Wednesday 10-11-00 Political Science 102: Lecture #1 on Civil Liberties
Weíre going to I guess start Civil Liberties. We didnít start it at all in a sense last time we finished up on primaries direct and presidential. Last time in class?
And was that where I left off on presidential primaries? Do you have anything after that in your notes? I just donít remember if I covered anything after that.
You have any questions on presidential primaries?
The last time in class we did some discussion of Israel and the Palestinian situation there and I pointed out to you if I had my druthers despite my opposition to the functioning of the way the Israeli government is functioned in many various ways, I would prefer to live in Israel. No ifs, ands, or buts about it because I would survive there. Translation. In Israel it is not just simply basically democratic, but they do preserve civil liberties and I have to say that I support civil liberties for a very basic reason. I have a big mouth. If you say what you think in most societies, that means elimination. It may not mean a death camp like it was with the Nazis, but it can certainly mean losing a job and I have lost in the past a couple of jobs for my political positions or my outspokenness. One in the South and one in New York as well. And New York was because I organized the union and in the South it was because of my opposition to racism. But those are another story so to me civil liberties are an important issue. Not so much for my attitude that I want to be protected but I am well aware that I am happy that there are in this country all kinds of weirdoes, kooks, nuts, idiots, perverts I donít care, I am glad that theyíre there in a sense. It doesnít mean that I have to like them or approve of their actions, but as long as they are legal and acting legally Iím glad that their rights are protected or there are groups that will protect them. Because I am well aware that if those kooks, weirdoes, and nuts are eliminated, Iím next. As long as there is somebody that looks worse than me out there, like Dewitt, then Iím safe. :0) However if we eliminate them, then Iím next.
And guess what? Then I get eliminated because Iím a weirdo, kook, or nut and guess whose next-- some of you. And when youíre gone, some more of you will be gone. There will always be some of you left because there are some of you that are so bland that it is irrelevantĖyouíll never be eliminated.
And that is why, in a sense I start out my chapter in my book and certainly here with that quote from Reverend Martin Niemueller, N-I-E-M-U-E-L-L-E-R, which is on your word list.
The point that he makes that if you donít protect the rights of others and stand up for their rights you will cease to have any rights. Now if you recall Niemueller was a German theologian who supported Hitlerís rise to power believing Hitler was the best thing for Germany at the time. Within five years of 1933 when Hitler came to power, Niemueller was in a prison. He was sent to a concentration camp, not a death camp, he survived the war and in 1948-- he wrote Lutheran theological tracts and books and after the war he wrote about his experience and the famous quote that I paraphrase, "first they came to the handicapped and the mentally retarded and I was not handicapped nor mentally retarded, so I didnít say anything. And then the Nazis came for the communists and I was not a communist so I didnít say anything and then the Nazis came for the Jews and I was not a Jew so I didnít say nothing. Then they came for the labor leaders, and I was not a labor leader so I didnít say anything and then they came for the gypsies and I was not a gypsy, so I didnít say anything and then the Jehovahís witnesses and I was not a Jehovahís witness, so I didnít say anything, and then they came for the Catholic priest and nuns and I was not a priest or nun, so I didnít say anything. Then they came for me and there was no one left to say anything".
I really think that underlines my creed in many ways and sometimes I open my mouth too much for the protection of other peoplesí rights or when I see an injustice, but it also, I think, reflects the American philosophy not just mine. Granted not everybody on every issue. I guess the question comes down to: Why do we have civil liberties in our country? The answer is basically because we believe in them. Who were the Nazis, not philosophically, who did they represent? The political party that was the ruling party in power. They were the government. They were the government.
And where are our civil liberties spelled out to protect us? Well, in reality when we speak of our civil liberties in the context of thinking about them, theyíre spelled out in the Bill of Rights which translate to a bill of liberties.
Which is designed to protect us from whom?
The government. The first amendment says not that you shouldnít or I shouldnít, but that Congress cannot. Congress the agent of government, the legislature, that Congress cannot pass any legislation to take away our fundamental right, our right to free speech, our right to press, our right to freedom of assembly and Congress cannot pass any legislation to take away our freedom of religion or, and many people forget this, Congress cannot pass any legislation to create a religion, to establish a religion that we must follow. And the Congress cannot take way our absolute right to petition the government to redress grievances and that is part of the first amendment and all the other amendments deal with basically up through 9, liberty power, personal liberty although we call it the Bill of Rights. It is our right from government, which is basically what civil liberties are. Our protection from government so that we can continue our life, our liberty, and our pursuit of happiness.
Now there are many countries where liberties are spelled out too, but they are not protected. Why, because who is supposed to protect them? Who protects us from government?
Who provides that protection from the government?
The answer is simple I think you know it; itís right thereĖGOVERNMENT.
Right isnít it the government supposed to protect us. Now if the government doesnít want to protect usm, guess what folks, there is no civil liberties. There were far more civil liberties spelled out in the Soviet Unionís constitution than we have had in ours. However, simply, they are interpreted by the Communist Party and they did what they wanted to do so it was basically irrelevant that they had any civil liberties in their constitution.
So our civil liberties protect us from government but as government that we expect to protect us from ourselves and obviously we talk about power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
So what is it in our country, in our system, in our society, or in some others like Canada or Israel or other areas, where we can say the government really does preserve civil liberties? That doesnít mean they have not violated it at times. Donít get me wrong. We can name numerous violations where civil liberties have been abused in the United States.
Yet, those abuses are unusual compared to the numerous times they have been protected and the nice part is that we know about the abuses and the government has traditionally backed away or apologized for them.
Now here is an interesting facet that I was thinking about the other day. One of the biggest abuses we can think of in the country was executive order 9066. Do you know what that executive order 9066 was? That was the internment of the Japanese citizens and non-citizens on the West Coast in relocation camps during with World War Two. At the end of the war the relocation was declared illegal by the court but it was over and many of the Japanese citizens and non-citizens lost their homes and property and business. A few years back the government after much, much discussion and debate gave reparations which translates to, I believe it was $20,000 they gave to any Japanese-American citizen or person who lived in those camps and was still alive for their internment.
Now I donít know if I mentioned the other day the Oakland City Council has been talking about giving reparations to African-Americans because of slavery.
And there has been a movement on the federal level to give reparations to African-Americans because of slavery. Yet I see it on a different level. Do you know what the different level Iím looking at for the Japanese versus slavery?
>>No slave is still alive.
Well, thatís one and many of the descendants of those slaves are hard to judge if they were slaves. In many cases the records are not there and many Africans could have come in from other areas. That is not the main difference. We can argue that every African of African blood should get it because of the slavery. There is a bigger difference. Slavery was not a governmental institution in the United States. It was a private institution perhaps enforced under certain states but it was not the government who enslaved people. Itís a technicality within limitations on the state level. Certainly on the federal level the federal government did not force people directly into slavery. Yes, they sanctioned it in many ways and the law helped to maintain it perhaps, so there is a difference that is often not recognized by those demanding reparation in my mind. Because violation of civil liberties is when the government does it. When other groups or even people violate your right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness then we talk about or discuss a civil rights violation.
For example:
When African-Americans demonstrated in the south for liberty, they were demonstrating for their civil rights against people that owned businesses and wouldnít allow them to eat in their business, against gas stations who wouldnít allow them to buy gas or if they did they had separate rest rooms for colored. Those were done by the institutions in the south after the Civil War but not by the government and certainly not by the federal government. And so the blacks demonstrated with whites and others supporting them for civil rights.
Now the strange part here is in the demonstration for civil rights demanding equality under the law, demanding your right to achieve your potential, youíre asking government to help you.
Wherein civil liberty demonstrations youíre asking the government to get the hell away from you.
When you ask the government to protect your civil rights then in a sense we create an interesting problem here.
Because often when they move to preserve your civil rights they are creating a law which then violates someone elseís civil liberties. So there is the conflict.
The framers of our Constitution fought to preserve civil liberties -- they believed in liberty. There was not a lot of belief in equality.
Liberties and equality clashed just for that reason. Because sometimes when you move to create equality under the law you create-- weíll talk--well we talked affirmative actionĖsometimes when you move to create equality under the law what youíre doing is removing peoplesí liberties and that is difficult. We have to weigh the differences and we weigh them on our views of society at a specific time. For example. Examples always help obviously. Sometimes I give too many of them. We mentioned before a restaurant owner. Iím a restaurant owner I have the right of freedom of assembly. I bought the equipment and setup the restaurant and I decide that I really donít like Latvian people. I donít want to offend anyone and I didnít know if I had any Latvians in this class. Okay, good. I just donít want to hear that Kirschner is biased towards Latvians. Which wouldnít get me in too much trouble except with a friend of mine who is Latvian. But thatís beside the point.
So I decide that Iím not going to allow any Latvians to eat in the restaurant. See, in my other class I mentioned the French and I gave reasons and some people who were of French origin got pissed at me.
Well the government says no. They have just as much of a right to eat in a restaurant, to do business there that they have a right for equality and equality under the law means that no one has the right to deprive them of their rights of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. And so the law changes, which it did 30 years ago, and now says I as a restaurant owner must not, cannot prevent anyone from eating in my restaurant because of their race because of their national origin because of their creed, or religious belief system, or because of their gender and therefore youíve taken away my liberty of freedom of assembly and decide who can to eat or who I want to serve and it is a public place and the government has decided that since it is public and while you pay taxes they provide police and fire protection, they take care of the sidewalks.
>>Q. Wait how is it a public place? You own the business.
The business is taken care of and protected by the public. Translation: you are allowed in areas where our private little clubs where no one is involved and the government is not enforcing it, to "quote" discriminate. For example, Bob Jones University or Oral Roberts University are allowed to prevent blacks from attending, are allowed to prevent Jews from attending. Why, because they wonít take any money from the government and they donít get any protection from the government. But once you are asking for any government help such as tax exemptions or student scholarship money or police or fire protection, such as roads built and maintained by the government around and on your campus, those are public issues that make it a public institution.
>>Q. What about the restaurants that have signs that say we donít serve people.
That sign cannot be used to apply to those people I mentioned. Obviously itís up there, but what it applies to and you have still have a right as a private person now, that if someone walks in nude that could be very disturbing considering the way that most people look nude.
Did I ever mention that was my biggest disappointment was going to a nude beach? I decided years ago that woman looked much better in clothes, sexy clothes, because the imagination is your best sexual organ but when you see woman with all their cellulite walking around nude, ah, forget it, it is a turnoff. I know, Iím perverted some of you like the nude woman-- I like the bikinis. What?
>>Not every woman has cellulite.
Well, not everyone does. The ones on the nude beach do. I think the ones that donít are smart enough to keep it private. That is unfortunately the way it works. I donít know why that is. Why are the exhibitionists always the ones out of shape?
Enough enough..
>>Like fat people always wear Spandex.
Yeah, oh, Iíll never forget this 250 pound 14 year old wearing her Spandex and short-shorts. She was the sister of one of the soccer players on my sonís team and she was out there all of the time. It was the most obscene looking thing I ever saw.
>>Thatís mean.
I didnít say anything to her. It is not mean, itís true. To see some 250 pounder wearing spandex and short- shorts. Imagine how disgusting that must be so yes, you have a right not to serve someone who doesnít dress properly for that institution. So if someone comes in weighing 250 pounds wearing spandex and short-shorts, you can keep them out legally because that is not a creed-it might be. But if they say my religion is nudity they can take it to the court. If someone comes in smelling to high heaven and itís disturbing the digestion of people you have the right. They have changed on the East Coast but years ago, back to Dr. Dewitt, we had a conference on the East Coast and Dewitt likes to go to fancy restaurants. Iím one, because all of my life I tried to gain weight which meant I had to eat, eat, eat, I hate food. So it doesnít matter, I donít want to go to fancy restaurants, just give me a McDonaldís burger or something. I donít care, I donít want to spend a lot of money because it always came out anyway. So I went with him in Baltimore and we go to this restaurant and they wouldnít let me in. In those days Dewitt always wore a tie, jacket, suit. They never matched. Well, we shouldnít laugh, he is colorblind. His wife matches his clothes on the bed every morning, he wasnít able to tell so itís only fair, but the fact is that I donít own a tie or jacket, so here we are and Dewitt wants to go in badly, but they will give you one. So they ask me what size jacket do you wear? I was training pretty heavily in those days so I said 46 or 48 short. All they had was a 48 extra long. Give me this jacket and then a clip on bad tie to put on this type of shirt-well I think I had a collar and Iíll tell you this made them feel better. But, you know Dewitt got to eat.
If you donít think Iím telling the truth you ask him the story but that is legal.
>>Q. I have a question about the jacket. You donít wear the jacket while you eat anyway.
Oh yeah you had to.
>>You had to eat the jacket while..
No you had to eat the jacket. (Laughter) My trouble is that I hear everything that you say.
That was part of it. You had to have the jacket on so these sleeves were constantly falling. I can still visualize it. Itís the silliest thing in the world, this jacket touching the floor. So I donít always buy some of these things but it is legal is the point I make.
Q. So private schools can discriminate?
As long as they donít take any money from the state and avoid certain types of tax exemptions.
Q. I have a question back to the college, because they do accept women, right?
Where? Bob Jones? Right.
Q,>> What if one of the women gets raped on the campus she may want the police involved, not just campus security And she is going to go the police and if sheís a student at that college when, doesnít that somehow--
Well, again, obviously you canít avoid government interaction, so thereís a level of what they consider to be public. Acceptable for a better term.
And in that case it would not be considered public that doesnít mean in the future that one something like that would make them public, or two, in the future somebody could convince the courts that is their creed or religion to eat nude like that guy in Berkeley. Remember that nude guy that used to walk around Berkeley and go to classes. How many remember that?
Q. He would go to school naked.
Yes. Until they convinced him to put on a bandana over himself.
>>I thought, didnít he bring a towel?
Well, it was a bandana I think he carried. One of those sort of plaid things that you wore to cover your face when you rob banks. I think that is what occurred.
We have all of these women getting visualizations. Actually it was interesting, Berkeley, speaking of nudity they have this theater that performs in the nude and they kept busting them because of the ordinance against nudity in Berkeley, but what happened the 3 times they were brought to trial and the juriesĖwhat-- declared them not guilty so they could not get a jury to convict them in Berkeley. So the next time they busted them they made it a misdemeanor and they had to pay a fine and that would have been done before a judge. So sometimes itís not necessarily the people views but the view of authority and that is where the question comes in.
But again that is what civil liberties become and I was trying to identify clashes. There are other kinds of clashes perhaps more heavy than that. For example, in 1973 Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court ruled under the 9th amendment, which is an all encompassing thing, that no government in the United States could prevent a woman from having an abortion within the first 3 months and basically within the first 6 months because of the fact that a government couldnít interfere with a womanís right to choice and her body. It is her body and she can do what she wants with it. The government canít be invasive. (Had to stop to turn tape) But is it a life as an embryo or a fetus? And that therefore under the woman a part of an organ? Or is it an individual possibility to survive? And at this point the courts have weighted the civil liberty above the civil rights if you will. A good example of that, Iím not sure. But it is certainly shows you that they have to be weighted because of the different views in society. A civil liberty clash too. The constitution amendment provides for liberty of free press but it also provides for a fair trial. Government cannot prevent a fair trial, thatís a liberty. Yet when the press refuses to reveal information or sources, they say it would be damaging to their freedom of the press. They can no longer be the watchdogs of democracy. People wouldnít reveal things, they couldnít get their news. In almost every state, not all, the court feels that that freedom of the press will interfere with ---the right of a fair trial then they will choose the right of a fair trial as more important than the right of a free press. We have to weigh liberty and rights and times change. Years ago, the civil right to smoke anywhere you want was simply accepted.
Today the liberty has been taken away, that smokers no longer have a right. They are now violating their civil liberties. The government has determined for their safety of others in secondary smoke the personís civil right to continue their life without the after effect of secondary smoke must be stopped. So we have chosen the civil right of the nonsmoker in a sense violating the civil liberty of the smoker.
Which boils down to other laws that are certainly questionable. Does government protect us by demanding helmets for motorcycles or bikes for children under the age of 18?
Or seat belts? Youíre not impacting anyone if you want to commit suicide that is fine. How do they do that? It becomes public. If government has decided that even if youíre stupid enough to ride a motorcycle without a helmet this society has to clean up your Goddamn blood with my tax money. And therefore it is not a personal liberty, it is a public right. Now many people would say my personal liberty is more important. But they argue the equality of all. So in many ways, the equality sent has outweighed liberty in the last 20 years and government has decided to protect equality, the equality of all of us, to be preserved from somebodyís stupid blood and yet people will argue that theyíre violating my civil liberties-- are they accurate? Sure they are. Their civil liberties are being violated, it is just weighed as to which is more important.
Q.>>Isnít the issue of right to bear arms a civil liberty and a civil right?
It is neither until the courts determine it is. Now we might argue it is a civil right or civil liberty-- I was talking legally-- and if youíre not referring to legal yes because at this particular juncture this is no legal right to bear arms in the United States. Did I talk about that? Iíll explain that later. There is no constitutionally legal right. However because the court may have interpreted that there is no legal right to bear arms that doesnít mean there may not be in the culture, in the concept in the sense. So if government decides theyíre going to take away your weapon, or pistols or rifles, I have to avoid using gun because he was in the military and he had to march around saying this is my pistol, this is my gun, this is for shooting, this is for fun.
Actually, that goes back to the marine way back in the movie that made it famous was FROM HERE TO ETERNITY with Burt Lancaster. In any case, then people would say it is -- youíre taking away my sense of self-protection, my sense of right to hunt, my right to target shoot. Youíre taking away my personal God-given right of self-protection by taking away my weapons.
Let me take a side trip here. I donít want to leave anything hanging. Because youíre all saying what the hell is he saying there is no legal right to bear arms in the Constitution. So Iím going to say something that I would have said later, but since itís been brought up.
I donít want to leave something dead there. The second amendment to the Constitution is in the Bill of Rights.
And the second amendment is the one that is quoted the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed and so the NRA has convinced people and itís amazingly so, that that you have a right to bear arms and it may, donít get me wrong.
You have a right to bear arms, not bare legs..No..
But the fact is that in 1039, and weíll talk about some other levels hear that why it doesnít apply to the states.
The Supreme Court ruled that there is a full amendment there that reads in the beginning-- a well-regulated Militia being necessary to the survival of a free society the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed. Now the NRA argues that all people are part of the militia, but the court decision says that a militia is well organized and therefore is interpreted to mean a state militia and understanding what weíll talk about later the Bill of Rights was instituted in the concept that the state needed to be protected from the federal government and the concept was to allow the states to arm themselves against a possibly oppressive government. So you have no right to bear arms under the second amendment unless youíre a member of the militia organized by a state to protect itself from the federal government. That was the court decision in 1939 which has been upheld or dealt with in every court case on the federal level up until last September in í99. Every case that came before the court that was left to the states. Iíll explain that in a minute.
In September of Ď99 and I have it here but Iím not going open it up. For the first time in Lubbock, Texas, based on a law in Texas, a federal judge, a district judge ruled that the second amendment does apply to the people individually. That is the first time it ever happened. Now is he right or wrong. Again like anything else we canít make a comment on it until the Supreme Court comes down on it, which means the Supreme Court could change its view. Right now, there is no legal right except in the district of Texas because a local judge in the federal level only applies to that locality that he covers. But when the Supreme Court rules, it applies to the United States.
Now Iím sure none of you have come across that before.
That is what is interesting because we hear about a right to bear arms which made no sense to me because I grew up in New York City. In New York City since 1890, all weapons were outlawed. You canít buy them. There are no gun stores. You can have some weapons in certain circumstances with permits or pistols or carry rifles for hunting if you get the permit but theyíre very difficult to get ahold of. As a kid I was very upset because I always wanted a BB gun. You canít be a real boy growing up unless you own a Red Ryder and you could shoot birds. My parents wouldnít let me get a BB gun. All of my friends were shooting birds. The first thing I did when I moved to California was buy a gun and I killed some birds and I felt like a real man.
In any case. The issue pertains to the fact that whether you can own gun or not depends on the state and a number of years back, about 30 years ago, Mayor Feinstein, 79 or í79, some 20 years ago, when Diane Feinstein was Mayor of San Francisco there was something going on called the Zodiac killing, and the city council passed legislation banning all handguns in San Francisco and the sale of them. That was overturned at the California Supreme Court level not because of the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but because an initiative many years earlier had been passed to allow Californians to own handguns. So that is there in California but in New York State there is no legal right and while some cities in New York State donít ban weapons and allow you to own them, and the fact is that New York City has since 1890 because it is not in the state constitution and this is underlined by something that happened in Ď82 that I remember because something funny came from it. The village of Morton Grove outside of Chicago in Illinois banned all ownership of guns, weapons handguns, pistols, rifles and the sale which mirrored New York.
Pissed the NRA off at the time and they took it to federal court and argued it was a violation of the second amendment. The courts tossed it out and said this is a state issue and you have to go back to the court in Illinois which did not overturn it because the Illinois constitution does not have any protection of the right to bear arms so if it is not if federal constitution it is left to the state and the court ruled there is no right. It is not legally there at this juncture. The things why this particular day sticks out in my mind is because of something that happened a few months after Morton Grove banned weapons, a city in Georgia, Kenshaw, which I think is somewhere near Atlanta, the city council passed a law saying that every head of the household must own a weapon a gun, a pistol. They said you had to. To me that is obviously a violation of somebodyís civil liberties forcing me to own a weapon. However it couldnít be taken to the courts because there was no penalty and if there is none you canít be charged and if not charged, you canít get it overturned. But what was interesting to me because of culture and belief while this was passed in Kenshaw, the press had a field day with it, and they asked some guy who had just been shot in thigh by his wife in a domestic dispute with a handgun, which by the way is one of the major causes of death in domestic disputes. Most deaths and shooting with weapons and pistols in this country and even rifles are people that know each other and are domestic. I have a cop in my class from Newark on Monday night and he was saying that in Newark they call that a Newark divorce.
I had no idea. People were shooting their spouses in Newark but I must admit that my department chair when I was in Florida his wife shot him. So she shot him in the thigh and they asked him does this bother you that the weapon was in the house and she got pissed and shot you. No the weapon was in the house and she was trained how to use it. If she had not been trained perhaps she would not have been accurate in her shooting and might have shot me somewhere else so Iím very proud of her. Maybe she was aiming somewhere else. Which would have made more sense. I find that quite different from most peopleís philosophy. Iím proud of my wife she only shot me in the thigh.
>>But if he had not said that maybe she would have shot him later.
That is why the whole situation in Morton Grove stuck out. So I touch on that only to show you the discrepancies the conflict and disputes and so the issue of right and wrong is weighted by the law. It doesnít make it right or wrong in our minds and that is what makes it important that civil liberties and civil rights are hard to define and yes you can say it is a civil liberties violation but that doesnít mean it necessarily is.
So is it a civil violation to have ratings on your CDs? Taking away your right to buy that CD because youíre under 17. Is that a civil liberty violation?
No it is not. The ratings on the CD are not put there by the government but voluntarily by the company. Just like the movie rating and that is why thereís a big stink right now. The US government and Congress is pissed because the movie industry has been promoting R rated movies to kids, the kids are pushing their parents to take them to the film or at least get it on CD so they can watch it. So the government is talking that if you donít do anything weíre going to pass legislation. We run into a border line area there. The government is not legislating but if the government is forcing you to legislate isnít that the same doesnít that become civil liberties and it may. This is a real borderline kind of case.
Q. You can turn on the V-chip thing on T V.
Yeah, but you can turn that on or off. It is not required and I had that dispute with my son. It is not that the government has demanded that the company put it in that may be a civil liberty violation playing to the business but you donít have to use that chip.
So it is voluntary so that is not a civil liberty. >>Youíre forced to pay for that chip.
Well that is not necessarily-- the cost of TVs go down so much.
>>Somebody has to pay for it.
Well the company is paying for it. That doesnít mean that you are in the long run you might. But if they want to sell it to you they donít give a damn, the cost is minuscule. But youíre right. Anytime they put something on the TV but I donít think that is what your cost of the TV is related to.
>>So on the same line of thinking would it be a civil liberty violation if they require you to you put a handgun lock on your handgun.
Yes that would be considered a civil liberties violation. It doesnít make it that you canít do that. We choose other reasons for it.
But you can argue that as a civil liberty violation because they force you to put a lock on it but theyíre not doing that. What theyíre doing is forcing the company to sell the pistol with the lock. If laws were passed similar to seat belts where if you donít wear it you will be fined then if you didnít use the V chip you would be fined then it becomes a civil liberties violation. So censorship is a civil liberties violation.
For example I have an article Iíll relate it.
In New Jersey, about 20 years ago this article a local church created a movement among their youth to go out and collect from their houses and from many friends that donate to them all of the rock and roll albums that they had and then they created a big bonfire outside of the church where everybody prayed to Jesus as the rock and roll music melted and the books dealing with the various Beatles and others burned. And the young lady who was the ministerís
daughter said I understand it and agree with my father because rock and roll music makes me feel lusty.
I think that is why Dewitt teaches it. But I never listened to rock and roll maybe that is why Iím not lusty.
>>That is age.
Even as a youth I didnít listen to it. The lust issue even the prostitutes didnít proposition me. My appearance, I guess.
>>That sounds like a personal thing.
Yeah. But I think if I listened to rock and rock music why take Viagara, just listen to the music. That is what Dole should have done. He should have been advertising rock and roll music. But in any case that is not a civil liberties or rights violation. Why? Nobody ordered it. They did it voluntarily and so it is a personal choice and we have the right of personal choice as long as we donít offend or interfere with other peoplesí rights and certainly we didnít go into the homes like the Nazis did and take out books and paintings and make large bonfires of them. That becomes civil liberties. But despite that, we have had censorship by the government and we still do in many ways, and that becomes civil liberties. Some of which we can understand and some not. Many cities and school have banned the American Heritage dictionary. Not Webster. Now why? Because the American Heritage dictionary is the only one that spells out-- other dictionaries spell out curse words-- but the American Heritage dictionary explains or gives the definitions of the derivatives so they only have the F word but they have mother F-er and they explain that as well. The attitude is that if people see it they will do it or become evil by their words and action.
Now whether that is valid or not, weíll talk about that is a dangerous tendency doctrine a little later, but once again censorship, books continuously. In fact when I went overseas the first time, there were certain books that were not sold in this country that were English and you were not to deport them. But I violated the law and smuggled in Tropic of Capricorn and Tropic of Cancer, even the James Joyce Ulysses, which is a classical novel. They were not allowed in this country. Those were banned by the various agencies including the customs. However even nowadays, I have a list of books-- one of the books that has been banned since 1952 and continues to be on the list is Catcher in the Rye. Most of you have read it either in school or on your own. That is one of those books they love to ban. There are many others and I have a list here. But in Ď97 the books that were most banned in this country were the Goosebumps series. Why? Magic. Anytime you deal with witches or magic there are many groups that believe that is promoting devil worship.
So yes, there are some strange books, My Friend Flicka was banned in a city in Florida three years ago because it mentioned a female dog and referred to them as a bitch which I think is a legal word in its usage, but they felt it was damaging and often people interpret the law and sometimes you have to fight it in front of the judge.
In Ohio it was in the same day that the banning of the book, Flicka was mentioned, two men were busted for holding hands in a car. Now the police officers argue that was a disturbance to the peace because if anyone walking by seeing them, real men would beat the hell out of them. The judge threw it out.
Yet two woman were suspended recently in California for hugging. They were teen-agers. And the high school acts as your parent. They were suspended for hugging. They said it would promote lesbianism. But they werenít lesbians, they were just friends. It is not a point of being valid.
>>Q. Was it a public school?
Yes, not private.
So again what we talk about is authorities can interpret, based upon their hang-up is their problem, but those problems are carried on by the authority into the institutions that they control.
So obviously then why are civil liberties preserved?
How come we still have them. The answer in this country is, I think, fairly simple. I mentioned one and Iíll talk more about it, our belief in them, but more to the point, the framers of our constitution set up a government to preserve liberty and that government was designed to create many governments. The United States doesnít only have just one government, but many. What are some?
We have state, city, federal. So if one-- this is called federalism. What does that mean. Federalism?
Power is shared between the government. Between the central government and the subdivision, and states are subdivisions. So power is shared, and therefore if one government violates, you have the right of option of appealing to a different government. Now not only do we have the federalism, but separation of power. They create 3 governments in our federal government. That the 3 branches are independent, in many cases, and separate and I think there is some truth to that. The 3 branches are again: the legislative, the executive and the judicial. So if the executive branch violates your civil liberty you have an appeal to the legislative or to the judicial.
And so we open the door to no one power-- one person canít control and that was the intent of the framers starting with the Articles of Federation, and later expanding into the constitution where they moved to protect their rights as a minority to the rich and the well-born that wrote the constitution, as well as to protect them from the masses and also protect them from one dictator.
Q. With the federalism, a city court could say it is fine. A state court could say it is not and the Supreme Court could say it is. But once the Supreme Court says it, it doesnít matter.
Once the decision is on the courts there is always the ability to appeal to the legislature to change the ruling of the court if the legislature passes a constitutional amendment. There is still another method of trying to reverse it, and then of course you have the option of-- it may take time--such as with the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment or with the issue of abortion of changing the court by changing the justice system through the voting process of who will be in the executive branch. And you have the right to petition government for the redress of grievances. It doesnít mean that you wonít go to prison or your rights wonít be violated for awhile and there is the tragedy with the Japanese and the relocation camps, but it can happen. But yet our country does allow for the ability to redress that grievance but more so in many cases the underlying reason for getting the different government in separation of power is the fact that most Americans when they learn of the violation want to get pissed off and know that if they donít speak out, there for the grace of God go them, and the best example that we are familiar with is Rodney King case. No doubt evil, definitely not a model citizen. An alcoholic criminal. When the video tape showed the police pounding on him, the American public said there for the grace of God go I. We donít care how evil this guy is, we canít accept authority acting on itís own on that sort of assault fashion. And so pressure was placed not only to bring the police officers to trial but when they were released to continue pressure on the fact that they violated his civil liberties and made the federal government intervene and try them again. Were their civil liberties violated because they were tried twice for the same crime? Perhaps, but they were charged with different offenses and therefore it is not being tried twice. Technicality, maybe. In a sense it still identities where we are. They said it was happening here in East Los Angeles to blacks for years. Yes, but then we saw it. Maybe we donít want to believe it. Maybe this woman today that took the police down to show where her husband shot 3 Mexicans and buried them You know the Los Angeles police department has been going through some real problems because of the way some of the police have acted down there. Those are the few and the many. When we find out about it we become incensed.
A few months after the Rodney King thing, this was not that largely broadcast. A Mexican woman was transporting illegal drugs and the police stopped her and the video camera was going on the car, and the cop got pissed because of the fact that she spoke back to him. He dragged her out of the car and she was tied to the seat belt and she was pregnant and he hit her with the baton a number of times and it was a vicious attack. But interestingly I was listening to a talk show and one person said this is the best thing that could happen. We should take this tape and broadcast it all over Mexico. That would stop those damn Mexicans from coming to this country illegally. Now that is a view and it is a viewpoint, but certainly not one that the vast majority of us hold. We donít care even if they have broken the law. Just because theyíre drug dealers doesnít mean the cop have a right to execute them. This is a civil liberty to a fair trial and a speedy trail.
And that is what we intend to do. But it doesnít always achieve it..
>>Q. Does it say all humans or citizens?
All humans. In other words even non citizens in this country have a right to a fair trial which translates, even illegal aliens, in breaking the law are first tried and then sent back but they are not executed. They are sent back if theyíre caught illegally but if they broke a law in this country, weíre going to try them. If theyíre guilty or not guilty, we might still export them. No different. When a trial is held for a citizen because they are people and that is what civil liberties are about and that is why in this country we have civil liberties most of the time because we are willing to stand up to authority when we know we are next.
And so, yes, sometimes we get annoyed at those kooks, weirdos and nuts, but once again Iím glad they are there or at least somebody to protect them as long as they donít act illegally.
I guess that finishes up for today. Weíll see you Monday.