PATRIOT, n. One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to those of the whole. The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors.

PATRIOTISM, n. Combustible rubbish read to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.

-“Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary.”

I find the above two quotes highly applicable to the previous edition’s opinion piece which elaborated upon the “treason” of a group of US citizens engaged in extremely disgusting yet legal actions (“Freedom of speech as psychological warfare”).

While reading the article, I couldn’t help but wonder: would the Fourth Circuit court somehow completely miss or ignore a treasonous (that most serious) offense? In fact, no. From Judge King’s opinion:

“By employing God, the strong verb ‘hate,’ and graphic references to terrorist attacks, the Defendants used the sort of ‘loose, figurative, or hyperbolic language’ that seriously
negates any impression that the speaker is asserting actual facts about an individual.”

“Accordingly, we are constrained to agree that these signs … are entitled to First Amendment protection.”

The Supreme Court may well overturn this judgment and Phelps et al. may be guilty of many crimes against our sensibilities or morals; even so, “treason” is not a term to be thrown around lightly (especially when it misses the topic at hand by so many miles). And for those who wish to discuss constitutional or Supreme Court law, a tip: read the court documents yourself.

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