If you don’t like the Constitution, you can always rewrite it. Or resort to the creative use of ellipses. The American Civil Liberties Union has an impressive website on free speech. The opening paragraph introducing the website is this: “It is probably no accident that freedom of speech is the first freedom mentioned in the First Amendment: ‘Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.’ The Constitution’s framers believed that freedom of inquiry and liberty ofexpression were the hallmarks of a democratic society.”
The first freedom mentioned in the First Amendment is, of course, the free exercise of religion. It appears that among the liberties championed by the ACLU is that of taking liberties with the text of the Constitution.
Note: The website has since been reworded, no doubt because of this piece.
Saturday, January 22, 2005
The ACLU's Creative Ellipses:
From Father Neuhaus' Public Square in FIRST THINGS: