Saturday, February 20, 2010

Campaign Finance, Free Speech, and the Court Decision

At the certain risk of antagonizing the intractable and emotional left further (and oh how I love it) I have decided to revisit the recent Supreme Court decision with respect to free speech and campaign finance law.

Having covered this in an earlier post I decided to endeavor to find additional rational arguments (note I did not say emotional) that would lend further perspective and light on the subject. After visiting several sites I found perhaps one of the most compelling arguments I have yet heard in support of the Courts decision.

Here are a few short excerpts:

"The ruling threw out limits on corporate "independent expenditures" on campaign advertising — the case in point being a hatchet-job documentary on Hillary Clinton produced by a non-profit corporation called Citizens United. Government censorship of political documentaries certainly seems to violate the very sinews of the First Amendment. "Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech" isn't very ambiguous, after all."

"For most progressives, democracy is more than a mere instrument for throwing the bums out. Democracy is instead the embodiment of the liberal ideal of equal freedom. This sacred ideal is threatened, progressives argue, by concentrations of wealth that enable inequalities in political voice. If victory in the public sphere is determined by the size of one's megaphone, then wealthy interests with large megaphones will capture the system and rig it to their permanent advantage. Consequently, megaphones must be regulated to ensure an equitable democratic process."

"Given the difficulty of using a broken system to fix itself, progressives have labored for generations to establish a corrective legal framework that would put a thumb on the scales and tilt the balance of persuasive power toward plain people and away from corporations. The trouble is, the First Amendment is written in stubbornly plain language. By honoring the simple letter of that law, the Citizens United decision dealt a crushing blow to this progressive project, leaving them wailing as if all were lost."

While progressives will make their usual arguments for the"little people" (sound like the old class warfare theme employed by the left?) the reality is the unemotional Constitutional wording is pretty da*n clear. Not much left to question.

Therefore, Rational Nation USA must restate and reemphasize support for the Constitutionally correct decision by the court.

Read the insightful article by Will Wilkinson here.


  1. Very well stated! Sometimes it appears as if class warfare is the long-term goal of the lib'rals and not just the vehicle. Now these same emotion-riddled people are crying about the poor employment picture in this country! They've had their "thumb on the scale" for so long, they've driven away the very people they need to rely upon to fix the system that cannot and will not fix itself. VERY well said.

  2. Thank you for your supportive words. Class warfare has it's origin going back hundreds of years.

    However the modern version owes it's virulence to the Bolsheviks and the Russian revolution. That and the general European strain of socialism in favor at the end of the 19th century.

    Thanks for the visit and taking the time to comment.

  3. “The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, and more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces as public enemies, all who question its methods or throw light upon its crimes… As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money powers of the country will endeavor to prolong it’s reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.” – Abraham Lincoln

  4. Anon - Great quote. Could Lincoln have been the precursor to Dwight D. Eisenhower and his warning of the dangers inherent in the "Military Industrial Complex?"

    However, I suspect your use of it is intended in a perverse way.

    And I believe you know what I mean.

  5. By perverse do you mean taken as evidence that some honored political leader of the past might take a different view of the recent Supreme Court ruling?

    In what way is that perverse? Do you simply define perverse as anything counter to your own conclusions?

    Have you done any research to determine what the Framers thought about corporations? If so, then you know that they were suspicious and mistrustful of corporations. And that many of the original 13 states regulated corporations very firmly and prohibited them from influencing the making of laws in any way. Attempts to undo this were (rightly, In my opinion) considered an assault on state's rights. Positively Progressive, one might say.

    If you want to argue "that was then and this is now", or that an "originalist" approach to the Constitution is not valid, then perhaps we can have an interesting discussion.

    But if your modus operandi is to declaim dissenting views as perverse then I fear no further reasonable discussion is possible.

  6. Anon - Perhaps a poof choice of word.

    I view the issue of corporate influence on government by means of special interest as wrong much as I do Union special interest influence on government is wrong.

    I do not believe either unions or corporations should have the ability to contribute a dime directly (or through political action committees) to lawmakers or their campaigns.

    I view the right of both unions and corporations to air their political views via radio, television, or the internet.

    And I also agree with Rand that government should have no business in creating corporate welfare. IE: To big to fail just doesn't wash with me.

    I view the Courts decision with respect to free speech as correct.

    The government should pass ironclad laws eliminating lobbyists, special interest peddling, and government subsidies to businesses.


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