Friday, April 20, 2012

Free Speech

Eugene Volokh has a post up about a proposed Constitutional amendment the effectively denies corporations the rights of the Constitution.  I'm trying to put my objection to this idea nicely, but it is hard to do because those proposing this amendment are themselves not being particularly nice.  Let's not set a precedent for banning the speech of those we dislike.  Because someday it may be your speech being banned "for the good of democracy" or some such crap. 

Also, it's not like if corporations couldn't spend money in elections, government would all of a sudden be focused on what is "the common good."  For starters, Citizens United was in 2010; whining about the unequal spending of political money dates further back than that.  Also, it's idiotically simplistic to believe there is a "common good" that is only hidden by corporate political money.  We'd argue and bitch about what is, just like the ancient Greeks and Romans did.  Just like the "ancient" Americans did. 

I do not believe political speech should ever be banned, regardless of who is saying it or what they have to say outside of inciting violence.  Corporations have their own interest, sure, but if they are going to be regulated with hundreds of thousands of pages of laws, corporations should have a say in what those laws will be.  I'm disgusted that people are actually arguing that other Americans should be under the threat of law but should not be allowed to voice their opinions on those laws.  

It isn't like all of a sudden political speech will be equal for everyone on a national scale.  There are over 300,000,000 of us; do the math, and you'll find there isn't even enough time for us all to have an equal input into the national debate during a four year presidential term. 

Finally, I'm tired of hearing that the Founding Fathers didn't mean to include people speaking as a group.  The same 1st Amendment that protects speech protects assembly.  It's asinine to believe we get to pick one 1st Amendment right, but only one.  We get them all, in combination with one another.  So if a bunch of us want to get together and put up an ad saying Obama's policies suck for our business, it is our right.  It is our moral right as citizens that under the threat of law.  People that are impacted as a group have every right to speak as a group. 

Those who love the freedom of speech will never tolerate it being limited, because those doing the limiting always have ulterior motives.  If you disagree with someone else, say so, but don't ban what they say. 

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