1997-12-19 - Re: Freedom Forum report on the State of the First Amendment

Header Data

From: David Honig <honig@otc.net>
To: Marc Rotenberg <cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: ff9b711ab398f96670d4c703754dda9dfb3c94dd548a23bf33e42c9dbba79243
Message ID: <>
Reply To: <v0310280ab0bf85cba6f6@[]>
UTC Datetime: 1997-12-19 18:24:31 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 20 Dec 1997 02:24:31 +0800

Raw message

From: David Honig <honig@otc.net>
Date: Sat, 20 Dec 1997 02:24:31 +0800
To: Marc Rotenberg <cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: Freedom Forum report on the State of the First Amendment
In-Reply-To: <v0310280ab0bf85cba6f6@[]>
Message-ID: <>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At 10:40 PM 12/18/97 -0500, Marc Rotenberg wrote:

>Tim's analysis is nonsensical.
>A government employee loses his job because of his political
>views. He brings a lawsuit, alleging a violation of the First
>Amendment, and eventually prevails in the Supreme Court.
>A non-government employee who loses his job because of his
>political views would have no cause of action because the
>private employer is not bound by the First Amendment.
>Therefore there should be far fewer government employees
>to prevent further erosion of the First Amendment.

I.e., people not working for the government have no first-amendment claims
agains their employer since the *first amendment constrains only government*.

>>Suppose RealBig Corporation fired Umbehr for his views. Would a First
>>Amendment issue have arisen? Of course not. In a free society, RealBig is
>>free to hire whom it wishes, and to refuse to hire niggers, homos,
>>perverts, Jews, whatever. And to fire anyone who wrote opinions the
>>managers at RealBig disliked.
>Substitute "fascist society" for "free society" in the paragraph
>above and the discussion begins to make some sense. Hell, it's even
>historically accurate.

Marc, you have declared how far you take freedom: you apparently
believe it is proper for the government to intervene in private hiring
decisions.  Unfortunately many americans believe this intrusion is justified.

A less statist viewpoint holds that government should not be used to control
employment  since both parties consent voluntarily -and therefore,
an employer has the right to hire and fire at will -including for
'distasteful' reasons.

The issue is confounded in the anecdote because the employer is government
in this case, 
and we might expect government to be obligated to hire and fire only on the
basis of merit.  In a *free* world *employers* can fire for speech;
government can't
interfere in speech.  

In the US today, employers do not have that freedom.  Government outlaws
employers freedom to hire and fire ---except against recreational
pharmaceutical consumers--- and the populace considers this permissible in
the name of harmony.  

If one ever questions this in public, as Tim did, the liberal response is
to show that
unPC 'discrimination' is possible if humans are free, and then the dutiful
citizen gladly sacrifices employers' liberty for their warm and fuzzy

The first amendment is about what government can't do to you, not what your
neighbor can or can't do.

      David Honig                   Orbit Technology
     honig@otc.net                  Intaanetto Jigyoubu

	M-16 : Don Quixote :: PGP : Louis Freeh
         Let freedom ring (or screech at 28.8)