(Original source: Getty Images.  Modified with Moku Hanga app by P. Verbica.)

On Notice:
The Sunsetting of the First Amendment
© 2020 by Peter Coe Verbica

Granted, I am still learning after nearly six decades on this planet.  For example, before this week, I knew nothing of another’s late mother and her past time in Missouri: she would carefully tie the legs of June bugs with sewing thread.  Her children would subsequently watch in delight as the insects flew in perfect circles.  I was dumbfounded by the novelty of the story.  But, those were the days when families made their own ice cream, girls knew how to play piano and boys shot rabbits for supper. Entertainment was a luxury then and I suppose we can view with some compassion the creative and inventive souls who came before us.

Over the past few years, despite the warnings of close friends, I’ve written on wildly unpopular topics, including the federal debt and danger of currency devaluation, the ghosting of the older white male by corporate America, how decades of underbuilding housing supply due to regulatory abuse affects how people vote, real examples of heroism by those who stand up to Communist tyrants versus those who take a knee on a football field, and more.  In our era of blacked-out bread trucks and buses filled with thugs intent on burning down small towns, I suppose it was only a matter of time when I would have to once again pick up a pen.

Leftists and the “Cancel Culture” have been busier than a trusted librarian cutting out etchings from rare books to put kids through college.  Statues are ransacked and police stations defaced as mayors check opinion polls before deciding whether the Rule of Law should be honored.  State flags are under revision, and barracks, bases and battleships are to be renamed.  In the 1930s, German extremists and their Austrian pals piled up books as fuel for pyres.  Perhaps this trend will be next, but with digital storage books needn’t be burned to the detriment of the environment.  Like Hao Haidong’s social media account followed by millions, texts will simply be erased.  Gone is Rushdie’s exhortation about the importance of debate in free society.

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“The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted. While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty. We uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters. But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought. More troubling still, institutional leaders, in a spirit of panicked damage control, are delivering hasty and disproportionate punishments instead of considered reforms.”

Harper's Magazine

Gloves Off

California politics have changed, but not for reasons that you might think. As more and more Californians become oppressed renters, due to a lack of housing supply, they’re more prone to vote for policies which penalize owners. Interested in more Republicans in California? Reform land use!