As an example of the word-bewitching to which human consciousness is so successfully susceptible, consider what I was reading the other day.
It was a typical 600-page history with a typical 100-page apparatus.
And its subject was mid-19th century America.
I read there how both the Democrats and the Republicans saw their own side as representing “self-government and freedom.”
“Of course,” you might be wondering, “so what?” Or at least that could be the thought of some of our readers.
And why not? “Self-government and freedom” is a phrase of familiar formation. It’s been memorized as much as “The Star Spangled Banner.” America stands for self-government and freedom as much as it stands for “Oh-oh say can you see.” Or, these days in neo-nationalist piety, I’ve heard it kneels. Likewise, both political parties stand for America. Indeed, each claims to stand better than the other, even to the exclusion of the other’s insidious sectarian prejudicial errors. It reminds me of marriage when there’s a dispute over the gender of the truth or the universe. Republican is yang or masculine, Democrat is yin or feminine. And they both know they’re right in the great circle of life as they chase their tails. And their tales.
But we won’t get into any such domestic discourse here over the gender of America. After all, maybe the next commemorative coin as mandated by Congress should portray Miss Liberty as a “T” as in LGBTQ. Or maybe Miss Justice at the Supreme Court should be pulled down and replaced with a T: strong chin, décolleté, big hands holding the scale.
Meanwhile, I’m sure you recall that the United States doesn’t stand for freedom.
The United States stands for liberty.
Liberty is different than freedom. And it’s different in the same way that a republic is different from a democracy.
Of course, freedom and democracy are a match for each other, and they deserve each other — just like many couples in marriage do.
Freedom is word that means without restraint. Indeed, freedom is an absolute word. It implies and even demands a complete absence of restriction. But in a universe with universal gravitation, freedom is a word without a referent. Freedom could only happen in a heaven beyond outer space and everything else. But then the question arises: What would you do there? Indeed, what could you do there? Everything? Nothing? Cosmo-emotive demotic endorphins? Is there even a there there? We’re back to the page one of Hegel’s Logic, and Marx’s critique of religion.
Liberty, in contrast, implies restraints and restrictions. Liberty is an experienced word. It’s a word familiar with the universe and human affairs. The very sound of the word signifies its meaning. In the army, a soldier gets liberty for 48 hours, not freedom. Of course, some “warriors” try to convert their liberty into freedom, whereupon the MPs teach them a lesson in civics.
As for self-government, that’s a phrase even you’ve had occasion to use. And yet the phrase cannot mean what its words explicitly say. A self-government would be what a car — an automobile — etymologically is, and what an e-car actually is: a transport that runs by itself. But the American people don’t govern themselves. Americans choose representatives for their various governments to run their governments for them.
Self-government could only occur in democracy or anarchism. But the devoted advocates of anarchism insistently decline to have the word “govern” applied to them. Therefore, self-government can only refer to democracies.
But America isn’t a democracy.
America never was a democracy.
And America never will be a democracy.
America is a republic.
It’s a big republic.
A big federal republic.
A big federal commercial republic.
America is a big federal commercial republic with a mind-your-own-business buzz-off free spirited attitude that bitches the busy bodies found in bureaucracies everywhere. What a rotund pleasure it is to watch bureaucrats sub-functionally funk when they see their socially accomplished nonchalant superiors flourishing with self-directed republican aplomb.
Maybe that’s why Trump irritates the Democrats so much. He doesn’t need their tax-provided services — less the cost of paying for their lifestyle incomes and ample pensions. That’s lese bureaucracy! And then Trump suggests that others don’t need them either. That’s terminal. Launch on sight!
Meanwhile, I’m pleased to announce that, this semester, after a month on the subject, all students in both sections of my political course now recognize that America is a republic, not a democracy. I can’t say that’s always been the case. In previous semesters, some students have completed my course even unto the final exam still believing that America is a democracy. And their grades reflected their understanding. It’s curious that these inchoate scholars were always American citizens. My foreign students, especially from Viet Nam, always understand the republican nature of America and its liberties. But, then, they’re more experienced in hands-on world history. Like the Founders reflecting on human nature, they’ve been there and they’ve done it.
At its meaningful most — as a casual convenience of abbreviation — the phrase “self-governing” means a form of government that’s rid itself of any and all haute impositions of royalty, aristocracy, and church autocracy. These once-upon-a-time tolerated “higher” classes were able to rule, tax, and coerce without reference to those ruled, taxed, and coerced. In contrast, in a republic, the people choose their governors, who then rule and coerce them — and themselves. But the people still don’t rule themselves.
Good reasons for this lack of self-government — of autonomy: of auto-nomos — are easy to discover when observing human nature. For example, give humans the opportunity — the intelligent civil leisure — to revel in self-directed higher engagements so they may amplify themselves with the universe. This is precisely what college provides. And yet so many students end up on their dorm beds texting and gaming when not just lazing in a torpor of carnal estivation.
You can see why, that just as freedom and democracy are a match for each other, so liberty and republicanism are, too.
You might also have noticed an apparent contradiction between the above observations and the Bill of Rights. The 1st Amendment says “freedom” and not “liberty” of speech. But that’s a contradiction only in words, and not in meanings. The use of the word “freedom” by Madison was a piece of advocacy. Freedom was a national advertisement — i.e., propaganda — to render the Bill of Rights more attractive and get the Constitution adopted. Freedom is sexier than liberty. Freedom intimates absolute fun without stop signs anywhere. Meanwhile, anyone who has contemplated just how much “freedom of speech” actually exists in America, and has listed the restrictions — terrorist threats, treason, perjury, slander, obscenity, fighting words, deceptive advertisement, disturbing the peace, etc. etc. etc. — soon recognizes how highly restricted that so-called freedom is.
In fact, the freedom of speech is not a freedom.
It’s a liberty.
If Madison had nonetheless insisted on using the word “freedom” along with “speech,” and at the same time was his usual grammatically and conceptually rigorous self, he would have written “freedom-of-speech.” In other words, freedom-of-speech isn’t freedom with reference to speech. There’s no such thing as freedom. But freedom-of-speech is a real opening of the public domain to forthright political speech. In other words, freedom-of-speech is liberty of speech.
As for the use of the word “rule” in the previous passage, I intentionally introduced it to be provocative. We can now see its republican impossibility. In a republic, the rulers don’t rule. The reason is simple. There are no rulers in a republic. Rulers and their domains have been replaced in republics by governors who run the republics. Or run them into the ground.
This change of words — from ruler to governor — isn’t a pretty exercise in civic euphemisms. It signifies a real phase change in human relations. It’s comparable to the transition that occurred between the classicism of the Enlightenment, and the passionism of Romanticism that has flourished since. Biology replaced physics as the model of world knowledge and universal interaction. The classical universe was a God-made empty box of infinite space. In it chunks of lifeless stuff bopped about in linear time. This mobile but morbid universe — a world of zombie stuff — was replaced by a self-containing universe of vitalistic growth. The classical metric of motion was a number line. Now it’s a biology of time. For this, Hegel created a logic of change. In the same way, Newton had created a mathematics of change for his mechanics of world motion which replaced the Platonic stasis of pyramids and cubes. Newton’s mathematics of motion is, of course, the calculus. Hegel’s logic is the dialectic, or what I call concept logic. Marx, of course, used it for his world comprehension of economic progress. As everyone knows from reading The Manifesto, capitalism is the greatest event in human history. Except, that is, for communism, which would end human history. But communism ended tens of humans of lives instead with its domestic monstrosities and ruinous wars. And now, as history goes on, we’re still cleaning up the mess. Hoxa is gone, but the Kims are still here.
And now that we’ve cleared the firing range of today’s obstructive ideas, let’s lock and load for this week’s Gun.
But first, please stand for “The Star Spangled Banner.”
When you have completed your patriotic display, please log into “MyAmerica.gov.all”, enter your social, and press “1”. To repeat this Americanism, press “2”. Or press “0” to be transferred to the Department of Homeland Security. Compliance officers are standing by.
And now, patriots of veracity and laughter, friends of truth and fun, devotees of reality and happiness, let’s begin!
I can remember how irritated my siblings and I would get at South Bend Symphony concerts when we were wards of our parents. The symphonic season always began with “The Star Spangled Banner.” Or was it every performance even? Regardless, the egregiousness of it all still lingers in my memory. To go from that patriotic piece of booming pride to Mozart or even Rossini was always a shock. My nervous system is still vibrating from the blast and the contrast. Only a long vacation at Lethe Beach will ever wash away that bathetic memory.
Previously I attributed this bombastic beginning — this 4th of July ruckus — to the founding conductor of the orchestra. He was then a gentleman of years who could remember the horse and buggy days and other ephemeral obsolescences. Indeed, probably everything he remembered was obsolete — except classical music. Or so we contemporary children undoubtedly surmised in ever-modern America. Only many years later did I read that the New York Philharmonic began its concerts in the same patriotic way. The big difference is that New York probably started the trend, which South Bend then belatedly copied. And then New York ended the trend, which South Bend then belatedly copied. But, of course, America has done this all so very often. Broadway operas. Abstract emptyism. Urban deconstruction.
In the case of symphony orchestras, the playing of the national anthem probably started c. 1917 as a unifying war measure of freedom against Wilhelm’s nun-raping autocracy and Lenin’s slob-mob democracy. In that way, the pe4rformance of the anthem was a symbolic war word. (See my Republic, Ch. 41.) Or, perhaps, its use began earlier with Roosevelt & Co. as a piece of “bully” bombast in association with the general headiness of America’s new identity. The US in 1900 was suddenly the world’s leading industrial power, and it was also an important imperialist accumulator of world properties in exotic or at least humid locations.
Either way, the national anthem serves no good purpose specific to an aesthetic venue of great symphonic pieces. It does educationally remind us, though, of how seriously second-rate that national piece of music is. It’s not the anthem of Finland or Germany by Sibelius or Haydn.
In contrast, the use of the anthem in sports venues is rather more justifiable. Team sports are verisimilitudes of war. Lacrosse was once a ferocious game played for days across vast territories resulting in numerous deaths. The Indian tribes intentionally played lacrosse as a kind of war practice. Since then, the game has been somewhat tamed for the gentler sensibilities of college students bound for office jobs and the golf course.
Meanwhile, other games, especially football, remain vigorous. An unofficial part of football consists of injuring the opponent players. Mind you, you don’t want to kill or maim the players, but just disable them for a while.
The blood enthusiasms that get tribally aroused by such bellicose sports could easily end in stadium mayhem. This notoriously happens in England’s soccer stands where war voyeurism is vigorously enjoyed in the name of spectator sports and the energetic celebration of physical activeness. Chewing. Yelling. Swallowing. Brawling.
The playing of the national anthem thus serves as a reminder that everyone — on and off the field — is a member of the same greater team. The game begins and ends with the accord of a powerful political unity. Anyone who breaks the accord — the peace of the game — is acting not only immorally and illegally, but unpatriotically and even treasonously. The Greek Olympics operated under such standards and restraints.
And now let the game begin!
As I indicated in my last post, I’d prefer that the evaluation of the present and ongoing protests in the NFL be left to civil society. In other words, Trump as Commander in Chief has constitutional cause to defend a symbol of our nation because we’re presently at war. But beyond that, the president should leave the matter to the American people. Through self-motivation or in their civic self-organizing institutions compounding in the self-directing catallaxy of factions, the people can, may, and should make the decision of, by, and for themselves.
Given the social sovereignty of civil society, the power is republican. And the result is a catallactic max.
But here’s a pointer for the people.
Notice the usual argument offered in favor of the protests. I’ve repeatedly heard Joe and Jane Citizen say on the news, “Well, ah, it’s freedom of speech, right. So, like, yeah, they can do it.”
The NFL teams and their games are private property.
No citizen in or on private property has any right of speech unless they own the property or they have the permission of the property owner, express or implied, to speak. The players presently have the right of the freedom of speech — in this case silent but symbolic speech protected by Johnson v. Texas — only because the owners have granted it. The owners are doing this out of political sympathy, or with political nervousness, or for team accord, or because it might increase ticket sales and broadcast ratings. Regardless, the decision belongs solely to the owners of the teams, not the players. Besides, everyone knows the players all sign contracts placing their behavior, on and off the field, under the direction of the NFL 24/7. Failure to meet NFL standards of personal comportment results in fines, suspensions, and termination. This comportment includes detailed specifications of how players will present themselves during the playing of the national anthem.
And here I might add a legalistic observation on behalf of America’s litigious society and any attorneys in search of billing opportunities and torts. Given the complexity of human affairs, a question of venues might arise in a legal urination competition. Many or even all of the professional stadiums in America are municipal property of some kind. Therefore, the stadiums are public property in at least some legal configuration, and therefore susceptible to 1st Amendment protection in ways that private property never is. But for the sake of organized receptive fun, hopefully the NFL and “The Star Spangled Banner” won’t end up in court. According to de Tocqueville, everything else in America does.
Maybe the cheerleaders can do something about that. Their football hulas certainly intimate activity to come.
Meanwhile, I now realize that I should politically peruse all the verses of “The Star Spangled Banner” before I stand next time for which it stands. The anthem might contain old, outdated, incorrect, and even insensitive remarks. There might be remarks that are imperialist. Nationalist. Racist. Weightist. Sexist. Speciesist. Elitist. Even istist.
You plead in your post for the right or the virtue of the continuation of the present sports demonstrations. You’re preaching to the pope if you’re personally addressing me! You’d be viscerally — or eternally — at risk to wager your soul in the search of someone more open to the publicity of ideas than me. As a philosopher, that’s what I do! I openly make available to the public any forthright ideas that could possibly be of any open public interest. And my public is humanity! And I do this in any and all subjects about any and all things. That’s what philosophy is about: everything!
Meanwhile, as a philosophy major and an intelligent observer of humanity, you must already understand how difficult that can be to do. Most or even all cultures have always had little public openness to the discussion of most things in most ways. And they’ve enforced their restrictions with shunning, fines, confiscations, dismemberment, exile, and death. Even the Athenians did this! But, of course, that was in a democracy when the aristocrat party was down and out, therefore the best people couldn’t restrain the resentful mob and their inadequate and nascent passions. “Socrates? That old pest! He never worked a day in his life. And he ate good food for free with the aristocrats. Death to the parasite! And good riddance, too!”
So, yes, I completely agree with you concerning the political morality of these public protests. Indeed, I’d prefer that Trump made his point, and then shushed. The public in the truth forum of the republic should make its best informed concerted choice by itself. And it may and it can.
Meanwhile, if I happen to tune into a game on the radio for background diversion — for example, I’ve been painting my metal roofs lately — I turn the volume off until the play of the game begins. I don’t want to hear the brouhaha about the national anthem or, for that matter, the music. My idea of vocal music is informed by German lieder and Italian opera. These days the singing of the national anthem at professional sports events these days always seems to consist of a demonstrative howling whose insistent shrillness hysterically traumatizes even my most robust music affections. Like Wagner does. But after all, Wagner’s “Ring” is a national revival opera. And Isolde provides the climax and Parsifal the complete after-calm. Indeed, the American anthem usually sounds like it’s being sung at religion revivals on steroids as the congregation reaches climax.
A number of Americans might object, “Yes, but you must listen to the protestors, too! Otherwise they won’t be heard!”
A quick check of the Constitution confirms that Americans do indeed have a “freedom of speech.” But nowhere do I read that they have a “right to be listened to.” I’m not sure that even parents have that right. Parents may have the right to be heard. But even then, their children might not be listening. I’m sure we’ve all had that experience, at least as children.
To the NFL protestors, I wish the best of luck in the great forum of American speech.
But I will not listen.
And now I’ll tell you why.
The protests are about the shooting of black citizens by white police.
As I understand the statistics, first, most blacks killed by gunfire are killed by blacks.
Second, most blacks killed by police are shot by police who are of Latino or African ancestry.
Third, the news never notices the race of whites who are shot by police — of whatever racial background — even though whites make up the majority of all citizens shot by police.
Conclusion: Racial discrimination and even headline profiling is systematically being practiced by the news on whites.
But now let’s disregard these merely statistical objections that are susceptible to confirmation as facts.
The main solution to America’s main social problems doesn’t consist of singing or not singing, or of standing or not standing for the national anthem or anything else. Nor does it consist of protesting or not protesting a grievance. Nor does it consist of getting publicity for world gripes.
The solution to the main social problems in America consists of getting a good education to get a good job to get a good station in life to get a good spouse and good children and good friends and good neighbors in good communities for many good years with good leisure custom-designed to your personal idea of the good life.
This is precisely what Aristotle said in an aside in his Ethics. All of the above goods are at the heart of happiness. And if they aren’t the heart of happiness itself, they’re the blood which the heart of virtue pumps through humans every day, bringing the joy of life to eve the furthest extremities of the human reach.
The first step above is what interests me now in this post.
Getting a substantial education in America has progressively become the foremost and even almost the exclusive basis for gaining attractive well-compensated employment.
The reasons are as historical as they’re obvious.
There aren’t any farm jobs just down the lane past old Jones’ barn in the second field awaiting the ready and willing laborer.
And there aren’t many factory jobs down the street two blocks south and around the corner for young adults with no more than a high school education if even that, jobs that pay union scale with benefits and pensions.
Consider a book I read last year.
The author is a professor of linguistics at Berkeley — or was — when he wrote it.
The book is entitled Losing the Race.
In his book, Professor John McWhorter expresses — through both general social data and personal anecdotal detail — his dismay at the disposition and attitude of the black students in his classes.
McWhorter finds that they typically, systematically, and even chronically engage in three activities which, in his view, are guarantees for failure in the culture and the economy of America.
First, they practice a cult of victimology.
Second, they practice a cult of separatism.
Third, they practice a cult of anti-intellectualism.
The combination of these three produces a culture of isolation that’s akin to the social sequestration of a conquered people that’s kept down in a superior empire
Oh, and by the way, did I forget to mention that Professor McWhorter is black? That seems so unimportant amongst successful, responsible, and articulate Americans. In this case, though, it politically seems the most powerful argument. But that’s how politics reasons. Indeed, in such a book, it’s virtually the first item in the apparatus.
Oh, and did I also forget to mention that McWhorter dismisses the IQ claims of The Bell Curve? He scoffs off the suggestion that blacks’ performance failures are due to any race-based IQ differential. For McWhorter, the difference is cultural, and the choice is volitional. He does adduce historical reasons for these differences. But he does so in the name of causality, and not excuse. And the old causes are now long in the past. Meanwhile, today and tomorrow are present choices.
I won’t rehearse the arguments of the book. The categories speak for themselves. And the details can be retrieved from a work that’s readily available.
What interests me here is the contrast between the high profile news coverage of occasional police shootings, which may not even be accurately represented, and the massively far more important daily educational failure of blacks as reported by McWhorter.
The typical liberal-socialist interpretation — the mandatory and doctrinaire litmus test insistence — is that the difference in performance is the result of a systematic and even systemic discrimination by whites against people of color.
But what about the Chinese and all the other Orientals in America? Yellow people.
What about the Hindus and other sub-contintentals? Dark brown people.
What about the Egyptians and all the other Middle Easterners? Light brown people.
If these ethnicities, nationalities, and races are all flourishing in America, then clearly the much-vaunted white supremacy is not.
This is patently clear to McWhorter.
Indeed, both the news-flogged white supremacy and the news-vamped black police slayings are political diversions. White supremacy is a canard of socialist liberals and their media flunkies. White supremacy is waved around like the bloody shirt was once waved in America. White supremacy serves to divert responsibility of blacks for themselves in a republic for something some Southern states did two centuries ago. Well, my relatives were in Quebec back then. So I’m not tuning in.
The police shootings divert public attention from the real issue: the successful education and the social assimilation of blacks into America’s great common culture which all other peoples from all over the world have successfully joined.
And don’t tell me that African-Americans miss their cultural homeland and therefore refuse to compromise their sensibilities. As a French-American, I can understand the efforts and the costs of becoming American. Much of my deep heart dwells in France, and more generally on the Continent. But I wouldn’t want to live there. Even Hegel said America was the locus and the focus of the future. And, I might add, the hocus and the pocus, too. And the future still remains in America. And so do I. The inner personal cost to me is high. But it’s quite possible to be both an American and to be a man of culture. For me the public proof is my books, and the private proof is my life. As Hamilton said in kind at the end of The Federalist #1, you may have my books, but my life remains mine.
And any attempted guilt-inducement of these shootings only serves as a ploy for a shakedown of the government for compensation of a putative past fault whose correction is being indefinitely delayed.
Apropos of this, consider what one of my former students — an intelligent, excellent, and delightful person: a woman of joy — told me concerning conversations she’d have with her family and relatives in Baltimore. In any conversation about the greatness of opportunity in America, they’d play the race card. When she counters that with her own racist-free experiences at college, they counter with the slavery card. To this she replies, “That was long ago. Get over it! And get on with life! I’m an American. And I want to be a successful and happy American!” In my view, she already is successful and happy in America. But, as she informed me with sad amazement, none of her extended family understands. Or even seems to want to try. And this she can’t understand. But we — as Nietzsche would say — we can hear the religious fealty and its intolerance in this self-serving conversation, can’t we?
In a side bar, consider Ben Franklin. Did Franklin ever play the indentured apprentice card? No, he worked hard, got trade-educated, got early release, and then went forth to make his fortune, hence to then become a world-class scientist and a great American statesman.
With Franklin, I hear pride, not whining. I hear struggles, not excuses. I see world accomplishment, not government-subsidized self-esteem whose pugnacity is a cover for its emptiness. Besides, didn’t Professor Louis Gates of Harvard inform his children of a fundamental fact of life when they were on a family trip to Africa? When his children marveled at the shoeless poor in Africa and turned up their noses at the poverty everywhere, he advised them that, without slavery, they too might be living there instead of in Cambridge.
To end up in America by any means is always fortunate. Unless you’re Noriega.
As for universities and free speech, to say I value free speech in college is like saying a fish values water in the sea.
In our previous course work together, we’ve worked our way through Dershowitz’s famous little piece on the chilling of thoughtful speech on America’s campuses through the PC movement. (“Political Correctness, Speech Codes, and Diversity,” Harvard Law Record, September 20, 1991.) Dershowitz is clear that the PC movement — now fully in place — represents a political sectarian control of academic speech. And that means that the speech police are out and about. He doesn’t add that PC is the Democrats’ equivalent of McCarthyism. But given the commonality of human nature everywhere, any student on campus, as in Saddam’s Iraq or Stalin’s Russia, can be a secret agent of collegiate speech cleaning.
There are a couple of points to add to the Dershowitz article that should be noted here.
The reasons for free speech on campuses — speech not only permitted but cultivated — are obvious. Or they should be obvious to people accustomed to speaking freely in public. And they should be so accustomed in a republic. Of course, Antifa would like to change that open sensibility in lieu of AR15-assisted correct thought.
Colleges have always existed for profession training: legal, medical, ministerial. But they’ve also served as the foremost institutions of critical thinking. That is, they’re civilization’s place to think about any and all ideas with daring, rigor, energy, excitement, and joy.
On the campuses of private colleges and universities, this might not be so obvious or even possible. Private religious institutions will regulate the speech of their students on the basis of a belief. They’ll even determine who can be a student on the basis of a creed. Even so, as colleges they should cultivate thinking — thinking! — not catechistic correctness — not CC! — at least not all the time. As Mill so astutely observed, catechistic recitation soon becomes unconscious of its content, and then it forgets the meaning that the memorization was meant to protect in the first place.
As for public institutions, of which Berkeley is one, the case is clearer both culturally and legally. As public places of higher education, such colleges and universities should have both the moral cultural and the legal intellectual duty of cultivating and even inducing a diversity of thought. How do you know if it’s really diverse? If it isn’t disagreeable, it isn’t diversity. If you agree with everything said, that isn’t a debate or even a discussion. It’s just a hug fest of ideological words. The recent incapacitations of diverse speech at Berkeley — in the name of the cost of security forces — shows that the students, the faculty, and the administration at Berkeley believe in speech about “diversity,” but not in speech that’s actually diverse. But then, of course, “diversity” is a socialist code word that means “inclusion,” not “diversity.” See my Republic, Ch. 8. The title of the chapter is especially apropos here: “The Virtue of Public Disagreement and the Vice of Political Niceness.”
As one corrective to this, colleges should offer a mandatory freshman class just as colleges now require introductory courses or their demonstrated competence in mathematics and English. This course would be entitled “Introduction to Dangerous Thoughts.” The syllabus could be regularly updated for maximal effect.
And now to conclude this week’s dangerous thought.
Liberty in America doesn’t derive from or consist of some parchment words piously recited or angrily scorned. Liberty in America derives from and consists of self-directing property-owning citizens spending most of their time minding their business in a civil society which is minimally policed by any government and mostly self-refereed by the citizens themselves and their voluntary organizations.
And any time civil society isn’t socially sovereign, it’s no longer civil society, but just a nattering adjunct of government.
If the government can tell you what the wrong thing to say is, they’ll soon be telling you what the right thing to say is, too.
And you will say it.
Or you will be punished.
And then you can wave the 1st Amendment around all day long if that makes you feel any better.
Or you can stand for the national pieties or even kneel to them if that makes you feel any better, too.
At any time of day and anywhere you are, you’re always free to distract yourself from reality.