Bob Higgs explains why demonstrations like the one in D.C. over the weekend are useless:
Thousands of Americans have just staged a demonstration in Washington, D.C., to express their displeasure with the growth of government in general and the Obama administration’s health-insurance proposals in particular. Such demonstrations are a tradition in this country. The First Amendment, which people usually associate with freedom of speech, religion, and the press, also stipulates that Congress shall make no law abridging “the right of the people peacefully to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The Founders knew that people would sometimes desire to complain publicly against government policies that affected them adversely. After all, their own revolution had begun amid many such protests against the British government.
So, in this country, people have a constitutionally guaranteed right to demonstrate and petition for redress of grievances, and they often exercise this right. Although the government sometimes tries to control when and how people demonstrate, especially when such protests might prove too visibly embarrassing to the emperor or to one of the two gangs that purport to be competing political parties in what is actually a one-party state, most of the time the rulers seem to appreciate that such demonstrations pose no genuine threat to their control of the state and that the wise course is to allow the peasants to blow off steam. Later, they can be told how fortunate they are to live in a country where the government permits freedom of speech, as if such speech in itself would feed the baby.
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