Friday, December 22, 2006

Freedom on the Move

McCain-Feingold campaign finance, which is a direct assault on the freedom of speech, was dealt a blow yesterday. The law stops ads from mentioning a political candidate by name 30 days before a primary and 60 days before a general election.
McCain-Feingold restricts free speech more than almost any law since the Alien and Sedition act. The major difference between the two is that the former was concocted when this country was still an infant. Many leaders were still trying to navigate the waters of Democracy with recent memory and historical perspective of how governments handled dissent in a time of distress (we were on the cusp of war). Although that is no excuse for their behavior it is worth noting that the Federalists tacit disdain for democracy existed from the start.
I am actually troubled more by support for the McCain-Feingold than I am over how it is obviously unconstitutional. Politicians will always attempt to increase their power over the people. This is inherently obvious. Leaders have a natural inclination towards increasing their power. Every law, somehow, increases governmental powers. But the problem here is that the public somehow things that by ceding obviously enumerated rights to the government that we can perfect democracy, and by extension society.
As with everything the government does, it will not stop at banning the timing of ads. As people find ways to voice their opinions in other ways, power hungry leaders will continue to find ways to silence them. Why? Because democracy checks consolidated power. People who believe that society is perfectible want to make it perfect when the outcome of their efforts will only lead to tyranny. They think that having the government finance campaigns would be oh so perfect. This boggles my mind. How will allowing those already in power having influence on the means to be elected more democratic? It takes away the publics ability to check power when they are not allowed to influence who is elected.
At the very least there is one federal court that thinks the most basic of all speech, political speech, should be protected. Lets all hope this is the end of McCain-Feingold and just a bump in the road to mute.

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