Patterico's Pontifications


Bloggers Are Taking the Free Speech Pledge

Filed under: Civil Liberties — Patterico @ 9:19 pm

This morning I challenged bloggers to take a simple pledge:

If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules.

The response has been strong. Here are the bloggers who have taken the pledge:

Roger L. Simon:

Count me in. [Big deal. You wouldn’t know how to shut up anyway.-ed. You’re right about that.]


I take that pledge. They’ll have to remove the keyboard from my cold dead hands!


That’s pretty easy. Fortunately, I’ve already taken that pledge — about 7 1/2 years ago when I became an attorney. I pledged then to support the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Illinois. Acquiescing to a frontal attack on those Constitutions by a government bureaucracy would violate that oath.

And it’d just be a cowardly, immoral thing to do.

The FEC should bring it on. This is a fight they’ll surely lose.


Count me in!

Dean Esmay:

I take the same pledge as Patterico.

And I note once again that these Campaign Finance “Reform” First Amendment Assault laws have been pernicious and deeply anti-American from day one.


I’m in.



Kevin Murphy:

OFFICIAL NOTICE: If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules. [Patterico says: Well said!]


I gotta say that when I read those words, then read the cautions expressed by Thoughts Online, I felt a sudden rush of, “Wait…. I got things I want to do. I got a family. I wanna travel, and move to a better place, and train another horse, and. . . . I don’t wanna be tied down—hell – jailed! For blogging?!?!?”

And then I listened to myself. I am actually worried about being jailed for writing my opinions on this little blog?!?!?

I don’t think so.


Here’s my answer. I make this pledge right now, and I will stand by it even if I am arrested and jailed. (My wife will plead and beg with me to “be sensible”, but it won’t matter.)


I’ll go further: If any organ of federal or state government limits my right to express any opinion on this blog, I will not obey.

Vik Rubenfeld:

I can’t even imagine the FEC attempting to muzzle American freedom of speech in this way. This isn’t Iran. And I would react with outrage and peaceful civil disobedience were such a thing to happen.

Little Miss Attila:

My answer: hell, yeah.

Ubique Patriam Reminisci:

I not only pledge, but invite the FEC to sue my pants off.


I’m . . . throwing in with Patterico on this.

Miller’s Time:

Count me in…

Bunker Mulligan:

I will continue to speak my mind. The First Amendment guarantees me that right. Specifically. In very clear language.

Severe Writer’s Block:

I, too, will make that pledge. McCain Feingold was bad enough, now we have to limit bloggers? Frankly, I think the odds of it happening are slim. But if it does happen, I’m not going to to keep my mouth shut.

Am I a Pundit Now?:

I hereby agree to this pledge wholeheartedly.


Now that’s an easy pledge to make.


Count us in, big time.

Omnibus Driver:

I’ll say it one more time, and then I’ll shut up – bloggers need to give serious discussion to the merits of setting up a legal/legislative defense fund. And we need to start that discussion NOW. The time to think about acquiring anti-aircraft guns is not in the middle of the bombing of Dresden. [Omnibus Driver: It has already happened. Read more here.]

Aggravated DocSurg:

Why is it that the same yahoos that think it is so important to have “diversity” are the same ones hell-bent on controlling the free expression of so many truly diverse people in the blogosphere?

Vote for Judges:

I’m in. Now, who out there will sign the petition to rein in the judges who made speech regulation constitutionally acceptable?

Peoria Pundit:

Sounds like a plan to me.

Pete the Elder:

I think I already made the same basic pledge here, but I will keep blogging my opinions until the FEC pries the keyboard from my cold dead hands.


To which I say, heck yes, I’ll take that pledge!

Dennis Clay:

I so pledge.


I hereby swear to that. I don’t expect, however, that this will have much influence with the FEC, I am not on their Christmas card list.

The Autoprison Chronicles:

Per request of Patterico:

If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules.


You hear that, FEC? You can have my keyboard when your pry it – and my copy of the Bill of Rights – out of my cold, dead fingers!


Personally, we’ll continue to comment on politics where and when we see fit, regulation shregulation.


I pledge the same.

A Poor White Man’s Blog:

I could be wrong. But, I do not believe my nephew and the rest of our Armed Forces are risking their lives, so my opinions can be stymied by the FEC. While this isn’t a political blog by nature, I reserve the right to express my opinion on subjects as I see fit. So, I take the pledge.


To stop this encroachment means that we all must stand and be counted. So here I am… one of the little bloggers – shouting at Goliath. I won’t stand down.

The Right Spin:

I make the following pledge:

If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules.


My answer to Patterico: I’ll keep writing what I want just to piss them off. The appearance of mass prosecutions of citizen pundits by the FEC would be hilarious. They’d be laughed out of the courthouse. I personally can’t wait for my arrest warrant.

Shape of Days:

Patrick, put my name on the list.

Doc Rampage:

I’ll stop blogging when I’ve got nothing more to say. Or when I move somewhere that I don’t have Internet service. Or when I get bored with it. Or if I find something else I like better. Or something like that. But I stand firm on this! I shall not stop blogging just because someone passes a law telling me to. Screw you.

History’s End:

They Can Take My Life…but they will have to pry my cold, dead fingers away from my keyboard!


I have pledged to support and defend the U.S. Constitution at least five times in serving in public office and service to my country (U.S. Public Health Service).

I will continue to do so and will resist any attempts to subvert anyones First Amendment Rights guaranteed under said Constitution.

McCain-Feingold be damned!

Since I write from Japan but my blog lives back home in the States, I don’t know how things would play out for people such as me in practice, but as an American citizen, yeah, I pledge.

. . . .

Our government’s current enthusiasm for curtailing the constitutionally protected speech of its own people is not beautiful. It’s immoral, unethical, illegal, and outrageous. It’s also not new. McCain-Feingold, with its little numbered permissions and categories, is already law, after all.


Patterico offers a challenge.

And I accept.

A Republic, Madam, If You Can Keep It:

There’s been discussion as to whether the McCain-Feingold regulations would limit the discourse possible on blogs. I don’t know whether it will or not, but if it does, I’m taking the pledge to not change the discourse on this site, regardless the consequences. I’m with Patterico.

The TPS Report:

So, I too will take this pledge. I will not stop blogging. As both a private U.S. citizen and as an aspiring journalist I see no reason to stop practicing my first amendment right to do the one thing I enjoy most: writing. To stop writing, to end my craft, to extinguish my life’s passion would go against my conscience as a Good Citizen and against the very foundational instincts as a Good Journalist.

This won’t be a conventional battle. It will be a test of willpower. I have faith in myself and my fellow Good Citizens. After all, are we not “the People”?

Rand Simberg:

I pledge that, if the FEC makes any attempt to crack down on on-line political expression, I will increase my political commentary in defiance of them. Massive civil disobedience is the best way to fight this new attempt to shut down public debate.

Gay Orbit:

I’ll take the pledge too, because I have no problem and no hypocritical objection to breaking a law or rule that I know to be unjust.


I *gulp* take the pledge.

Will you?


I do solemnly swear…

If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules.

Hold the Mayo:

The FEC and McCain/Feingold will not stop me from exercising my Constitutionally protected right to free speech. I will answer the challenge issued by Patterico, and I will take this pledge.


This is a line that we must not allow the government to cross.

Christopher Cross:

I don’t think I’ll run afoul of such rules anytime soon. But heck, I’m in.


Oh, and by the way, Senators McCain and Feingold, the right to bear arms so we can defend our freedoms is in the document too. You should read it.

Take the pledge.

Info Theory:

If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion, I will not obey those rules.

What sort of weasel would? This is the US, not “Communist” China. [Michael and Roscoe: he said it; I didn’t. — Patterico.]

Left & Right:

I certainly don’t see a day when the US Gubmint would come knocking on down my door to arrest me for exercising my First Amendment rights, but should that day come, let it be known that my Second Amendment rights will also be exercised.


What we bloggers should do is get together, as a group, and buy airtime two weeks before a big election to endorse a candidate, thereby breaking McCain-Feingold on purpose, so that we may be prosecuted.


I’m in.

Carpe Bonum:

I will, Pat. And I’ll send the FEC a trackback every time I do it, too.

Physics Geek:

I’m in, and I hope that everyone in this country is with me. If not, I weep for our future.

Tan Horizons:

[T]he clear language of the First Amendment precludes the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act. If a majority of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the President don’t care, so what? The sole basis of their authority over me is the Constitution. That attitude may not flow from the Holy Spirit, but an assertion of individual intellectual and political independence strikes me as fully in line with the doctrine of the soul and the full spiritual equality of humanity.

The Pink Flamingo Bar & Grill:

I will never modify my in your face style of blogging to conform to rules that violate my First Amendment Rights.

Sierra Sanity:

McCain, Feingold and the other silly fascists can all move to Canada and tell the sheep what to say. . . .

Billy J’s Benevolence:

John McCain and Russ Feingold: please retire from public “service,” you’ve done more than enough damage already. Step aside so others may try to undo your harm.

Patterico’s challenge. I accept.

The Free Voice:

If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules.

This is now an official policy of the Free Voice.

Pirate’s Cove:

If the FEC makes rules that limit my Constitutionally guaranteed Right to Free Speech, I will not only not obey the rules, and I will continue to blog the same way, I will spam John McCain and Russell Feingold’s websites, as well as any other politician that backs those unconstitutional rules.

Charles G. Hill:

With right hand raised

Dear Patterico:

The events of this day perhaps have emboldened me, and it’s about time.

I will not be silenced, no matter what the Federal Election Commission or any other government agency throws at me in an attempt to circumvent the First Amendment.

Thank you for sticking to your guns.

Bryan C.:

I take the pledge. And so have many, many others. If you’re a blogger, please consider joining us.

Faute de Mieux:

If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules. [Appears on right margin of blog’s main page.]

Don’t Let Me Stop You:

You bet. There’s a reason that amendment was the first one. The McCain-Feingold Act should never have been passed. It should never have been signed by the President. It should have been thrown out completely by every court that looked at it. It should be repealed.

Mythusmage Opines:

I will aver that I will post on matters and subjects that interest me. If any agency public or private has a problem with that, said agency can take a long walk on a short pier. I have occasion to opine about a politician, then I shall opine about that politician. If some busybody has a problem with that and wishes to give me grief about it, that busybody has a fight on his hands.

You have a problem with what I write about, don’t read me.

Frank Villon:

Count me in, Patterico. I vehemently take that pledge.

Cross Blogging:

I’ll take that pledge. The FEC even considering regulating free speech is a ridiculous act.


If the unconstitutional FEC makes any rules that violate my First Amendment right be unlimited in my expression by “no law,” I will not obey those rules.

I can keep to my pledge a hell of a lot easier than the government has kept to its pledge.

Bring it on.

Politickal Animal:

I will not comply with those restraints. Will you?


Come and get me.

White Pebble:

I, Patti Niehoff, sole proprietor of white pebble, pledge the following:

If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules.

Dave Munger:

If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules.

Don’t forget the people who already said this:


I’m damned sure not going to change my blogging style, nor start running disclaimers every time I blog about a political issue or a politician/candidate.

Billy Beck:

I will simply break their law.

That is all.


I intend to break that law – as an act of defiance against the tyranny of the elected and appointed. I intend specifically to invite prosecution and persecution.

The McCain Feingold Insurrection:

At minimum, you should assert that you view your blog as a sacred expression of your first amendment protected right of free speech, and that you will continue posting whatever the hell you want.

The McCain Feingold Insurrection blog had already encouraged people to make a similar pledge, and collected dozens of links to blogs with statements of defiance. I thought those bloggers should be listed here as well, so here they are:

geekWithA.45: “Warning Shot Across The Bow”
Kim du Toit: “It’s not going to happen”
Smallest Minority: I knew someone…
The Everlasting Phelps: Notice to FEC
Feces Flinging Monkey: Cold Dead Hands
The Hairy Libertarian: Signs Up
The Warren: My Sentiments, Exactly
Cinomed: Makes a Statement
Chris Byrn: Civil Disobedience
Bill St. Clair: Hoists The Flag
Radar Rider: Draws a Line
Adam Lawson: Makes his feelings known
Dave Markowitz: Regulate This!
Music For Misanthropes: Say What?
Friendly Grizzly: Growls
Solar Void: Has his say
Murdock The Crazy: Independently Echoes a Sentiment
Ravnwood: The FEC can bite me
Jed: Avast, ye scurvy dogs!
Kallini Brothers: One post of many
Rusty: I was so pissed I became a blogger
David Codrea: A Line In The Sand
Doc E: Signs Up
Billy Beck: Hoists the flag
Addicted To String: Politics Schmoliticks
Spatula City: Memo to FEC: Bite Me!
Trigger Finger: Does Not Intend To Stop
Eternity Road: Hops aboard
Josh Poulson: What Part of “Shall Make No Law” Don’t You Understand?
Chris Hamilton: Cries Havoc!
SunniMaravillosa: F U, FEC
Critical Mastiff: A Proud Member
Musings of a Fat Kid: Count Me Out, And In
All Along The Blog Tower: McCain-Feingold’s Motorpsycho Nightmare
The Trainer: Not Likely
Blog O’ Death: McCain Feingold Treason
Doc Russia: With a Mouse in One Hand, a .45 In The Other
John Haberman: Don’t throw the party without me!
mAss Backwards: joins up
Joe Huffman: A slightly different take
Snugg Harbor: Sworn to protect and defend…
Pontifications of George: Tread softly, ye feckless fec
Billy J: Wordless simplicity
Heartless Libertarian: Molon Labe, Senators
Publicola: Oh, no..They can’t take that away…
Rivrdog: Leaps aboard
FreakChylde: Is In
d_a_smi: raises a finger to the FEC
Beth: I’m in
Bloodspite: Makes his choice
Byron: Don’t Tread on Me
SobekPundit: wants his name on this list
The Radical Centrist: Finally! An insurrection I’m proud to join!
Heads Bunker
Sailor In The Desert
Liberty Unlimited
Zippo The Pirate
The Lonely Lib Con
Flash Of Freedom
Life’s Better Ideas
Dutch Expat
Jack of Clubs

Whatever the new rules, if any, we do not plan on abiding by them.


I am an American citizen. It is my right and duty to speak out on matters pertaining to the political workings of my government and I will not relinquish either that right or that duty.

Constitutional Conservative:

Constitutional Conservative proudly presents ‘the bird’ to McCain-Feingold.

Those making a lawyerly, watered-down version of the pledge:


If the FEC makes rules that unreasonably limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not make any special efforts to obey those rules, and if given a reasonable opportunity to violate them, I will do so. [Don’t go too far out on that limb, buddy!]

UPDATE: Xrlq does make a secondary pledge, which I like better:

If I choose to disobey any FEC rule that I believe unreasonably limits my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not discourage, and will in fact actively encourage, other bloggers to report these violations to the FEC.

And those who are apparently inclined to obey government regulations on political speech:

Michael Williams:

I’m entirely in favor of resisting speech restrictions through legal means, but I’m not confident that disobeying justly enacted laws is within my God-given authority, except insofar as such laws prevent me from carrying out God’s will or are directly evil.

Roscoe’s Blog:

In the unlikely event that the FEC promulgates regulations that impact little-ole-me, I intend to try to comply with them if I can without compromising what I am trying to do with this blog.

Happily, they are in the distinct minority. I count dozens of solid pledges, one lawyerly pledge (Xrlq), and 2 sheep. (No offense, guys!)

[UPDATE: I want to make it very clear that the “sheep” comment is just lighthearted teasing of two bloggers I like a lot. I disagree with them, but respect them.]

A lot of people are writing me e-mails to tell me they’re in — but they’re not blogging it. If you are taking the pledge, blog it and send me the link! E-mail address is: patterico -AT- patterico -DOT- com.

If I missed anyone, please let me know.

I find this very inspiring — but not surprising. We’re Americans, after all.

UPDATE: As of Sunday, March 20, I am no longer accepting new quotes for the body of this post. (I still have a few to add, so if you already sent yours, be patient — I’ll get them all up.)

You can still show that you took the pledge, by blogging it, linking to this post, and sending a trackback.

Happy 80th Birthday to My Dad

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:18 am

Happy birthday, Dad. I love you.

Question for Bloggers About FEC Regulation of Blogs

Filed under: Civil Liberties — Patterico @ 7:13 am

Yesterday I said that, if the FEC regulates blogs, I will continue to blog the same way I always have. Some have warned me of the dangers inherent in such a position.

This led to me wonder how unusual my position really is. I suspect that my attitude is widely shared by bloggers, including those who have signed the open letter to the FEC.

I think it’s time to put the question to you directly. Who out there will make this pledge:

If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules.

Beldar and Billy Beck have clearly said this. Slim999, who bears a startling resemblance to Keanu Reeves, has created a blog for the express purpose of defying the FEC on this issue. I think that counts.

Judging from the comments I have read over the past few days, I believe there are plenty of others out there who feel the same way. Some of you have said as much in comments, and some of you have written blog posts that are consistent with my view. But I want to see if people will expressly make this pledge on their blog.

Who else will make this pledge? Do a blog post about it, e-mail me at patterico -AT- patterico -DOT- com, and I’ll link it here.

(Since I work for a living, I probably can’t link you until lunchtime or perhaps this evening. In the meantime, there will be a pingback — but pingbacks are automatically moderated, so it may take some time for them to be approved as well, so don’t be concerned if the pingback doesn’t show up immediately.)

UPDATE: I am very heartened by the response. The FEC will have a fight on its hands, and not just with me.

I will put the links to those taking the pledge in a new post.

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