Ben Shapiro: The First Amendment is Dead

The first amendment is dead; long live the reign of sensitivity. Ben Shapiro explores how Americans have forfeited their fundamental rights in the name of political correctness. 


Millions of people from all over the world held candlelight vigils in honor of the French magazineCharlie Hebdo after an Islamic terror attack on its staff. But in reality, those of us in the United States – yes, even those of us who tweeted #JeSuisCharlie – gave up our First Amendment rights long ago. We gave them up in the name political correctness, and in the name of being “non-offensive.”

The First Amendment is dead. Long live the Reign of Sensitivity.

Freedom of speech. We should be able to say what we want without fear of government reprisal. Well, unless we make a YouTube video about the life of Mohammed. Then…

VIDEO: Obama from UN: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

And it didn’t. The guy who made that video ended up in jail. And the people at Charlie Hebdo ended up dead. So everything worked out fine.

How about freedom of the press? Well, we now have Democrats attempting to define who is a member of the press, so that they can reject press rights for bloggers. And, of course, the Obama administration has allegedly tapped a journalist’s computer, tapped the phone of another journalist’s parents, and prosecuted a whole slew of journalists for refusing to cooperate with the government.

Not so much. If you’re a baker in Colorado and you have the temerity to tell a gay couple that your religious scruples won’t let you participate or profit off of a homosexual wedding, the government will fine you. Plus, the government commissioner will call you a Nazi:

I would also like to reiterate what we said in the last meeting [on Mr. Phillips]. Freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust… I mean, we can list hundreds of situations where freedom of religion has been used to justify discrimination.

Actually, we can list hundreds of situations where government’s refusal to grant freedom of religion ended not just in discrimination, but murder. The Nazis, it turned out, didn’t justify the Holocaust with reference to the Bible. They did it with reference to how evil religion was. The Nazis even had a special badge for Bible students – in their concentration camps.

Freedom from government-established religion was designed to stop government from encroaching on free exercise – the idea was that if you had an established church, that would end in discrimination against other churches. But we do have an established church: the church of secularism. And it is discriminating.

About the only part of the First Amendment left standing is our freedom to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances. But fortunately, thanks to our surrender of all our other First Amendment rights, the government always has an easy answer: no.

But at least we’re sensitive. If we all say just the things the government allows us to say, and practice religion in just the way the government wants us to practice, and report just what the government wants us to report, we’ll be fine.