Thought Crimes

‘…But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party. That is the fact that you have got to relearn, Winston. It needs an act of self- destruction, an effort of the will. You must humble yourself before you can become sane.’” – George Orwell, 1984.

In this beautiful country, it is understood that American Citizens believe in certain, basic, human, rights. The one in the spotlight currently is, of course, the 2nd Amendment. Trailing behind that in the spotlight are the 1st Amendment, and, arguably, the 4th Amendment (Rep. Massie argued on Thursday to amend defense appropriation bills to force federal agencies to acquire a warrant before collecting information on American Citizens). Thomas Jefferson and the Framers would have even gone as far to say that we have rights, as humans, and that even if a government could infringe on these rights, it did not mean that we still do not deserve those rights. Furthermore, they would have argued that the Bill of Rights does not encompass the entirety of our human rights, but that the Bill of Rights protects the most important rights, or perhaps, the rights that were most at risk of being trod upon.

It is logical then, to presume that the combination of protected rights that the Bill of Rights affords American Citizens would be impossible to strike down. Consider this: under the 1st Amendment we are free to disagree with the lawmakers that might, intentionally or unintentionally, seek to suppress us. We are protected by the 4th Amendment from a search of our home, property, communication, and self without a warrant, one that can be defended by the 2nd Amendment.  And, if in utilizing those rights, we are sent to court for a “crime,” the 5th Amendment prevents us from being forced to testify against ourselves and demands due process, while the 6th Amendment affords us the right to face our accuser and have a trial by our peers.

American Citizens have been given a powerful set of armor in which to remain free and deflect infringement on basic human rights that would otherwise enslave them. All of these protected rights stemmed from one action: the Framers dared to think, and in doing so, thought the traitorous dissenting thought: American Citizens ought to be free, and are entitled to the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Lucky for the Forefathers, King George III could not prevent them from exercising their minds, and thinking differently than a majority of the colonists.

American Citizens today have accomplished what the federal government could have never accomplished on its own: they have made it a crime to think differently.


Problem on the Right

Last December, the outlandish cry to ban and restrict a group of people based on their beliefs stemmed from the tragedy that took place in San Bernardino. The far right has become adamant about suppressing an ideology that has existed since the middle of the sixth century. This has been done out of fear, but more importantly, opens the door for government restriction on your thoughts. To simply believe one thing is not, and should never, be a crime. “Freedom,” wrote George Orwell “is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”

Freedom, then, is the freedom to think whatever you want, despite what the populace thinks. It’s the actions that are taken based on those thoughts that are deserving of consequence.


Problem on the Left

The left is intent on people being tolerant and open minded, but only if you’re open to their mind and tolerant of what they say to tolerate. They are persistently vicious to those that oppose their view of social issues. The rules of logic are oft disregarded and instead replaced by emotionally charged rhetoric. People have received hate mail, been called names, and ostracized for having a dissenting view. What’s worse is that these attacks come from adults, not from hormonally charged teenagers (though they may act like it). The perfect culmination of this comes to the violence seen during the primary election season this year. Donald Trump supporters were met with violent protests simply because they had an opposing view of the left. To ask simple questions and want to find truth begs to be demonized, called a “Truther” or a “conspiracy theorist.”

Bigotry is real thing. Racism does exist. Accusing people that have an opposing view of having those traits is simply unacceptable, and it leads to a dark path.



It has been established that both sides of the political spectrum are in some way guilty of trying to suppress the action of thinking. The populace alone, however, is exponentially far less of a danger to another individual, save for acts of unsanctioned violence, such as lynching.

But what if this mission to prevent free-flowing thinking had seeped its way into the lawmakers of the United States? The cries of masses to pass laws and regulations to force people to accept what they (the masses) hold to be true bring about exactly what they want: unconstitutional laws. It doesn’t matter, then, what protected rights people have under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, because if the populace demands an individual be thrown into prison for merely thinking a thought that disagrees with their beliefs, nobody will care if his rights are upheld.

Consider the implications of this, combined with the well-known fact that the government heavily influences main stream media. This is a fact that cannot be disputed. The government could name someone, anyone, a domestic terrorist based on their thoughts, perpetuate false claims (claims they would sell as facts), and the masses would beg for them to be locked away. What if, though, that the crimes that these individuals had committed was merely that of disagreeing with the government?

If people that spoke out against the things that their government was doing in their name only to be silenced by the precedent set by the demands of the masses, the government would be free to do whatever it wanted, regardless of the law. The Bill of Rights is not just a several rights thrown together. They are all dependent on one another; if you remove one of them, the others will crumble.

In libertatem.

About Rick Matheny 3 Articles
Aspiring political activist and a Navy veteran who is extremely passionate about liberty and freedom. Currently travels a lot for work and loves to write in his spare time. Some of his influences include Judge Napolitano, Rand Paul, and Kate Dalley.
Contact: Twitter
  • Dylan Lloyd

    Good Job, Rick!

    • Rick Matheny

      Thanks Dylan!