Monday, June 18, 2012

Here's to the Town of Middleborough's Board of Selectmen!

The WaPo frowns upon this story from "a state with a storied history of Puritan-inspired prohibitions" of "a proposal that would, among other things, impose a $20 fine on public profanity" — First Amendment be damned.

First Amendment? The First Amendment to the United States Constitution reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" [emphasis added]. It says nothing of the Town of Middleborough's Board of Selectmen (a great name for a legislative body, I must say).

In fact, the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution reads, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Constitutional libertarianism should end at the federal level. (Remember nearby Connecticut had an established church until 1818.) We must stand up for the freedom of local bodies to make their own laws.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Unknown said...

The article alludes to but does not make entirely clear the fact that this ordinance actually significantly decreases the statutory penalties for profanity. Public vulgarity was already illegal- but the fact that is was an actual crime made it virtually impossible to secure a conviction (and not worth the time and trouble of prosecuting anyway).

Anyway, I'd be a lot more inclined to believe people when they whine about "lost Constitutional freedoms" in Massachusetts if they first said something about Massachusetts' draconian firearms laws, which are a blatant violation not only of the U.S. Constitution, but arguably of Massachusetts' own state constitution, too.

June 18, 2012 at 11:01 PM  
Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

Great to read this post -- of course, you are now officially a heretic as far as the ideological libertarians are concerted. Of course, to be in disagreement with the libertarians is almost always to be on the side of sanity and common sense, so you shouldn't feel too bad about your heresy here! :-)

June 20, 2012 at 8:25 PM  
Blogger Iosue Andreas Sartorius said...

My libertarianism decreases as we get to the local level. Heck, local bodies should even be able to ban guns.

June 20, 2012 at 11:30 PM  
Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

Depending on what the state constitution that governs that local body says, I agree. Here in Washington State, our state constitution provides extensive protection for the right to keep and bear arms in self-defense. I would oppose any local government effort to violate that right.

June 21, 2012 at 12:34 AM  

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