Friday, January 22, 2010


A Working Definition of Freedom

Of course any Government, including ours, should, indeed, must prohibit malum in se behavior--rape, robbery, theft, murder etc., but every prohibition of citizen behavior merely malum prohibitum (that is, behavior that is bad because they say it's bad--like prostitution, drugs, almost all business regulation, etc.) is an affront to the idea of ordered liberty, our country's first founding principle. Malum prohibitum laws are almost always bad.

So it's an increase in freedom when the Supreme Court says, as it did in the very long decision in Citizens United v. FEC, that the free speech part of the First Amendment (Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech) means just what it says and takes away narrow parts of really stupid laws (McCain-Feingold) and reverses old stupid case law (Austin) which did, in fact, abridge free speech, and political speech at that, the first among firsts in the First Amendment free speech clause. The decision decreases a malum prohibitum law and therefore increases freedom. That's a good thing, as victim of a malum prohibitum prosecution, Martha Stewart always says.



There is a difference between an increase in freedom and an increase in permissiveness. What will happen when the people w/ the most money get to control the message? The Golden Rule?

Are we going to be more free?

Stop living in the conservative theory and start living in the real world.

They don't control the message. Recall the last few weeks of any recent campaign, when almost every other commercial on TV or the radio is a campaign ad you've heard before. You just tune those annoying things out. Money in politics is a free speech issue but permissiveness, as you call it (that is, allowing corporations to make and pay for political ads) is not the end of freedom, it is expanding it. I am in the real world.

Did you hear this piece on NPR last Friday?

How about when the XYZ Corp wants to build a plant in your home town that will emit noxious odors but requires a zoning variance. A few campaign donations to appropriate members of the town council and voila!

Rog, the exercise of power by a person in whom a disproportionate amount of power is vested by virtue of wealth is unlikely to make us more free.

Making it illegal for people (or corporations) to speak is tyranny. Any argument to the contrary is legalistic legerdemain. Bribery is illegal and is . Why did you choose that for an example when the subject was free political speech?
Bribery is malum in se. I don't know why that disappeared with printing it.
The difference between unlimited campaign contributions and bribery is what?

Limiting he amount of money a corporation or any other person may spend on a campaign is less tyrannical than allowing the richest to control the message.

Bribery is the crime of buying a certain action of a government worker with money (or tit for tat). A campaign contribution is a legal protected 1st amendment right to support the candidate you want to win. You had to know this.

The rich do help candidates buy a lot of ads but "control the message" is surely a gross overstatement.
In a half a year we will see how "grossly overstated' my point was.

And, making campaign contributions in an effort to obtain a zoning variance may no longer be considered bribery. It's corporate "freedom of speech."

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