I know that it is a tiny number of people who have signed the thing, compared to the actual population of the United States, but it’s a little distressing that even a tiny number of Americans don’t know that in this country, we don’t use the law to punish people for speaking their minds.

I once had some very nice young members of the Chinese Communist Party earnestly explain, in tones that indicated they expected to clear up some puzzling misunderstanding, that Nobel-prizewinner Liu Xiaobo was quite properly being incarcerated by his government. “He broke the law” one of them said, rather passionately. “Any country would put him in jail for that.”

“The law”, in this case, was of course a proscription on criticizing the constitution, and its enshrinement of one-party rule by the Communists. One is tempted to suggest that the signers of the petition “self deport” to China, where they might feel a bit more in tune with the general approach to civil liberties.