Saturday, October 29, 2016

Citizens United and Michael Moore in the Comments Section—1

In response to my comments under the Paul Mulshine article, Reverse Citizens United and jail Michael Moore? - Liberals are confused on campaign funding, the following exchange took place:

MorrisCntyTom replied:

Stand on the street corner and espouse all you want...that's free speech.   Pay for something and it's commerce..and yes that can be regulated.

Let me sum up what you're saying.  I have more money than you do so I have more free speech than you do.  Sounds fair.

My reply:

The power to regulate commerce is the power for the government to control everything—which means the end of freedom, including individual rights, the means of protecting freedom. You've just proven that the regulatory state is a threat to a free society. Thanks for dramatizing the connection between economic freedom and political freedom, and that a threat to the first is a threat to the second.

MorrisCntyTom replied that I was “over dramatizing” my fears. But he didn’t refute my point.

Marshwren replied:
Uh, the airwaves are a public utility and have been since the FCC was created back in the 1930's.  And since they cross state lines, it's interstate commerce and subject to regulation.  But i love what passes for "equality" among conservatives:  a poor person can afford to put a sign on his lawn; a billionaire can buy millions of dollars worth of advertising that ordinary people can't; ergo, everyone has the "access" to "advertising". [sic]

I replied:

“Equality” in the American context means a guarantee of political equality, not economic equality; that is, equal protection of individual rights before the law. Economic equality is the opposite of rights, freedom, and legitimate government—such equality can only be enforced by a totalitarian state, as the enemies of Citizens United make clear. Economic inequality is the consequence of a fully free, just society that celebrates human diversity and where each individual is free to flourish according to his/her own ability, ambition, values, vision, goals, moral character, judgement, and personal circumstances. That “a poor person can afford to put a sign on his lawn; a billionaire can buy millions of dollars worth of advertising that ordinary people can't” is perfectly fine and just, so long as the billionaire earned his money in the market, not from government favors. Of course, the poor person can have access to the billionaires’ ideas at no cost (see my comments [in my post of 10/28/16]). That’s the beauty of free speech in a free society.

Never mind the FCC’s artificial distinction between “public” and “private” airways. Private speech should not be restricted.


More tomorrow.

Related Reading:

“Overturning Citizens United won’t eliminate government corruption. But it will allow government to limit our speech — and with it, our right to affect the course of our government.”

Related Listening:

Censorship, Local and Express—An analysis of the Supreme Court’s upholding of anti-pornography laws. The “marketplace of goods” and the “marketplace of ideas.” Why conservatives want to control the intellectual realm, and liberals the material realm.

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