I did a little bit of research just before this show – it’s on this little napkin here. I looked up the definition of sedition which is conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of the state. And a lot of these statements, especially the ones coming from people like Glenn Beck and to a certain extent Sarah Palin, rub right up close to being seditious.
I suggest that next time Joe Klein do a more thorough research job and use a much larger napkin as a crib sheet. He might have discovered the discredited and short-lived Sedition Act, passed 22 years after the Declaration of Independence, which outlawed conspiracies “to oppose any measure or measures of the government” and made it illegal for anyone to express “any false, scandalous and malicious writing” against Congress or the president.
James Madison and Thomas Jefferson opposed it.
James Madison had argued that the Sedition Act attacked the
right of freely examining public characters and measures, and of free communication among the people
As president, Jefferson pardoned all who were convicted under the Sedition Act and helped pay their fines. The law was off the books by 1802. As Jefferson said in his inaugural address, Americans have the right
to think freely and to speak and write what they think.
It looks like Joe Klein is on the side of the discredited Sedition Act, in opposition to Jefferson and Madison. Yet, ironically, he would have been punished himself for saying such “malicious” things against the Bush administration as:
I think this has been a profoundly un-American administration.
Joe sure sounds like he was using language inciting rebellion against the authority of the state. Shame on him!
I’ll stick with Madison and Jefferson, who recognized the the right of the people to freely criticize their government. That applies to protecting Joe Klein and his leftist friends who railed against Bush for eight years or Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin who are railing against Obama’s big government policies today.
If Joe Klein had bothered to actually tune into Glenn Beck’s program, he would have heard Beck repeatedly quote this motto of peaceful protest from Mahatma Ghandi:
Use truth as your anvil, nonviolence as your hammer and anything that does not stand the test when it is brought to the anvil of truth and hammered with nonviolence, reject it.
Perhaps it is time for Joe Klein to lift his head out of his intellectual bog known as the Swampland blog. Perhaps he can then begin to understand that Beck, Palin and the Tea Party protestors embody what Jefferson and Madison’s concept of political dissent is all about.