Liberals are willing to shred the First Amendment to shut up the other guy, whoever that might be

I was watching George Harris, a Newt Gingrich supporter, get his tongue stepped on by Marlene Lockard on Sam Shad’s Nevada Newsmakers and it reminded me how little most people understand about how and why liberty works.

Lockard kept hammering Harris about the Citizens United ruling that took away the restrictions McCain-Feingold placed on corporations and unions to spend money on political issues and candidates. She, like most liberals, hates letting others have their say.

George Harris

I wonder how she would react if she were told how the ban on corporate free speech became law. Return with us now to the early years of the 20th century.

The first federal law to restrict the ability of companies to contribute to political candidates was the Tillman Act of 1907. Democratic Sen. Benjamin “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman of South Carolina was the leader of that Ku Klux Klan-style lynch mob known as the “Red Shirts,” a man who declared, “The Negro must remain subordinated or be exterminated” in order to “keep the white race at the top of the heap.”

Tillman’s bill was meant to gag northern corporations who hired blacks and tended to favor Republicans.

Liberals, in denouncing Citizens United, are siding with a man who said, “I have come to doubt that the masses of the people have sense enough to govern themselves.”

Whether your prejudice is race hatred or wealth hatred, whether it is a century old or a couple of millennia old, the result is an abridgement of the right of free speech. Why is one seen as shameful but the other laudatory? Both are anathema to the First Amendment.

Further, the liberals are targeting the wrong thing. The problem is the corrupting influence of money but the fact government is like a black hole of power that sucks in money in a vicious cycle of favoritism and abuse.

Marlene Lockard

Chip Mellor, head of the Institute for Justice, spelled this out in a Wall Street Journal interview recently.

“There continues to be the false premise that the problem in politics is too much money, when in fact the problem is too much government for sale,” WSJ quotes him as saying, “these campaign finance laws are really treating only a symptom, not the disease. Until you get to the root cause, which is too much government, you are really not doing anything productive and in many cases you are doing harm.”

Right now the liberals and more than a few conservatives are up in arms over the Super PACs that are spending millions in Republican caucuses and primaries but are unanswerable to the candidates who are not allowed to coordinate with them by law. There is no ceiling on how much a person or corporation or union may donate to those PACs. Lockard was aghast at Sheldon Adelson’s $5 million donation to one backing Newt.

But the candidates themselves have limits on individual donations and cannot take money directly from a corporation. But the candidates may spend as much of their own money as they are willing to do.

This leads liberals to such weird laws as the one in Arizona that gave public funds to those running against spendthrift rich folks. The Supreme Court made short work of that.

In the debates the other night, a frustrated Mitt Romney suggested it might be high time to end the limits on direct contributions to candidates.

We all would like to have Super PACs disappear, to tell you the truth,” Romney said. “Wouldn’t it nice to have people give what they would like to to campaigns and campaigns could run their own ads and take responsibility for them. …

“I haven’t spoken to any of the people involved in my Super PAC in months and this is outrageous. Candidates should have the responsibility and the right to manage the ads that are being run on their behalf. I think this has to change.”

Justice Elena Kagan unwittingly described the fairy tale world in which liberals live, during the arguments over that Arizona law when she noted that too high a campaign subsidy would overload the taxpayers, while too low a subsidy would not make the publicly funded candidate competitive. “The difficulty, then, is in finding the Goldilocks solution — not too large, not too small, but just right.”

A gag is a gag, whether it is on speech or the ability to spend your own money disseminating it or limiting coordination of that speech with others. That is abridgement of both speech and assembly.

10 comments on “Liberals are willing to shred the First Amendment to shut up the other guy, whoever that might be

  1. nyp10025 says:

    So you believe that domestic corporation, foreign corporations, foreign citizens should all be able to donate unlimited amounts of money directly to political campaigns. And you believe those unlimited donations should be anonymous – not disclosable to the public.

  2. nyp10025 says:

    by the way – was the Constitution “shredded” during the century or so during which SuperPacs were prohibited?

  3. Yes, shredded. Foreigners, no. Candidates should disclose.

    Sent from my iPhone

  4. nyp10025 says:

    So someone can be deprived of his free speech rights simply because he is not a citizen? Congress can pass a law depriving someone of the right of free speech just because they are from another country? And if candidates must disclose their donors, why shouldn’t so-called “independent expenditure committees” be forced to do so as well?

  5. Let non-citizens vote, too? Candidates are answerable to voters.

    Sent from my iPhone

  6. nyp10025 says:

    voting isn’t speech. But speech is speech.

    For that matter, money is not speech.

  7. Money enables speech. Restricting spending abridges speech.

    Sent from my iPhone

  8. Steve says:

    From: President of the United States Franklin Delano Roosevelt
    To: The United States Congress
    Dated: 5 April, 1933
    Presidential Executive Order 6102

    Section1 second sentence reads:

    The term “person” means any individual, partnership, association or corporation.

    This was decided almost 80 years ago.

    FDR defined the term “person”. Like it or not, a corporation is a person and if it is decided today a corporation is not a person then we have to return all the gold they held in 1933.

  9. The liberal gods say that only when it suits them, Steve, like when they are confiscating stuff.


  10. Steve says:

    I know, I just love pushing it in their faces. They are so hypocritical. Specially on this issue. They want to have their cake and eat it too.

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