We Need All of the First Amendment, Mr. Cruz

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Ari Armstrong has recently posted on a couple of aspects of the upcoming presidential election, with the first of his posts being about strategic voting in general and the second on Ted Cruz's pandering to theocratic voters, something that has concerned me ever since he chose to announce his candidacy at Liberty University. Both posts are lengthy, but quite worthwhile and I highly recommend them. In the second, Armstrong applies principles from the first.

Armstrong has advocated a strategy that he calls "conditional punishment voting" regarding Cruz:

[T]here are two types of punishment voting, absolute and conditional. If you're so upset with a candidate that there is no way that candidate could find redemption in your eyes, you might just want to announce a firm punishment vote. But if you still think there's hope for your candidate, you might want to announce conditional punishment. That is, if the candidate shapes up, you will rescind your threat of voting for the opposing candidate. (At this point, that's my position with respect to Cruz.)
But punishments like this are worthless (because they won't make sense) without explanations, hence the second post. Among several important reasons Armstrong is concerned about Cruz is his decision to attend a "religious liberties" conference and take the stage with one of its organizers, a pastor known to endorse the execution of homosexuals:
Even those who pretend that [Kevin] Swanson did not really mean what he said still are left with the uncomfortable fact that the potential execution of homosexuals was a serious part of the discussion at this conference. The best-case scenario is that attendees seriously discussed whether government officials, in America, should execute homosexuals, and, if so, whether they should do so immediately or at some point in the future. That's the sort of conference that Ted Cruz chose to attend and address as part of his political campaign for the presidency.
Armstrong brings up a couple of other examples of pandering that should give any friend of liberty pause. He doesn't even get around to Cruz's proposal to effectively make the judicial branch a third political branch of government. Nor does Armstrong ask why a man -- who correctly identified a Democrat proposal as effectively lining out the freedom of speech provision of the First Amendment -- is allying himself with those who would line out the establishment clause. But then, perhaps Armstrong doesn't need to.

Here's a question for Senator Cruz, provoked by his actions: If by "freedom of speech," you really mean what a a polity of theocrats (who can gut a judiciary that disagrees with them) says it is, how can you really call yourself a supporter of actual freedom of speech? Lining out the establishment clause is just a sneaky way of lining out freedom of speech while posing as a friend in need.

-- CAV

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