Never Trump folks and people on the left had a meltdown over comments that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) allegedly made regarding censorship by Silicon Valley and the Second Amendment.
Here’s the clip that was being spread by those on the left:
— KevinlyFather 🇺🇲🇨🇦🇲🇼🇸🇿 (@KevinlyFather) May 27, 2021
You had the usual folks fall for it.
Why do we need a January 6 Commission? Because the threat is ongoing. See below. https://t.co/mvNliO485N
— Amanda Carpenter (@amandacarpenter) May 27, 2021
I want to be clear: There are only three options: He’s evil, he’s stupid, or he’s both. https://t.co/WbyRlNCGxM
— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahDispatch) May 28, 2021
Except that it was deceptive to make it appear that Gaetz was threatening Silicon Valley.
Gaetz was speaking about the First Amendment — about Silicon Valley, Big Tech censorship and cancel culture.
“Let us use the Constitution to strengthen our argument, and our movement. We have a First Amendment right to speak and assemble, and we better use it. The internet’s hall monitors out in Silicon Valley, they think they can suppress us, discourage us. Maybe if you’re just a little less patriotic, maybe if you just conform to their way of thinking a little more, then you will be allowed to participate in the digital world. Well, you know what? Silicon Valley can’t cancel this movement or this rally or this congressman.”
He then started a separate point about the Second Amendment with, “We have a Second Amendment in this country, and I think we have an obligation to use it.”
But the deceptive clip left out the context that those were two separate thoughts, with that last sentence being that start of a discussion of the Second Amendment, as the longer Youtube clip reveals.
Never Trump Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) naturally fell for it, but in so doing, revealed how he truly fails to understand the law or the First Amendment.
Kinzinger claimed that this wasn’t protected speech under the First Amendment, that this was “beyond yelling fire in a theater.”
This is not speech protected by the first amendment. This is beyond yelling fire in a theater. https://t.co/FyIcIqqsIl
— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) May 28, 2021
So many things wrong in one short tweet. Kinzinger reveals that he has a warped perception of the First Amendment.
First, of course it would be protected in the face of government action, there doesn’t appear to be anything within it that is inciting imminent lawless action, the standard set forth in Brandenburg v. Ohio. Gaetz was saying we have a Second Amendment. You can interpret that to mean many things, for example, support our right to be able to defend ourselves, under the Constitution, if needed.
But beyond that, Kinzinger shows that, just like Joe Biden, he misuses the “fire in the theater” analogy.
So for Adam Kinzinger, Joe Biden, and anyone else who doesn’t understand that has no legal validity, let’s say it again. That line was a throwaway line in a case that was later essentially overturned by Brandenburg. It didn’t even have the force of law in the case it was used and didn’t have to do with any actual fire in a theater. But people trying to censor have relied on that for years. So when you use it, you show both that you want to be a censor, and that you have no understanding of the law or the Constitution. That’s pretty troubling when that person is a member of Congress, looking to restrict people’s speech. Kinzinger needs to repudiate this lie and apologize.