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The "Fairness" Doctrine: America in the Balance

July 28, 2008

Lurking in the gloom of the Democrat agenda is a resuscitation of the so-called "Fairness Doctrine," which would allow the federal government, at the behest of liberal special interests, to selectively harass and intimidate radio stations whose broadcasting format it finds objectionable. Thus, the proliferation of conservative talk-radio and virtually all of the alternative media would be threatened with eventual extinction.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is unquestionably moving in such a direction once again. In only the past few weeks, she has castigated what she terms "right wing hate-radio," while refusing to allow even for Congressional floor debate on a measure that would ensure political discourse on the radio, like all other forms of public dialogue, is protected from the specter of government regulation.

Even the most superficial understanding and regard for the critical importance of free speech and expression should generate nearly universal opposition to the "Fairness" Doctrine from across the political spectrum. After all, if the rights of any segment of society can be abridged, the rights of all others are threatened. And the contentious battle that ensued among the two major Democrats camps this past spring ought to convince both sides of their vital need to have a say if they are to have any hopes for a political future.

Nevertheless, forces are at work within the liberal political establishment, striving to achieve nothing less than a repeal of free speech, at the discretion of those in power. To understand just how tenuous is the current status of the First Amendment, consider the recent close call concerning the Second Amendment.

Admittedly, for the moment at least, the Supreme Court has conceded that it will uphold the Constitution and its guarantee of the inherent rights of the citizens to own and bear arms in its recent "District of Columbia v. Heller" decision. But while Americans can be somewhat reassured that no immediate federal plans are in the works to confiscate their guns, the decision to abide by the clear language of the Second Amendment, at five to four in favor, was hardly reflective of a general respect for the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

In essence, four of the nine Supreme Court "Justices" are comfortable with the concept of simply ignoring the clear language of constitutional law, and substituting their own perceptions and ideologies in its place. Liberal Justice John Paul Stevens, in his dissent, even went so far as to substantiate his arrogant attempt to seize power by scoffing at the notion that the Founders intended for the citizenry be able to defend itself and its rights.

Stevens unabashedly expressed his derision at the possibility that the framers of the Constitution would have made "a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons," which any honest historian knows is exactly what they did. To offer such a disparaging commentary on the past two hundred years of freedom enjoyed by Americans, Stevens must perceive governmental power as the sole asset of the state.

In Stevens' world, along with David Souter and Clinton appointees Stephen Breyer and Ruth Ginsburg, the power of the government does not derive from the consent of the governed (as stated in the Declaration of Independence). Rather, it is imposed upon the people from on high, at the pleasure of those possessing the wisdom, skill, and muscle to dispense it. Moreover, by this and other recent opinions handed down from the High Court, Stevens clearly considers his own office as proof of membership in the "ruling class."

If a one-vote majority is all that currently separates a traditionally free America from a future in which its Second Amendment right of self-defense can be seized under some pretense of the "greater good," is it beyond the realm of possibility that the First Amendment right to protest such an abysmal situation would remain unthreatened? If, as Stevens and the other dissenting Justices have indicated, the ultimate right to bear arms belongs only to those in high office, is it also their opinion that the determination over who can speak freely is the sole propriety of the state?

Clearly, the balance of power at inner circles of the Federal Government teeters between those who respect the constitutionally instituted boundaries and limitations on government necessary for a free society, and those who regard such boundaries and limitations as an ongoing nuisance that must eventually be eradicated.

During the past few decades, the liberal juggernaut that had once seemed destined to thoroughly dominate the future of the nation has been regularly thwarted by grassroots activism, itself inspired and motivated by loud voices of conservatism in the alternative media. An open discussion between "left" and "right" has all too often resulted in the derailing of grandiose liberal plans to reinvent America. And the left simply cannot abide an indefinite continuation of that situation.

So, among those who presume the governing of the "peasantry" to be their inherent right, and any accountability as merely a needless annoyance (as was inarguably the case with the dissenting Justices in D.C. v. Heller), efforts to encroach on all the other precepts of the Bill of Rights hinge on the government's success in neutralizing and thus abolishing the First Amendment. Eliminate the ability of the general public to speak freely, and those in command can eventually negate any passage of the Constitution that they find problematic.

Americans beware of the innocuous sounding term of "Fairness" in this looming Pandora's box. For any concept of "fairness" to be substantiated, some individual or cabal must hold sufficient power to arbitrate over which speech is deemed "fair" and permissible, and which speech is not. And those on the political left would gladly assume such control over the rest of society with no intention of ever letting it go.

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Copyright ©2008 Christopher G. Adamo

Christopher G. Adamo is a resident of southeastern Wyoming and has been involved in state and local politics for many years. He writes for several prominent conservative websites, and has written for regional and national magazines. He is currently the Chief Editorial Writer for The Proud Americans, an advocacy group for America’s seniors, and for all Americans. His contact information and article archives can be found at www.chrisadamo.com, and he can be followed on Twitter @CGAdamo.