Forty-eight members of the Democratic caucus attempted to do something never previously done: Amend the Bill of Rights. They tried to radically shrink First Amendment protection of political speech. They evidently think extremism in defense of the political class’s convenience is no vice.–George Will
George Will writes that extremist Democrats, wishing to make campaign finance reform Constitutional, seek to change the First Amendment of The Bill of Rights. I find this claim false–it isn’t the First Amendment that needs change, but the recent interpretations of it. Can it be that the idea that corporations have the right of free speech, and that money spent by corporations on political advertising is speech, are not extreme, but attempts to reassert the right of the people to limit the influence of money in politics is extremism?
Will writes that Democrats wish to protect themselves from political speech that might urge their defeat. It is surely true that Democracy hangs on the ability of the people to oppose and defeat incumbent legislators. However, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the will of the people for incumbents to be defeated due to unrestrained spending by corporate interests.
Will argues that people do not give up their rights when they band together in corporations to advocate for political change. This sounds good, but assumes that corporate speech reflects the views of many rather than a few at the top.
© William Hungerford – September 2014