Friday, January 22, 2010

It's A Free Speech Thing

The Supreme Court's decision on the Citizens United case is a huge, huge deal, so I wanted to post a couple more really good pieces of analysis.  First is Doug Bandow at American Spectator, shining some light on why the Democrats are so angered by this ruling:

The Left likes big government.  But they apparently hate democracy  Why else would they contend that those affected by government shouldn't have the right to participate in the process of electing those who run the government?

Characteristic of this viewpoint, after the Supreme Court's campaign finance opinion David Kirkpatrick complained in the New York Times:

The Supreme Court has handed a new weapon to lobbyists. If you vote wrong, a lobbyist can now tell any elected official that my company, labor union or interest group will spend unlimited sums explicitly advertising against your re-election.

"We have got a million we can spend advertising for you or against you - whichever one you want,' " a lobbyist can tell lawmakers, said Lawrence M. Noble, a lawyer at Skadden Arps in Washington and former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission.

Shock!  Who would imagine that, in a democracy, legislators who vote to tax or regulate someone might be opposed in an upcoming election?  Instead, apparently we should treat politicians like Vestal Virgins, beyond reproach or criticism.

In fact, the last thing anyone should want is to allow incumbents to decide how and how much they can be criticized by their opponents.  Thankfully five members of the Supreme Court understand that the First Amendment protects robust political speech.

The real problem we face is that in America 2010 have almost a ruling bureaucracy rather than a true representative republic (Congress' complete deafness on DemCare over the past few months illustrates just how happy our elected reps are to ignore us).  Instead, Congress seemingly views itself as a sort of distributed monarchy: rather than serving as representatives of their constituents, they would much rather rule their servants (i.e. taxpayers) as a collective body of elite not-quite-royalty.

This is a big, big problem for us, obviously, and when We The People stand up to demand that they once again start representing us as they are constitutionally bound to do, the distributed monarchy doesn't like it.  That's precisely what this SC decision does - it removes restrictions imposed by the distributed monarchy on the peasant class to complain about that distributed monarchy.  Ironically, the ability to complain about the monarchy was precisely what America was founded upon!

Second, we have Gabriel Malor at AoS, describing how the Dems are likely to attack this freedom of the peasant class:

It's clear what the Democratic line of attack is going to be this year: all populism all the time. Wall Street, banks, corporations, and disfavored industries like health insurers, petroleum are going to get a hell of a battering while Democrats founder trying to buy votes by pretending to be the best palls of Middle America.

Yesterday's decision in Citizens United, though it was sorely needed, has been seized like a lifebuoy. The President— who must have been the worst constitutional law professor ever—has ordered his lawyers to find a way to legislate away the Supreme Court's constitutional determination that people in groups have just as much a right to political participation as individuals alone.

That's the core of Citizens United: you have a right to speech, you have a right to associate with others, and you don't give up your right to speech when you choose to associate. The Constitution does not give to Congress the power to pick favored speakers and disfavored speakers. In fact, the First Amendment specifically prohibits such anti-democratic laws.

Democrats, however, place more importance on speech bans than countering speech they don't like. The democratic (small 'd') response to speech you disagree with is more speech. For Democrats, more political speech is to be avoided. For Democrats, too much political participation is bad for democracy. For Democrats, a lone man or woman speaking up for themselves is fine, but a group speaking up for itself is "corruption."

The Democratic Congress will hold hearings on this "dangerous" ruling that restores to Americans the speech rights that they hold by virtue of birth. If you happen to be discussing Citizens United with your coworkers, do me a favor and point out to them that the purpose of these hearings will be how to shut Americans up in the name of "the public interest."

This strangely backwards view of the 1st Amendment makes perfect sense if you understand the ultimate goal of the Left: control.  They want -- check that, they believe they are entitled to -- control of pretty much everything, including you.  They're smarter than you, they're more educated than you, they're more cultured than you, they're richer than you, and they know better than you what's good for you.  Thus, in their minds, it is only right and natural that they should dictate where you live (or don't live), what you eat (or don't eat), what you drive (or don't drive), the temperature in your house, what kind of TV you buy (or don't buy), who you support (or don't support), and so on, even to the extent of what you think about things (political correctness).  Everything they do is intended to solidify control over you, for the benefit of those who are far more qualified to govern you, mainly themselves.  And they do it all in 'your best interest', of course.

If you get that, then this gross offense and outrage being spewed by the Left at something so basic and just as restoring the right to free speech makes perfect sense.  Free speech is, by definition, uncontrolled.  You can say what you want, about whom you want, and they can't stop you.  That's the intent and purpose of the 1st Amendment, and that's why this decision is so critically important.  The Left's outrage at -- and willingness to spin the meaning of -- this decision gives us a crystal clear picture of who they are and what they value.

There's my two cents.

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