“Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party of the United States?”
Who can ever forget that deathless line in the courageous fight for the defense of America and democracy and the Constitution and freedom and mom and apple pie? Well, actually, it would appear quite a large number of people can and have.
I am old enough that some of the ripples of McCarthyism washed up on the dining table in my parents’ house, where bits and pieces of conversations I was too young to understand made their way into the long-term memory bank. A godfather of mine (I had two, precisely because my father wished to make a point about where he stood and what he thought was right), a career diplomat of rare ability and accomplishment, was caught up in the Communist witch hunt. His name was John Melby and—briefly, without getting too bogged down in history lessons—his crime was having fallen in love and having an affair with the playwright Lillian Hellman (The Little Foxes, The Children’s Hour, Watch on the Rhine, Another Part of the Forest, Toys in the Attic, other plays and books). Why was that a crime? Because Lillian Hellman had leftist leanings and twenty years earlier had supported the anti-Franco forces, which were in turn supported by the Communists, which in turn meant she must be a Communist, which in turn meant anyone who loved her must also be a Communist, which in turn meant there had to be a purge…
Did you think those days were over, Gentle Reader? Did you really think the days of the political/ideological pogrom were over? Think again, baby. The only difference is that sixty years ago it was evil, self-serving, ethically bankrupt conservative politicians trampling on the Constitution for their personal political benefit; today it is evil, self-serving, ethically bankrupt progressive liberals trampling on the Constitution for their personal political benefit.
Let’s start in New York.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo bears a striking physical resemblance to the mobster Sollozzo in The Godfather and bears an even more striking ethical resemblance to him as well. Taking an illegal and immoral page from Barack Hussein Obama’s “Operation Chokepoint,” Mobster/Governor Cuomo has directed New York banks and insurance companies to blacklist all Second Amendment groups, in particular the National Rifle Association, threatening to punish businesses and banks and insurance companies with multi-million-dollar penalties if they do not comply.
I’m not joking and I’m not making this up. New York’s Department of Financial Services, acting on the Governor’s orders, fined two companies, Lockton Affinity and Chubb, Ltd., $7-million and $1.3-million respectively because of their involvement with the NRA’s Carry Guard Insurance program. Both companies courageously folded up and dropped the NRA.
If any of that reminds you of the Nazi Party’s blacklisting of Jewish businesses just before the Party rolled up it sleeves and really went to work, it’s not a coincidence.
Now let’s go to Los Angeles, where a charming City Councilman named Mitch O’Farrell, with no more knowledge or understanding of or respect for the Constitution than Andrew Cuomo, proposed an ordinance requiring all city contractors to disclose any ties to the NRA. In February, the Los Angeles City Council approved the ordinance in a 14-0 vote,
“Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the National Rifle Association of the United States?”
As I noted above, all of this is in direct imitation of Barack Hussein Obama’s Operation Choke Point. In case you are unfamiliar with Operation Choke Point, in 2013 Barack Hussein Obama directed his Department of Justice to pressure the financial industry to deny financial services (banking, insurance, access to capital) to companies engaged in activities that he, Barack Hussein Obama, did not approve of, without ever bothering with trifling little incidentals such as worrying if said companies were in violation of the law. Some of the companies that were targeted included firearms manufacturers, ammunition manufacturers, stores and companies that sold firearms or ammunition, as well as a host of others, some of them bafflingly innocuous: fireworks manufacturers and sellers, dating services, coin dealers, short-term money lenders, and many others, including surveillance equipment manufacturers and sellers, presumably because they might surveil Obama’s administration and reveal just how corrupt it was.
How does this violate the Constitution? Apart from the fact that there is something called due process, delineated in the Fourteenth Amendment, that liberal Democrats seem to regard as irrelevant (remember the Kavanaugh hearings?), all of these qualify as violations of the First Amendment.
Think about it. Barack Hussein Obama wanted to punish me for doing business with companies or industries he didn’t like. If I’m a member of the NRA, Mitch O’Farrell wants me to be denied access to LA city contracts. Governor Cuomo wants to punish me for doing business with the NRA. All of those hit directly at the heart of the First Amendment: your right to freedom of speech. How? Because the NRA is an organization of individuals (five-million-plus strong) who have banded together to have the NRA represent them and their views and their beliefs and their rights on Capitol Hill, as they have every right to do. That’s freedom of speech.
When you read in the mainstream media about the “powerful” NRA using its “war chest” (i.e. money) to “buy” politicians, just remember that a single billionaire, Michael Bloomberg, whose private fortune is many times greater than all the dues and donations the NRA has taken in since its founding in 1871, is spending his money to do the exact same thing. One billionaire, as opposed to five million working class individuals. Which one sounds like democracy in action to you?
In addition to being an attack on the First Amendment and your right to freedom of speech as outlined above, both of these are in direct violation of a 1972 Supreme Court ruling, Perry vs Sindermann, which found denial of a benefit (in LA’s case employment, in NY’s case remuneration) to an individual based on his or her speech or associations is a violation of the First Amendment.
Readers who remember my review of Kimberly Strassel’s book, The Intimidation Game, or better read yet, those who have read her excellent book, will remember that she lays out, very clearly, step by step, how the progressive left, going back to the beginnings of the Obama administration, quietly worked to undermine the First Amendment. Amazingly, the mainstream media has happily gone along with that agenda.
And why does the progressive left want so very much to curtail your right to speak or associate with people who share your views? For the same reason that liberal arts colleges and universities try to prevent conservative speech on their campuses. They’re afraid to try and oppose conservative views with logic and facts and ratiocination. By definition, the moment someone starts using profanity, shouting, violence, or skullduggery to prevent freedom of speech, it means that person or organization or government has nothing intelligent to say with which to argue its case. Remember what Josef Stalin said: “Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns; why should we let them have ideas?” And when it comes to gun control, the First Amendment and the Second Amendment are inextricably linked; the one can only be destroyed by destroying both.
Joe McCarthy and the House Committee on Un-American Activities were finally stopped by the courage of a respected journalist, Edward R. Murrow, and by the anger and outrage of an Army lawyer, Joseph N. Welch, who really did utter a deathless line in the fight for the defense of America and democracy and the Constitution when he said to Joe McCarthy: “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”
Andrew Cuomo and Mitch O’Farrell and most of the twenty Democrat presidential candidates have demonstrated they do not.