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Noah’s Latest Whopper


Timothy Noah accuses John
Ashcroft of telling a whopper when he said, “No one believes in our
First Amendment civil liberties more than this administration.” What
makes it a whopper? Two things, supposedly: Ari Fleischer’s September 26
remark that people should “watch what they say, watch what they do”; and
Donald Rumsfeld’s recent remark, “We can live with a healthy debate as
long as it is as elevated as possible and as civil as possible.”
Whatever you think of those two remarks–and I don’t regard them as
particularly sinister–how exactly do they amount to evidence of
disbelief in the First Amendment? It’s not as though Rumsfeld was
suggesting that the government would punish debate that wasn’t elevated
or civil.


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