Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Conservative Supreme Court Does Not Believe in Free Markets . . .

They Just Want to See More Wealthy Republicans Elected

Freedom of Speech has been a fundamental Constitutional right since the beginning of the nation.  The Dismal Political Economist believes in this and also believes the the free market system is particularly suitable to having and preserving freedeom of speech.

It is naive and unrealistic to expect any politician to present an objective argument.  What Freeedom of Speech does is to create a competitive market place of ideas.  If all side of a question are presented to the electorate in competitive debate, the electorate is more likely to pick the best of the ideas, and the politicians who support those ideas.

What wealthy candidates of all parties and all sides want to do is to stifle the free marketplace of ideas.  They would use their wealth not to supress the opposition, but to drown them out.  If they have a huge monetary advantage, their message can win simply because their voice is so prevalent it prevents competiting ideas from even being considered.  Conservative Republicans primarily but not exclusively act in this manner.  The say they support free and open market, but in effect want their own speech to be the dominant speech in the arena.  This can prevail, and distort Democracy only so long as public regulations do not allow competiting speech to, well, compete.

The Supreme Court has continued its never-ending quest to provide primarily Conservative Republican electoral candidates with unlimited amounts of funding.  It struck down an Arizona law that gave extra state money to candidates who accepted public financing after their privately financed opposition spent a huge amount more. 

The Court’s rationale in eliminating any restrictions on unlimited spending by candidates is based on “free speech”.  Apparently for the Court’s Conservative members, free speech means speaking so often and so loud that you completely obliterate the speech of your opponent.

Incredibly, the Court ruled that the Arizona law, which does not interfere in any way in a privately financed campaign  puts a burden on the wealthy, privately financed campaign.  Specifically

The privately financed candidate must “shoulder a special and potentially significant burden” when choosing to exercise his First Amendment right to spend funds on his own candidacy.

Yes, Conservative Justices feel that allowing the opponent of a wealthy, privately financed campaign some degree of access (but nowhere near equality) in the arena of public discourse burdens the rich, wealthy candidates. Not exactly what Jefferson and the others who sought to incorporate freedom of speech into the Constitution were talking about, is it?

Well Justice Scalia often says that he  and  he alone knows exactly what the Founders meant in the Constitution.  The Dismal Political Economist strongly suspects though that were the flow of unlimited money to favor Democrats, Mr. Scalia and his Conservative colleagues would find that Thomas Jefferson was telling them that to limit campaign spending was Constitutional.  Just a hunch

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