Salon pushes absurd argument about gun control

May 31, 2022

By Tim Worstall

According to Salon, the gun problem does not actually have to do with the Second Amendment at all – it’s the First. You see, if corporations and nasty people like that can have free speech about capitalism, then there will be mass shootings in schools.

We joke, of course, because no one could really put forward an idea like that – except this is Salon:

Gun violence, neoliberalism and Citizens United: We can’t change things without facing the truth

It isn’t just the Second Amendment: If we can’t control social media and “corporate speech,” we’ll never end this

Salon really does make that argument. That groups of people have free speech rights is why mentally troubled teenagers go on the rampage. Actually, when we include that “social media” point the case is being made that people being allowed to just say whatever causes gun violence.

“…the root cause that grips millions of us so tightly and intimately that we’re too numb to it to be alarmed or even to name it, let alone change it. “ …(…)…”First Amendment protections of the commercial speech that indoctrinates us, 24/7, to embrace narrow, self-interested strategies of “self-improvement” and protection.”

This really is the argument being put forward.

“Commercial speech, combined with social media, has deranged the public sphere by fragmenting, privatizing and alienating millions of us, and I don’t mean only the shooters. “…(…)…”the deluge of commercial speech that’s miseducating and disorienting the most impressionable, most vulnerable and most badly stressed among us. “

The case really is being made – not made well, or sensibly, or even coherently,` to be honest – that the First Amendment, that thing which allows us to speak our mind, must be torn up in order to, well,

“the commercial “speech” that our employment and our supposed standards depend on must somehow be altered and curbed. “

The part where the argument becomes hilarious – with the emphasis on the mad part of “mad laughter”, not so much the laughter part – is here:

“That kind of idealism may have been outflanked in our current era by developments that can only be described as fascist. “

The guy who wants to ban free speech is describing others as fascist? And he’s recommending the ending of the First Amendment as the manner by which we’ll beat fascism?

Salon is by no means the most far out there of the progressive outlets. It’s mainstream, in fact, it ranks within the top 100 of media for law and government. It gains some 8 million visits a month – this is not a mimeograph from some Mom’s basement. Salon actually has influence.

What really worries us is not that one particular writer had a strange idea. It’s possible for anyone to get lost in their own arguments after all. It’s that the layers of editors and managers at Salon thought this was something to be published. We should defend the American Republic, the grand experiment in freedom and liberty, by banning free speech?

There is a reason it’s first on that Bill of Rights, why it’s the First Amendment. Because without the ability to say what we want none of the other liberties will remain over time.


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