Prosecutor fired for going to "white
jca at stanford.edu
Sat Mar 4 15:14:00 PST 2006
I believe some guys named Marx and Engels came up with an ideological
position paper they called The Communist Manifesto -- not the socialist
manifesto -- quite some time before Lenin. And that many varieties of
leftists in the US have considered themselves communist. It is no more
correct to label them all Stalinists than to say everyone who believes in
capitalism would approve child labor, the Tweed gang or the assassination
of Salvador Allende.
Making the analogy to "communism" is problematic because -- with respect to
American political thought, not particular foreign governments --its
meaning is less determinate than "white supremacist." The relevance to
holding a government job is in how predictive listening to particular
speech, or holding particular beliefs, is of the actions the person would
take in an official capacity. First Amendment law generally says that
punishing people based solely on speech or belief is so dangerous to
democracy that it requires awfully careful attention to what exactly is
said, which hasn't been evident in the discussion of "communist."
At 05:16 PM 3/4/2006 -0500, isomin at gmu.edu wrote:
>Well, this runs into the problem that there haven't been ANY communist
>regimes that weren't characterized by such policies. Some have been less
>repressive than others, but even the most moderate (probably Yugoslavia)
>still had forced labor, suppression of free speech, dictatorship,
>repression of religion and so on. Also, let us remember that communist (as
>opposed to socialist) ideology was founded by Lenin, who was also the
>founder of the most prominent of the totalitarian regimes to which Yvette
>refers. I don't think the two can be meaningfully separated.
>One can imagine individuals who call themselves communists but do not
>actually subscribe to any significant portion of Lenin's ideology.
>Similarly, I suppose an individual could call himself a white supremacist
>but not actually favor official discrimination against nonwhites.
>Obviously, individuals who are not really communists or white
>supremacists, but are merely mislabeling themselves as such, raise very
>different issues than people who really do subscribe to these ideologies.
>The latter are a menace if given official power, while the former are
>probably guilty only of ignorance (and whether that ignorance justifies
>firing them probably depends on the office in question).
>Assistant Professor of Law
>George Mason University School of Law
>3301 Fairfax Dr.
>Arlington, VA 22201
>e-mail: isomin at gmu.edu
Janet Cooper Alexander
Frederick I. Richman Professor of Law
Stanford Law School
Stanford CA 94301-8610
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