As The Supreme Court Considers Major Free Speech Case, Liberals Can’t Have Their Cake And Eat It Too

Freedom_of_SpeechBelow is my column in The Hill newspaper on how liberals in New York are supplying the Supreme Court ample reason to rule for a Colorado cake shop owner in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case.  As the Court decides whether a baker can refuse to bake a cake deemed offensive, many liberals are asserting the right to refuse to serve conservatives based on their political views or associations.

Here is the column:

As the Supreme Court readies its historic decision on whether Colorado cake shop owner Jack Phillips can refuse to make a special cake for a same-sex marriage due to religious objections, New York may have given the justices multiple examples of why it must answer this and other controversies not on religious but free speech grounds. A Manhattan judge ruled recently that a Donald Trump supporter wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat could be constitutionally thrown out of a bar for his political views. Other incidents in New York show the often biased treatment given speech based on its content.

Justice David Cohen grilled Greg Piatek on whether he could claim a “spiritual” element to his MAGA hat and, after rejecting a religious-based claim, declared it a “petty slight” that is unprotected. (Of course, only people unfamiliar with being tossed out of establishments because of political beliefs can dismiss such acts as “petty.” I am fairly certain Justice Cohen does not have that problem in Manhattan. Conservatives, however, do.) At New York’s Fordham University, a group of conservative students were thrown out of Rodrigue’s Coffee House for wearing MAGA hats. The shop’s manager insisted the hats violated its “safe space” policy, as if being conservative is now a de facto threat to other students.

Recently, conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos was forced to leave a bar in New York City after a crowd — which reportedly included Annie Shields, an editor at the Nation and a co-chair of the Bronx Democratic Socialists of America, as well as other journalists — chanted, “Nazi scum get out.” The bar did not kick out Yiannopoulos itself but, according to Justice Cohen’s ruling, it could have. Indeed, journalists like Vice reporter Allie Conti mocked Yiannopoulos as “scared to death” and described being verbally abused and chased out as a “non-event.”

An administrator at State University of New York at Oswego reprimanded a student for making other students feel “uncomfortable” by raising liberal intolerance of free speech at an “open mic” event last month. Nicole Miller was called out under an “unofficial policy,” thereby confirming the very point of her remarks. Trisha DeWolf, the SUNY Alcohol and Other Drugs Program coordinator, contacted Miller and said her discussion of free speech left other students uncomfortable. DeWolf wrote in an email that “a few of our students were deeply hurt by some of your remarks (their words, not mine). Moving forward, there will be written guidelines for performers, which I hate to have to do.”

In other words, the school reserves the right to refuse access to open mics based on the content of the speech. It is not clear if SUNY is going to bar students from raising racial intolerance or other discomforts, or simply leave it to administrators like DeWolf to keep speech in what she views as the comfort zone. Liberals appear to want to preserve the right to deny service to conservatives on the basis of political sensibilities while preventing conservatives from denying service based on religious sensibilities, as in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case

As I have previously written, both sides are mistaken. It is not a distinction drawn along religious freedom lines. It is all about free speech. If the Supreme Court were to rule against the cake shop owner, it would mean that no one would be able to refuse service based on religious objections, even though Phillips said he would sell any available cake to any customer and only objected to preparing a special cake. That decision would also apply to a Jewish bakery asked to make a “Mein Kampf” cake or an African American bakery asked to celebrate a skinhead wedding. Would they also be denied the right to refuse?

If the Supreme Court carves out a narrow bona fide religious exemption, would atheists and agnostics then have no right to refuse offensive cakes? The ridiculousness of such a rule was made plain by Justice Cohen: Piatek was forced to frame his claim in “spiritual” terms and stressed that he had worn the hat to the 9/11 Memorial as a “spiritual tribute to the victims of 9/11” and that is was part of his “spiritual belief.”

Yet, Justice Cohen virtually mocked the claim as some “creed of one.” Of course, the ridiculous thing was forcing a bona fide exercise of free speech, which was harming no one, and forcing it to be translated into a religious objection. The failure to recognize all of these instances as protected free speech leads to absurd, biased results. The same advocates celebrating the right to toss out people wearing MAGA hats presumably would celebrate the right to refuse to make a MAGA cake. However, it means that a bar could toss out someone wearing a Black Lives Matter hat or an American Civil Liberties Union shirt.

There is no easy solution for a society that respects free speech while protecting equality. Anti-discrimination laws have been on a collision course with free speech for decades. It is time to reestablish a bright line that protects free expression, while also protecting religious and political viewpoints. It would mean that a cake shop or other business could refuse to write things deemed offensive, whether it is profanity or political statements or religious values, which would leave the rest to the public and the market to sort out good and bad businesses.

Phillips may find himself labeled discriminatory by not just same-sex couples but also a wider array of customers offended by his actions. Free speech will correct bad speech, particularly with the speed of social media and the internet. What you cannot do is protect the right to throw out Trump supporters but not the right to throw out Democratic socialists. Embracing free speech in these controversies will not mean that people can be turned away due to their religion, race, gender or sexual orientation. It would only apply to expressive acts where a business owner is asked to prepare something that is deemed as offensive. The Constitution would still protect against refusal to serve based not on the act of free speech but on the class or identity of the customer.

Indeed, cities like New York could legislatively bar the denial of service based on political identity so long as it protects all viewpoints. However, it is unlikely that the New York City council will move to protect all speech equally, including symbols that many find offensive like white nationalist symbols or groups deemed anti-semitic or racist. What the recent New York cases show is that liberals cannot have their cake and eat it too in decisions like Masterpiece Cakeshop. You either protect free speech for everyone or give the government the power to determine what speech is permitted and what is proscribed, from coffee shops to cake shops.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

286 thoughts on “As The Supreme Court Considers Major Free Speech Case, Liberals Can’t Have Their Cake And Eat It Too”

  1. “I ordinarily don’t respond to you because I think you’re an off-his-lithium head case. However, there are such methods and I can delineate them in a half-dozen steps. I’ve used these methods to produce sample district maps for the New York State Legislature and the U.S. Congressional delegation from New York.”

    Please try reading what I said. There is no universally accepted objectively right method.

    I have no doubt you can construct methods for constructing districts that meet some defined set of conditions.

    But there is no RIGHT conditions.

    Why as an example must districts be compact or contiguous ?
    What has geography got to do with the make up of a district ?
    What has ethnicty ?

    If you bemoan putting 80% of democrats into a single district WHY ?

    I am not challenging your ability to create an algorithm to solve for some constraints.
    I am challenging the premise that there is some universal accepted constraints.

    One of the examples I noted is why can;t we just elect all representatives at large from the state.
    If a state has 27 reps – that the top 27 from a list of names on the ballot.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with that method.
    But it is also not inherently correct either.
    It will produce a different outcome than the current arrangement.
    But there is no meaningly objective criteria to say it is better or worse than the current.

    The constitution dictated that congressmen are elected to represent physical geographic districts and that those districts have approximatley equal population.
    While our founders had objectives that method was intended to meet,
    there is not some objective reason that is the right way to elect congressmen.

    I would note that the constitution further assigned the allocation of congressional districts to state legislatures – not to the states themselves, not to the governors, and to to the courts.

    The constitution recognized that the process was going to be political – as it did with other structures in the constitution. But it left everything else to state legislatures.
    They are free to craft the congressional districts as they please within the few limites of the constitution.

    If you do not like that – change the constitution – or change your legislators.

    Regardless the introduction of an algorithm does not make an outcome right – when there is no right outcome.

    1. Much ado? Not really. Just pointing out that actions, or passive inaction in the face of obvious agenda driven desensitization and acceptance of creating a subclass of humans then sanctioning and celebrating in small steps abuse of that class have consequences.

      1. From the Oxford English Dictionary, ado means a state of agitation or fuss, especially about something unimportant.

        1. I imagine the basic rights of people who do not embrace the liberal bully agenda to have differing opinions and live their lives as they choose without attacks is unimportant to people like you.

                1. Ado:

                  The hysterical emotionalism at the core of the self rigeoutous liberal personality which completely prevents self awarness of their own monumental hypocrisy and which is the tool used to drive unsustainable, misguided, foolish notions foward at the expense of logic, facts and reality. 
                  Oh yeah, and human rights.

        2. David Benson – owes me a citation from the OED. You don’t have the REAL OED because that is not how they define terms. You have the abridged, admit it.

            1. David Benson – owes me a citation from the OED. That is not the real one. That is just the abridged edition. The real OED requires a subscription fee.

    2. Warning: much ado about very little found below. Be careful where you step.

      Allow me to translate for you:

      I have no idea what the opinions expressed below actually mean, and I have neither the time or inclination to look anything up that would provide me clarity so that I could present a cogent response.

      Your welcome.

  2. For all of you who have ever watched  the documentaries of Nazi Germany with films and pictures of Jews and other “undesirables” being rounded up and beaten in the streets, Jews and other “undesirables” being piled into box cars and sent off the concentration camps, Jews and other “undesirables” being sorted into slave labor, fertilizer and lampshade categories, Jews and other “undesirables” being gassed and burned, mountains of rubbery bloated decomposing Jewish and other “undesirable” carcasses piled up, being raked through by fluid covered ghouls and “processed”, Jews and other “undesirables”
    being bulldozed into mass graves, Jews and other “undesirables” being rounded up and shot in the streets or shot standing over mass graves then falling in and being covered whether dead or not, lamp shades made of skin from Jews and other “undesirables” proudly displayed on Nazi officials desks and in their homes with their children  standing around giggling, singing and decorating Christmas trees by the light of those lamps, Nazi’s laughing and playing and picnicing while acrid smoke drifted from smoke stacks in the background and wondered in stunned sickening silence
    “How in God’s Holy Name could any country, any society, any human being support, facilitate, participate in and let this happen?
    Now you know.

  3. I am libertarian not conservative.

    Even libertarian – though more specific than conservative is not absolutely defined.

    We are all to some extent hypocrits, But some of us are more so than others.
    Conservatives have plenty of problems with hypocracy.
    But I am sorry, progressives are drowning in it.

    Political parties BTW are not inherently ideologies. Though ideologies try to take them over.

    What it means to be a democrat and what it means to be a republican can vary from election to election.
    While Trump sort of has more of a home in the GOP, he is far from a traditional conservative.
    Sanders is certainly not what a democrats has been for 30 years – though he might be what they are tomorow.

    Further I am not sure that those on the left have standing to judge those on the right for failing to live up to values those on the left do not even hold.

    You do not get to complain that conservatives get divorced – if you do not beleive there is something wrong with divorce. Put differently you do not get to tell other people how to apply THEIR values.

    With respect to your base assertion – even conservatives have problems with destroyed families – and some of that is the result of the same horrible government polices that have destroyed those things among the poor.

    But conservatives actually do value families, and marraige and ….
    And as a consequence tend to have significantly less of many problems than those on the left.

    1. Libertarians are Republicans who don’t want the burden of defending Republicans. So they say they’re ‘Libertarian’ and think that sounds hipper. It doesn’t though. Everyone knows Libertarians are nerds.

      1. Libertarians resemble conservatives on some issues, left liberals on others, and neither on still others. I don’t particularly care about sounding hip (my college-age children can confirm this). I suppose “nerds” is intended as a slur, but it’s not a very effective one. It so happens that libertarians have, on average, higher IQ’s and a stronger bias in favor of analysis over emotion than either conservatives or left liberals. So I’ll just be happy to be thought a nerd.

      2. “Libertarians are Republicans who don’t want the burden of defending Republicans. So they say they’re ‘Libertarian’ and think that sounds hipper. It doesn’t though. Everyone knows Libertarians are nerds.”

        I see another subject where you know more about what others think than they do themselves.

        Libertarians as a whole vote republican about 60/40 in most elections, though in a few they have favored democrats.

        I think the term “libertarian” is contrived and awkward. For almost 200 years libertarians were called “liberals” which is the most accurate term for what most libertarians belive, but in the 30’s having so besmirched the term progressive, the modern US left sought another label and stole the term liberal.
        Conservatives unfortunately used that term to refer to those on the left. When they were not calling them communists or socialists.

        Many former “liberal” lefties who have come to grasp the modern left is radical, reactionary and anti-freedom, who are unwilling to call themselve conservatives or liberatarians have taken to calling themselves classical liberals. Which though combersome is less awkward than libertarian.

        The average IQ of actual conservatives is about 2 points below that of “liberals”.
        The average IQ of Conservatives + libertarians is about 4 points above that of “liberals’.
        Given how few libertarians are that makes libertarian IQ’s about 20 points about either liberals or conservatives – and there are studies to confirm that.

        Yes, Libertarians tend to be “nerds”. They are not at all “hip”.
        They are anti-authoritarian.
        They are strong systematizers,
        They are by far the most logical thinkers,
        and by far the least swayed by appeals to emotion or other fallacies.

    2. On the other hand the left has one huge advantage. They just do what they are told to do. but subjectively.

  4. Mr. Turley has produced a reasonably fair analysis of these types of cases despite his inherent biases. However, he has neglected to invoke the unwritten law that governs all these matters: “In any controversy, Leftists are deemed more equal than Non-Leftists.”

    1. In any given conversation their are three choices. Correct, Incorrect and Compromise. Which makes one right and two wrong answers .

      Choosing the lesser of two evils only make the chooser one who supports evil. Invaribly they will name their own poison.

  5. “You either protect free speech for everyone or give the government the power to determine what speech is permitted and what is proscribed, from coffee shops to cake shops.”

    YES AND THAT’S WHAT CIVIL RIGHTS LAW DOES. it prevents this kind of free speech: “Irish need not apply” and “apartment for rent to whites only” and “fireman position for hire” etc. Really just admit it. This kind of thing is just pushing the envelope of what’s already verbotten. The Left is all about curtailing freedom of speech.

    1. It is the private property right of any and all Americans to possess and dispose of their private property. They may rent or sell to whomever they choose, they may create neighborhoods comprised of whomever they choose and they may socialize with whomever they choose, or not. It is the right and freedom of every American to believe whatever he chooses, the speak how he chooses and to assemble with whomever he chooses and government does not have any right to dictate the choices of any American.

      “Fair Housing,” “Non-Discrimination,” “Affirmative Action Privilege,” quotas, forced busing, etc. are all irrefutably unconstitutional laws.

      Americans may discriminate. Americans have the freedom to discriminate.

      The singular historical American failure has been the treasonous Supreme Court and judicial branch.

      1. George:

        What people cannot do is expect the government to discriminate on the basis of racial or ethnic differences. That get’s you Bosnia or Lebanon. I have no problem with businesses refusing service for strongly held beliefs. The market can take care of this problem if enough customers refuse to patronize the place due to the policy. Look at Target and the ill-advised “open bathroom policy.” It cost them billions in lost sales and stock losses and they eventually backed off in deference to the majority of their customers and stockholders.

        Likewise, the government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers in any form. They have neither the expertise nor the means to make people feel anything other than resentment toward the government for the action. That said, discrimination on racial, ethnic or religious grounds has no place in courthouses or state houses or the Halls of Congress. It’s a simple concept that all people are equal before the law, if nowhere else. You cannot enforce equality any more than you can enforce someone else’s morality on people. No government can regulate the feelings of their people. It has never worked and likely never will.

        1. It’s a simple concept that all people are equal before the law, if nowhere else.

          I agree Mark and for some reason which has likely been explained, that simple concept must be made complex. For example, I don’t need to know and believe anything more than we all are created equal with certain natural rights. We live in civil society and establish government for the purpose of securing those rights.

          I understand that doesn’t describe how (the process) of securing those rights is to be accomplished. Of course that simple concept requires complex systems, processes and procedures. But the concept is the end product. If the concept were a widget, then the complexity of the systems, processes and procedures need only be enough to produce the widget. We should be looking for efficiency and effectiveness in government. Eliminate the waste, fraud and abuse. Essentially, anything in excess of that purpose is an abuse of the power granted by the people.

          I have no idea if that makes me a conservative, libertarian, classical liberal or what. I really don’t care.

          How do we get people to agree to fix whatever problems are identified in our complex governmental systems, processes and procedures, if we cannot agree on the simple concept of why any of this exists?

      2. Now a taste of reality. No one owns property in the USA. You only buy the right to pay rent to the government and in doing so all responsibilities.

    2. “YES AND THAT’S WHAT CIVIL RIGHTS LAW DOES. it prevents this kind of free speech: “Irish need not apply” and “apartment for rent to whites only” and “fireman position for hire” etc. Really just admit it. This kind of thing is just pushing the envelope of what’s already verbotten. The Left is all about curtailing freedom of speech.”

      For the most part that is NOT what civil rights law does – though there are a few instances it does, and those were argued as unconstitutional at the time, and should have been found unconstitutional.

      Only government is required to be blind to our differences.

      If an employer does nto wish to employ the irish – that is their loss, and someone else’s gain.
      Further respecting everyone’s freedom means you are free to persuade, boycott, protest or take your business elsewhere.

      Order and Chaos. They must be in the proper balance to maximize human prosperity.

      Leaving people free in most things, leaves them free to disincentivize the poor conduct of others without using the force that is government.

  6. i am all for freedom of property and contract.
    let the businesses and restaurants reserve the right to seat their customers
    I know where that phrase comes from and I’m totally ok with it making a comeback

    1. It is not a question of granting a right.

      The right is already theirs. Rights do not come from government.
      The fact that some law has infringed on rights is a problem with the law, not the right.

      we addressed yin-yang. Order – the rule of law, is law that infringes on only one right – that of initiating violence against others. That is the only right government may legitimately infringe on.
      And that is what brings sufficient order to the chaos that is otherwise a requirement for prosperity.

      Beyond that government must assure that we keep whatever agreements we make.
      It is not governments role to define what we can and can not agree to, only to enforce those agreements that were truly voluntarily made.

      Last government is obligated to compel those whose actions are neither criminal, nor in breach of a contract have still caused actual harm to others, to make them whole.

      Three things – criminal, contract, and tort law. That is the legitimate scope of govenrment.
      Anything more violates the catagorical imperative. Anything more violates our rights.
      Anything more limits our freedom and ultimately our prosperity.

    1. So why do the Supreme Court and judicial branch support and promote this?

      They all should have been impeached long ago for their many failures to “void all acts contrary to the MANIFEST TENOR of the Constitution…”

      Alexander Hamilton –

      “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

  7. Today’s news is pretty awful for Trump, his associates, and the NRA.

    Good news, though, for those who believe in a robust rule of law. Also, thanks to SIC.

  8. Thanks for asking. I believe this article defines conservatism very well. To be clear, I don’t believe being a conservative must identify you as being a Republican any more than being a liberal must identify you as being a Democrat. If anything, I see both major political parties, in most respects, as anti-conservative; where conservative is a belief in natural rights, the principles laid out in the Declaration of Independence and our constitution. In that vain, I see progressives as the anti-conservatives, and they exist in both major parties. This is why I registered Independent. I didn’t see and still don’t see the Republican party as the true conservative party. Are they more conservative than the Democrats? I believe so. But that’s like saying the sheep in a Republican pen are more secure in their rights than those in the Democrat pen, as they all head off to be slaughtered.

    From the article:

    The first pillar of conservatism is liberty, or freedom.
    The second pillar of conservative philosophy is tradition and order.
    The third pillar is the rule of law.
    The fourth pillar is belief in God.

    1. So modern conservatism requires a belief in god [is it the white male military style christian god]? That’s quite fu**ed up.

      1. If you had read the article cited you would have learned what the author meant by that.

        “The fourth pillar is belief in God. Belief in God means adherence to the broad concepts of religious faith—such things as justice, virtue, fairness, charity, community, and duty. These are the concepts on which conservatives base their philosophy.”

        Read the article, it’s worth it.

      2. So modern conservatism requires a belief in god

        No, it does not. The underlying point is a belief that each of us is created equal with certain rights that precede government. This means if no government existed, we’d still have these rights. Does it matter what one believes is the source of these rights? Idealistically, no. Another point that must be understood is that human nature is unchangeable. Our human nature puts the security of those rights at risk. This is why civil society exists. This is why government exists. Why is a belief in God a pillar of conservatism? It’s not because conservatives are trying to save souls for the afterlife. Realistically, it’s because our human nature has proven to be a threat to our natural rights in this life.

        Conservative belief is tethered to the idea that there is an allegiance to God that transcends politics and that sets a standard for politics. For conservatives, there must be an authority greater than man, greater than any ruler, king, or government: no state can demand our absolute obedience or attempt to control every aspect of our lives. There must be a moral order, conservatives believe, that undergirds political order. This pillar of conservatism does not mean mixing up faith and politics, and it certainly does not mean settling religious disputes politically. It also does not mean that conservatives have a monopoly on faith, or even that all conservatives are necessarily believers.

    2. What you are describing is NOT conservatism. It is closest to Classical Liberalism, aka modern Libertarianism.

      I would note that you can value a belief in god, but it is not a requirement.

      1. John,
        I was responding to a post asking for a definition of a conservative. I thought the article was very good. I wouldn’t disagree with the Classical Liberal label either. The fact labels mean different things to different people makes them mostly of value to the user.

      2. “Classical liberalism” is the term used to designate the ideology advocating private property, an unhampered market economy, the rule of law, constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and of the press, and international peace based on free trade.”

        Ralph Raico
        American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia 2006

        If you accept that as a definition, it sounds pretty close to what I understand to be American Conservatism.

        Where do you believe it differs?

        1. Classical liberalism is the philosophy that derives from free will.
          While I would probably accept that the items you listed are ultimately attributes of a classicial liberal system, they are NOT its foundations of definitions.
          We have all those things – because you can not have free will and not have them.
          But you could construct a system that has those things and is not classical liberal.

          Locke, Smith, the rest of the scottish enlightenment, many of our founders all START with individual liberty(free will).

          That is actually extremely important. It is the central contribution of western philosophy.

          It is an incredibly important foundation – you can not have morality without free will.
          Once you have free will, Morality at its core is about respecting the liberty of others.

          Our founders in the most important political document ever written stated unequivocally that the purpose of government was to secure individual liberty.

          Start with liberty – and all else follows.

          More importantly – accept free will and you have accepted a moral system that is incompatible with every other political or economic scheme.

    3. I am not disagreeing, just noting that your first pillar and your 2nd two are at odds.

      Individual liberty is chaos. It requires trusting that with little imposed order acting on their own people will nearly always to better, that others can do for them.

      While the rule of law and tradition and order are anti-podal to chaos.

      You are not wrong – because life is Yin-Yang.

      Individual liberty is absolutely essential to our betterment – as individuals and as a society.
      But some order is necescary.


    4. the second, third and fourth pillars- make a mockery of the first… But the definition is clear, conservatives don’t notice.

      1. “the second, third and fourth pillars- make a mockery of the first… But the definition is clear, conservatives don’t notice.”

        No actually they do not.

        Freedom is incredibly important. Its importance to our prosperity to our well being is near absolute.
        But it is NOT absolute.
        We surrender the right to initiate violence against others – a natural right, in return for government securing our other rights.

        WE need the chaos of freedom to prosper, but just sufficient order for that chaos to be more creative than destructive.

    5. So the same according to the left.

      Conservatism is the code word for anyone that disagrees with us. We can change the defintion according to the needs of the moment and the party.Even if the individual is not a conservative we will attach that label.

      A synopsis of Don’t See The Elephant by George Lykoff.


      1. You will notice those changes taking place without regard to any known dictionary in some of these comments. but it’s useful for identifying a liberal.

  9. You said: “The shop’s manager insisted the hats violated its ‘safe space’ policy, as if being conservative is now a de facto threat to other students.” A MAGA hat is not an expression of conservatism. It is an expression of support for Trump, who stands for many things deemed offensive by sensible, intelligent people, many of whom are conservative, including misogyny, racism, support for White Supremacists, self-aggrandizement, emotional immaturity, crassness and conduct many believe offensive to traditional American values. A MAGA hat is intended to be “in your face”, and therefore could incite conflicts and fights, especially in establishments where people who don’t support Trump are known to frequent. No comparison whatsoever to refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex couple. The shop’s manager is right to take reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable violence. And, BTW: you’re not supposed to wear a hat indoors, anyway.

    1. Wearers of MAGA caps don’t bear responsibility for your delusions or your emotional disorders, Nutchacha.

    2. Natacha – you aren’t supposed to wear white shoes after Labor Day, but who cares? There are no rules any more. Ann Landers and Miss Manners are dead.

      1. Judith Martin (“Miss Manners”) is still alive. As for Esther Friedman Lederer (“Ann Landers”), I’ll invite you to read her Current Biography entry for 1957 (It might be 1958 or 1959). It’s a passable thesis that the woman’s principles were protean (as women’s tend to be) and that her prevalence and revenue stream were a function of how her normative judgments rode the wave of whatever was current among a certain bourgeois type. I’ll also invite you to ponder whether the accounts you read (supposedly having their origin with her) in re her work process and productivity are the least bit plausible.

      2. The so-called “rules” about white shoes after Memorial Day and up to Labor day apply to fashion choices, which are considered outmoded by some. That’s not the same principle about wearing hats indoors, which isn’t a fashion “rule” at all. There have always been rules and conventions about removing your hat when you go indoors. That’s why there have been hat check stations, shelves for hats above coat racks, and hat clips and under seat racks in church pews, theaters and other public places. Have you ever been in court? Usually, before the judge takes the bench, the bailiff informs people who don’t know any better to remove their hats, because it is disrespectful. Hats are still not supposed to be worn indoors, and it has nothing to do with fashion. A MAGA hat is another issue altogether. In some venues, it is an invitation to a fight, and that’s because Trump is so noxious to so many people.

        1. Natacha – have you ever been inside a Catholic Church? Women must cover their head, period. Hats or scarves are fine. There goes your rule. And tell me if Johnny Depp wants to wear his hat in the cafe they are going to throw him out.

            1. loverly – I have been a confirmed agnostic since the 1960s. I am a catholic, however, I am not a Catholic. 😉

          1. That’s done in parishes where the indult was in effect. Not very common. Never seen it in an Eastern-rite parish.

        2. “A MAGA hat is another issue altogether. In some venues, it is an invitation to a fight, and that’s because Trump is so noxious to so many people.”

          Maybe it is, maybe it is not. No matter what, private actors may make their own decisions – including ones that are discriminatory or restrain free expression – IN THEIR OWN SPACE.

          The pub mar bar people with MAGA hats, it may bar people with brown eyes.
          The baker can refuse to bake cakes for gays or people with tatoos.

          A right does not exist if it does not include the right to make choices other people think are poor.

          Further whether a MAGA hat is an invitation to fight or not, you did surrender your right to initiate violence as part of the social contract.

          Last you continue to pretend omniscience with respect to the intentions of others.

          It is possible that for some a MAGA hat is an invitation to fight.
          For most it is a sign of optimism and rightful pride in our country.

          For many of us – being offended by a MAGA hat is “an invitation to fight”.

          Receiving what you think is an “invitation to fight” is not a justification for violence.
          The justifications for violence are very limited. MAGA hats are not among them.

    3. Even if that were true I would still come down on the right to express such sentiments on Free Speech grounds.

      But it isn’t true, the people wearing MAGA hats are expressing support of the President, and it is unfair of you to impugn their motives further than that.

      The temptation to demonize people we disagree with is a common human failing, let’s try to avoid it.


      1. I see the difference as being whether a MAGA hat is banned on the streets of New York versus the owner of a private business, who has a duty to prevent foreseeable conflicts and fights, asking customers not to wear a MAGA hat indoors because he foresees that the hat could cause a problem, knowing of his clientele.

        No Trump supporter could honestly say that they are unaware that a MAGA hat would be found offensive by a substantial number of people who dislike Trump and disapprove of his conduct. Most could not deny that they wear the hat to show support for Trump, and, in many instances, as a gesture to get right in the face of those who dislike him. That said, they can wear their hats on the public streets and on public property, but there is no such right to wear a hat indoors if the owner of the premises has genuine concern that doing so might cause fights and arguments.

        1. No doubt many MAGA hat wearers would be offended by a Pussy Hat.
          In their bars do they get to refuse service to someone so attired?
          Are campaign buttons similarly to be cause for ejection? How about the expression of political or religious opinions at odds with majority held opinions?
          Could cause trouble…

          1. As with many political discussions, the epicenter of the commotion is Trump, Trump, Trump. He is offensive and divisive to more people than those who support him.

            As to a pussy hat, if you went into some country/western/southern bar or any other business where there would be large numbers of Trumpsters and didn’t take it off, there would very likely be a problem, and the wearer would very likely know they would be inciting trouble. Under those circumstances, the pussy hat should be doffed.

            1. I don’t think that is right, for either the Pussy or MAGA hat wearers. It strikes me as anti American, a betrayal of the best traditions of our nation.

              1. “I don’t think that is right, for either the Pussy or MAGA hat wearers. It strikes me as anti American, a betrayal of the best traditions of our nation.”

                All fine – so picket the pub. Protest. boycott.

                I agree with you that it is anti-american.
                But we do not criminalize everything that is “anti-american” – that too is “anti-american”

            2. “As with many political discussions, the epicenter of the commotion is Trump, Trump, Trump. He is offensive and divisive to more people than those who support him.”

              You are free to bitch and moan – just as those who were unhappy with Obama did.
              You are free to obstruct any of his policies you do not like – constrained by the law and whatever legitimate political power you have – just as those who were unhappy with Obama did.
              You may vote against Trump in 2020 and against republicans in 2018.

              You may not convert political disagreement into false criminal allegations.

              You may not seek to depose Trump by any means necescay.
              You may not attempt a soft coup.

            3. And if a gay couple goes to a devout evangelical christian for a wedding cake – they can expect trouble

              Regardless private discrimination absent force is not the busness of government.

          2. “No doubt many MAGA hat wearers would be offended by a Pussy Hat.
            In their bars do they get to refuse service to someone so attired?
            Are campaign buttons similarly to be cause for ejection? How about the expression of political or religious opinions at odds with majority held opinions?
            Could cause trouble…”

            Do people have the natural right to discriminate as the please ? Absolutely

            Is it a wise choice ? No!.

            If I own a bar, I profit from people drinking beer at my bar.

            I want all possible customers – those with Pussy hats and those with MAGA hats.

            I also do not want them to fight.

        2. Liberals believe I have to bake the cake for a homosexual “wedding”, but a business owner can refuse me service because I am wearing a certain hat. And they see absolutely no irony in either. If I disagree with their assessment, I am considered an evil, bigoted person.

          I am waiting for the first major party presidential candidate to propose European/Canadian style hate speech laws and do so with a straight face.

          1. I can not stop those on the left from calling themselves liberals. But please do not reciprocate.

            A liberal is one who prizes individual liberty. The left has not been liberal in decades.

            Further their is a movement of disenchanted people from the left, who are starting to identify as “classical liberals” – and that is to be encouraged. Classical liberalism is the same as libertarianism – except with a less awkward name.

            I am libertarian I would prefer to call myself liberal – as in Locke, Bastiat Adam Smith, Many of our Founders, Theroux but the left has coopted my proper identified and mangled it to mean something else.

            I would prefer not to aide them in the word mangling that is typical of the left.

            1. As I said, “They do as they are told so it never occurs to them the difference between a dictionary and a fictionary.

            2. They always change their name when the old one is ridiculed enough. Like Demcorat. There is no Democracy and they aren’t Democratic. Far from it. So now it’s classic liberals? How shopworn.

              1. The modern left is NOT identifying and classical liberals and I do not think they ever will.

                Those currently self identifying on occasion as classical liberals are SOME red pilled lefties.

                People like Dave Rubin, Jordan Peterson, Prof. Haidt, Prof. Weinstein.

                Thes are people who refuse to identify with the left anymore, but are not conservative, and do not wish to be called crazy libertarians.

                1. John Say – I went to a meeting of the Libertarian Party in Arizona and it was like a meeting of berzerkers. Havoc reigned. 😉

                  1. So ?

                    Antifa is progressive.

                    No”big tent” ideology is homogenous. In fact no ideology with more than 1 member is homogenous.

                    Libertarians appreciate chaos more than most.

                    The progress of society requires some order, but it requires alot of chaos.

                    1. John Say – I was doing okay until they starting lobbing grenades from the back of the room. 😉

        3. asking customers not to wear a MAGA hat indoors because he foresees that the hat could cause a problem, knowing of his clientele.

          The problem is not with the individual wearing the MAGA hat, or the individual wearing the Mao t-shirt, or the individual wearing a turban, or the individual with dark or light skin, or … No, the business owner’s problem is with the clientele who will put the rights of these individuals as subordinate to their own.

        4. “I see the difference as being whether a MAGA hat is banned on the streets of New York versus the owner of a private business, who has a duty to prevent foreseeable conflicts and fights, asking customers not to wear a MAGA hat indoors because he foresees that the hat could cause a problem, knowing of his clientele.”

          While you are correct that government may not restrict MAGA hats in the domains it controls and the pub owner may.

          Your logic is crap. There is no “duty” to regulate the behavior of others. Each of us is responsible for our selves.

          I would strongly suggest disabusing yourself of the notion that you understand what is in the minds of others and that you can forsee the future.

          If you truly had either of those abilities – even in a tiny domain you would already be fabulously wealthy.

          A pub owner is free to make their own choices regarding their establishment, using whatever judgement they wish. we hope they will do so in their own self interest, but even that is out of our right to control.

    4. A MAGA hat is intended to be “in your face”, and therefore could incite conflicts and fights, especially in establishments where people who don’t support Trump are known to frequent.

      A MAGA hat is an inanimate object. It does not do anything on its own, it does not incite conflicts and fights. It does not intend to do anything. The wearer of the hat might have nefarious intentions, but unless they act to infringe the rights of others, then the only intent that seems to have proven actionable, is the intent to infringe the rights of others whom they disagree with.

    5. I have a Malcolm X hat. Not “Malcolm the Tenth,” as it was commonly referred to at the time. Somehow I think if I found it and wore it today, it would be looked upon as a curiosity and not an outright attack against any group. What you ascribe meaning to is just that, that’s only for you and it is not your right to project it on a larger population. The nature of the issue here is clear. You are the reason why we have free speech laws.

    6. Both the baker and the pub are engaged in commerce. That is the purported basis for barring the baker from discriminating against gays.

      The law is fundimentally wrong – private non-violent discrimination – even in commerce is not the legitimate business of government.

      The pub should be able to bar MAGA’s hats if it wishes, and the baker should equally be free to choose who he serves.

      If we disagree with the conduct of the baker or the pub, we sanction them privately – outside of the use of force and government. We protest, pickett, boycott.
      But we do not use force – and the use of law and government is the use of force.

      Your last remark makes my point Whether we should or should not wear hats indoors is NOT a domain for government. You can define your rules for your space.

    7. I would further note that a legal act does not become illegal because of your surmise about the intent of the actor. This is leftist pseudo intellectual garbage.

      It is irrelevant what a MAGA hat is “an expression of” – so long as it is “an expression” it is free speach.
      Parroting leftist arguments makes any claim that you are conservative implausible.

      It is also possible – in fact normal to be ambivalent about Trump.

      To support some things and oppose others. Only those on the left seem to knee jerk oppose things just because Trump said or did them.

      I share some of your critiques of Trump, I have a different list of critiques of Obama and another for Bush.

      I do not expect to get a president that perfectly reflects my views.

      Some of us are not binary with respect to Trump, we can support and oppose on an issue by issue basis.

      Ad we can weight the whole, hold our noses and pronounce the mess that is the Trump presidency superior to that of Obama or Bush.

    8. Riiiight. I don’t recall any white store owners refusing people service when X hats, as in Malcolm X hats were the rage back in the late 80s.
      What exactly did he stand for again?

    1. “Paranoia strikes deep
      Into your life it will creep
      It starts when you’re always afraid
      You step out of line, the man come and take you away”

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