more of this from the left, please

The First Amendment is not and never has been outcome-dependent; the Government is barred from restricting speech -- especially political speech -- no matter the good results that would result from the restrictions. That's the price we pay for having the liberty of free speech. And even on a utilitarian level, the long-term dangers of allowing the Government to restrict political speech invariably outweigh whatever benefits accrue from such restrictions.

--Glen Greenwald.

Read the whole thing.

(And yes, I realize that Greenwald would probably be the last person to characterize himself as being of "the left", but he is clearly no Republican apologist.)


RW said...

It's an elegant argument, using all the latest in what we've developed in the way of crackling good logic and modern libertarian, solid state reason. It's written well and shows a lucidity that is admirable.

Of course it isn't gonna change the fact that corporations with a lotta money are gonna have an easier time buying some elections and pervert the reason we have a bill of rights in the first place. But that's, cleverly, not what he's addressing.

Good intentions... ruin.. grumble grumble.

RW said...

oh and...? Is Greewald seriously suggesting (when he reminds us that this ruling not only frees up speechdollars for big corporations but also frees up speechdollars for smaller advocacy groups) that in a dollar-for-dollar toe-to-toe face off the smaller unit can outspend the larger one?

Who is he crappin?

And, yes, I just invented the term "speechdollars." Right here, right now. You heard it her first. Spread it around.

Gino said...

my answer to whole thing: no speechdollars unless you can actually speak.

allow individuals to spend their money.
but corporations/businesses can not because they cant speak.

same goes for unions, etc.

Brian said...

I don't know guys...I guess my bias is to err on the side of more free speech, rather than less, damn the consequences in the short term. Free speech matters to me. A lot.

But seriously, where do you draw the line at what constitutes a corporate entity? A married couple? A half-dozen disgruntled libertarians at the corner bar?

Of course, one way around the whole problem is to go for 100% public financing of political campaigns. That has problems, too, of course, and I'm not saying I support that (at least not yet), but I think I'd rather take all "private" money out of the process and let everybody say whatever the hell they want than have the messy combination of limited financial contributions and limited free speech (which is basically what we have now.)

RW said...

If a party can't raise funds that's one thing. Maybe they have another problem. But we are now spinning towards a process whereby non-party entities can obtain the public stage based solely on their ability to buy it. Social Darwinism, under the guise of "Free Speech" prevails, and "limited free speech" becomes a de facto condition for entities that can't afford the same time on the public platform.

You haven't really reduced the limits on free speech, you've merely shifted those limits to people who have less resources.

How is that free speech?

RW said...

Not only that, but Greenwald's a boob. Nyah.

(obligatory internet personal attack)

Gino said...

how about a foriegn corporation? do they have free speech in our elections, then?

and last time i noticed, a married couple consisted of two people, and drunken libertarians were people too.

of course the real solution to money in politics is to get politics out of money.
but fat chance of that happening,huh?
economic darwinism,there.

Brian said...

I'm pretty sure the Constitution is mute on the subject of Darwinism: social, economic, or otherwise.

I think you've talked me into public financing. Any other approach (at least that I can see) involves placing limits on political speech, which is both unconstitutional and a really, really bad idea.

Gino said...

that means only the two majors will get financing.

how about the greens and the libertarians?

Brian said...

OK, how about this--a ban on corporate money if the Democratic and Republican Parties are included as corporate entities.

RW said...

$500 per person maximum contribution. Money may only come from people, not "entities." No other funds are legal.

Parties may choose their candidates anyway they wish, but conventions are run only on C-Span.

Candidates may spend their money anyway they wish, but television, internet, and radio ads may only run for 3 weeks up to the day of election.

There are no debates. There aren't any now, anyway. There are instead a series of 100 questions composed by members of the news media drawn by lottery. From this list, The Annenberg "FactCheck" group selects 50. These questions are put to every candidate, one at a time. The amount of time each candidate is allowed to answer the list is directly related to the number of states that candidate appears on the ballot of. These Q&A's are taped simultaneously and played back to back repeatedly on the government channels that sit there and do NOTHING on everybody's TV. They are available constantly for the last 2 weeks of the campaign.

Which all has about as much chance of happening as me being elected king of the United States.

Brian said...

You have my vote, sir! (Sire?)

Gino said...

my only problem is the $500 limit.

and you'll get my vote in exchange for a govt appointment, how's that?

Anonymous said...

I would think the supreme court should not have given businesses the status of individuals as they cannot speak and as such, should have a limit as to what they can spend. Hence, I agree with Gino. If you want to spend your money on a campaign as an individual, it is your money, as you are an individual. Spending money on the behalf of your company becomes questionable as it looks more on the front of corporate interests. I consider it reprehensible that the supreme court considers campaign contributions a matter of "free speech". I think Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson would be rolling in their graves as to what has become of America. Pehaps to balance the budget we can rename the white house, as the &&&&& sponsored white house? Why stop there? Why not the pentagon and everything else? Ugh...