by Mark Lewis

The Origins of Free speech

The right to free speech does not come from god.
The right to free speech does not come from the constitution.
The right to free speech does not come from a gun.

My right to free speech comes from ME.

And it comes to everyone who actively defends this right, because it does not come passively or without costs. Those that don't actively defend this right will lose it quickly, because the world has always been infected with people that are threatened by free speech.
They are liars.
The truth only threatens liars, just as peace only threatens the violent.

In one of those typical confrontations this past weekend, I was told that I must respect a man's right to call me a traitor and supporter of violent regimes because he is a Veteran and fought for my right to have free speech.


First, his free speech is not the right to slander a person's good name in public. That is illegal speech and not protected by the constitution, statutes of any state, or local ordnance. He said that we in the peace movement, "give aid and comfort to the enemy"; a charge we have all heard ad nauseum. He was talking about his war, Vietnam, and now Iraq.

A person that protests for peace is of no aid or comfort to any violent regime or military member thereof, including, but not limited to Saddam Hussein, Ho Chi Min, Richard Nixon, or George W. Bush. This slander that I, as a member of the peace community, have endured for 37 years, is based on the dysfunctional thinking of those that would use guns in a political battle; a tactic which all of us in the pacifist community reject totally. It is based on the mistaken thinking that you are "either with us or you are with the terrorists".
I am with neither violent group.

I support no regime that uses violence for political gain, or any violent person within that regime. The choice is a false dichotomy. It is a false limitation of the options, design to force a person (this time using logic traps instead of guns), to accept the justification of violence, "born of political necessity".

There is no such thing.

Violence is a choice everyone has. To indulge in violence or reject it. I reject it in every aspect, and even though I have been a vegetarian since 1969, I am under no illusions, and accept that I am still the most dangerous predator on the planet: a human being. I am certainly capable of homicide and would never tell myself the pretty little lie that I am not. If I were forced into warfare, as my government tried to do in Vietnam before I was old enough to vote, I fear I would eventually resort to homicide like most do; destroying my life, and those of others. I feel no shame or glory in being human. I have no need to compensate for some feeling of inadequacy or to indulge in some vain attempt at self martyrdom as a salve for the toxic shame and guilt of killing people.

But I fear me.

So, I am nonviolent because I demand it of myself, not because I am incapable or afraid. I am perfectly capable, and afraid of no man, no government, and no god. It is my decision, born of my thinking and feeling. It is not forced on me by cops with guns, laws on paper, or commandments in stone. It comes from ME.

Secondly, this thinking is wrong in it's very context: "the reason we have free speech is because he fought for it."


He fought in Vietnam for the imperialist goals of corrupt US regimes, not for my freedoms or anyone's freedoms. It's time for him to wake from his John Wayne rerun, hero worship dream. The only people that have ever tried to take away my freedom of speech have been the very administrations that have started these imperialist wars I have protested for the last 37 years, not the "enemies" they insisted I hate. The only people that have tried to violate my rights to freedom of assembly and redress of grievances, have been the police forces and military of the United States, that are charged with upholding those laws. The only people I have ever needed defense against are my own government and it's zealous minions in uniform.

The very idea that any war fought in a foreign country would be for the defense of this country is a corrupt, indefensible, and dysfunctional idea, and always used to support imperialism.


With the Vietnam War being finally over, after we fought against it for 11 years, he has to start a new one because he knows nothing but violence.

His war is with peace; as is all war.
His war is with those that fight to restore peace, constitutional governance, and America's positive influence for both goals.
His war is against the very people that saved his life by ending the Vietnam War before he was killed, and will save many more lives by ending this war.

Dressing up the most vile of human endeavors with the most noble of human causes: war and peace; has always been the rationalization of homicidal regimes. It's meant to balance the equation. To soften the blow. To fool the fools.


You can't make peace with war!
You can't make truth with lies!
You can't defend rights with wrongs!

Mark Lewis

About the author:
Mark Lewis is a Colorado Springs photographer/illustrator and musician. He has been a peace activist for 37 years and works locally with the Springs Action Alliance and the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission.

He also compiles a daily list of news stories, which is available here.

To submit an article, email Contact(at) CSaction(dot) ORG