Derb Waxes Acerb

Elena Kagan lately having been confirmed as a Justice of the Supreme Court, John Derbyshire gives us a preview on this week’s Radio Derb (transcript here) of what he thinks we’ll be getting:

Look for lots of wonderful new rights to be discovered buried in the Constitution — things that mysteriously escaped the attention of everyone for 221 years. Look for lots of ingenious new constitutional reasons to be found for the further expansion of federal power into the lives of citizens. Look for further judicial support for favoring foreigners over citizens, minorities over majorities, the freakish over the normal, and notions thought up last week over principles that have served us well for centuries.

In the same broadcast (well, podcast), Mr. Derbyshire also commented on the controversy surrounding the Cordoba victory mosque at Ground Zero. He read an open letter from a group called the Muslim Americans Against the Ground Zero Mosque:

Muslim Americans Against the Ground Zero Mosque has been founded to represent the many thousands of Muslim citizens of the U.S.A. who oppose the building of a mosque close to the Ground Zero site in New York City. We understand that under the liberty that all Americans enjoy, private landowners and private organizations have every right to enter into contracts without government interference. However, we understand, as the movers of the mosque project seem not to understand, that it is not always wise to do something one has a right to do.

We further doubt the entirely private nature of the transaction between Abdul Rauf’s “Cordoba Initiative” and the owners of the site where the mosque is to be built. If, as we very strongly suspect, funding for the transaction is coming in part from foreign governments, claims that this is a private exchange that should be of no interest to any agency of the U.S. government, are compromised.

The main reason we are opposed to the mosque, however, is that the building of it in this location would be an act of gross insensitivity to our non-Muslim fellow-citizens. Insensitivity is not against the law, nor should it be. It does, though, create rancor and tensions that a society can well do without if it wants to be peaceful and harmonious.

Muslims are regarded with unease and suspicion by many Americans. Muslim citizens should do what they can to dispel those suspicions. The Ground Zero mosque does not dispel them; it inflames them. If Abdul Rauf would announce that in view of the sensitivities involved, he had decided to build the mosque elsewhere, that would be taken by non-Muslim Americans as a gracious act of accommodation to widely-shared feelings. The credit would reflect on Muslim Americans in general, to the benefit of all citizens and the furtherance of social harmony.

We, Muslim Americans Against the Ground Zero Mosque, therefore urge the organizers of this project to withdraw their present application and find a less controversial location for their cultural center.

It was good to hear this letter read on the air; it was refreshing to hear American Muslims express such concern for the unfavorable impression this plan makes on their fellow citizens, and such sensitivity to the pain it inflicts upon those thousands whose loved ones were murdered, in the name of Islam, at this hallowed site. It made me think: What if I’ve been wrong about all this? What if a gracious, “moderate” form of Islam really is taking root in the West, in a new, cosmopolitan, 21st-century form that really does want to forgo Islam’s 1,400-year-old history of conquest and expansion, of bringing the dar-al-harb into submission under Allah, by the sword if necessary, as explicitly commanded by God? Most importantly, what if such an Islam might struggle to displace its retrograde predecessor everywhere in the world, starting right here in the West? This could be the sign I’ve been waiting for.

What’s that? Oh, wait a moment. Derb continues:

That’s the end of the press release. [Pause] [Laughter] [“Just screwin’ with ya …”] Yes, I was just screwin’ with ya, listeners. I made it all up. There was no such press release, and there is no such organization as Muslim Americans Against the Ground Zero Mosque.

The reason there is no such organization is that there are no Muslim Americans against the mosque. Well, a few scattered individual voices have been raised, by Muslims like Shoaib Choudhury at the Hudson Institute and the gent quoted in Dorothy Rabinowitz’s aforementioned article, but these are regarded as crazy heretics by their co-religionists. Muslims want the mosque; or, if this is not the case, Muslims opposed to the mosque are awfully slow making their voices heard. If, as we are told, the mass of Muslims are decent, considerate people who just want to live in amity with the rest of us, why do we never hear from them in situations like this?

OK, once again please: Will someone spell out for me the advantages Western countries have enjoyed by allowing mass settlement of Muslims?

Meanwhile, in case you missed it, here’s the much-quoted essay by Dorothy Rabinowitz about the mosque, and about the offensive, patronizing condescension with which we have been lectured about it by Mayor Bloomberg and others of our ruling class.

Related content from Sphere

23 Comments

  1. Kevin Kim says

    Seen on Instapundit:

    Phil Bowermaster writes: “So if these people who are so upset about the mosque being built near ground zero want to do something constructive, why not pool their resources and put up a monument of their own. I suggest an enormous Hooter’s franchise as close to Cordoba House as they can get it. Also, maybe a restaurant specializing in BLTs.”

    I’d suggest a massive synagogue.

    Posted August 7, 2010 at 12:19 am | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see something like that, Kevin.

    Also, Rauf et al. are going to have a very hard time finding people to build this place.

    Posted August 7, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Permalink
  3. Dom says

    In all seriousness, I always thought that what is needed is a plaque commemorating those who died on 9/11, and some sort of suggestion that the mosque was built in tribute to them, and to other victims of islam’s terror campaigns.

    Posted August 7, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    Right, Dom, that would be a nice touch. The plaque can go right out front, when they build their mosque someplace else.

    Posted August 7, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Permalink
  5. the one eyed man says

    Uh, any evidence that Elena Kagan would do any of these things?

    My guess is that this was written long ago, with a (insert name here) in the spot where Kagan’s name appears.

    Posted August 7, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Permalink
  6. Malcolm says

    Sure, there’s plenty of evidence of where her sympathies lie, if you’ve bothered to pay attention — going all the way back to her undergraduate thesis, which was a eulogy (perhaps premature, as it seems) for socialism in America.

    But the die is cast; guess we’ll just have to see how it all works out. Sometimes Justices break with their past to some extent once they’re on the court.

    And of course, this is the way the system naturally works, so there is nothing out of the ordinary here. When you win a presidential election, you get to pick nominees that reflect your political outlook, and that you hope will move the nation in the direction you want to see it go. Every president does it, and there is no reason Mr. Obama shouldn’t. He won the election fair and square, and this is part of the spoils.

    Posted August 7, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Permalink
  7. Malcolm says

    My guess is that this was written long ago, with a (insert name here) in the spot where Kagan’s name appears.

    No, Derbyshire is quite capable of writing custom-tailored material.

    Here what he said when she was nominated:

    Monday, President Obama nominated Elena Kagan to the upcoming vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid defended the nomination thus, quote: “She has fresh ideas. She’s been out in the real world recently.” End quote.

    Wow, an Obama appointee who’s been out in the real world — there’s a first. What’s she been doing? Meeting a payroll? Raising kids? Working a crummy job to pay the bills? Fixing cars, changing faucet washers, shooting guns, making things out of wood, catching fish, writing poems, changing diapers, glazing windows, planting tulips, solving equations, nursing elderly relatives, chairing PTA meetings, making sales, chasing down debtors, changing tires, arguing with contractors, playing the stock market, …?

    Well, it’s not improbable she’s been doing one or two of the less demanding things on that list, but that’s not what Harry means. For fourteen of the last twenty years, Ms. Kagan has been a law professor at elite colleges. Of the other six years, five were spent as counsel and policy adviser to Bill Clinton, and the other one — since March last year — she’s been U.S. Solicitor General, the legal bridge between the White House and the Supreme Court.

    I guess it’s this last year that Harry Reid’s referring to. Now, Harry comes from a hardscrabble background, so he must once have known what the real world is like. Twenty-seven years in Congress will dull the senses, though. Harry now believes that if you’re tending a flock of government lawyers for the White House, you’re in the real world.

    It is true, of course, that by comparison with the faculty lounge at Harvard Law School, pretty much anything this side of an LSD trip counts as real world, but I’m still not impressed by Ms. Kagan’s acquaintance with the real world. If she were to swim the Hellespont, maybe…

    …I’m pretty much at one with what seems to be a majority of conservatives in regarding Kagan as the least bad candidate under the circumstances. It’s hard to see her as being much of a friend to limited government, private enterprise, and national sovereignty, but she’s not exactly the Creature from the Black Lagoon either. She’s a soft liberal, not a hard liberal; a soggy liberal, not a crunchy liberal. She’s not a liberal because she harbors a savage indignation against all that is traditional or customary; she’s a liberal because everyone she’s ever known, all her life, is liberal, and it’s never occurred to her that there is any other way of looking at things.

    She might even be redeemable: a few good intense one-on-ones with Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Roberts might acquaint her with lines of reasoning she never heard in the faculty lounge at Harvard or Chicago U., let alone in the Clinton White House. Let’s hope for the best there. What we have at the moment, though, is a not-very-imaginative lady, offspring of a lawyer and a schoolteacher, who’s been hanging out with lawyers and educators all her life, without let or pause. She has spent decades in the warm, perfumed soak bath of political correctness that is the modern American law school. In that respect, she’s not a surprising choice for Barack Obama to have made. He has the same background and mentality. Both persons give the impression of being quite shocked and pained that people hold opinions that nobody in their cloistered, precious little circle ever holds.

    This stunned incomprehension came out in Barack Obama’s much-mocked speech last Sunday. Speaking at Hampton University, a historically black college in Virginia, the president said, quote: “You’re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank that high on the truth meter. With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations … information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation … All of this is putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy …”

    So there’s more information and opinion flying around now, some of which isn’t true. The president seems not to have grasped a rather fundamental point: that truth emerges when, and only when, different ideas and opinions are allowed to compete.

    It seems to me, in fact, that far from it being the case that there are too many opinions out in the public forum, there are not enough. Our public debates, it appears to me, are carried out within bounds that are much too narrow. Large areas of serious, reasonable, well-documented opinion are never heard in major public forums — not even on Fox News — because of the fear that someone’s feelings might be hurt. The parameters of public debate are not, as the president says, too wide; they are too narrow.

    That’s not what they teach in law schools, though. The same blinkered mentality displayed by the president shows up in an article Elena Kagan published in the University of Chicago Law Review back in 1996, title, “Private Speech, Public Purpose: the Role of Government Motive in First Amendment Doctrine.” Kagan argues that Congress can pass laws restricting freedom of speech if it does so with good intentions, the meaning of the word “good” there to be interpreted, of course, by left-liberal law professors like Elena Kagan and Barack Obama.

    This is a horrible and poisonous doctrine. That it should have been offered by a candidate to the Supreme Court, and endorsed by the U.S. president, reminds us — as if we needed reminding! — that these are times in which we must hold on tight to our liberties, if we are not to lose them for ever to logic-chopping law professors.

    Posted August 7, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Permalink
  8. the one eyed man says

    Her university theses? Does anyone really care what she thought when she was twenty?

    Applying the same standard to your favorite writers – Hitchens, Krauthammer, Podhoretz – would disqualify any of them. After all, they were Trotskyites (or worse!) in their twenties.

    Derbyshire keeps trying to throw a punch, but can’t find a target to hit. We learn that we should be fearful of Kagan because … stop the presses! … she was Dean of Harvard Law School! Not only that: for fourteen years, she’s been associated with elite colleges! I guess it would have been better if she went to Regent University Law School, where Monica Goodling recruited lawyers for the Bush Justice Department. Then she would have been exposed to real Americans, not the pantywaists at Harvard. (And let’s not forget that Scalia and Roberts went to Harvard Law School, while Alito and Thomas went to Yale. Somehow they escaped the pernicious influence of “the warm, perfumed soak bath of political correctness” to be able to give Kagan the “intense one-on-ones” she so desperately needs.)

    We also learn that she is “not very imaginative” (how would he know?) and she has spent most of her life with people in her profession (therefore?). The rest of the piece is irrelevant filler about Harry Reid and Barack Obama.

    The facts are these: there is no evidence linking Kagan to any of the things Derbyshire tells us to expect. The right wing will oppose any nomination Obama sends to the Senate, regardless of how qualified the candidate is, and she just squeaked by. By contrast, John Roberts – who has sterling credentials but is extremely conservative – cruised through the Senate on a 78-22 vote. Dare I cast aspersions on the right wing for caring more about scoring political points than putting first-rate jurists on the Court? Well, yeah.

    Moreover, the meme that the left wing is packing the Court with judicial activists is nonsense. We have the most conservative Court in recent history, which has repeatedly found “lots of wonderful new rights to be discovered buried in the Constitution” (such as free speech for corporations) or expanded other rights beyond precedent (e.g., gun owners). It is the same results based jurisprudence that the right wing claims to oppose. I guess they only oppose it when they don’t like the results.

    Posted August 7, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Permalink
  9. Malcolm says

    Jeez, and I thought I was being nice.

    The difference between Kagan and Hitchens, Podhoretz, et al., is that the latter very publicly renounced their youthful infatuation with left-wing ideology, and became influential conservative voices. If Ms. Kagan has done anything like that, I missed it.

    As for corporate speech (which corporations like the New York Times seem to enjoy exercising, even as they denounce it) and gun rights: all the Court did in those cases was preserve freedoms that had throughout the nation’s history been unremarkable and unquestioned, until activist legislators recently restricted them.

    As I said, every president puts Justices on the Court that he thinks will push things in the direction he’d like the nation to move. You’d like to see it go one way, I’d like it the other; that’s fine. Conservatives will grumble about liberal justices, liberals about conservative ones. All perfectly normal. Kagan’s no monster, as Derbyshire cheerily acknowledges, and she may even one day become, as you suggest, a “first-rate” jurist (though we have no way of knowing, because unlike the rest of the Court, she’s never been one). But there’s no question that she is a dyed-in-the-wool, lifelong Lefty, and the things Derb tells us to expect are simply the sorts of things that liberals like to do. If he had written “Look for her to be a tireless advocate, at the Federal level, for the needs and Constitutional rights of ordinary people,” instead of “Look for lots of ingenious new constitutional reasons to be found for the further expansion of federal power into the lives of citizens,” you’d probably have had no objection. It’s all about how one sees things.

    Posted August 7, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Permalink
  10. Malcolm says

    One more thing: as for the “the warm, perfumed soak bath of political correctness”, Roberts, Scalia, etc. had very different upbringings than Kagan, which probably accounts for most of the difference. It would be hard for anyone to have been raised in the environment she was — Upper West Side, Jewish socialist parents, etc. — without turning out that way. I think that what Derbyshire said is probably about right:

    She’s not a liberal because she harbors a savage indignation against all that is traditional or customary; she’s a liberal because everyone she’s ever known, all her life, is liberal, and it’s never occurred to her that there is any other way of looking at things.

    I bear her no ill will. She seems like a decent, intelligent woman, and I hope that she makes a thoughtful and objective Justice.

    Posted August 7, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Permalink
  11. JK says

    I dunno about, “No, Derbyshire is quite capable of writing custom-tailored material.”

    What about Mandy, Candy and Shandy?

    When Malcolm, you first (to my knowledge) posted the link, I bookmarked it and now it makes me popular with the neighbors when I turn my speakers up as soon as the link appears. Thank God his broadcast comes on Fridays, else I’d have the the Feds on my ass were he to air his talk during times when the Administration isn’t spending time on the beaches of Spain.

    John may be good at elocution but damn, he’s got the finest research staff on the planet.

    Don’t sell Mandy, Candy or Shandy short Malcolm. Kagandy’ll have your ass on a platter.

    Posted August 8, 2010 at 12:27 am | Permalink
  12. the one eyed man says

    Well, you were being nice. Just because you are nice does not mean I can’t be ornery.

    The analogy between the New York Times and other corporations is a false one. The New York Times is subject to the same restrictions that other corporations are subject to, and (until the Court ruling) could not buy political advertising in the period preceding an election. Similarly, any corporation can say whatever they want about anything they want to talk about, just like the New York Times. It is not a free speech issue; the case concerned the right of corporations to endorse candidates in paid political advertising. Because of the obvious problem of corporations crowding out all other bidders for advertising time – or using it as a threat to dominate lawmakers – this has been illegal under McCain Feingold for a number of years. Before that, corporations didn’t buy ads to endorse candidates, so it wasn’t an issue. So it’s not as though there was a pre-existing right which the Court protected from “activist legislators” (whatever that means: legislatures are supposed to be activist.)

    The Court got around this problem by equating money with speech and then claiming First Amendment protection for corporations. Giving money to candidates and PAC’s is not speech – it’s giving money. If the CEO of Exxon Mobil wants to go on television and tell us to drill, baby, drill, that’s fine. If the CEO of Philip Morris wants to go on television and sing smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette, that’s fine too. Nobody is questioning the right of the people who work in corporations to say whatever they want. The Court fabricated an entirely new right – the right of corporations to spend unlimited sums of money endorsing political candidates – and then claimed it was protected by the First Amendment. This is wrong on two counts: spending money is not tantamount to expressing ideas, and the First Amendment does not apply to corporations, who are a separate legal class from individuals and are never mentioned in the Constitution.

    Posted August 8, 2010 at 4:44 am | Permalink
  13. Malcolm says

    As for “equating money with speech”, getting a message out in a political contest always involves the expenditure of money. If you disallow the spending of money to purchase advertising, then you effectively muzzle speech.

    All the Citizens United ruling does is allow other corporations to compete effectively with businesses like the Times in airing their opinion. Should the Court hold that the Times, a large and powerful corporation, can no longer pay its editorial writers to write their political-endorsement pieces?

    Anyway, we are talking about speech here, not coercion. Those who oppose Citizens United assume that voters are unable to make reasoned choices based on the competing messages they hear.

    Posted August 8, 2010 at 8:18 am | Permalink
  14. the one eyed man says

    Well, that’s the point. If you allow unlimited spending on political campaigns by corporations, they will crowd out every other voice. We already have a government which acts like a marionette to well-funded corporations, unions, and special interest groups. Citizens United brings this to a whole new level.

    It is incorrect to say “all the Citizens United ruling does is allow other corporations to compete effectively with businesses like the Times in airing their opinion.” As stated above: there is nothing the New York Times can or cannot do which is any different from any other corporation. Exxon Mobil can advocate any opinion or endorse any candidate it wants. It just can’t buy advertising time on a candidate’s behalf. Neither can the Times.

    It is also noteworthy that the case wasn’t really about a putative free speech right for corporations. The Court could very easily have issued a decision on the issue at hand, which was whether a televised hit job on Hillary Clinton counted as news or advocacy. However, it was so eager to make new law that it issued a very broad ruling which was tangential to the case at hand. Hence the hypocrisy of John Roberts, who pledged to be the honest umpire “calling balls and strikes” during his confirmation hearings, yet has led the Court away from established precedent to rulings more closely attuned to his personal liking.

    Posted August 8, 2010 at 11:18 am | Permalink
  15. Malcolm says

    No, the government was arguing that it had the power to outlaw any media message (books, videos, whatever) that unions or corporations had paid to produce, if they contained any whiff of political advocacy. This was, in the Court’s opinion, blatant censorship, and impermissible under the First Amendment. That sounds like umpiring to me.

    And to say that allowing unions and corporations to get their message out will “crowd out every other voice” is just ridiculous. The many varieties of available media are, or at least should be, accessible to all. And if media corporations themselves, like major newspapers and TV networks, are able to broadcast political-advocacy speech that they pay to create, there is no reason that other corporations should be forbidden to do so.

    Posted August 8, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink
  16. the one eyed man says

    Not true. The case involved televised advertising only, and had nothing to do with books or videos. From wikipedia:

    The Court struck down a provision of the McCain–Feingold Act that prohibited all corporations, both for-profit and not-for-profit, and unions from broadcasting “electioneering communications.” An “electioneering communication” was defined in McCain–Feingold as a broadcast, cable, or satellite communication that mentioned a candidate within 60 days of a general election or thirty days of a primary.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission

    Hence, we are not talking about the “many varieties of available media.” We are talking only about what can be seen on a television set, and television advertising is very expensive. Far from ridiculous, the notion that corporations and unions can outbid political parties and individuals for access to advertising time is very real. Corporations like Exxon Mobil and Philip Morris are multi-billion dollar operations, which far outweigh the much more limited resources of political parties and PACS.

    Moreover, there is a clear distinction between media outlets printing or broadcasting editorials as part of their content and buying paid advertising. Anyone (including non-media corporations) can do the former; there are (or were, anyway) restrictions on corporations and individuals regarding the latter. Hence the media which are “able to broadcast political-advocacy speech that they pay to create” are doing something which is fundamentally different than corporations donating money to political candidates to fund their advertising budget.

    I am happy to report two things which ought to put you at ease.

    The first regards your concern regarding the New York Times as a “large and powerful corporation.” You will be happy to know that News Corporation, which owns Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, and many other right wing outlets, is immeasurably larger and more powerful than the New York Times Corporation.

    The second is that the lawyer who argued the government’s case in Citizens United was Elena Kagan.

    Posted August 8, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Permalink
  17. Malcolm says

    No, books were certainly part of the consideration here. From the article you cite:

    In the course of the original oral argument, then-Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm L. Stewart, representing the FEC, claimed that under the Austin decision, the government would have the power to ban books, if those books contained even one sentence expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate, and were published or distributed by a corporation or union.

    From Justice Kennedy’s opinion:

    If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.” He also noted that since there was no way to distinguish between media and other corporations, these restrictions would allow Congress to suppress political speech in newspapers, books, television and blogs.

    And videos are certainly a common form of “broadcast media”.

    You miss the point that for media outlets to be able to air advocacy statements, when other corporations are forbidden to do so, unfairly privileges one class of corporations.

    Also, the case is not about corporations directly “donating money to political candidates”, which is forbidden.

    No need to get into a pissing contest over whether conservatively oriented media corporations have more clout than liberal ones. When you consider Hollywood studios, TV networks, etc., there is plenty of available bandwidth on the Left. In this case a non-profit corporation was blocked from advertising a film it had made that presented Hillary Clinton in an unfavorable light. I wonder if such advertising would have been suppressed if it had been a Michael Moore film, paid for by a Hollywood studio, about a Republican politician.

    And yes, I was well aware that Elena Kagan was the government’s solicitor in this matter.

    I think it’s time to agree, once again, to disagree.

    Posted August 8, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Permalink
  18. the one eyed man says

    OK, fair enough. My view is that money has far too broad and pernicious an effect on American politics, and is one of the chief reasons why we have a dysfunctional government. We get subpar politicians who spend their time raising money instead of legislating. However, if you think society is served best by expanding the leverage of wealthy and powerful corporations over politicians and the body politic, I’ll agree to disagree.

    Posted August 8, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Permalink
  19. Malcolm says

    Well, that isn’t quite how I’d put it. I think society is best served by being as conservative as we can about restricting free speech.

    After all, as all these competing viewpoints are expressed, we-the-people are supposed to be able to listen and make up our own minds. So we ought to be able to endure being exposed to partisan campaign material — even when it comes from evil (shudder) corporations! — without allowing ourselves to be brainwashed or coerced. I don’t think we need the State protecting us beyond what the fraud and libel laws already cover; we are assumed to be adults, after all.

    Posted August 8, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Permalink
  20. the one eyed man says

    You obviously haven’t been reading H. L. Mencken lately.

    Posted August 8, 2010 at 7:32 pm | Permalink
  21. Malcolm says

    “Assumed to be”, I said. I grant you that we don’t have complete coverage in that department.

    And by coincidence, I read Mencken’s essay The National Letters just last night, before bed.

    Posted August 8, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Permalink
  22. the one eyed man says

    I don’t think corporations are evil. Far from it. (I think they are amoral. If you agree with the Reinhold Niebuhr argument that individuals act in a moral fashion but societies do not, then you’d have to consider corporations to be amoral in the same way that nations are.) However, if that which benefits a corporation is also perceived to benefit society, it wouldn’t have to lobby for it. It is only when a corporation seeks something which is perceived to be antithetical to the public good that they have to spend money to achieve it. To the extent that you increase the role of money in politics, you are opening the door to legislation and regulation which serves the interests of the few and disserves the interests of the many.

    Also, equating political advertising with the interplay of ideas is a stretch. The average political ad shows the opponent scowling in grainy black-and-white photos to a menacing sound track. It is about the expression of ideas about the same as a shampoo ad. This isn’t to suggest that it isn’t speech. Speech is speech even when it is insubstantial, defamatory, and misleading. However, it’s not like we’re being treated to political discourse on the level of Hannah Arendt. It’s more like political discourse on the level of Snooki.

    Posted August 9, 2010 at 9:57 am | Permalink
  23. Malcolm says

    However, if that which benefits a corporation is also perceived to benefit society, it wouldn’t have to lobby for it.

    That might be true, if everyone perceived “benefit society” in the same way. They don’t, however.

    Posted August 9, 2010 at 11:08 am | Permalink