(Hat tip: JohnC)
This has been a very busy day, with me being Mrs. Domestic — driving, shopping, cleaning, cooking…. I also attended a drill working out the bugs in a neighborhood emergency preparedness plan. It was fascinating, and raised a question I wanted to ask of you.
But before I get there, I have to share a link to an article that is one of the best, most even-handed, intelligent, rational, appealing arguments in favor of Free Speech and against the censorship that hides behind the claim that no one should ever be offended — especially Muslims, feminists, minorities, etc. I’ve shared the article with everyone I can think of and I hope you do the same.
And now my question:
The neighborhood emergency preparedness system is based upon a pyramidal flow, with block captains, who are on the ground, reporting to neighborhood captains, who are in a staging area. The neighborhood captains write down all the information coming in (trapped people and injuries) and then they relay it to the medical team (mostly retired doctors and nurses) and the Community Emergency Response Training team (with both these latter teams also at the staging area) who then communicate with the town and county emergency services.
Things went smoothly enough at the drill, with people working hard and mostly knowing their stuff. The drill was useful insofar as it revealed holes and raised questions. One of the questions related to the fact that the neighborhood captains were writing everything down on paper and passing it on up the chain. It was a lovely day but, even with the sun shining, an occasional gust of wind would blow the papers around, causing a certain amount of confusion. The wind made us realize that a real emergency might not happen on a lovely, sunny day with only a light breeze blowing. Instead, it could happen in the middle of a wet, gusty storm.
So here’s my question for you: Do any of you have experience with a field situation in which you have to write down information and pass it on up the line? We’ve figured out that covered plastic boxes can be used to store the papers before they’re in use or while they’re waiting to be passed along, but we don’t know how to deal with the time during which people are writing things down. It’s virtually impossible to write on wet paper. Any suggestions?
George Will explains with remarkable clarity exactly how “campaign finance reform” laws — especially the attempt to amend the Constitution to allow incumbents to regulate political spending — are nothing more than restrictions on free speech:
Yet another day where I start with an apology for not writing more or writing sooner. I had what I think is a fairly severe arthritis flair-up, loaded myself up with anti-inflammatory meds, and took a long nap. Thankfully, I’m feeling better and moving easier, so it’s time to write! Here goes:
Jonah Goldberg on Obama’s slo-mo rush to not-war
After years of hiding his head in the sand, Obama has suddenly realized that there are dangerous people out there, and they’ve got their guns aimed at us. He’s now desperately trying to rush us slowly into something that looks like war, acts like war, and talks like war, but isn’t actually war, and he’s not going to listen to any advice from old fogies like generals or admirals. Jonah Goldberg suggests that, given Obama’s ignorance, reluctance, denial, and ineptitude, Obama might want to slow that “rush” down a little:
We are through the looking glass when it is okay to say that opposition to requiring elderly nuns to pay for birth control is part of a “war on women” but airstrikes and coordinated ground attacks by allied militias aren’t like a “war” on terrorists.
Although we shouldn’t forget that there is one man brave enough to step up and say there is a war go on — John Kerry! Yes, John “Jen-jis Khan” Kerry, has announced that there is a indeed a war going on, between ISIS and . . . not not the United States or the West. (Fooled you!)
Instead, John “yes, there is a war” Kerry has announced that ISIS is at war with Islam. No wonder the folks at Power Line are wondering whether John Kerry is actually a GOP agent, working hard to discredit the Democrats.
Also on the subject of not-War, you can’t afford to miss Daniel Greenfield’s “Don’t Mention the War.”
The horrors of war by lawyer
[I]f the Marines sought to engage in any more than a running skirmish in response to shots fired while they were out on patrol, a battalion, not of fellow warriors but of lawyers, had to review the proposed fight plan first to make sure that it didn’t violate the ROEs. Even knowing about this bureaucratic, legalistic twist on warfare, reading about it in One Million Steps is still a shock. It’s just mind-boggling that lawyers were calling the shots in a genuine ground war (as opposed to the lawyer’s usual field of battle — a courtroom). Wars are fluid, dynamic situations; lawyers are stolid, cautious, and risk-averse. To make fighters in the war dependent on lawyers is insane.
It’s not just on the battlefield that the lawyers’ innate caution is bolloxing things up with it comes to fighting a fast-moving, deadly, and determined enemy. Daniel Henninger explains that way up the line, at the Obama command level, lawyers are also interfering with what should be battlefield strategies (emphasis mine):
The complex elements of modern American warfare include not only sophisticated ground-based troops but air power, unmanned drones, electronic surveillance, and the capture and interrogation of enemy combatants. Every one of those elements of U.S. military power has become a litigation battleground.
However intellectually interesting these disputes over our rights and values, each adds another thicket of legal consideration before, or even during, military action. There are now 10,000 lawyers in the Department of Defense. The legal staff assigned to Gen. Dempsey alone could fill a law firm. No one goes to war in this country until those DoD lawyers—plus lawyers at the Justice Department and White House—define in detail the parameters of battle.
The U.S. military has become a giant Gulliver wrapped in a Lilliput of lawyers.
Indeed, the White House has just announced the our nation’s top lawyer himself — that would be Harvard Law Review editor Barack Obama — will have to sign off on every single strike in our not-war against Islam:
The president hasn’t yet given the green light for an attack on Islamic State militants in Syria, but the U.S. military campaign against the group there is being designed to allow President Barack Obama to exert a high degree of personal control–going so far as to require that the military obtain presidential signoff for strikes.
Do you remember Jodi Kantor, in The Obamas, telling about Obama’s devotion to his own skills:
Obama had always had a high estimation of his ability to cast and run his operation. When David Plouffe, his campaign manager, first interviewed for a job with him in 2006, the senator gave him a warning: “I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it,” he said. “It’s hard to give up control when that’s all I’ve known.” Obama said nearly the same thing to Patrick Gaspard, whom he hired to be the campaign’s political director. “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Obama told him. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.” (p. 66.)
Now we can add something new to Obama’s list: In his own estimation, Obama is a better military adviser than people who have actually studied and gone to war. This is what happens when a man of few distinguishing qualifications starts believing the media’s PR about him. He’s not just a “black Jesus,” he’s also the second coming of Alexander the Great.
Funny illnesses cropping up all over
I mentioned at the top of this post that I might have had a serious arthritis flare-up. It’s entirely possible, though, that I’m actually getting sick. A lot of wacky illnesses are circulating, not the least of which is the hitherto “unknown in America” mystery virus hospitalizing kids all over the place, which is not a common “back to school” feature.
A Power Line reader has suggested what we’re all thinking: Is this a byproduct of the sick, illegal kids the Obama administration has been shipping all over the US? Perhaps what we’re seeing here is the indigenous people’s revenge: after 300-400 years, they’re going to wipe us out as surely as Europeans did back in the 16th and 18th centuries, when they exposed vulnerable indigenous populations to diseases that had become tolerably endemic in European cities.
The Israel yardstick
I told my mother that an ideology’s approach to Israel tends to be an extremely accurate way to measure whether it’s a good ideology or not. Look anywhere in the world, and wherever you find Israel-haters, you’ll find racism, totalitarian impulses, homophobia, misogyny, a fondness for euthanasia against any vulnerable populations, etc. Knowing this, it’s worth thinking about the implications flowing from the Democrat party’s ever-increasing hostility to Israel.
More evidence that, when he scratch a Leftist, you find an antisemite
Etsy.com, an online sales collective for artists, recently banned the sale of any goods that reference the Washington “Redskins” on the ground that the team’s name and logo are so offensive it would pollute the site to carry them. Etsy, however, is perfectly happy marketing swastikas. Read all about Etsy’s peculiar biases and preferences here.
I’ve never shopped at Etsy, nor had I planned ever to shop there, so I can’t make a statement by boycotting the site. But if I did shop there, I’d immediately stop doing so.
One Leftist anti-Semite just got the recognition she deserves
Over at the Watcher’s Council, council members have voted for this week’s weasel, a Leftist anti-Semite and all around idiot. You’ll have to visit the site to see which specific Leftist, antisemitic idiot won, though.
Jewish gun organization surviving in different form
I believe every Jew should own, or at least know how to fire, a gun. (I also believe all Jews should know self-defense.)
I only recently learned that there was a Jewish pro-Second Amendment in the US, called Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership. Unfortunately, through a disastrous combination of ill-health and health-related fatalities, the JPFO looked as if it was going under. Fortunately, though, those still able to manage the group realized that they needed to reach out for help. The JPFO is now merging with the Second Amendment Foundation, a forty-year old organization with 650,000 members. Yay.
More evidence, if you needed it, that climate change is faith, not science
We’ve discussed here before the fact that, because climate change is a non-falsifiable theory, it’s religious in nature, not scientific. If you’d like further evidence of the fact that climate change must always be accepted as core truth, no matter how the data changes, get a load of this AOL news headline: “Global warming likely to cause colder and snowier winters, scientists say.” And yes, the “news” story attached says just that: global warming means global cooling — Praise be to Gaia!
The scientific consensus was wrong AGAIN
I’ve never liked artificial sweeteners, since I think they taste nasty. Also, while I’m not one of those people who insists on all-natural, all-organic food, I viscerally felt that the body handles real sugar better than fake stuff. In my mind, it was better to eat real sugar in smaller amounts, rather than to load up on artificially sweetened food.
A doctor acquaintance of mine ridiculed me. His argument? If you ever go to a medical conference that offers both sugared and artificially-sweetened soda, the doctors will all go for the artificially sweetened stuff.
Well, in another blow to conventional wisdom amongst scientists, it turns out that artificial sweeteners mess with the body’s chemistry, contributing to obesity and diabetes among other things. Let’s just say that I’m not surprised, either about sweetener’s dangers or about the scientific community being wrong again.
The Orwellian nature of campus “free speech” zones
You and I like this poster:
Over at Penn State, however, the campus authorities wouldn’t like anything about that poster. Although they have a “free speech” area, it turns out that they only allow such speech as they’ve previously vetted and permitted to occur in that area. And we wonder why American college students come out dumber than they went in, despite their glossy patina of Marxist catch-phrases.
A lost America
Caped Crusader sent me the link for a beautiful elegy for an America lost:
We, largely rural kids of the small-town South, represented without knowing it a culture, an approach to existence, and a devastating principle: You can’t impose decency, honesty, good behavior, or responsibility. They are in the culture, or they are not. If they are, you don’t need laws, police, and supervision. If they are not, laws won’t much help. And this is why the US is over, at least as the country we knew.
Read the whole thing here.
I should add that the kids in my community have a good culture too. They don’t run to gangs, they work hard in school, and, except for drugs and alcohol, they’re generally law-abiding. But rather than seeming like the face of America, they often seem like an aberrant group, peeled out of the 1950s, with a stop-over in the 1960s to pick up on the drug culture.
Andrew Klavan takes on Obama’s contention that ISIS/ISIL/IS is not Islam
This isn’t one of Klavan’s best, and I’m not surprised. The administration has cut itself adrift from reality, and it’s hard to parody lunacy. Nevertheless, Klavan gives it the old college try and it’s still a fun video:
Yesterday, as we were driving along, my daughter asked me if I’d heard about the gal in Texas, a college student, who posts pictures of her African big game shots (some dead, some tranquilized) on Facebook. I’d heard about it vaguely, so my daughter elaborated.
“They’re trying to kick her off Facebook. I think she should be banned.”
“I don’t,” I replied.
She gave an outraged gasp!
“You support her going around and killing all those innocent animals? Some of them are endangered! That’s awful.”
I answered, “I don’t like big game hunting. It doesn’t make sense to me to kill for sport, but not everyone agrees with me. So let me ask you this: Is what she’s doing legal?”
“Yes,” said my daughter, “but it’s a horrible thing to do.”
I gave the only answer a good First Amendment libertarian could give: “Just because you don’t like it, that’s not a reason to ban her from speaking. Banning her from speaking is tyrannical. Saying ‘I disagree with you, so shut up’ is not a valid argument in a free society. A functional free society has to let people speak even if they disagree with each other. There are extremes where even the most free society should and will prevent speech, such as a gathering to talk about killing a president or the famous ‘shouting Fire! in a crowded theater’ type of talk. Otherwise, you have to be willing to accept that others don’t agree with you. If you don’t, you end up with a country in which everyone has to think the same thoughts and do, and say, the same things.”
“Okay, I get it,” she wearily replied. “Don’t get on the soapbox again. Anyway, this whole thing has been good for her. She says she got 600 new fans. [Pause.] Who would ever like her page?”
“That’s easy. People who believe in hunting or people who want to make a point that, in a free society, ‘free speech’ includes speech that not everyone supports.”
Nothing new here, but all so delightfully expressed:
I’ve written before about Mark Steyn’s epic battle and equally epic Answer and Counterclaim in the suit that discredited “Hockey Stick” artiste, Michael Mann filed against him and the National Review. What I forgot to tell you is that there is a way you can help Mark Steyn, who is not sharing his defense with National Review, pay the costs of this suit. (Steyn’s currently representing himself, although I do not know whether he parted ways with his lawyer because they had a substantive disagreement or because Steyn could no longer afford him/her.)
Click here to learn about buying a Mark Steyn gift certificate. You can choose not to redeem the gift certificate, leaving all the money in his hands, or you can redeem it for actual merchandise, which still leaves him with the profit margin. It’s a good deal all around.
As everyone in the world now knows, Phil Robertson said in a magazine interview that he didn’t understand the attraction of gay sex. Even worse, he added that, while he wouldn’t presume to judge sexual behavior (or, rather, misbehavior), he had no doubt that God will do some judging. His words created a thought-police firestorm. Leading the charge was GLAAD, formerly known as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
It’s important to understand that GLAAD is not an advocacy group for LGBTQ rights. Advocacy groups are valued players in a free society. GLAAD is, instead, a thuggish organization that works by destroying people’s livelihoods if they fall afoul of its party line. Robert Oscar Lopez describes how GLAAD uses its tactics of blackmail and intimidation against anyone who suggests that there are downsides to the gay lifestyle or to the social and political agenda the gay lobby pushes. One doesn’t have to agree with Lopez to be shocked at GLAAD’s truly McCarthy-esque tactics. So again, the problem isn’t what GLAAD stands for; the problem is its bullying.
As part of its mission to purge people guilty of anything it deems a thought-crime, GLAAD monitors American speech for any statements about gay and lesbians. If this speech isn’t unabashed cheer-leading about the LGBTQ lifestyle, GLAAD instantly declares it “hate speech.” Then, instead of countering this so-called “hate speech” with more speech, GLAAD leads the charge to destroy the speaker. Up until last year, when GLAAD attacked a high-profile person or institution, its efforts resulted in one response and one response alone: craven retreat and abject apologies from the speaker.
Phil Robertson, however, refused to play GLAAD’s game, even when his employer, A&E, immediately caved and fired Phil. Ranking his God higher than GLAAD’s outrage, he didn’t even bother to mumble an apology for the fact that someone had hurt feelings. Instead, he stood firm and his family backed him up. It was A&E, rather than Robertson, who was forced to back down.
The Phil Robertson episode marked the first time that anyone in the public eye refused to let a Leftist thought-control organization bully him. At the time, I wondered whether, by doing so, Robertson would inspire others to take a stand — and perhaps he did. In first month of 2013, two stars have stood up to Leftist censors.
The first one to do so was Liam Payne, who belongs to the massively successful pop group One Direction. He sent out a tweet saying “@williebosshog huge love to you/your family huge respect for your business prosperities and the family values you still all behold. big fan” GLAAD and its media followers (meaning everyone in the MSM) predictably moved in for the kill, essentially telling Payne that his career was at stake for daring to support the homophobic Robertson clan.
Payne launched an aggressive counterattack against the media for trying to police his speech (slight language alert):
Being a fan of someones show and the way they still hold a family together doesnt mean i am ok with all they say.
— Liam Payne (@Real_Liam_Payne) January 18, 2014
Oh my god can someone literally not be a fan if a show without bring labeled WTf I bought dinner the other day it made a news story — Liam Payne (@Real_Liam_Payne) January 19, 2014
I can’t do anything without being judged u try that and write about it
— Liam Payne (@Real_Liam_Payne) January 19, 2014
And I know I’m playing into your hands writing these tweets but I’m sick of stupid stories it’s time you all grow up
— Liam Payne (@Real_Liam_Payne) January 19, 2014
And write about things that actually matter not what im gunna have for dinner tomorrow or who I’m a fan if real stories
— Liam Payne (@Real_Liam_Payne) January 19, 2014
All those tweets are aimed at journalists and bloggers not fans
— Liam Payne (@Real_Liam_Payne) January 19, 2014
Sick of all this bull il be back again when the freedom of speech law is back and people don’t believe to much into the bulls#!t they read
— Liam Payne (@Real_Liam_Payne) January 19, 2014
As you can see, Payne’s fight with the thought police happened almost two weeks ago. So far as I know, his career continues to thrive.
Just this past week, yet another superstar found herself in the speech police’s cross hairs. This time, the target was Scarlett Johansson, the voluptuous blonde actress who signed on to become a spokeswoman for SodaStream. SodaStream is a very successful Israeli company that has a factory in a West Bank settlement. It employs Palestinians and Israeli’s alike, paying them equal wages, providing good working conditions, and creating an environment within which Jews and Palestinians can see each other as people, not stereotypes. This is an especially good deal for the Palestinian workers, who usually live in heinous economic circumstances, even as their leaders squirrel away in private accounts the billions in foreign aid that the world’s nations send annually to the Palestinians.
Naturally, the Left can’t have that. You see, for all its talk, the Left has no interest in seeing Palestinians have a decent quality of life. Instead, the Left shares with the radical Islamists the goal of seeing Israel — a capitalist liberal democracy — wiped from the face of the earth. The best way to achieve this is to keep Palestinians living in execrable conditions so as to stoke rage against Israelis.
Put another way, keeping the Palestinian masses in the ghetto is a win for everyone except the Israelis and the Palestinians: the Arab leaders in surrounding nations get to have an excuse for the fact that their people are the impoverished residents of tyrannical rulers; the mullahs and imams get to maintain their control by directing credulous Muslims to engage in an endless Holy War against the Jews; and the Left gets to continue its efforts to destroy the sole liberal democracy in a medieval, tyrannical region.
Enter Oxfam. I learned about Oxfam when I was living in England back in the early 1980s. As a student, I had no money, so my friends told me to check out Oxfam for things I needed. I therefore went to an Oxfam shop, prepared to find that it was something like a Goodwill or Salvation Army store. I didn’t make it past the front door, which was liberally decorated with pro-PLO literature. That is, it was supporting, not just the Palestinians, but the terrorist arm of the Palestinians. I never went near an Oxfam’s again.
Scarlett Johansson, however, probably didn’t realize that Oxfam has always supported terrorists. When she agreed to be an Oxfam representative, she was probably responding to its claim that it works to empower poor people around the world:
One person in three in the world lives in poverty. Oxfam is determined to change that world by mobilizing the power of people against poverty.
Around the globe, Oxfam works to find practical, innovative ways for people to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive. We save lives and help rebuild livelihoods when crisis strikes. And we campaign so that the voices of the poor influence the local and global decisions that affect them.
We work directly with communities and we seek to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.
In all we do, Oxfam works with partner organizations and alongside vulnerable women and men to end the injustices that cause poverty.
What Scarlett Johansson just discovered, though, is that when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians, Oxfam does not work “to find practical, innovative ways for people to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive.” Instead, its anti-Israel, antisemitic ideological bias is so overwhelming, that it works overtime to keep the Palestinians mired deep in poverty, rather than allowing them to achieve economic success through work with an ideologically liberal Israeli corporation.
In the normal course of things — i.e., in the pre-Phil Robertson days — once the speech and thought police got on her case, Johansson should have been expected to break her contract with Israel and go crawling back to Oxfam. She didn’t, though. Instead, she made a public statement disassociating herself from Oxfam:
While I never intended on being the face of any social or political movement, distinction, separation or stance as part of my affiliation with SodaStream, given the amount of noise surrounding that decision, I’d like to clear the air.
I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine. SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights. That is what is happening in their Ma’ale Adumim factory every working day. As part of my efforts as an Ambassador for Oxfam, I have witnessed first-hand that progress is made when communities join together and work alongside one another and feel proud of the outcome of that work in the quality of their product and work environment, in the pay they bring home to their families and in the benefits they equally receive.
I believe in conscious consumerism and transparency and I trust that the consumer will make their own educated choice that is right for them. I stand behind the SodaStream product and am proud of the work that I have accomplished at Oxfam as an Ambassador for over 8 years. Even though it is a side effect of representing SodaStream, I am happy that light is being shed on this issue in hopes that a greater number of voices will contribute to the conversation of a peaceful two state solution in the near future.
Major kudos to Johansson for resisting the coercive pressure from the Left. It turns out that there’s a beautiful personality behind that beautiful face.
Did Phil Robertson’s refusal to back down to GLAAD have anything to do with Payne’s and Johansson’s willingness to withstand pressure from GLAAD and Oxfam? I don’t know. I just know that sixty years ago, it took just one speech to destroy the apparently unlimited power that Sen. Joseph McCarthy had wielded for so many years in the United States Senate:
1. British Christians are slowly being banned from advocating traditional Christian views . . . such as the belief that marriage should involve one man and one woman. The only allowable morality is that which does not align with traditional Judeo-Christian doctrines.
2. A well-known Hispanic actress was fired from play because she supports a Tea Party candidate. “‘Of course she has the right to say whatever she wants. But we’re in the middle of the Mission [District in San Francisco]. Doing what she is doing is against what we believe,’ Lopez [wife of far Left S.F. Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi] said.” In other words, Hispanics are not allowed not hold any views inconsistent with the Democrat party platform.
3. Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York: “The Republican Party candidates are running against the SAFE Act — it was voted for by moderate Republicans who run the Senate! Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.” Support the Second Amendment? New York is not the place for you. Agree with roughly half the country that pregnant women aren’t the ones making a “sacrifice” when they abort a fetus? Leave New York. Now!!
That’s just from the past couple of days. Please feel free to add any I missed.
As always, Mark Steyn’s whole essay is worth reading, but this quotation below is the part that bears remembering and repeating:
Look, I’m an effete foreigner who likes show tunes. My Broadway book was on a list of “Twelve Books Every Gay Man Should Read.” Andrew Sullivan said my beard was hot. Leonard Bernstein stuck his tongue in my mouth (long story). But I’m not interested in living in a world where we have to tiptoe around on ever thinner eggshells. If it’s a choice between having celebrity chefs who admit to having used the N-word in 1977 (or 1965, or 1948, or whenever the hell it was) and reality-show duck-hunters who quote Corinthians and Alec Baldwin bawling out some worthless paparazzo who’s doorstepping his family with a “homophobic” slur, or having all of them banished from public life and thousands upon millions more too cowed and craven to speak lest the same fate befall them, I’ll take the former any day.
Because the latter culture would be too boring for any self-respecting individual to want to live in, even more bloody boring than the current TV landscape where, aside from occasional eruptions of unerotic twerking by sexless skanks, every other show seems to involve snippy little Pajama Boys sitting around snarking at each other in the antiseptic eunuch pose that now passes for “ironic.” It’s “irony” as the last circle of Dante’s cultural drain; it’s why every show advertised as “edgy” and “transgressive” offers the same pitiful combination of attitude and impotence as a spayed cat humping.
Piers Morgan makes money in America, but doesn’t understand America. Following the Duck Dynasty explosion, Morgan tweeted out that the First Amendment “shouldn’t protect vile bigots” like Phil Robertson.
Au contraire, Piers. Putting aside the fact that this is not a First Amendment kerfuffle (A&E is not the government), Robertson’s speech is precisely the type that gets First Amendment protection. Popular speech doesn’t need any protection. To the extent speech needs protection, it’s unpopular speech that is covered under the First Amendment.
There are limitations, insofar as the Supreme Court has given the government leave to act against speech intended to create imminent acts of violence or that are blatant falsehoods against private citizens. Otherwise, though, in America you’re allowed to say things that other people don’t like or with which they disagree. Free speech and guns are each citizen’s primary bulwark against despotic government.