Friday, January 22, 2010
A Working Definition of Freedom
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.
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.
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.
The rich do help candidates buy a lot of ads but "control the message" is surely a gross overstatement.
And, making campaign contributions in an effort to obtain a zoning variance may no longer be considered bribery. It's corporate "freedom of speech."