Who's Trying To Limit Speech They
Disagree With Again?
George Will Reminds UsConservative columnist George Will reminds us who's been trying to silence their political opposition in this country:
First to help him make his case where some new proposed legislation is going to end up, Will demonstrates what happens when you take an illogical argument to it's illogical conclusions:
Controversies can be wonderfully clarified when people follow the logic of illogical premises to perverse conclusions. For example, two academics recently wrote in the British Journal of Medical Ethics that “after-birth abortions” — killing newborn babies — are matters of moral indifference because newborns, like fetuses, “do not have the same moral status as actual persons” and “the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant.” So killing them “should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.”
This helpfully validates the right-to-life contention that the pro-abortion argument, which already defends third-trimester abortions, contains no standard for why the killing should be stopped by arbitrarily assigning moral significance to the moment of birth.It sure does.
Having shown the reader where abortion advocates end up on the basis of their own illogical premises, Will will now demonstrate where Liberals who want to use legislation to limit political speech that makes it harder for them to win elections end up in their own perverse conclusion:
We must be very, very careful who the First Amendment actually
applies to. Especially if we're talking about people
who are running against me.
Now comes Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) with a comparable contribution to another debate, the one concerning government regulation of political speech. Joined by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), 26 other Democrats and one Republican, he proposes a constitutional amendment to radically contract First Amendment protections.
His purpose is to vastly expand government’s power — i.e., the power of incumbent legislators — to write laws regulating, rationing or even proscribing speech in elections that determine the composition of the legislature and the rest of the government. McGovern’s proposal vindicates those who say that most campaign-finance “reforms” are incompatible with the First Amendment.Of course McGovern doesn't quite explain his proposed new legislation in those terms, but that's exactly where we'd end up if it's enacted.
Will now demonstrates where this proposed legislation would take us:
His “People’s Rights Amendment” declares that the Constitution protects only the rights of “natural persons,” not such persons organized in corporations, and that Congress can impose on corporations whatever restrictions Congress deems “reasonable.” His amendment says that it shall not be construed “to limit the people’s rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, free exercise of religion, freedom of association and all such other rights of the people, which rights are inalienable.” But the amendment is explicitly designed to deny such rights to natural persons who, exercising their First Amendment right to freedom of association, come together in corporate entities to speak in concert.In other words, you'll have your incumbent Government on one side with all that taxpayer cash & media in it's pockets, and you'll have isolated singular individuals on the other opposing them with their speech. Who do you think wins that argument?
And should any 2 or more citizens band together to endorse and argue & speak in concert against the incumbent Government, that Government can simply use this law to claim their speech opposing the incumbent's policies do not have First Amendment protections and are indeed some sort of active threat to the Republic. And then they'll suppress it.
McGovern stresses that his amendment decrees that “all corporate entities — for-profit and nonprofit alike” — have no constitutional rights. So Congress — and state legislatures and local governments — could regulate to the point of proscription political speech, or any other speech, by the Sierra Club, the National Rifle Association, NARAL Pro-Choice America or any of the other tens of thousands of nonprofit corporate advocacy groups,including political parties and campaign committees.
Newspapers, magazines, broadcasting entities, online journalism operations — and most religious institutions — are corporate entities. McGovern’s amendment would strip them of all constitutional rights. By doing so, the amendment would empower the government to do much more than proscribe speech. Ilya Somin of George Mason University Law School, writing for the Volokh Conspiracy blog, notes that government, unleashed by McGovern’s amendment, could regulate religious practices at most houses of worship, conduct whatever searches it wants, reasonable or not, of corporate entities, and seize corporate-owned property for whatever it deems public uses — without paying compensation. Yes, McGovern’s scythe would mow down the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, as well as the First.Will demonstrates there's nothing to stop incumbents from simply decreeing political speech by their opponents in elections to be illegal, and banning it. This is the absurdity one ends up at.
Doubly infuriating is that the law would also unceremoniously dump Fourth & Fifth Amendment protections from whoever the State decided to go after as a threat to incumbent policies and aims.
The proposed amendment is intended to reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which affirmed the right of persons to associate in corporate entities for the purpose of unrestricted collective speech independent of candidates’ campaigns. The court’s decision was foreshadowed when, in oral argument, the government’s lawyer insisted that the government could ban a 500-page book that contained one sentence that said “vote for” a particular candidate.
McGovern’s amendment would confer upon Congress the power to ban publishing corporations from producing books containing political advocacy, when Congress considers a ban reasonable — never mind the amendment’s rhetoric about the “inalienable” rights people enjoy until they band together to act in corporate entities.
"In this corner, the entire US Federal Government, with all it's power, money
and control. And in THIS corner. some guy all by himself."
It apparently never occurs to the clueless that if you outlaw speech of people banded together to speak in concert with a common purpose such as the NRA or the National Abortion Rights Action League, you are left with a huge behemoth of a Government on one side, and individual citizens who must take that leviathan on singularly or have their speech banned.
Do they never stop for even a second to wonder why the people who are always so keen to undermine the Constitution and broaden the powers of the State at the expense of the citizenry ALWAYS couch this in terms of 'standing up for the little guy' when all they are doing is trying to make the Government more powerful and enable those in power to hold it more securely by limiting the free expression of those who would challenge them?
OWS & young Progressives are so busy wailing for the State to protect them from the eeeeeeeevil corporations they never stop to wonder exactly what the State might do with this new power to proscribe speech. They can't figure out the career politicians who want more control are scaring them into handing over precious, hard-won rights that - once handed over - are going to be damnably difficult to get back.
Plenty of Americans have recognized this, which is why they have gotten active in the political process in the last few election cycles. Apparently, the larger activity and the new groups forming to project political power & speech bothers some Liberals because they were used to having greater control of the process and now they've lost it. So they are pursuing this legal avenue to get control back.
If you love Big Government and want the State to have even more control than it does now, this makes perfect sense, rigging the game in the State's favor so the incumbents who want to pursue socialistic stupidity always win. They can simply use the Courts to make their opponents shut up.
He ends the column with this:
This guy spending millions to influence American politics is just fine
The Koch Brothers
These two guys doing the same thing is a threat to
the survival of the Republic. Or something.
A decade ago, then-Rep. Dick Gephardt said of George Soros’s spending in support of liberal causes: “It is not consistent with campaign reform, but it is consistent with what the Constitution says about freedom of speech.”
As the editors of National Review note, liberals control unions and most of academia and the media. Yet such is their evident lack of confidence in their powers of persuasion they are desperate to control the speech of others.
By proposing his amendment, McGovern helpfully illuminates the lengths to which some liberals want to go. So when next you hear histrionic warnings about tea party or other conservative “extremism,” try to think of anything on the right comparable to McGovern’s proposed vandalism of the Bill of Rights.
OK - challenge made. Who wants to accept it? Who can find a comparable push on the Right to silence it's political opposition by circumscribing their First Amendment rights?