by Tara Carreon
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January 21, 2014
Paul Alan Levy of Public Citizen getting carried away with his free speech toy.
There’s not much going on at Ellis Island these days, with immigration policy in reverse. Eventually they’ll turn it into an East Coast Guantanamo, and sell Lady Liberty for scrap to some Chinese junk dealers. But until that time, she’s out there all exposed, with no one to protect her, and thus, scenes such as the one depicted here, regrettably come to occur. When Lady Liberty was brought here from Paris, it was in the spirit of sharing the revolutionary fervor between two nations that had shaken off the yoke of monarchy. However, in all of the new rule-making that took place during the Constitutional Convention and the debates over the Bill of Rights, no one ever conceived of a First Amendment with the all-trumping power that it currently possesses.
Paul Levy, one of the preeminent practitioners of the oversized First Amendment school, has been using this powerful tool to silence people who object to having their names taken hostage by persons who want to humiliate, embarrass, torture and extort from them. It is not a sight that any of our founding fathers and mothers would have conscioned. They were keenly aware of the importance of reputation in small communities, and suits for libel and defamation were not uncommon. Of course, they had no corporations to argue that dollars equated to First Amendment speech, and thus convey power in accordance with wealth, rather than on the principle of “one person, one vote.”
The abuse of ordinary little people by large corporations exercising First Amendment rights is now a commonplace. The notion that all of this Internet freedom to embarrass and humiliate other people is benefiting anyone other than the corporations that host social media, is idiotic. Individuals are turning into the roadkill of the Internet highway, and ironically, it’s the users of social media who are most likely to be injured in a social media reputation attack. Innocent attempts at humor get turned into causes for employment termination. A video intended to display talent is turned into an object of ridicule. An infinite number of examples will present themselves if you start looking.
It’s often been commented that we tolerate huge numbers of deaths and hideous injuries due to automobiles. I predict that being severely injured by the Internet will become even more common, if it has not already. Meanwhile, like the NRA, protecting the rights of people to own and use the combat assault weapons that are repeatedly deployed in mass civilian shootings, the operators of the Free Speech Mafia, with Mr. Levy as their number one gangster, will continue to provide those who abuse their free speech with all of the legal cover they require to engage in destructive personal attacks.
I can just hear my long-time detractors shouting, “How ironic that she attacks Paul Levy even as she relies upon the legal precedent he established when suing her husband!” To which I would have no comment.