Jewish Champions of First Amendment or something

Ilya Somin isomin at gmu.edu
Tue Sep 12 08:17:04 PDT 2006


I disagree with some of the factual claims made by Miguel, particularly in re the Sandinistas being democratically elected (they "won" an election rigged against the opposition, in which the main opposition forces refused to participate for that reason). This list is probably not the place to hash out those disagreements. However, my point here was not that those on the right who supported alliances with Third world despots were always right to do so (I don't think they WERE always right), but that they did not claim that those despots were actually good rulers and certainly did not claim that they were a model for the US to follow. Few if any conservatives claimed that the US should remodel itself to look like Somoza's Nicaragua or Guatemala under military rule. The CPUSA, on the other hand, definitely did make such claims about the USSR. To link this back to our original topic: 

A person who supported the US alliance with Somoza or Pinochet on alliance of convenience grounds could simultaneously be a supporter of free speech under the First Amendment - even if he was wrong on policy grounds to support the former. Ditto for those who supported  the WWII alliance with Stalin on similar grounds. On other hand, a person who supported the agenda of the CPUSA (and therefore wanted to turn the US into a communist state modeled on the Soviet Union) could not.

Ilya Somin
Assistant Professor of Law
George Mason University School of Law
3301 Fairfax Dr.
Arlington, VA 22201
ph: 703-993-8069
fax: 703-993-8202
e-mail: isomin at gmu.edu
Website: http://mason.gmu.edu/~isomin/
SSRN Page: http://ssrn.com/author=333339


----- Original Message -----
From: Miguel Schor <mschor at suffolk.edu>
Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2006 8:41 am
Subject: Re: Jewish Champions of First Amendment or something

> Pinochet was less repressive than Allende?  Somoza was less  
> repressive than the Sandinistas who were democratically voted out 
> of  
> office?  Supporting the overthrow of a democratically elected  
> government in Guatemala in 1954 because, among other things, it  
> favored nationalizing United Fruit's holdings enhanced civil 
> rights?   
> This is support for repression (which is a nice word for state  
> sponsored murder) over democracy.  Miguel
> 
> On Sep 12, 2006, at 3:03 AM, Ilya Somin wrote:
> 
> > I think Mark is missing a crucial distinction here. Those on the 
> 
> > right who supported repressive foreign regimes during the Cold 
> War  
> > did as a purely tactical consideration: these regimes were  
> > considered to be valuable allies against a greater evil and also 
> to  
> > be less repressive than the available alternatives in their own  
> > countries (often communists or left-wing authoritarians). In 
> much  
> > the same way, both liberals and conservatives accepted the USSR 
> as  
> > an ally during WWII because the alternative of losing the war 
> was  
> > even worse. Such prudential  alliances of convenience may or not 
> 
> > have been justified (I think they were right in some cases but  
> > wrong in others). But they are very different from a  belief 
> that  
> > the repressive foreign regime in question is actually a good 
> regime  
> > and a model for the US to emulate. The latter, of course, was 
> the  
> > view held by members of the CPUSA.
> >
> > Ilya Somin
> > Assistant Professor of Law
> > George Mason University School of Law
> > 3301 Fairfax Dr.
> > Arlington, VA 22201
> > ph: 703-993-8069
> > fax: 703-993-8202
> > e-mail: isomin at gmu.edu
> > Website: http://mason.gmu.edu/~isomin/
> > SSRN Page: http://ssrn.com/author=333339
> >
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: MARK STEIN <markstein at prodigy.net>
> > Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2006 2:56 am
> > Subject: Re: Jewish Champions of First Amendment or something
> >
> >>
> >> If we are going to say that you are not a champion of the First
> >> Amendment if you support a repressive foreign regime, that rules
> >> out not only all Communists during the Cold War, but also the
> >> entire Right and also the Cold War liberals in the center.  The
> >> only ones eligible would be the democratic Left, which I suppose
> >> makes sense.
> >>
> >> Actually, Right and Center during the Cold War should probably be
> >> considered less eligible than Communists, under this criterion,
> >> because they had government power in America and they used it to
> >> keep foreign repressive regimes in power.
> >>
> >> Mark
> >>
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> 
> Miguel Schor
> Associate Professor of Law
> Suffolk University Law School
> 120 Tremont St.
> Boston, MA 02108
> 617-305-6244
> SSRN Webpage http://ssrn.com/author=469730
> 
> 
> 
> 


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