Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - Volume 6, Number 14

© Copyright 2015, The Ultrapolis Project.  All Rights Reserved.

Civil Rights Assault on First Amendment Freedoms

The First Shot Fired Back in a New Line of Defense


·         Cartoon Commentaries: Nate Beeler on Trump’s New Tower; Rick McKee on Climatic Terror and the Starbucks Grinch.







GOP Freedom of Conscience Resolution Passes Unanimously

Houston’s Mayor Annise Parker: Rights Goddess & Vote Grinch


Do Schoolgirls Have the Right to Not Undress in Front of Males? “No” Says Left


Do you have the right to speak against the Supreme Court decision legalizing marriage for same-sex couples?  Do you have the right to voice your opinion on what it means to be male or female?  Do you have the right to refuse to enter into contracts to create custom products or services that go against your core beliefs?  Do schoolgirls have a right to refuse to undress in front of members of the opposite sex? A growing number of Americans - mostly among liberal progressives (especially those labeled GLBT, or now LGBT), but also among some on the moderate right - say “no.”  They may not say it so explicitly, but in the new anti-discrimination ordinances they support, as with Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance (H.E.R.O.), and in the arguments they employ in their support, that is their answer.   It is also the same answer we are getting from a new generation of students at elite universities over a broader range of questions. 


Forging a New Defense


The Valley Forge Initiative was founded this summer to advance three key principles first articulated by the Ultrapolis Project and UWFR, regarding:


1.     Freedom of Conscience

2.     Citizenship & Rule of Law

3.     The Duality & Special Responsibility of Humankind


 Although it is an independent group, the VFI’s founding membership was formed by a joining of individuals who found common cause in the ideas expressed on these pages. Unlike the Ultrapolis Project & UWFR, which is formally a non-partisan project, VFI will be taking action within the party where it expects to find the greatest chance of success in advancing its three adopted principles, and that is the Republican Party.  In September, VFI had its first clear success, and in that success, an idea long promoted by the Ultrapolis Project and UWFR found its way for the first time into the formal political process.


On Monday, September 21, the Freedom of Conscience Resolution (full text below) was introduced for consideration by the Harris County Republican Party Executive Committee by a leader of the Texas Young Republicans, who holds a strong reputation for being a fair-minded advocate of the right of all Americans to be free from government enforcement of beliefs.  In the past, this has included a strong opposition to laws that target people, including gays, for not adhering to the religious beliefs of others.  (Note:  The resolution as submitted stood on its own, and did not involve any formal coordination with VFI, the Ultrapolis Project, or the UWFR.  It was submiited to a local precinct chair, and then it moved organically through the system until it came before the Executive Committee).


This resolution aims to introduce a new approach to defending the right of all Americans to practice the freedoms guaranteed in writing by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.  In our belief, these freedoms are now under assault by misguided and deliberate efforts to ‘protect’ specific classes of people from any ideas or criticism they find, in their own minds, “hurtful”, “dangerous”, “offensive”, or even “micro-aggressive”.


Intolerance in Civil Rights Clothing


The left’s strategy has been simple and effective:  Equate all differences with racial differences, and label any and all opposition as hateful and bigoted.


The notions of controlling other people’s speech and activities are being advanced constantly and through many avenues.  We see this in existing and proposed speech codes that may seem ridiculous now, yet university administrators have seen fit to allow on their campuses, as we saw this summer at the University of New Hampshire and University of Tennessee (in both cases the new speech codes were so absurd, they were walked back after extensive public ridicule - but you can be sure they will try again).


We also see this in so-called anti-discrimination state laws and city ordinances that have been passed with little public notice.  These new laws quietly change the definition of public accommodations from how they were originally defined in the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 in such a way that they cross the line between protecting general public access to basic goods and services that carry no ideas or beliefs in and of themselves, to now requiring anyone in business for themselves to create custom or expressive works even when it violates their own core beliefs.


We described this redefinition and its consequences in detail in our UWFR issue of July 19.  As a society we used to admire people who refused money in the name of their beliefs.  Now, we are increasingly saying that money is the only consideration anyone in business is entitled to.  The person with the most money wins.  And, social conservatives have been unable to craft an intellectual, active defense, even when surveys show the majority of Americans, when asked, say they do not favor forcing people to engage in work that goes against their beliefs.


In Houston, a similar ordinance, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (H.E.R.O.) initially passed as an emergency measure with little time given for council members or the citizenry to grasp the implications of the new law.


See next column >



Ultrapolis World Forecast & Review

Ultrapolis Project – ultrapolisproject.com



Editor: Scott Lund

Copy Editor: Michael Alberts

Contributing Editors:

Mark Eastman

Mark Steele





Our forecast record cannot be beat.  One can follow the herd chasing the latest hyperbolic, melodramatic, and soon-forgotten micro-trend, or one can be wiselyand judiciously in front of it with UWFR. 



< From column 1


Queen Annise to People of H-Town: “Off With Their Votes!”


When at a May 14, 2014, meeting council members expressed respect for differences of opinion on the proposed new law before voting on it, Houston Mayor Annise Parker essentially objected to that expression, stating the debate is “about me”.  In other words, her personal strong feelings on the issue were more relevant than any thoughts others might have on the matter. When over a year later H.E.R.O. finally was voted down by the same voters who had elected an openly gay mayor three times, that same gay Mayor Parker declared that  “no one's rights should be subject to a popular vote.”


This is a very important point:  Mayor Parker and many others honestly believe (and act upon that belief) that their definitions of what constitutes a right or, what should be law, overrides the rights of others to disagree or vote on the matter.  Of course, no one’s Constitutional rights were being put to a vote.  Instead, the vote was about a new law, with new consequences for everyone, and new bureaucratic details on how to administer those consequences.  Yet, Mayor Parker, like some sort of goddess of rights, proclaimed to the people of Houston that because she strongly believed that something should be a certain way, no one else should have been able to oppose that view through a democratic vote.


Houston Vote a First


But, as it was, despite Mayor Parker’s best efforts, after a series of legal maneuvers and heated protests and court challenges, it was taken to the city’s voters as a referendum in November of 2015. Still, to make clear how little even gay people who strongly backed the ordinance understood its implications, the first target of a similar law in Denver, Colorado, was a gay bar that last year was found by the city to be in violation of the law for catering to masculine gay men.  H.E.R.O., which went even further in its definition of what would constitute illegal discrimination, in effect could have similarly put at legal risk any business for merely catering to gay people.  Instead, H.E.R.O. became the first ordinance of its kind put to a vote by the public, and it failed in a landslide vote of nearly two to one against H.E.R.O.


The Second Coming of H.E.R.O.


As one of our readers remarked to us, the voters didn’t just vote H.E.R.O. down; they “drove a stake through H.E.R.O.’s heart.” But, H.E.R.O. failed not because people understood the public accommodations redefinition issue.  No one on the right noticed it, and no one on the left would want to.  The entire opposition to H.E.R.O. centered on the objection to allowing people of the opposite sex into each others’ public bathrooms and locker rooms (another leftist initiative that has quietly and successfully marched across the country, without any public votes save Houston’s).   So, while the voters did drive a stake through H.E.R.O.’s heart, unlike with most vampires, a new effort to pass an even more heavy-handed, rights-trampling ordinance will rise from the dead soon enough, unless social conservatives take an enlightened and pro-active initiative, and craft an ordinance of their own that firmly addresses these issues in a way that also educates the public about them.


The Log Cabin Republicans of Houston announced shortly after the vote their intent to propose a new H.E.R.O. that is broad-based and safeguards “the concerns of the majority which expressed its concerns regarding safety and privacy issues through the rejection of the ordinance.”  Perhaps they will thread that needle.


Campus Offensive


Elsewhere, this summer and early fall saw multiple flares of fervent anti-First Amendment sentiments flash across many of America’s first- and second-tier universities. Yale ("it is not about creating an intellectual space!"), Princeton (“Black students who expressed disagreement with the protesters were called ‘white sympathizers.’”), Claremont (“There was no room for discussion or debate at your rally, and voices opposed to yours were silenced.”), Dartmouth (“We felt that the possibility of offending even one member of the Dartmouth community was not worth the potential benefits of having the fundraiser.”), Missouri  (“Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here? I need some muscle over here!”) – all saw open efforts to silence speech in the name of cultural sensitivity and civil rights (in actuality, leftist ideology), all as sure as Mayor Parker that personal strong feelings should override the right of others to disagree.  Just last week a comedian got fifty Yale students, in under an hour, to sign a petition to do away with the First Amendment.


First Amendment, First Freedom


The First Amendment is the most important of all laws that form the legal foundation of our freedoms.  Without it, all the others are only worth whatever the government, or Annise Parker and her friends, say they are worth. The conservative religious right has tried to protect religious freedom, but its chosen course has failed repeatedly – partly, ironically, because it has been focused only on religious objections and freedoms, instead of the larger and broader attack on the freedoms of the First Amendment, as we described in detail in our UWFR issue of June 10.  Imagine a household focused on saving their own house on fire, not noticing the rows of flamethrowers aimed at their entire neighborhood.  Nothing wrong with saving your own house, but you will lose it if you don’t address the larger issues, and band with the rest of neighborhood to save all the houses.


Continued column 3 >

< From column 2


The New Defense’s First Hearing


As we have said before, particularly in our June 10 issue, this realization has been totally absent from anyone visible within the Republican Party.  The Freedom of Conscience Resolution is the first attempt anywhere in this country to change that. 


After the resolution was read, in a development not common to these often cantankerous meetings that include liberal establishment, fiscal conservative, and social and religious conservatives, was passed unanimously, with not single word in opposition by the party executive committee of the largest county of the largest GOP-led state in the country.


The Freedom of Conscience Resolution


WHEREAS Republicans believe in the fundamental liberties of freedom of conscience, of speech, and of association guaranteed to all citizens under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, and by Article I, Sections 6 and 8, of Texas Constitution; and


WHEREAS Republicans stand by the self-evident truth that the most essential liberty handed down to us from the Declaration of Independence is the freedom of our hands and minds, and the purpose to which we may put them to work, and that no man or woman should be forced by law into any labor that is contrary to their most cherished beliefs – religious or not; or be denied the right to earn a living as a price for exercising their freedom of conscience; and


WHEREAS, so-called anti-discriminations state laws and local ordinances have been put into place around the nation and in many places in our state (and where one is being attempted in Houston) that deliberately expand the definition of ‘public accommodations’ beyond anything originally understood by most Americans, and not included in the original and clear definition of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; and


WHEREAS, such an expanded definition of public accommodations directly curtails the freedoms described above by now requiring private businesses and self-employed individuals to become aware of, and participate in, any customers’ beliefs and ideas, even when these violate their own, and in contradiction to the original definition, and spirit, of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which never placed such impositions on the freedom of a private business or self-employed individual to decline work; and


WHEREAS, many such private businesses and self-employed individuals have suffered grievous financial harm, insult to their reputations, destruction of their livelihood, and threats to their life and safety, as a consequence of running afoul of these new anti-discrimination laws and ordinances, that is, for declining to directly engage in specific, expressive work directly related to a customer’s beliefs and ideas which they oppose; and


WHEREAS, none of these businesses had any history of unfair discriminatory practices under any law, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prior to the establishment of these new laws and ordinances, and moreover, all had a history of serving all customers, even those not defined as a protected class under the Civil Rights Act of 1964;


BE IT RESOLVED, we call on the Texas Legislature to pass legislation that concretely defines public accommodations as originally defined and understood in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits any expansion of that legal definition by any government entity in the state, and proscribes any law that requires any private business or individual for any reason to create or provide a custom product or service, or any kind of expressive work, or be coerced into any speech that is not their own.


This is a tiny pebble moved uphill, in the opposite direction of a growing landslide of totalitarian intolerance headed towards the First Amendment.  But it is a move upward, and there are others who also see the dangers who are casting their own pebbles uphill.  But this particular pebble is very different than all the others.  Let’s see where it goes.



The Vote Grinch


And the Mayor, her grip ice-cold on the loud ‘phone,
Stood fuming and blasting: “How could it be so?”
“It came with subpoenas! It came despite threats!”
It came regardless of all my bitter regrets!”
And she blasted three hours, till her blaster was sore.

Then the Mayor doubled down on what she had said before!
“My concept of rights,” she thought, “isn’t up for your vote.”
“My personal rights…I KNOW…mean much more than yours!”
And what happened then? Well…in Houston they say,
That the mayor’s small mind shrank three sizes that day!


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The New Trump Tower (1 of 3)

Climatic Terror (2 of 3)

The Starbucks Grinch (3 of 3)




Main Index of the Ultrapolis World Forecast & Review



© Copyright 2015, The Ultrapolis Project – All Rights Reserved.