According to a front page New York Times news (not opinion) article by Adam Liptak “Weaponizing the First Amendment: How Free Speech Became a Conservative Cudgel,” we must adopt a stance of skepticism toward all this talk of free speech: if we wish to be sophisticated and sensitive, as all good Times readers aspire to be. Free speech? So passé. Only conservatives care about free speech anymore.
This is monumental news: the most influential newspaper in the world, the standard bearer of the Establishment, is announcing that free speech is, or should be, over.
The article states:
The (Supreme) Court’s five conservative members, citing the First Amendment, had just dealt public unions a devastating blow. The day before, the same majority had used the First Amendment to reject a California law requiring religiously oriented “crisis pregnancy centers” to provide women with information about abortion.
Conservatives, said Justice Kagan, who is part of the Court’s four-member liberal wing, were “weaponizing the First Amendment.”
That’s a disquieting thing for a Supreme Court justice to say. Taking a hard line on the First Amendment – the same hard line that has been traditional among liberals – is not to “weaponize” it, as if fundamental principles of the American system were suddenly dangerous weapons, ripe for abuse. The court’s Court’s progressives believe that a religious pregnancy counseling service is giving medical advice, so it should cover all options, including abortion. But pregnancy advice is not merely medical; it is also ethical, religious, political, psychiatric, and deeply personal. Such advice (which, coming from a Christian organization, might include strong pleas not to get an abortion) does not necessarily constitute medical advice at all.
Larry Sanger Quillette – July 4, 2018.