Can You Stand Another “Re-run”?

The current wave of book banning efforts I referenced a few days ago reminded me of an essay I wrote about the importance of intellectual freedom some twenty-five years ago, for an ALA publication. I dug it out, and decided the observations were still valid–and, unfortunately, even more relevant. So– with apologies for both the length and self-citation– I’m sharing it.


Not too long ago, I had a conversation with a librarian involved professionally with issues of intellectual freedom. “Sometimes,” she said, “I get so tired of it. I wonder why I continue to fight.” I’ve thought about that conversation several times; if I could do an instant replay, I think I would tell her that I know why she keeps at it. It’s because it is so important.
I spent six years as Executive Director of the Indiana affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, and of all the lessons I learned during that time, the most profound was this: the future of western liberal democracy rests on the preservation of intellectual freedom.
If that statement seems extravagant, consider both the ideological basis of liberal democracy and the nature of contemporary threats to that tradition.
Our national history would have been impossible without the Enlightenment concept of the individual as a rights-bearing, autonomous being. That concept is integral to our legal system; it is the foundation upon which our forbears erected the Bill of Rights. The Founders envisioned the good society as one composed of morally independent citizens whose rights in certain important circumstances “trumped” both the dictates of the state and the desires of the majority.
Current assaults on that worldview come primarily, although certainly not exclusively, from communitarians of both left and right. Michael Sandel, Mary Ann Glendon and others complain that the American emphasis on individual rights has gone too far, that it is time to readjust the balance between individual liberty and the “common good.” The “common good” is presumably to be defined collectively; that is, by the majority.
There is enormous appeal to this argument. In a world that seems increasingly complex, impersonal, and litigious, a world over which individuals have less and less control, the notion of “community,” like “family,” offers nourishment and empowerment. Who does not long, in some part of her psyche, for a warm family, friendly neighborhood and supportive tribe, where one is valued and/or unconditionally accepted, and where everyone shares the same life goals and values? Freud suggested that the need to lose oneself in a collective identity is the most ancient, persistent and universal force operating on the human species. The problem, of course, is that majorities can be every bit as tyrannical as solitary despots, and there is no guarantee that my family’s values will be the ones that prevail, or that my tribes’ folkways will be the ones that are followed. The fundamental issue in every society is where to strike the balance between human liberty and communal norms. Ultimately, the debate comes down to a conflict between libertarian and collectivist visions of the good life.
In this war over competing worldviews, intellectual freedom is the battlefront. Discussions of the First Amendment often proceed as if the expressive freedom provisions are separate from the religious liberty clauses. They aren’t. In fact, the First Amendment rests upon a magnificent unifying premise: the integrity and inviolability of the individual conscience. The First Amendment is really an integrated whole, protecting our individual rights to receive and disseminate information and ideas, to consider arguments and theories, to form our own beliefs and craft our own consciences. It answers the fundamental social question– who shall decide? — by vesting that authority in each individual, subject to and consistent with the equal rights of others.
Our whole experiment with democratic governance rests on that foundation. As Alexander Mieklejohn famously observed, a nation that is afraid of an idea–any idea–is unfit for self-government. Implicit in the First Amendment is the legal system’s concept of personal responsibility, the University’s commitment to academic freedom, the moral authority of the clergy, the independence of the media, and the legitimacy of the political process.
Those who oppose free expression rarely, if ever, see themselves in opposition to the western liberal democratic tradition. Most of the people who want to ban the book or painting, who want to protect the flag or the Virgin Mary from desecration, are simply acting on their belief in the nature of the public good. Censors see unrestrained freedom as a threat to the social fabric, while civil libertarians believe the greater danger consists in empowering the state to suppress “dangerous” or “offensive” ideas. Censors see no reason to protect expression of low value–no point in protecting the marketplace for the exchange of shoddy goods. They have enormous difficulty understanding the difference between protection of the principle of free speech and an implicit endorsement of the offensive material at hand. And they have little or no appreciation for the argument that once one hands over to the state the authority to decide which ideas have value, no ideas are safe.
I spent my years at the ACLU battling the usual, recurring attempts to control what others might read, hear or download. I attended a public meeting in Valparaiso, Indiana, where an angry proponent of an ordinance to “clean up” local video stores called me “a whore.” I was accused of abetting racism for upholding the right of the KKK to demonstrate at the Statehouse. I was criticized for failure to care about children when I objected to a proposal restricting minors’ access to library materials. In each of these cases, and dozens of others, the people who wanted to suppress materials generally had the best of motives: they wanted to protect others from ideas they believed to be dangerous. To them, I appeared oblivious to the potential for evil. At best, they considered me a naïve First Amendment “purist;” at worst, a moral degenerate.
My introduction to the politics of free speech really came several years before my stint at the ACLU, when I was retained as local counsel to the plaintiffs in American Booksellers v. Hudnut. The case involved a challenge to an ordinance drafted by Catherine MacKinnon, a law professor, and Andrea Dworkin, a feminist author. Both are well known crusaders against pornography, which they define quite differently than the law defines obscenity, and which they argue is more harmful to women than to men. Their ordinance attempted to define as action (rather than expression) sexually explicit materials depicting the “subordination of women.” Such “action” was then treated for legal purposes as sex discrimination. (“When I use a word,” said Humpty Dumpty, “it means exactly what I say it means!”) MacKinnon and Dworkin had shopped their proposal around the country without much success before they found eager proponents in Indianapolis.
While the Courts would make short work of the ordinance, the politics of its passage was an eye-opening experience. Bill Hudnut was, and remains, a close personal friend; I had been the Corporation Counsel (chief lawyer) in his administration. To this day, despite lengthy conversations, he does not see the implications of the ordinance he signed. Bill had been an active Presbyterian minister before assuming office, and simply was appalled by materials that he felt degraded women. When MacKinnon and Dworkin enlisted a local female Councilor on behalf of their pet project to “protect” women, he was supportive. The Councilor has not been identified with women’s causes either before or after her sponsorship of the ordinance. She has, however, been supportive of efforts to restrict children’s access to videos in the public libraries, and has generally been an ally of the religious right. Her alliance with MacKinnon and Dworkin, widely considered to be “radical feminists,” was surreal.
On the evening the vote was taken, busloads of people from fundamentalist churches filled the Council chambers. To the eternal credit of Indianapolis’ women’s organizations, there was no support from local feminists. Only three people had been given permission to speak against passage–me, as a courtesy shown to a former member of the administration; Bill Marsh, a professor of Constitutional law who was then Vice-President of Indiana’s ACLU; and Sam Jones, the Executive Director of the Urban League. Even Councilors who had great qualms about the ordinance were unwilling to stand against the sea of faces from area churches. (The trouble with representative government, as a friend once bitterly remarked, is that it is representative.) One after another, uncomfortable Councilors rose to “explain” their votes; my favorite came from a longtime friend, who said that —while he had “great respect for Mrs. Kennedy’s legal opinion”–he wanted the record to show that he was “against pornography.” The crowd cheered approvingly.
Most of those who voted for the ordinance knew it stood virtually no chance in court. They were willing to spend some tax dollars to defend it, in order to avoid the pain of opposing the righteous folks who had taken the time and trouble to attend the meeting. And the courts did as expected; Judge Sarah Evans Barker issued an eloquent, ringing endorsement of the principles of free speech in her District Court opinion striking down the measure. The Seventh Circuit and Supreme Court each affirmed, and the case has since become a staple in courses on Free Speech and Constitutional Law.
In many ways, American Booksellers v. Hudnut is a perfect example of what the Founders feared when they warned of “the tyranny of the majority” and the need to guard against popular passions. The majority of citizens saw the debate in very simple terms, as did my Councilor friend: one is either for or against “pornography.” Quibbles about what pornography is, concerns about vagueness or over-breadth, were dismissed as lawyer weaseling; like Potter Stewart, they might not be able to define pornography, but they knew it when they saw it.
For civil libertarians, of course, the issue was very different. We were not arguing for the value of pornographic speech–although we were more open to the possibility that pornographic expression might, in fact, have some value. The issue was–and is–our right to decide for ourselves what books we shall read, what ideas we shall consider, what opinions we shall hold, free of government interference. Once the state asserts a prerogative to determine which ideas we may entertain, the balance has shifted from the right of the individual to the power of the government. At that point, citizens no longer have rights, but privileges that may be revoked whenever the political winds shift. For me as a civil libertarian, the issue is not which books I read; the issue is who decides which books I read?
The western democratic tradition literally depends upon the answer to that question.
Those of us who understand the nature of the debate over intellectual freedom in this way must contend with a formidable deficit in citizenship education. Both at the ACLU and at IUPUI, where I currently teach law and public policy, I have encountered widespread ignorance of the most basic elements of the American constitutional system. We desperately need to improve understanding of the theory of limited government and individual rights –not so that people will necessarily come to the same conclusions I reach, but so that we can at least argue about the same issues.
People try to remove materials from library shelves or the corner video store because they find the materials offensive. They try to prevent Klan marches because they disagree strongly with the hateful message of the Klan. Their arguments are against these particular ideas. They are not generally trying to strengthen the power of the state, nor intending to circumscribe the exercise of personal moral autonomy. Civil libertarians see those outcomes as inevitable consequences of censorship, however, and so those are the issues we address. In a very real sense, it is a case of culture warriors talking past each other.
People like my librarian friend, who see the fundamental relationship between the marketplace of ideas and self-government, who recognize the holistic nature of individual rights, simply must keep trying to make those connections visible to the general public. We must all work to raise the level of familiarity with the underlying principles of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We must agitate for more and better government instruction in our schools, and we must insist on more honest discourse from our political leaders and the media. We must constantly reinforce the lesson that the proper response to a bad message is not government censorship, but free citizens offering a better message.
Somehow, we must get the general public to understand that when we use the power of the state to decide what citizens may read or view, we aren’t censoring smut, or protecting children, or prohibiting blasphemy, or respecting the flag. We are undermining the values that lie at the very core of our national identity.

One More Time

There are numerous reasons to vote straight Blue this November. But forgive me for returning to my argument that reproductive rights tops them all, and not just because women deserve the same bodily autonomy as men.

In a very real sense, Justice Alito threw down the gauntlet in Dobbs. That decision didn’t just eliminate a constitutional right that American jurisprudence had recognized for fifty years–it dealt a potentially fatal blow to the philosophy upon which our  entire constitutional edifice rests.

Before I (once again) explain why that assertion is not hyperbole, let me connect the dots between Dobbs and the recent, blatantly theocratic decision from Alabama equating a frozen embryo with a living, breathing child. As Jamelle Bouie recently wrote in the New York Times, key parts of the Republican coalition demand fetal personhood.

There’s no question that the Alabama decision would not have been possible without the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which revoked the constitutional right to an abortion. In doing so, the court gave states and state courts wide leeway to restrict the bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom of Americans, in the name of protecting life.

That the Dobbs decision would threaten I.V.F. was obvious from the moment the Supreme Court released its opinion in June 2022. That’s why, toward the end of 2022, Senate Democrats introduced a bill to protect the right to use in vitro fertilization. It did not come up for a vote.

Bouie points out that the Justices who delivered Dobbs were placed on the Court as part of an explicit transaction in which Trump traded American women’s rights for the support of Evangelical voters.

What’s important, for thinking about a second Trump presidency, is that fetal personhood is the next battlefield in the anti-abortion movement’s war on reproductive rights, and conservative evangelicals are among those groups waving the standard. As one such activist, Jason Rapert of the National Association of Christian Lawmakers, told The New York Times regarding the Alabama court decision, “It further affirms that life begins at conception.”

At least 11 states, The Washington Post notes, have “broadly defined personhood as beginning at fertilization in their state laws.”

It does not matter whether Trump rhetorically supports access to I.V.F. treatments. What matters is whether he would buck the priorities of his most steadfast supporters and veto a bill establishing fetal personhood across the United States.

As we all know, he would not.

A Republican win in November would guarantee further erosion of reproductive rights– but as I have repeatedly argued, it would do far more than that.

Dobbs was a frontal attack on the doctrine of substantive due process, often called the “right to privacy.” That doctrine confirmed the American principle that certain “intimate” individual decisions—including one’s choice of sexual partners or the decision to use contraception– are none of government’s business.

Constitutional scholars argue that the right to personal autonomy has always been inherent in the Bill of Rights, but it was  explicitly recognized in 1965, in Griswold v. Connecticut. Connecticut’s legislature had passed a law prohibiting the use of birth control by married couples. The law prohibited doctors from prescribing contraceptives and pharmacists from filling those prescriptions.The Supreme Court struck down the law, holding that whether a couple used contraceptives was not a decision government is entitled to make.

The majority recognized that recognition of a right to personal autonomy—the right to self-government—is essential to the enforcement of other provisions of the Bill of Rights.  Justices White and Harlan found explicit confirmation of it in the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment—which is where the terminology “substantive due process” comes from. Wherever it resided–in a “penumbra” or the 14th Amendment—the Justices agreed on both its presence and importance.

The doctrine of Substantive Due Process draws a line between decisions that government has the legitimate authority to make, and decisions which, in our system, must be left up to the individual. I used to tell my students that the Bill of Rights is essentially a list of things that government is forbidden to decide. What books you read, what opinions you form, what prayers you say (or don’t)—such matters are outside the legitimate role of government. The issue isn’t whether that book is dangerous or inappropriate, or that religion is false, or whether you should marry someone of the same sex, or whether you should procreate: the issue in America is who gets to make that decision.

Enabling autocracy–destroying our current system of democratic majorities restrained by the Bill of Rights– requires eliminating substantive due process. Dobbs thus opened a pathway to an enormous expansion of government power.

Outlawing IVF is just a way station…..


Lying As Free Speech

I really have to stop reading the news. It’s bad for my mental health.

Just recently, I’ve learned that Wisconsin’s Republican legislature plans to reverse April’s election of a state Supreme Court Judge–who won by eleven points–by impeaching her. (Grounds to be concocted later…)

DeSantis appointed the co-founder of Moms for Liberty to the state’s ethics commission.

Elon Musk threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League for reporting on the steep rise of anti-Semitic content on “X.” Musk claims that it is the ADL’s reports, not his wack-a-doodle management of the platform formerly known as Twitter, that is responsible for the steep drop in companies willing to advertise on the site.

And I see that Florida–which has been waging war against “woke” (i.e. accurate) education–is being joined by Oklahoma in authorizing the use of PragerU propaganda in public school classrooms.

The Guardian recently provided an in-depth look at PragerU.

A rightwing media outlet promoting climate-crisis denialism and other “anti-woke” staples to young students and adults via social media has become a fundraising Goliath, raking in close to $200m from 2018 to 2022 with big checks from top conservative donors, tax records reveal.

Founded in 2009 by the conservative talkshow host Dennis Prager, the eponymous Prager University Foundation is not an accredited education organization. But via online media its PragerU Kids division has become a key tool in spreading false claims to young people with short videos aimed at undercutting widely accepted science that climate crisis disasters are accelerating due, largely, to fossil-fuel usage.

PragerU’s influence in pushing false narratives about climate change and other far-right shibboleths such as airbrushing the brutal reality of American slavery gained ground when the Florida board of education in July gave the green light to using its videos and other materials in classrooms, a move that PragerU is trying to capitalize on in Texas and other states. On Tuesday, Oklahoma’s school system also approved the use of PragerU’s materials.

On its website, PragerU claims to be the “world’s leading conservative non-profit, focused on changing minds through the creative use of digital media.”

In other words, through lying. They call it “edutainment.”

The site’s funders include the Right-wing’s “usual suspects”–  oil and gas billionaire brothers Farris and Dan Wilks ($8m over the past decade), the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the National Christian Charitable Foundation and (predictably) the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation

PragerU cartoons and videos include one about Christopher Columbus and the discovery of America, which has Columbus explaining that slavery isn’t so bad.

“Slavery is as old as time, and has taken place in every corner of the world, even amongst the people I just left. Being taken as a slave is better than being killed,” the cartoon Columbus said. “I don’t see the problem.”

Other PragerU videos about the climate crisis make various false claims: they depict solar and wind power as environmentally dangerous, liken environmental activists to Nazis and claim recent record-breaking heat is just part of the natural weather cycle.

What truly drives me up the wall is the emerging “conservative” argument that the First Amendment protects such unconscionable lying.

In an extraordinary display of chutzpah, Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, and fellow Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee have accused Democrats of violating the First Amendment rights of election deniers.

In a report titled “The Weaponization of CISA: How a ‘Cybersecurity’ Agency Colluded With Big Tech and ‘Disinformation’ Partners to Censor Americans,” they argue that

the First Amendment recognizes that no person or entity has a monopoly on the truth, and that the “truth” of today can quickly become the “misinformation” of tomorrow. Labeling speech “misinformation” or “disinformation” does not strip it of its First Amendment protection. As such, under the Constitution, the federal government is strictly prohibited from censoring Americans’ political speech.

These people have no shame….

These civil libertarian claims of unconstitutional suppression of speech come from the same Republican Party that is leading the charge to censor the teaching of what it calls divisive concepts about race, the same party that expelled two Democratic members of the Tennessee state legislature who loudly called for more gun control after a school shooting, the same party that threatens to impeach a liberal judge in North Carolina for speaking out about racial bias, the same party that has aided and abetted book banning in red states across the country.

The linked column focuses upon the GOP’s hypocrisy, but that hypocrisy’s effectiveness relies on Americans’ widespread ignorance about the operation of the First Amendment.

Free Speech doesn’t allow you to engage in defamation or commit fraud with impunity; it doesn’t allow  science teachers to substitute creationism for evolution.

It does, however, protect the ADL from Musk’s anti-Semitic  threats….


What Is Government For?

As readers of this blog know, I spent 21+ years teaching Law and Public Policy, mostly to students intending to go into either public management or the nonprofit sector. The faculty of our school was heavily engaged in imparting skills–budgeting, planning, human resource management, policy analysis.. But my classes tended to be different, because these practical subjects didn’t emerge from a void; they are inextricably bound up with our constitutional system, and that system in turn is the outgrowth of great philosophical debates about the proper ordering of human communities. 

The great questions of political theory involve the nature of government. What should government do? What actions by the state are legitimate? What is justice? What is public virtue? 

The American experiment was heavily influenced by the philosophy of the Enlightenment and emerging theories about the proper role of the state, especially the principle that Individuals are entitled to live their lives as they see fit, until and unless they are thereby harming the person or property of another, and so long as they are willing to extend an equal liberty to others.

The primary role of government so conceived is to prevent some citizens from harming others. (Granted, there are inevitable arguments about what constitutes harm to others, and what degree of harm is needed to justify governmental intervention.) 

The Bill of Rights expressly limits the ability of government to regulate activities that are purely personal. What we read, whether we pray, our politics and beliefs and life goals are matters for individual decision.

It is that basic American principle of governance that is now at issue.

The decision in Dobbs wasn’t simply about abortion; it attacked a jurisprudence that had become increasingly protective of maintaining that line between individual rights and the legitimate exercise of government authority.

What too many Americans fail to understand is that the question posed by Dobbs isn’t whether a woman should or should not abort. It’s also whether citizen A should be able to marry someone of the same gender, or whether citizen B should bow her head and participate in a public prayer.

The issue is: who gets to make such decisions?

We are properly concerned these days about the functioning of democracy, and whether our lawmakers are reflecting the will of their constituents when they vote on the numerous matters that government must decide. But the arguably radical Justices on today’s Supreme Court have raised a more fundamental issue, because the Justices are authorizing government to legislate matters that government in our system is not supposed to decide.

The Bill of Rights draws a line between state power and individual rights. Legislators don’t get to vote on your fundamental rights: to free speech,  to pray to the God of your choice (or not), to read books of your own choosing, to be free of arbitrary searches and seizures, to cast votes in elections…

Even when lawmakers are reflecting the will of the majority, in our constitutional system they don’t get to deprive people of fundamental rights.

Ever since Griswold v. Connecticut, in 1965, the United States Supreme Court has acknowledged that personal autonomy–the  individual’s right to make “intimate” personal decisions–is one of those fundamental rights. The doctrine of substantive due process, often called the right to privacy, is shorthand for the recognition that in a free society, certain decisions are not properly made by government. The doctrine answers the question “Who decides?” by drawing a line between the myriad issues appropriate for resolution by majorities acting through government, and decisions  that government in a free society has no business making.

As I’ve argued before, the ruling in Dobbs didn’t simply mischaracterize history in order to impose a minority religious belief on all Americans. It attacked the rule that restrains government’s intrusion into all aspects of our private lives. Its “reasoning” would allow other fundamental rights–to bodily autonomy, to the choice of a marriage partner, to decisions about procreation– to be decided by legislatures chosen by “democratic” majorities.

Unless you are prepared to argue that an individual’s right to make those very personal decisions is not a fundamental constitutional right, allowing abortion and contraception and same-sex marriage to be decided by government is no different from giving lawmakers the right to dictate my choice of reading material, or your choice of religion.

The issue isn’t what book you choose–it’s your right to choose it. It isn’t whether you’ll marry person X or Y, it’s your right to choose your marriage partner. And it isn’t whether you abort or give birth–it’s about who has the right to make that decision.

Government paves streets, issues currency, imposes taxes…it has plenty to do without upending America’s foundational philosophy.


Who Decides?

I used to tell my students that the Bill of Rights, read as an organic whole, answers a deceptively simple question: who decides? Not “what decision should be made” but who gets to make it? Who chooses the book you read, the God you do–or do not–worship, the person you marry?

The Bill of Rights draws a line between decisions government can properly make and decisions that, in a free society, must be left to the individual. One of the reasons the Dobbs decision was so shocking was that –suddenly–the government was authorized to enter a zone of intimacy from which it had long been banned; as I have often remarked, the question was never “should abortion be legal or illegal”? The question was (and is) who should decide that question in an individual situation?

America’s raging culture war tends to focus on the extent to which our individual rights are protected from government interference. MAGA Republicans insist that government has the right–the duty!–to determine everything from your reading materials to your reproductive decisions. As many former Republicans have noted, the “war on woke” is really a war on the Bill of Rights, and a sharp departure from what used to be GOP orthodoxy.

This deviation from that past Republican orthodoxy isn’t limited to the usurpation of individual life decisions. The party has also jettisoned its former support for free markets, as Dana Milbank recently documented.

Can you remember when Republicans still believed in the free market?
It was sometime before Donald Trump started routine attacks on the “globalists” of Goldman Sachs and the leaders of large U.S. corporations; before Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis used tax policy to attack the Walt Disney Co. because it dared to disagree with his “don’t say gay” legislation; before congressional Republicans harassed social media companies and book publishers over alleged “censorship” of their views; before they threatened Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Major League Baseball over their support for voting rights; before they vowed to use federal resources to retaliate against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for backing a few Democrats; before Republican governors enacted laws overriding private employers’ coronavirus vaccination policies; and before GOP-led states moved to disrupt interstate commerce to block abortion access and morning-after pills.

This week brought the latest evidence that the former party of laissez-faire capitalism has reimagined itself in the image of a Soviet State Planning Committee. Republican lawmakers are now telling investors which businesses they can and can’t invest in — and which investment criteria they will be permitted to consider.

Republicans have taken the culture war to business, in efforts to prevent asset managers from considering “environmental, social and governance” criteria, or ESG, when making their investments. Milbank quoted Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes’ assertion that there is a “conspiracy” of ESG-minded investors.

He was particularly worried that “asset managers who collectively own significant percentages of utilities’ stock are improperly influencing the operations of those utilities.”

Imagine that! The shareholders who own a company are trying to influence its operations! Will nobody rid us of this capitalist menace?

Twenty-five Red State attorneys general have sued to block a federal regulation that allows retirement-plan investors to consider ESG standards. The rule doesn’t mandate that investors do so. It merely gives them the option.

As one Democratic critic of this interference with business decisions points out, these rules block asset managers from

considering whether a car company “is aligned with market expectations and preparing for the shift to electric vehicles,” whether a pharmaceutical company “has exposure to massive lawsuits because of its role in the opioid epidemic” or whether “health-care companies understaff their operations and jeopardize the safety of patients.. ..ESG is simply additional information that investment professionals use to assess risk and return prospects.”

In our current “through the looking-glass” world, Democrats are defending the free market against Republican support for a planned economy that mandates what businesses have to invest in. Shades of Soviet central planning!

When I first became politically active, I was drawn to principles espoused by the then-Republican Party, especially its recognition that individual liberty requires limiting the power of the state. There were and are good faith arguments about where the line should be drawn in a variety of situations (and widespread misunderstandings of what “limited” government means. “Limited” is not the equivalent of “small”–a limited government respects limits on its authority, not its size.)

A government that can dictate your prayers, your reading materials, your reproductive decisions and your business’s approach to investment isn’t just unAmerican–it’s heading toward Soviet-style totalitarianism or Taliban-style theocracy.

In a genuinely free society, the decisions citizens and businesses make are far less important than who has the right to make them.