Old timey comedians’ motto: “The job of the comedian is to define where the line is, and then deliberately cross it.” Good luck with that today. Comedians who were arrested for obscenity include Lenny Bruce (1961), George Carlin (1972), Richard Pryor (nearly, 1975), and Mae West (1927). And that was the “good old days” for stand up comedy. Very popular, award winning comic acts or shows that would be hounded off the air today include Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969), Seinfeld (1989).
Konstantin Kisin, a Russian-born Brit, had to pull out of a show at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London when the school asked him to sign a “behavioural agreement form.” Listen to this language: “By signing this contract, you are agreeing to our no-tolerance policy with regards to racism, sexism, classism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia or anti-religion or anti-atheism.” Kisin, who grew up in the Soviet Union, noted that he’d seen this kind of document before, in a totalitarian state, and once was enough.
Bear with me now, you might at first think that judicial activism has nothing to do with comedians (though if we had English courts, with judges wearing powdered wigs, you could be forgiven for laughing) getting hounded by the PC and SJW LOL crowd. I could name a few commonalities, and the ones that most correlate are the terrible twins: disrespect for freedom of expression coupled with extreme self righteousness. In the case of comedy harassment the denigrators say, “if I don’t appreciate it, and get offended, I will stop you from saying it by hounding you off the stage or campus.” In the case of judicial activism, which is a highfalutin way of saying, judges decide “I don’t like a law, so regardless of what the voters or their elected representatives decided, I will overturn it, even though I don’t have the authority to do so.” Basically it’s the same idea. Look how the rest of us just put up with it. As usual, California is the laboratory.
In 1994, nearly 60% of Californians voted to deny government services to illegal aliens. Proposition 187 was approved 59% to 41%, with the votes of 56% of African Americans, 57% of Asians — and even a third of Hispanics. It won in every county of California except San Francisco. In heavily Latino Los Angeles County, Proposition 187 passed by a 12-point margin. Liberals said: No problem, we’ll take the case to a left-wing, Carter-appointed federal judge who will overturn the will of the voters! District Court Judge Mariana Pfaelzer held that the perfectly constitutional law was “unconstitutional” and, today, California taxpayers are forced to spend billions of dollars on food, housing, education, health care and prison cells for illegal immigrants.
In 2008, Californians voted against gay marriage. Again, this was California — not South Carolina —and voters decided, 52% to 48%, that “marriage” is only between a man and woman, speaking cisgenderly. Liberals said to themselves: No problem. We’ll just find a gay district court judge to overturn the vote. This will be a piece of cake. They also said, not only are we going to reverse the vote, but we will name and shame the people on the other side (except African Americans, who voted overwhelmingly for Proposition 8, much to the embarrassment of progressives). People found to have donated to the marriage initiative would be driven out of their jobs, fired from high-tech firms they founded, and chased from Mexican restaurants. I will add, this was 8 years before MAGA hats, which are now the de facto crime du jour.Why do I even go to the effort of tying these phenomena together? Simple, first they came for the comedians, and we didn’t speak up. Then they came for our laws and initiatives, and we didn’t speak up. Who’s next? Voters, your job is to speak up. Audience, your job is either to laugh at the comedians’ jokes, if they’re funny to you, or to leave the venue so other audience members can enjoy the show without heckling. Judges, your job is to judge the “constitutionality” of laws based on what the constitution actually says, not your political bias. If they don’t, voters your job is to recall them, if they were elected, or vote against whomever appointed them, letting them know why. Let’s make comedy and the constitution great again.