Saturday, March 05, 2005

Is It Speech or Money?

A central absurdity to McCain-Feingold in regard to stifling speech on the Internet is how we came to this point.

I remember the heated debates between the pro campaign finance reform McCain backers and conservative skeptics during the Republican primary preceding the 2000 election. A central conservative argument is that contributing money to a candidate was an act of free speech. The campaign finance reformers scoffed at the notion. Money isn’t speech! Speech is speech, they said. In time this is the notion that carried the day and was signed into law.

Well now we’ve come full circle. Since giving money to a campaign is now regulated by McCain-Feingold, suddenly all sorts of things are being assigned monetary value. Including publishing your words on the Internet. And once you assign it a monetary value, all other considerations of freedom seem to go out the window.

If the published word – regardless of medium – is not an example of free speech, then no such example exists.

I’m willing to give politicians a chance to set things right with a mea culpa. But those who stubbornly insist on this course, regardless of party, should be remembered for the enemies of freedom they are, and kicked to the curb when they come up for re-election.


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