The Sedition Act?

Call it coincidence that I have been watching the John Adams HBO miniseries. Recommended watching, even if it does contain some inaccuracies.

Tonight I watched the last two episodes in the miniseries. The 6th installment mentioned what are now called the Alien and Sedition Acts. Congress passed the Acts (actually four different laws) in 1798 while under threat of war from France. The legislation was intended to stomp out political opposition.

One of these laws struck me as familiar in a peculiar way: “An Act for the Punishment of Certain Crimes against the United States (Sedition Act), July 14, 1798 ch. 74, 1 Stat. 596”. More commonly called “The Sedition Act”, this law made it illegal to publish “false, scandalous, and malicious writing” against the government or its officials.


The Great Retail Empire somewhat recently enacted what is called the “Social Media Policy (PD-73)”. The policy states:

Using social media can be a fun and rewarding way to share opinions with friends, family and co-workers around the world.

… you have the responsibility to post content in a respectful manner that will not be harmful to the company.

… if you decide to post complaints or criticism, avoid doing so in a way that is unprofessional, defamatory, or injurious to the company or other associates.

Failure to do so “may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

My question is: who decides what is seditious? Wait—I meant “injurious”. As I noted in my last post concerning the layoffs that occurred at the Great Retail Empire, it is entirely possible “disciplinary action” may be levied against me because I expressed my opinion. Since we all know “the truth hurts”, it would imply that anything I mention of the Great Retail Empire—either false or true—could be deemed “injurious”.

Today, oddly enough, someone whom the Great Retail Empire would prohibit me having any association with outside of the office that’s another policy…] stated so eloquently in an Internet MeMe:

I’m cynical of governments and corporations. I think there’s little to differentiate large corporations from large governments, and the boundaries between them are increasingly blurred. As Orwell said “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

I could, in no way, have better expressed my thoughts on the subject.

When any entity gets so large that it has to start creating and enforcing laws and policies to protect it’s image from those “within”, one has to question why those policies and laws needed to be created to begin with. Is there something to hide from the those on the outside?

“Welcome to the Machine” now has new meaning for me.

I guess I’ll just have to wait and see if any of my thoughts are injurious to the Great Retail Empire.

Until next time...

3 thoughts on “The Sedition Act?

  1. Where I live in California, we have what’s called “at-will employment.” That means that an employer can fire you for any reason whatsoever at a moment’s notice and is not required to give a reason. And they get away with it all the time. My husband has been at the receiving end of that law at least twice. So look on the bright side: You’re worrying needlessly over your employer actually having a reason to let you go. Now doesn’t that just make you feel a whole lot better!? (Just smile really broadly without using your eyes and you will. I promise. But you have to be looking at yourself in the mirror when you do.) No, seriously, the sad thing is: Even if they don’t fire you, seems like any trust you had in this company is pretty much nil at this point.

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