to more than one category).

Political contributions by individuals in Freedom, NY

Click to draw/clear town borders

Notable locations in Freedom: Scouthaven Camp (A), Elton Station (B), Edelweiss Farms (C), Camp Vick (D), Turkey Run Golf Course (E). Display/hide their locations on the map

Churches in Freedom include: Salem Church (A), Sandusky Baptist Church (B). Display/hide their locations on the map

Cemeteries: Siloam Cemetery (1), Elton Cemetery (2), Sandusky Cemetery (3), Salem Cemetery (4), Freedom Cemetery (5), Maple Grove Cemetery (6). Display/hide their locations on the map

Lakes and swamps: Moores Pond (A), Skim Lake (B), Beaver Lake (C), Crystal Lake (D), Burleson Pond (E). Display/hide their locations on the map

Detailed information about poverty and poor residents in Freedom, NY

Educational Attainment (%) in 2000

School Enrollment by Level of School (%) in 2000

Most commonly used house heating fuel:

Presidential Elections Results

1996 Presidential Elections Results

2000 Presidential Elections Results

2004 Presidential Elections Results

2008 Presidential Elections Results

2012 Presidential Elections Results

Graphs represent county-level data. Detailed 2008 Election Results

4.18% of this county’s 2011 resident taxpayers lived in other counties in 2010 ($32,141 average adjusted gross income)

5.04% of this county’s 2010 resident taxpayers moved to other counties in 2011 ($31,902 average adjusted gross income)

Fatal road traffic accident statistics for 1975 – 2013 (per 100,000 population)

Jun 23, 2005 09:54 AM, Maple Grove Rd, Vehicles: 1, Persons: 1, Fatalities: 1 Apr 11, 2003 10:25 PM, Bixby Hill Road, Vehicles: 1, Persons: 1, Fatalities: 1, Drunken persons involved: 1 Apr 29, 1998 05:35 PM, Cr-90, Vehicles: 2, Persons: 3, Fatalities: 1 Aug 29, 1998 06:10 AM, Sr-98, Vehicles: 1, Persons: 2, Pedestrians: 1, Fatalities: 1

New bridges – Historical Statistics

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First Amendment – Kids |

 Misc  Comments Off on First Amendment – Kids |
Sep 102015

A Guide to the First Amendment

The First Amendment, sometimes called Amendment 1, is the first amendment to the United States Constitution and is also one out of ten amendments in the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment makes it illegal to make a law that establishes a religion, stops the freedom of speech, stops people from practicing their religion, stops the press from printing what they want, and stops people from exercising their right to assemble peacefully or demonstrating against the government.

Text of the First Amendment

The text of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution is the following:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

What Does the First Amendment Mean?

There are many key phrases in the first Amendment. Here are some explanations on what exactly they mean.

Freedom of religion: The First Amendment of the United States Constitution prevents the government from setting up or establishing an official religion of the country. American Citizens have the freedom to attend a church, mosque, synagogue, temple, or other house of worship of their choice. They can also choose to not be involved in any religion as well. Because of the First Amendment, we can practice our religion however we want to.

Freedom of speech: The First Amendment of the United States Constitution stops the government from making any laws that may stop us from saying what we feel or think. The American people have the right to share their opinions with other people or criticize the government.

Freedom of the press: Freedom of the press means we have the right to get information from many different sources of information. The government does not have the power to control what is broadcasted on radio or TV, what is printed in books or newspapers, or what is offered online. American citizens can request time on TV to respond to any views that they disagree with. They can also write letters to newspapers, which might be printed for others readers to see. Americans can also pass out leaflets that state their opinions. They may also their own online web pages that have their opinions.

Freedom of assembly: American citizens have the right to come together in private and public gatherings. Citizens can join groups for religious, social, recreational, or political reasons. By organizing in order to act on a common idea and accomplish a common goal, American citizens can more easily spread their ideas to others.

Right to petition: The right to petition the government means that American citizens can ask for adjustments or changes in the government. Citizens can do this by collecting signatures for petitions and sending them to elected representatives. They can also call, e-mail, or write to their elected representatives as well. Another way they can petition the government is by creating support groups that try to cause change by lobbying the government.


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First Amendment – Kids |

The Best Definition of Singularity

 The Singularity  Comments Off on The Best Definition of Singularity
Sep 082015

The term Singularity has many definitions.

The everyday English definition of Singularity is a noun that designates the quality of being one of a kind, strange, unique, remarkable or unusual.

For a more specific definition of Singularity we can search The Wiktionary where we get the following five Singularity definitions:

1. the state of being singular, distinct, peculiar, uncommon or unusual 2. a point where all parallel lines meet 3. a point where a measured variable reaches unmeasurable or infinite value 4. (mathematics) the value or range of values of a function for which a derivative does not exist 5. (physics) a point or region in spacetime in which gravitational forces cause matter to have an infinite density; associated with Black Holes

What we are most interested in, however, is the definition of Singularity as a technological phenomenon — i.e. the Technological Singularity. Here we can also find a variety of subtly different interpretations of the definition of Singularity.

John von Neumann was quoted as saying that “the ever accelerating progress of technology … gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.” His definition of the Singularity was that the Singularity is the moment beyond which “technological progress will become incomprehensively rapid and complicated.”

Vernor Vinge introduced the term Technological Singularity in his science fiction novel Marooned in Realtime(1986) and later developed the concept in his essay the Coming Technological Singularity (1993). His definition of Singularity is widely known as the event horizon thesis and in essence says that trans or post-human minds will imply a weirder future than we can imagine:

“Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended. […] I think it’s fair to call this event a singularity. It is a point where our models must be discarded and a new reality rules. As we move closer and closer to this point, it will loom vaster and vaster over human affairs till the notion becomes a commonplace. Yet when it finally happens it may still be a great surprise and a greater unknown.”

I.J. Good, who greatly influenced Vinge himself, never used the term Singularity itself. However, what Vinge called Singularity Good called intelligence explosion and by that he meant a positive feedback cycle within which minds will make technology to improve on minds which once started will rapidly surge upwards and create super-intelligence. This definition of Singularity is also known as the intelligence explosion hypothesis.

Ray Kurzweil is associated with the third and most popular interpretation of the Technological Singularity, often referred to as the accelerating change thesis. In his book The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology Kurzweil defined the Technological Singularity as:

“… a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed. Although neither utopian nor dystopian, this epoch will transform the concepts that we rely on to give meaning to our lifes, from our business models to the cycle of human life, including death itself.”

Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired Magazine

Singularity is the point at which “all the change in the last million years will be superseded by the change in the next five minutes.”

James Martin, a world-renowned leading futurist, computer scientist, author, lecturer and, among many other things, the largest donor in the history of Oxford University.

Singularity “is a break in human evolution that will be caused by the staggering speed of technological evolution.”


Since all of the above refer to the same broad occurrence, I will simply define the Technological Singularity as the event, or sequence of events, likely to occur at or after the birth of Artificial Intelligence. (especially when AI surpasses human intelligence)

If anything, it has to be clear that we really do not know what the Singularity is (or will be) so we are just using the term to show (or hide) our own ignorance.

For more on this topic check out 17 Definitions of the Technological Singularity

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THE singularitiy, not the tech one. Not rated yet I am puzzled that THE singularity is barely mentioned on this site – the singularity before which time, space, matter and energy did not exist – (not

Singuarity or Chaos?Not rated yet Perhaps it will be the time when the number of recongized, recorded & real-time shared “patterns” will be so unfathomably large that all around “us” will

Singularity And The Infinite InvisibleNot rated yet The Universe continues to expand from its point of origin (Alpha point) since its inception at the Big Bang. As such, time itself expands along with it,

D’Count Lessismore of Moran-OvaNot rated yet D&D’s take on all this is: That super AI equals human irrelevance. The soon to come very few super power leaders will voraciously control

The third factor of intelligenceNot rated yet I am thinking of a new theory. At least to me it is new. I am thinking of the point when artificial intelligence is measured as equal or greater than human

The SarkhhoobadNot rated yet Singularity is best explained by the “sarkhoobad”, a mysterious phenomenon which if unraveled would shed light on many of the difficult to explain questions

bliss to ignorance ratioNot rated yet singularity transcends human comprehension as a linear event, therefore if it occurs we will be incapable of detecting its existence. time, place and

Albert Not rated yet I agree that human evolution is heading in this direction, namely trans humanism. Earth will probably experience another extinction event, so humans should

Time TravelNot rated yet I do not believe that there is much more to be done technologically (in a vastly more incomprehensible way) than what has already transpired with the exceptions

Ananda Jaisingh, VedantinNot rated yet Singularity means Brahman, satyam gyanam anantam, brahman as it is the source of all knowledge and therefore must be conscious, without limit or boundary,

Noone ScientistNot rated yet Singularity is the initial point which everthing that exist, has existed and will exist, is acted upon by the magic magnetic first particle of matter,

singularityNot rated yet We would not be able to recognise a singularity in a future sense, we would experience the now or the present event prior to the singularity,then pass

Mr. Ronald finn.Not rated yet Singularity is where everything meets you, no matter where you are or whatever you are doing it still relates to you and only you. A single direction without

Dr.Not rated yet A singularity is a point in the future where an intelligence explosion takes place.

Splitting of the SpeciesNot rated yet Single body, many minds vs many bodies single minds. Singularity? Iit means individualism while joining with many others in a single unit. Single does

Margie Call ) artistNot rated yet If because of exponential growth, and thoughts are things it seems to me everything would get so entangled that there will be a big bang that converts

Paul BennettNot rated yet In the “Electric Kool-aid Acid Test” it is ‘said’ that you are either “on the bus” or “off the bus” in the event of a technological singularity you will

George Anstadt MD FACPMNot rated yet the Singularity: When the relentless drive of DNA to survive commands a being with the power of artificial intelligence.

Good, Bad, WeirdNot rated yet The Singularity, as defined above, is an unknown unknown. That means this whole thing is a random event. In the future there is a point, which statistically

Continuation of the Human RaceNot rated yet The essence of what we call the human race has to be evolved into a form of transmittable energy that will transcend the limits of the observable universe.

The Universal Grand IllusionNot rated yet This will be the point when the self-absorbed intellectual elites reach the apex of the Ego, becoming convinced that we have fully digested the essence

human beingNot rated yet singularity is the moment when we have the capacity to understand all knowledge from the past and from the future in the present

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The Best Definition of Singularity

What is Libertarianism? – Institute for Humane Studies

 Misc  Comments Off on What is Libertarianism? – Institute for Humane Studies
Sep 082015

According to Funk and Wagnalls Dictionary

lib-er-tar-i-an, n. 1. a person who advocates liberty, esp. with regard to thought or conduct. advocating liberty or conforming to principles of liberty.

According to American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition, 2000.

NOUN: 1. One who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state.

The Challenge of Democracy (6th edition), by Kenneth Janda, Jeffrey Berry, and Jerry Goldman

Liberals favor government action to promote equality, whereas conservativesfavor government action to promote order. Libertarians favor freedom and oppose government action to promote either equality or order.

According to What It Means to Be a Libertarian by Charles Murray, Broadway Books, 1997.

The American Founders created a society based on the belief that human happiness is intimately connected with personal freedom and responsibility. The twin pillars of the system they created were limits on the power of the central government and protection of individual rights. . . .

A few people, of whom I am one, think that the Founders insights are as true today as they were two centuries ago. We believe that human happiness requires freedom and that freedom requires limited government.

The correct word for my view of the world is liberal. Liberal is the simplest anglicization of the Latin liber, and freedom is what classical liberalism is all about. The writers of the nineteenth century who expounded on this view were called liberals. In Continental Europe they still are. . . . But words mean what people think they mean, and in the United States the unmodified term liberal now refers to the politics of an expansive government and the welfare state. The contemporary alternative is libertarian. . . .

Libertarianism is a vision of how people should be able to live their lives-as individuals, striving to realize the best they have within them; together, cooperating for the common good without compulsion. It is a vision of how people may endow their lives with meaning-living according to their deepest beliefs and taking responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

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What is Libertarianism? – Institute for Humane Studies

Illuminati (Earth-616) – Marvel Comics Database

 Illuminati  Comments Off on Illuminati (Earth-616) – Marvel Comics Database
Sep 062015

Skrulls, The Hood, Rabum Alal, Black Swan, Terrax, Avengers, Captain America, Great Society, Namor’s Cabal, Black Order, Imperial Guard, Pride; formerly Hulk, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Avengers


The Illuminati were a covert think-tank team consisting of Mister Fantastic, Iron Man, Professor X, Doctor Strange, Black Bolt, and Namor. They met in secret for a number of years collaborating on information and strategy, operating relatively successfully initially, despite their unique traits and considerable differences in nearly every way.

They each represented a certain something that was very special Namor, of course, was the king of 71% of the planet, of the Atlanteans, and represented a certain mindset of anti-heroes; Tony Stark represented a certain type of hero the Avenger type of hero, one who understood and appreciated that heroes could work with the government, rather than outside of it; Reed was the science side of the heroes; Black Bolt represented the Inhumans; Dr. Strange spoke for the mystical side, and Professor Xavier was there for the mutants. They all brought with them a unique viewpoint and perspective that wasn’t shared by the others.

The group formed some time in the aftermath of the Kree-Skrull War, and probably after the Avengers/Defenders war. Iron Man realized that each of the individual members had information about these alien races beforehand, and they could have collectively stopped it. He brought together the Illuminati with the Black Panther in Wakanda, and proposed that they form a government of superhumans similar to the United Nations. However, Namor refused, on the grounds that too many superheroes were violent outsiders (such as Hawkeye and Quicksilver, both former criminals). Xavier refused on the grounds that mutants were already feared and hated, and if Iron Man thought he could fight this with iconic superheroes, it would result in heroes being feared and hated as much as mutants. Dr. Strange refused on the grounds that too many heroes were anti-establishment and that the group Iron Man had assembled to form a governing body would not be ‘anti-establishment’, but rather a form of ‘counter-establishment’.[1]

The group did, however, agree to meet to exchange information regularly. The only individual present who refused was the Black Panther, who took issue with their self-righteous attitudes and feared the association would end in less than altruistic actions. He also predicted that the group would one day find themselves in the middle of the kind of event they had formed to prevent, and would be entirely at odds with each other.[1]

The Illuminati traveled to the homeworld of the Skrulls, who were still reeling from their defeat during the Kree-Skrull War on Earth. The group warned the Empire not to attack Earth again, but were unable to escape afterwards. The Skrulls analyzed their captives (physiology, genetics, technology, etc) and gleaned information from their behavior, until Iron Man was able to lead an escape. The Illuminati recognized that another attack was inevitable, while the Skrull Empire began to make use of the data they compiled.[2] By using a clone of Reed Richards, the Skrulls were able to be undetected by superheroes.[3]

Mr. Fantastic revealed to the group that he had been collecting the Infinity Gems, and hoped to collect them all with the help of the Illuminati. Despite a general apprehension, the group managed to acquire all six gems. Upon doing so, Mr. Fantastic attempted to will the Gems out of existence, but he was unable to do so. Faced with this failure, and a reprimand from Uatu, the Watcher, he made the controversial decision to give each Illuminati member one gem to hide so that they would never be combined and used again.[4]

The Illuminati, minus Tony Stark, whose role as Iron Man was being filled by Jim Rhodes, confronted the Beyonder. The Beyonder was an Inhuman who was a mutant before he was exposed to the Terrigen Mists. Black Bolt, under the guise as the Beyonder’s “king”, convinced him to go into another dimension in exile.[5]

The Illuminati approached Noh-Varr, a Kree warrior who tried to take over the Earth, in his prison. They demonstrated the Kree connection to the Inhumans, and their desire to protect Earth. They demonstrated the primitive nature of humanity, but also the potential of the race to evolve and better itself. Ultimately, using Captain Marvel (a deceased, Kree-born superhero), they tried to convince Noh-Varr to use his powers to protect the Earth and guide humans to better themselves.[6]

Iron Man informed the Illuminati of the formation of a new Avengers team in light of the breakout from the Raft. All but Namor wished him well in his endeavor, and Iron Man moved on to the issue of the Sentry. Although none of the Illuminati had any recollection of him, Mr. Fantastic discovered that he had files on the Sentry and Professor Xavier discovered that his mind had been tampered with. Mr. Fantastic was able to use the files to get through to Robert Reynolds, aka the Sentry, and help him reverse what has been done to him. Iron Man told the group that the Avengers took full responsibility for the Sentry, should he ever lose control, but dodged their questions about other recent Avengers inquiries.[7]

Maria Hill, Director of SHIELD, approached Iron Man concerning the Hulk, who had recently destroyed Las Vegas with several casualties. Iron Man presented a solution to the problem of the Hulk to the Illuminati (excluding an absent Professor Xavier), suggesting that they shoot him into space, sending him to an uninhabited planet where he could live out the rest of his days alone. Namor, alone, dissented to the plan. He believed that they had no right to banish their ally from Earth and accused them of not helping to cure Bruce Banner to the best of their abilities. The other four members voted in favor of the plan, and Namor departed. While leaving, he said that the Black Panther was correct, and predicted that the Hulk would return to seek justified revenge.

Despite deciding not to meet again, Iron Man called together the Illuminati (excluding Professor Xavier, who is in exile in Scotland after the M-Day) to introduce them to the Superhuman Registration Act. He illustrated the fact that recent events had raised suspicion of all super-powered individuals and groups, and that one wrong move on the part of a hero would trigger disaster.

If the Act passed, a war amongst heroes would result and cause untold damage. In order to avoid it, Iron Man reiterated his idea of a representative body of superheroes, and urged the group to come out in favor of registration prior to a disaster. Namor dismissed the issue as none of Atlantis’ business, Dr. Strange and Black Bolt disagreed on principle, but Mr. Fantastic agreed with Tony. The damage was done, however, and the Illuminati dissolved.[2]

Although the Illuminati never met or operated as a group during Civil War, their actions in the conflict reflected their reactions at the last meeting. Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic became two of the leading members of the pro-registration side, and worked closely with the United States government and SHIELD. Dr. Strange stayed out of the conflict, meditating and fasting,[8] though he later admitted, after joining the New Avengers and finding new love, that he regretted his lack of involvement. Afterwards, he joined the New Avengers, who continued to operate underground without registering. Black Bolt and the Inhumans stayed out of the conflict, but began their own Cold War with the United States. Namor was involved only so far as it served his interests. This included avenging the death of his cousin in the Stamford tragedy, and coming to the aid of his friend Captain America’s forces in the final battle.[9] Professor Xavier was not on Earth during the conflict.

During Civil War, Reed was contacted by Amadeus Cho, who informed him that Hulk did not land on the intended planet. When the Hulk ultimately returned to Earth, he sought revenge on the Illuminati as Namor had warned. His first act was to attack and defeat the Skrull Black Bolt at the Inhuman settlement on the Moon. After providing New York with a twenty-four-hour time limit to hand the other three Illuminati over to him, the Hulk approached Xavier at his mansion to determine whether he would have supported the Illuminati plan had he been present. He battled the X-Men, eventually beating every single member in Xaviers school. Xavier told Hulk that had he been there, he would have voted yes, and offered himself to the Hulk in exchange for the safety of the X-Men, but after learning of the mutant population’s recent severe losses as a result of M-Day, and the deaths of several of Xaviers students, the Hulk decided that the X-Men had suffered enough and departed.

Having then taken over Manhattan Island, the Hulk was attacked by Iron Man in a new Hulkbuster armor, but just when it seemed Tony had triumphed the hulk became enraged allowing him to defeat Starks new armor and Stark Tower. Despite the aid of the other members of the Fantastic Four, including temporary members Black Panther and Storm, the same fate befell Mr. Fantastic. Dr. Strange tried to enter the Hulk’s mind, but Hulk tricked Strange into presenting himself in a physical form that he attacked upon appearance. Strange later invoked and is possessed by the demon spirit of Zom, hoping that he could stop the Hulk before it was too late. However he lost control of his new found power, and he almost caused some civilians to die during his battle with the Hulk. Although the Hulk saved them, this action made Strange lose his confidence in his powers and made him weak enough for the Hulk to defeat him.

Hulk then implanted the Illuminati members with obedience discs and forced them to fight each other in his makeshift gladiatorial ring in Madison Square Garden. However the Hulk spared them from killing each other, showing them that he proved his point to the world. They survived the encounter by the timely intervention of the Sentry, who battled the Hulk, but ultimately lost as the two reverted to their human forms and Banner knocked him out with a blow to the head. Hulk then returned, but Stark used prototype defense satellites to negate the Hulk’s powers. The Illuminati was also cleared from the responsibility of Sakaar’s destruction when Miek admitted he saw the Red King’s forces breach the ship’s warp core and kept quiet to initiate what Miek felt was Hulk’s destiny as the “Worldbreaker”.[10] Namor, being the only Illuminati member opposed to shooting Hulk into space from the beginning, was spared by Hulk for that reason, and remained non-involved throughout the conflict.

Iron Man called the Illuminati together one more time to show them the body of the Skrull that was posing as Elektra. He felt that the Skrull represented a secret invasion of Earth, and that the group was responsible (after traveling to the Skrull home-world years before). His suspicions were proved correct when Black Bolt revealed himself to be a disguised Skrull. The five remaining members were able to barely defeat it, and its two compatriots, and began making plans to detect and defeat the remaining Skrulls. They soon realized, however, that this was pointless, as they couldn’t trust each other.[11]

Iron Man and Mister Fantastic were the two chief fighters of the Secret Invasion, taking central roles in the main battles, and key to the ultimate failure of the Invasion, though surviving not unscathed at all. Iron Man brought the Skrull corpse to the world’s top minds, and summoned Criti Noll (in the form of Henry Pym) and Mister Fantastic to examine and dissect the body. Stark was soon, as planned by the Skrulls, called in, along with his Mighty Avengers to the Savage Land, where one of the first and most significant of battles of the invasion took place, starting when a spaceship crashed there, several dozen superheroes came out, and the New Avengers, too, arrived on the scene. Just as Mister Fantastic ingeniously discovered the method of concealment the Skrulls had been utilizing to become virtually undetectable, Criti Noll acted, using a special, Skrull-designed gun to subdue Reed Richards and prevent him from maintaining solidity; the remaining members of the Fantastic Four were also swiftly taken out elsewhere for most of the invasion, though all survived, if but barely. Agent Abigail Brand of S.W.O.R.D. freed Mister Fantastic and took control over the Skrull ship he was held in to the Savage Land, but sadly not before the Skrulls managed to infect Iron Man with an alien virus disabling himself, his armor, and S.H.I.E.L.D. itself. Veranke, disguised as Spider-Woman, also attempted to crush and destabilize what remained of Stark’s morale, will and faith by trying to convince him he was actually a Skrull sleeper agent, but the Black Widow convinced him otherwise. Richards and Brand arrived, with Reed using a self-designed machine to reveal the Skrulls in the midst of the Savage Land battle, which were quickly disposed of by the heroes. Reed and Tony led the other heroes back to the now chaotic New York for the final battle, in which Reed exposed the Skrulls and which he was a prime target in, but Reed survived, and Tony, though his secondhand and relatively crude armor he had quickly constructed suffer enough damage to force him to initially retreat from the battle, used a spare old Iron Man armor to enable him to aid the struggle against the Skrulls, freeing the prisoners, including Pym and Jarvis. The blame for the invasion was placed on Stark, who lost S.H.I.E.L.D., a great deal of public support and popularity, and much of his pride and hope, becoming, essentially, a fugitive from the now-powerful Norman Osborn.

The Fantastic Four were hit hard when Osborn, knowing Reed Richards’ intellect well exceeded his own, attacked the Baxter Building when the Four were in another time and another place. Richards was more shaken by his own internal conflicts than any outside threats; nevertheless, Norman Osborn’s H.A.M.M.E.R. agents nearly succeeded in capturing the Four. Richards, after taking a long, hard look at the life, was inspired to construct a machine that was capable of bending reality itself. H.A.M.M.E.R. arrived just as Reed activated the machine, interfacing with the Baxter Building’s power supply and resulting in an energy fluctuation that sent Sue, Ben and Johnny back to the prehistoric era. Reed searched for answers which could only be found in alternate timelines as the three found themselves in a super hero Hyborian-age civil war. The Richards children, Franklin and Valeria, were the only ones available to confront the agents Osborn had sent. Richards studied other parallel Earths to see if any found a peaceful solution to the Civil War, which resulted from the Superhuman Registration Act. Reed peered into different worlds, some more bizarre than our own, to see what they did differently. Reed met with the other five Illuminati to handle the problem.

Feeling compromised by his use of dark magic, Doctor Strange left the New Avengers during the late stage of the infiltration and departed to parts unknown. He eventually resurfaced, alive but having lost nearly everything, from his house to his position as Sorcerer Supreme. What he did retain were the enmities of the Hood and Dormammu, both of whom wanted to slay Strange more desperately than ever, and a sense of duty to find the new Sorcerer Supreme and hand over the artifacts of the office. Feeling a desperate lack of power, he fled to the New Avengers for help.

Black Bolt (along with his son Ahura) was captured before the World War Hulk and did not even know about the invasion. His voice was intended by the Skrulls to be used as a powerful weapon of mass destruction, but the Inhumans, aided by the renowned Kree, Ronan the Accuser, found their former king, rescued him and returned to Attilan, with Black Bolt and Maximus sharing power, only for the Inhumans and Attilan, shaken by the invasion, angered by the Skrulls, and tiring of humanity’s treatment, themselves to depart from the Sol system, destroy the fleeing Skrull ship along the way, took control over the Kree Empire from Ronan, and realized their ultimate destiny in a conflict shaking the cosmos.[12]

Namor, along with his new ally Doctor Doom, were struck at least somewhat less hard, though certainly affected. Neither was successfully replaced by Skrulls, and it was unknown whether their forces were assaulted, either covertly or openly. Doom was at first unaware of even the Skrull invasion, before it outright exploded, though Veranke named him one of the “bigger guns” to be taken down. Doom was released from The Raft by the Skrull virus that infected Stark’s armor in the Savage Land and rendered StarkTech inoperable (it was unknown whether Doom was considered as part of the release). Namor and Atlantis were affected to an uncertain extent, with Namor, too, one of the “bigger guns” Veranke wanted removed and acknowledged as one of the Illuminati. Both separately arrived to the first Cabal meeting after the invasion, held by Osborn and attended by three others, though it was revealed afterwards they had been concocting secret plans that even Osborn was unaware of. Namor’s allegiance afterwards was unclear, from helping other heroes defend New York from the menace of the Red Hulk and aiding the new Captain America in searching for the first Human Torch’s body, to hunting down Tony Stark and insisting T’challa join the Cabal.[13] However, most recently, when an Atlantean sleeper cell launched a terrorist attack on California, Osborn ordered Namor to publicly denounce the rogues and execute them, leaving one alive to parade before the media. Namor vehemently refused and walked out on the Cabal.[14]

Even the Black Panther, T’Challa, after successfully fighting off a Skrull fleet attacking Wakanda with his wife Storm, forewarned by the discovery of the Brother Voodoo Skrull, was taken down, due to the cunning and might of Doctor Doom, an ambushing force of Doombots, and the Cabal, with a new female Black Panther (his sister) active, and Wakanda’s spirit shaken.

The Illuminati were technically no more, with its members so scarred and divided, along with the problem of working together during crises: Black Bolt was worlds (and galaxies) away; Doctor Strange’s strength was significantly reduced without the role of Sorcerer Supreme and the Sanctum Sanctorum; Tony Stark was blamed and heavily mistrusted as a fugitive and a failure; Xavier was no longer in charge of the X-Men but still in constant peril; Namor was working for sinister purposes once again as the Illuminati’s opposite, the Cabal, emerged in the shadow world that was rising; and Richards was occupied with the Fantastic Four and his own troubles with Osborn. Even the Black Panther was in severely critical condition. The Illuminati continued to exist in alternate realities.

To handle the problem of alternate-reality versions of the Civil War, Reed reassembled the Illuminati. It was unclear where Namor’s loyalties were and if the Illuminati would continue to unite against the threat of the Cabal.[15]

Parker Robbins, aka The Hood, escaped prison and started a search for the Infinity Gauntlet. While at the Raft, he had received a tip from an imprisoned Inhuman which led him to the Reality Gem at Attilan. Then he teleported himself to the Baxter Building, where he used the first Gem’s power to bypass security and take the Power Gem. The two Gems sent him unwittingly to the desert, where he found Red Hulk and defeated him. Red Hulk managed to get to Avengers Tower and bring news of what had happened. Realizing that the Gems were back in circulation, Iron Man quickly gathered the Illuminati, with Medusa in the place of her then-deceased husband Black Bolt.

The team went to Atillan to investigate but were discovered by three teams of Avengers, revealing the continued existence of the Illuminati to the superhero world. Their teammates were visibly hurt that these men had been operating secretly and considered it a breach of trust — the wound between Iron Man and Steve Rogers was particularly deep. However, the Avengers teams united to search for the Gems before Robbins could obtain them. Namor, Thor, and Red Hulk recovered the Time Gem at the bottom of the sea. Xavier, along with the Secret Avengers, Wolverine, Spider-Woman and Maria Hill went to the ruins of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, where the Mind Gem was guarded by the Danger Room. The Space Gem was hidden at Area 51 in New Mexico, but when Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Doctor Strange, and some of the New Avengers arrived, Robbins already had it in his possession. The Space Gem brought Hood to the Time Gem, which was being protected by the Red Hulk, Thor, and Namor. Red Hulk managed to take the Power Gem from Hood when he was distracted by the presence of Uatu, the Watcher. The combatants were teleported to New Mexico again, where Iron Man and the rest of the Avengers woke up from being knocked out by Robbins previously.

Faced with a cavalry charge of angry Avengers, Robbins escaped to Professor Xavier’s school and obtained the Mind Gem, with which he defeated Xavier in a telepathic fight. After knocking him out along the rest of the heroes there, Robbins teleported to the location of the Soul Gem on the Astral Plane; there, Strange met Robbins under the illusion of the mad titan Thanos. He attempted to talk Robbins into giving over the other Gems, but when that failed he took them both out of the Astral Plane and into the middle of a group of other heroes. Red Hulk attacked Robbins with the Power Gem, allowing Namor and Ms. Marvel to take the Mind and the Space Gems. Parker was unaware of these losses until Reality Gem was taken from him by the other Gems, which were in the Infinity Gauntlet held by Iron Man, making him the first human to wield this artifact.

Iron Man used the Gauntlet to send Robbins back to prison and then apparently willed it out of existence. In reality he sent it to a secret location, to which he regathered the Illuminati. Now counting Steve Rogers among their number, they divided the Infinity Gems again and took them to new hiding places. The re-formation of the group appears to remain a secret.

When the Phoenix Force returned to Earth and created a war between the Avengers and the X-Men, Captain America re-convened the Illuminati to convince Namor, who was possessed by the Phoenix, to cease his activities and convince the rest of the Phoenix Five to do the same. The meeting proved to be unproductive as most of the members were split in opinions on the conflict, and all of them left, thinking Namor wouldn’t come. Namor arrived in the room after the others had left and Captain America asked him to stand down, but Namor refused, although he acknowledged that he still respected Captain America as a friend, an ally and even a brother, which was why he wouldn’t capture him or reveal any of their secrets to the other Phoenixes.

After a mysterious portal to an alternate universe opened in the middle of Wakanda, Black Panther had an encounter with a mysterious figure claiming to be a “Black Swan”, who was trying to destroy another universe from colliding with hers. After realizing the threat that his universe would collide with another, T’Challa captured Black Swan and re-convened the Illuminati deciding to join them officially to face this new threat,[16] Beast later joined the team as asked by Professor X in his last will.

The Illuminati used the Infinity Gauntlet to buy their universe more time by pushing the colliding universe back for some time, but during the process, the gems were destroyed. Captain America upon this failure didn’t like the direction the team was willing to go because of the moral grey area and wouldn’t back off of his opposition to the idea of destroying another planet. The group decided it was best to move on without Captain America and Dr Strange wiped his mind of any memory of the Illuminati removing him from the group.[17]

The members of the Illuminati began working on solutions to destroy other worlds in the occasion an Incursion happened. Iron Man began working on a partial Dyson Sphere to power a weapon Reed Richards named Sol’s Hammer. Doctor Strange retrieved a forbidden tome, with a spell that could destroy a world at the price of the caster’s life. T’challa and Reed developed a large armory of world killing devices reverse engineered from the Black Swans tech used to destroy a planet previously. When another Incursion happened, the Illuminati traveled to the other Earth to see if they couldn’t save people there before destroying the world. They found that the Galaktus of that universe had come to destroy that Earth to save his universe. They ended up fighting his Herald, Terrax, whom they captured but not in time to stop Galaktus, who consumed the other Earth, averting the Incursion.[18]

While interrogating Black Swan, who revealed that the Incursions began with the birth of the Great Destroyer, another Incursion struck, this time in Latveria.[19] The Illuminati took an Antimatter Injection System they needed to destroy the other Earth. This incursion was different from the others, as the colour of the sky was blue, which Black Swan indicated as the arrival of the Mapmakers, beings which wait for an incursion in order to infect and remake one of the Earths after destabilizing one, making a piece of the dead world collide into the living Earth. After realizing the colliding Earth was already dead, Black Panther detonated the trigger of the Antimatter Injection System, destroying the other Earth and saving theirs.[20]

When Thanos and his Black Order arrived Earth and demanded a tribute in exchange for the survival of its inhabitants, Black Bolt revealed the Illuminati that the Mad Titan used the demand for the tribute of the heads of younglings between the ages of sixteen and twenty-two as a cover for the search of his lost Inhuman-descendant son.[21] Using the Terrigen Codex, the Illuminati embarked on the search for Thanos’ son, Thane, but were stopped by the appearance of a new incursion in Australia.[22]

Before reaching a decision about what to do about the other Earth, the Illuminati were greeted by an Aleph arriving from the other Earth. The Aleph led them to the Builders of that universe who explained that the early death of the multiverse had led to the collapse of the Superflow, the space between universes, that they used to traverse them. In order to avert disaster and ensure the existence of the Multiverse, the Builders across the Multiverse had decided to destroy all Earths, thus hopefully stopping the Incursions. Since the Builders of Earth-616 had failed in their mission, these builders urged the Illuminati to destroy their own world for the sake of the Multiverse.[23]

Upon returning to Earth, the Illuminati discovered Thanos had invaded Wakanda and gained access to the Illuminati’s antimatter bombs by capturing Black Bolt. The Illuminati managed to fight back.[24] When the Illumianti arrived to the room where the bombs were, they found themselves against Thanos’ general Supergiant, who defeated them by mentally controlling Black Bolt. When Supergiant activated one of the bombs, Maximus appeared with the trigger. He triggered the bombs, but also used Lockjaw to transport the antimatter bomb along with Supergiant to a distant uninhabited planet where she died in the explosion.

The Illuminati travelled to Greenland in order to help the Avengers defeat Thanos, but arrived after the battle had ended when Thane trapped the Mad Titan in an amber construct which left him in a state of “living death.” Iron Man convinced the Avengers to let him keep Thanos, as he would supposedly “take care” of him, but secretly placed him in the Necropolis, where he and the rest of the Illuminati went about planning for the universe’s coming end.[25]

The Illuminati vs. the Great Society

Black Swan prompted them to build a “mirror” that would allow them to look into other universes. Reed Richards realized however that he had already built such a device, The Bridge.[26]

The next Incursion pitted the Illuminati against the Great Society of Earth-4290001, a group of noble heroes who had been able to prevent the destruction of their Earth without bloodshed. However, the Society no longer had the means to prevent this Incursion in the same way as the others. The Illuminati tried to convince the Society to work together with them, but the Society doubted that the Illuminati had any intentions of allowing their own world to be destroyed, and knew that they had the means to destroy the Society’s Earth. Knowing that it would come to bloodshed in the end and unwilling to waste anymore time, Namor struck the first blow, starting a battle for the fate of their respective worlds.[27]

Even though the Great Society turned the tide of the battle to their favor, Doctor Strange ended the battle by unleashed a demon which killed most of the Great Society and fatally injured Sun God. As the Illuminati were leaving this Earth having set the antimatter injector, Sun God begged them not to destroy his Earth. Black Panther offered him the chance to return with them, but he refused, preferring to die with his own Earth alongside his friends.

Back at their own universe, and with only ten minutes before impact, the Illuminati debated who would activate the antimatter injector. Both Mister Fantastic and Black Panther tried to will themselves to do it, but failed. Namor admitted that his personal moral beliefs weren’t worth more than the survival of billions of lives, and he was the one to finally activate the trigger, destroying the inhabited Earth.[28] Following this course of action, the Illuminati confronted Namor for what he had done. The friction between Namor and T’Challa escalated, and after revealing that he was the one who led the Black Order into assaulting Wakanda, Namor left.[29]

Due to the exposure to the explosion of the Watcher’s eye, which revealed deep secrets related to them to those in its blast radius,[30] Captain America remembered the mindwipe the Illuminati submitted him to, and confronted Iron Man about it.[31] He decided that the Illuminati’s actions shouldn’t be tolerated, and charged the Avengers with hunting them down.[32] At the same time, faced with another Incursion immediately after the last one, Namor had taken over Necropolis, freed the prisoners of the Illuminati and formed a new incarnation of the Cabal, with the purpose of destroying the incursive Earths, doing what the Illuminati were not willing to do.[33]

Eight months into the future, the Illuminati went into hiding, and added to their ranks Captain Britain, Amadeus Cho and Yellowjacket.[34] Because of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s improvement on ways to track them down, the Illuminati had to periodically move from base to base. After Cho infiltrated the Avengers Tower, now the S.H.I.E.L.D. Station: Golgotha, the team recovered the files of Tony Stark, who had gone into hiding and was yet to be found.[35]

While on the run, the Illuminati repeatedly attempted to find a way to solve the problem of Incursions, from trying to create a new Earth with a Cosmic Cube and then with Franklin Richards’ powers, to asking the Celestials and Galactus for help, but all these plans failed.[36]

With a new incursion on the horizon, the Illuminati devised a plan to get rid of Namor’s Cabal.[37] They let themselves be found by Steve Rogers’ Avengers, and set a trap to subdue them with the help of Sunspot’s Avengers.[38] Even though the help of the Invisible Woman was needed to make this possible, as Rogers’ Avengers had brought their own reinforcements,[39] the Illuminati were able to share their plan with Steve.

Namor, who had become disgusted with the Cabal’s needless slaughtering of the people of worlds they could destroy painlessly, was ready to turn himself in, but also set a trap to destroy the Cabal. For this next Incursion, the incursive world had been ravaged by the Sidera Maris. Namor would lead the Cabal to said world, activate the antimatter injector without their knowledge, and leave them to die with said Earth, preventing them from escaping with the use of an A.I.M. platform capable of creating an impenetrable barrier between the two colliding Earths. However, as Namor had left the incursive Earth and prepared to activate the platform, Black Panther and Black Bolt appeared before him. They incapacitated Namor and threw him off the platform to the soon-to-be-destroyed Earth in order to make him personally pay for his crimes. As the antimatter injector began to destroy the Earth, T’Challa and Blackagar returned to theirs, informing the Avengers that not only the Cabal had been destroyed, but Namor was also not going to come back.[37]

With the Cabal seemingly dealt with (even though they had actually survived and escaped to Earth-1610), the Illuminati and S.H.I.E.L.D. reached a truce and started working together.[36] Inspired by Valeria Richards, the Illuminati stopped working on a way to stop the incursions, as they “couldn’t win,” but started planning the creation of a “lifeboat” to survive the destruction of the universe, in order “not to lose.” Meanwhile, the Shi’ar empire discovered the link between the decay of the Multiverse and the Earth, for which they decided that if the universe was to live, the Earth must be destroyed. Even though they planned a sneak attack on the Earth, the Guardians of the Galaxy managed to discover the Shi’ar’s plan and warned the Avengers.[40]

While approaching Earth, the Shi’ar alerted humanity that they had two hours left to live until Earth was destroyed by their fleet. Using a super-weapon capable of channeling the Earth’s power, Sunspot and A.I.M. retaliated against the Shi’ar in front, while S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Avengers used a Planetkiller seized from the Beyonders to attack from behind. However, A.I.M.’s weapon overheated and exploded, and the Planetkiller was destroyed by the Annihilation Wave. With no options left, the Avengers prepared to meet their end. However, Iron Man had flown to Sol’s Hammer, and prepared to use it.[41]

Iron Man saved the Earth when he destroyed the Shi’ar fleet, but the final incursion was still on the horizon. The Avengers and the Illuminati started deciding which people would be allowed into a “lifeboat” they had created, which could theoretically survive the destruction of the universe. Meanwhile, as the final incursion happened, Steve finally confronted Tony for having betrayed his trust.[42]

Equipment: The Bridge, Incursion Detection devices, formerly the Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity Gems, Xavier School’s Cerebro Transportation: Lockjaw, Quinjet Weapons: Each members’ arsenal, Sol’s Hammer, Antimatter Injection Systems

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The Fifth Amendment – National Constitution Center

 Fifth Amendment  Comments Off on The Fifth Amendment – National Constitution Center
Aug 312015

Grand Jury Protection: The Fifth Amendment requirement that serious federal criminal charges be started by a grand jury (a group of citizens who hear evidence from a prosecutor about potential crimes) is rooted in English common law. Its basic purpose is to provide a fair method for beginning criminal proceedings against those accused of committing crimes. Grand jury charges can be issued against anyone except members of the military, who are instead subject to courts-martial in the military justice system.

To avoid giving government unchecked powers, grand jurors are selected from the general population and their work, conducted in secret, is not hampered by rigid rules about the type of evidence that can be heard. In fact, grand jurors can act on their own knowledge and are free to start criminal proceedings on any information that they think relevant.

It is these broad powers that have led some critics to charge that grand juries are little more than puppets of prosecutors. Grand juries also serve an investigative role-because grand juries can compel witnesses to testify in the absence of their lawyers.

A significant number of states do not use grand juries, instead they begin criminal proceedings using informations or indictments. The right to a grand jury is one of only a few protections in the Bill of Rights that has not been applied to the states by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Protection against Double Jeopardy: This portion of the Fifth Amendment protects individuals from being twice put in jeopardy of life or limbthat is, in danger of being punished more than once for the same criminal act. The U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted the double jeopardy clause to protect against a second prosecution for the same offense after acquittal or conviction and against multiple punishments for the same crime. Like other provisions in the Bill of Rights that affect criminal prosecutions, the double jeopardy clause is rooted in the idea that the government should not have unlimited power to prosecute and punish criminal suspects. Rather, the government gets only one chance to make its case.

Right against Self-Incrimination: This provision of the Fifth Amendment is probably the best-known of all constitutional rights, as it appears frequently on television and in movieswhether in dramatic courtroom scenes (I take the Fifth!) or before the police question someone in their custody (You have the right to remain silent. Anything you do say can be used against you in a court of law.). The right protects a person from being forced to reveal to the police, prosecutor, judge, or jury any information that might subject him or her to criminal prosecution. Even if a person is guilty of a crime, the Fifth Amendment demands that the prosecutors come up with other evidence to prove their case. If police violate the Fifth Amendment by forcing a suspect to confess, a court may suppress the confession, that is, prohibit it from being used as evidence at trial.

The right to remain silent also means that a defendant has the right not to take the witness stand at all during his or her trial, and that the prosecutor cannot point to the defendants silence as evidence of guilt. There are, however, limitations on the right against self-incrimination. For example, it applies only to testimonial acts, such as speaking, nodding, or writing. Other personal information that might be incriminating, like blood or hair samples, DNA or fingerprints, may be used as evidence. Similarly, incriminating statements that an individual makes voluntarilysuch as when a suspect confesses to a friend or writes in a personal diaryare not protected.

Right to Due Process: The right to due process of law has been recognized since 1215, when the Magna Carta (the British charter) was adopted. Historically, the right protected people accused of crimes from being imprisoned without fair procedures (like indictments and trials, where they would have an opportunity to confront their accusers). The right of due process has grown in two directions: It affords individuals a right to a fair process (known as procedural due process) and a right to enjoy certain fundamental liberties without governmental interference (known as substantive due process). The Fifth Amendments due process clause applies to the federal governments conduct. In 1868 the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment expanded the right of due process to include limits on the actions of state governments.

Today, court decisions interpreting the Fourteenth Amendments due process right generally apply to the Fifth Amendment and vice versa.

Takings Clause: The takings clause of the Fifth Amendment strikes a balance between the rights of private property owners and the right of the government to take that property for a purpose that benefits the public at large. When the government takes private property, it is required to pay just compensation to the property owner for his or her loss. The takings power of the government, sometimes referred to as the power of eminent domain, may be used for a wide range of valid public uses (for a highway or a park, for example). For the most part, when defining just compensation, courts try to reach some approximation of market value.

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Repeating Islands | News and commentary on Caribbean …

 Islands  Comments Off on Repeating Islands | News and commentary on Caribbean …
Aug 252015

This article by Bill Plaschke appeared in theLos Angeles Times.

Fifty years ago this weekend, the San Francisco Giants Juan Marichal brought a baseball bat down upon the head of the Dodgers John Roseboro in a pounding moment in sports history.

It was a brawl that forever defined one of sports fiercest rivalries, with an ugliness that offered a new and frightening definition of sports violence.

Yet, 50 years later, the most enduring memory of baseballs most famous fight is that it did not define the men.

Monday marks the 13th anniversary of a far more powerful moment, one occurring at Roseboros funeral, when, in a hall filled with old Dodgers, an old Giant suddenly walked to the lectern.

It was Marichal, who wanted to say goodbye, and thank you.

Johnnys forgiving me was one of the best things that happened in my life, Marichal told the surprised gathering. I wish I could have had John Roseboro as my catcher.

Youve surely seen the photo, the Neil Leifer image of Marichal swinging his bat above his head while Roseboro falls helplessly to the ground.

It was a Sports Illustrated cover that seemingly has been reprinted for 50 years. It was a picture that actually adorned the program at Roseboros funeral.

Yet Morgan Fouch, one of Roseboros daughters, said its not even the most iconic photo in her home.

The photos that I have are the ones of my father and Juan Marichal standing together smiling, she said.

The brawl was included in the first line in Roseboros obituary when he died in August 2002, listed even above this four All-Star games, three Dodgers World Series championships, and his role in two Sandy Koufax no-hitters.

Yet when his son Jaime talks about his late fathers toughness, it has to do not with the actual fight, but its aftermath.

When I think about guts, I think about what my father did in becoming friends with Marichal, he said. If its me, I dont know if I forgive him. Someone basically comes into your house and swings a bat at your head? My father was a bigger man than me.

John Roseboro stood only 5 feet 11, weighed less than 200 pounds, but he was absolutely huge, the immovable boulder who helped form the Dodgers foundation through their early glory days in Los Angeles. He spoke so infrequently, he was jokingly called Gabby. But his presence was so strong that Koufax considered him perhaps the greatest Dodgers catcher ever.

To me, John Roseboro was the catcher, Koufax once told me. With him out there, I felt like I was never alone.

It was no surprise, then, that Roseboro was in the middle of the blast furnace that was the weekend series finale between the Dodgers and Giants on Aug. 22, 1965, at Candlestick Park. The teams were in the heat of a pennant race, and there had already been an incident between the Giants Matty Alou and Roseboro earlier in the series that ended with Marichal screaming at Roseboro from the dugout steps.

If he doesnt shut his big mouth, hell get a ball right behind his ear, Roseboro shouted back about Marichal, according to John Rosengrens book, The Fight of Their Lives: How Juan Marichal and John Roseboro Turned Baseballs Ugliest Brawl into a Story of Forgiveness and Redemption.

On Sunday afternoon, after Marichal and Koufax had exchanged brushback pitches to Maury Wills and Willie Mays, respectively, Marichal took it a step further by throwing at Ron Fairly, at which point Roseboro told Koufax he would take care of it.

Sure enough, with Marichal batting, Roseboro returned the ball to Koufax by throwing it behind Marichals head, allegedly clipping his ear. Marichal questioned the catcher, then Roseboro cursed the pitcher and stepped toward him, at which point Marichal raised the bat above his head and brought it down upon Roseboros bare head, the lumber landing above his left eye, causing a two-inch gash and raising a welt.

Stung the hell out of me, blood everywhere, Roseboro told me in 1990.

The ensuing tussle lasted 14 minutes, yet the vision of Marichal pounding Roseboro with the bat will live forever. Whenever any young Dodgers or Giants minor leaguer asks why their teams dont like each other, old-timers bring up that moment.

Marichal was suspended for eight days, barred from joining the Giants at Dodger Stadium for two late-season games, and fined $1,750. Roseboro, who required 14 stitches and suffered headaches the rest of the season, sued Marichal, settled out of court for $7,500, and that was the end of it. Or so everyone thought.

The perception cast Marichal as the villain and Roseboro as the victim, and Roseboro embraced that, but then he felt guilty for it, Rosengren said in an interview.

Ten years after the brawl, the two men shook hands for the first time since then, when they met at a Dodgers old-timers game. By that time, Marichal actually had joined the Dodgers briefly, as a free agent at the end of his career. Their meeting was cordial, they even participated in a joint television interview during which Marichal apologized for the incident and Roseboro responded with, You cant keep a grudge.

But a chill still lingered when, 17 years after the brawl, Marichal phoned Roseboro with a request.

According to Roseboros wife Barbara, who died in 2012, heres how the conversation went.

John, are you still mad?


John, I need your help.

Marichal was embarking on a third consecutive attempt to enter the Hall of Fame after not receiving enough votes in his first two seasons of eligibility. He was certain that his fight with Roseboro was the reason for his exclusion.

Marichal needed a man whom he once could have killed to help make him immortal. He had come to the right place.

My father was the most easily forgiving person I knew, and this situation was really like any other, Fouch said. If I ever did anything wrong, I would say, Daddy, Im so sorry, and he would say, OK, lets go get ice cream.’

Within weeks, Roseboro had flown with his family to the Dominican Republic to appear in Marichals golf tournament and announce to the world that all was forgiven. Within months, Roseboros phone was ringing again, Marichal again. He had just been voted into the Hall of Fame, and soon both men were crying.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Marichal said.

That gratitude was felt by Roseboro for the rest of his life. As the catcher lay dying from a failing heart at age 69 in the summer of 2002, Marichal phoned me from the Dominican Republic with desperation in his voice.

Please tell John to hang on, Marichal said. Please tell him Im praying for him.

Marichals voice broke as he added, A wonderful, wonderful man. I have long ago forgiven him and I truly hope he has forgiven me.

Upon Roseboros death on Aug. 16, 2002, Marichal continued to honor him by flying to Los Angeles to serve as an honorary pallbearer and deliver one of the eulogies at his funeral.

At that moment, the power of forgiveness was stronger than that of an angrily swung baseball bat. One of the ugliest chapters in this sometimes senseless Dodgers-Giants rivalry had finally ended, and for once, the human spirit had won.

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The five extra words that can fix the Second Amendment …

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Aug 132015

By John Paul Stevens April 11, 2014

Following the massacre of grammar-school children in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012, high-powered weapons have been used to kill innocent victims in more senseless public incidents. Those killings, however, are only a fragment of the total harm caused by the misuse of firearms. Each year, more than 30,000 people die in the United States in firearm-related incidents. Many of those deaths involve handguns.

The adoption of rules that will lessen the number of those incidents should be a matter of primary concern to both federal and state legislators. Legislatures are in a far better position than judges to assess the wisdom of such rules and to evaluate the costs and benefits that rule changes can be expected to produce. It is those legislators, rather than federal judges, who should make the decisions that will determine what kinds of firearms should be available to private citizens, and when and how they may be used. Constitutional provisions that curtail the legislative power to govern in this area unquestionably do more harm than good.

The first 10 amendments to the Constitution placed limits on the powers of the new federal government. Concern that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the separate states led to the adoption of the Second Amendment, which provides that a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

For more than 200 years following the adoption of that amendment, federal judges uniformly understood that the right protected by that text was limited in two ways: First, it applied only to keeping and bearing arms for military purposes, and second, while it limited the power of the federal government, it did not impose any limit whatsoever on the power of states or local governments to regulate the ownership or use of firearms. Thus, in United States v. Miller, decided in 1939, the court unanimously held that Congress could prohibit the possession of a sawed-off shotgun because that sort of weapon had no reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated Militia.

When I joined the court in 1975, that holding was generally understood as limiting the scope of the Second Amendment to uses of arms that were related to military activities. During the years when Warren Burger was chief justice, from 1969 to 1986, no judge or justice expressed any doubt about the limited coverage of the amendment, and I cannot recall any judge suggesting that the amendment might place any limit on state authority to do anything.

Organizations such as the National Rifle Association disagreed with that position and mounted a vigorous campaign claiming that federal regulation of the use of firearms severely curtailed Americans Second Amendment rights. Five years after his retirement, during a 1991 appearance on The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, Burger himself remarked that the Second Amendment has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.

In recent years two profoundly important changes in the law have occurred. In 2008, by a vote of 5 to 4, the Supreme Court decided in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment protects a civilians right to keep a handgun in his home for purposes of self-defense. And in 2010, by another vote of 5 to 4, the court decided in McDonald v. Chicago that the due process clause of the 14th Amendment limits the power of the city of Chicago to outlaw the possession of handguns by private citizens. I dissented in both of those cases and remain convinced that both decisions misinterpreted the law and were profoundly unwise. Public policies concerning gun control should be decided by the voters elected representatives, not by federal judges.

In my dissent in the McDonald case, I pointed out that the courts decision was unique in the extent to which the court had exacted a heavy toll in terms of state sovereignty. . . . Even apart from the States long history of firearms regulation and its location at the core of their police powers, this is a quintessential area in which federalism ought to be allowed to flourish without this Courts meddling. Whether or not we can assert a plausible constitutional basis for intervening, there are powerful reasons why we should not do so.

Across the Nation, States and localities vary significantly in the patterns and problems of gun violence they face, as well as in the traditions and cultures of lawful gun use. . . . The city of Chicago, for example, faces a pressing challenge in combating criminal street gangs. Most rural areas do not.

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Offshore Companies – Sovereign Man

 Offshore Companies  Comments Off on Offshore Companies – Sovereign Man
Aug 082015

To set up an offshore company or relocate your existing business overseas is a crucial step toward internationalizing yourself and your assets. Search for offshore company and youll find thousands of websites promising a quick company formation in Panama or the British Virgin Islands, with a range of other benefits for the jurisdiction in question.

There is a current misconception that offshore business is about evading taxes and hiding money from the government, which is certainly not the case.

There are 100% legitimate ways to structure your business interests overseas and realize significant benefits from an asset protection standpoint as well as tax-standpoint.

Want an example? In the last few years companies such as Google, Apple and a multitude of other companies have cut theirtaxes by billions of dollars in completelylegitimate ways.

You too can do this.

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First of all, you dont have to start a company offshore to save on taxes. If youre an American, just moving out of the US is a terrific first step. As a US expat, about $100,000 in overseas income is tax exempt, meaning that if you live outside the US you dont have to pay any taxes at all on the first $100,000 or soof foreign sourced income (you still have to file your tax report though). However, the real tax advantage from running an offshore company as a US citizen doesnt come from direct tax savings. It comes from tax deferment, meaning you postpone the payment of taxes into the future. If you run a business overseas and reinvest profits within the company you can defer taxes indefinitely. Lets say you have a profitable company overseas. Now imagine that instead of paying taxes on your profits every year you can reinvest that capital in your offshore company every year for 30 years, and only pay taxes if you decide to sell the company after 30 years. Being able to reinvest your capital tax-free combined with the power of compound interest makes this a truly exceptional opportunity.

Its a great idea to structure your business overseas, especially one thats online-based. If you incorporate your foreign business properly, it provides a legal way to defer tax payments (similarly to an IRA), as well as enabling much reduced liability. An online business has no limits as to how and where it can do business, so why should you let your business be limited by a jurisdiction that is based on the old, geographically limited model? Starting an offshore online business is a great way to build streams of income outside of your home country. Why would you want to have income streams outside of your country? Well, when inflation runs rampant in a country, having an income stream overseas in a stronger currency can potentially be a lifesaver. If hyperinflation would find its way to your country, which is a real risk with central banks all around the world printing new money 24/7, earning only a small part of your income in a different country is invaluable. An internet business based overseas, coupled with an offshore bank account, is the perfect medium through which you can do this.

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Offshore Companies – Sovereign Man

Does The First Amendment Protect The Release of Videos …

 Misc  Comments Off on Does The First Amendment Protect The Release of Videos …
Aug 062015

A Los Angeles court has ordered the Center for Medical Progress not to publish further video exposing Planned Parenthoods sale of aborted babies. Another Federal Court has also barred the release of specific documents pertinent to CMPs investigation. On Federalist Radio today, Ben cuts through the legalese with scholars from Powerline Legal Blog and the Alliance Defense Fund.

Paul Mirengoff, a lawyer and author at Power Line Blog, explains that both courts have made use of prior restraint, an instrument barring free expression before publication. He says that this legal mechanism has long been deemed as unconstitutional and highly unfavorable in most cases.

Casey Mattox, Senior Council for the Alliance Defense Fund, predicts that, in the long run, these videos will keep coming out.

Also during the program, the founder of Puerto Rico Clearing House, Cate Long, explains how that US territory ended up in default for the first time in history.

Click here to listen, or use the embedded link below.

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Does The First Amendment Protect The Release of Videos …

Bloodlines of the Illuminati: Fritz Springmeier …

 Illuminati  Comments Off on Bloodlines of the Illuminati: Fritz Springmeier …
Jul 222015

The latest edition of Bloodlines of the Illuminati… Direct from the Distrubutor *************************** You’ve seen pieces of the puzzle, but still you wonder… Bloodlines of the Illuminati is a unique historical genealogical who’s-doing-it book, rich in detail, providing a devastating expos of the people and families who are THE movers and shakers of the United States and the entire world. You will recognize some of the names instantly. Many names have been purposely hidden from mainstream view. From international finance to war, presidents and dictators alike pay heed to these people. “Influence” doesn’t even come close to describing their power. They have plans for you. Who are they? Author, Fritz Springmeier provides a wealth of material and inside information based on eyewitnesses. His outstanding research provides facts that are not available elsewhere. When you finish reading this book, the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place and you’ll see the fascinating big picture. You will know who actually runs the New World Order conspiracy, and who is in the Illuminati. You may discover for yourself why Bloodlines of the Illuminati was a bestseller in Japan, a nation which thrives on detail. IF YOU ENJOYED THE PREVIOUS EDITION OF BLOODLINES, YOU’LL LOVE THE NEW EDITION EVEN MORE… completely revised, the new “Bloodlines of the Illuminati” has more info and better photos. The 3rd Edition’s large print size (7″ X 10″) makes for easier reading. * Hot new information exposing Wolf Head (a group similar to Skull & Bones). * New genealogy charts, one shows how 25 Presidents are related, another how Prince Charles is related to Count Dracula. * More information on all the bloodlines.

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Bloodlines of the Illuminati: Fritz Springmeier …

Fifth Amendment | United States Constitution |

 Fifth Amendment  Comments Off on Fifth Amendment | United States Constitution |
Jun 222015

Fifth Amendment,amendment (1791) to the Constitution of the United States, part of the Bill of Rights, that articulates procedural safeguards designed to protect the rights of the criminally accused and to secure life, liberty, and property. For the text of the Fifth Amendment, see below.

Similar to the First Amendment, the Fifth Amendment is divided into five clauses, representing five distinct, yet related, rights. The first clause specifies that [n]o person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger. This grand jury provision requires a body to make a formal presentment or indictment of a person accused of committing a crime against the laws of the federal government. The proceeding is not a trial but rather an ex parte hearing (i.e., one in which only one party, the prosecution, presents evidence) to determine if the government has enough evidence to carry a case to trial. If the grand jury finds sufficient evidence that an offense was committed, it issues an indictment, which then permits a trial. The portion of the clause pertaining to exceptions in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia is a corollary to Article I, Section 8, which grants Congress the power [t]o make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces. Combined, they justify the use of military courts for the armed forces, thus denying military personnel the same procedural rights afforded civilians.

The second section is commonly referred to as the double jeopardy clause, and it protects citizens against a second prosecution after an acquittal or a conviction, as well as against multiple punishments for the same offense. Caveats to this provision include permissions to try persons for civil and criminal aspects of an offense, conspiring to commit as well as to commit an offense, and separate trials for acts that violate laws of both the federal and state governments, although federal laws generally suppress prosecution by the national government if a person is convicted of the same crime in a state proceeding.

The third section is commonly referred to as the self-incrimination clause, and it protects persons accused of committing a crime from being forced to testify against themselves. In the U.S. judicial system a person is presumed innocent, and it is the responsibility of the state (or national government) to prove guilt. Like other pieces of evidence, once presented, words can be used powerfully against a person; however, words can be manipulated in a way that many other objects cannot. Consequently, information gained from sobriety tests, police lineups, voice samples, and the like is constitutionally permissible while evidence gained from compelled testimony is not. As such, persons accused of committing crimes are protected against themselves or, more accurately, how their words may be used against them. The clause, therefore, protects a key aspect of the system as well as the rights of the criminally accused.

The fourth section is commonly referred to as the due process clause. It protects life, liberty, and property from impairment by the federal government. (The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868, protects the same rights from infringement by the states.) Chiefly concerned with fairness and justice, the due process clause seeks to preserve and protect fundamental rights and ensure that any deprivation of life, liberty, or property occurs in accordance with procedural safeguards. As such, there are both substantive and procedural considerations associated with the due process clause, and this has influenced the development of two separate tracks of due process jurisprudence: procedural and substantive. Procedural due process pertains to the rules, elements, or methods of enforcementthat is, its procedural aspects. Consider the elements of a fair trial and related Sixth Amendment protections. As long as all relevant rights of the accused are adequately protectedas long as the rules of the game, so to speak, are followedthen the government may, in fact, deprive a person of his life, liberty, or property. But what if the rules are not fair? What if the law itselfregardless of how it is enforcedseemingly deprives rights? This raises the controversial spectre of substantive due process rights. It is not inconceivable that the content of the law, regardless of how it is enforced, is itself repugnant to the Constitution because it violates fundamental rights. Over time, the Supreme Court has had an on-again, off-again relationship with liberty-based due process challenges, but it has generally abided by the principle that certain rights are implicit in the concept of ordered liberty (Palko v. Connecticut [1937]), and as such they are afforded constitutional protection. This, in turn, has led to the expansion of the meaning of the term liberty. What arguably began as freedom from restraint has transformed into a virtual cornucopia of rights reasonably related to enumerated rights, without which neither liberty nor justice would exist. For example, the right to an abortion, established in Roe v. Wade (1973), grew from privacy rights, which emerged from the penumbras of the constitution.

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Fifth Amendment | United States Constitution |

Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution | Transhumanism