Tuesday, January 30, 2007

LA Times and I

I nearly agreed with an editorial from the Los Angeles Times (how scary is that?). My excitement over the by-line turned into pitched fever as I kept reading. They actually think that it a bad thing to restrict free speech. Despite their usual disdain for the restrictions of the constitution they had held their ground. My excitement turned into confusion when they began to infuse their brand of logic.

They think that there should be a “bright line” between advocacy of an internal message and others messages. In other words, the government can’t control what I think and want to say but it can control what others ask me to say.

The reason that this doesn’t make sense is grounded in their dream of making politics a clean process (think of children playing in a field with plenty of lollypops and cute puppy dogs frolicking). This is the problem with liberal ideology. It is a belief in the system, not the individual.

Why can’t I air an advertisement that says candidate X is a bad legislator and shouldn’t be reelected? The reasoning goes that I may be influenced by a dubious character to push a message or be a dubious character myself. Why is the wholesomeness of the source important? One must assume that I am influencing people in the “wrong” direction therefore causing an undesirable situation. Why can’t I influence people in the “wrong” direction? Maybe the real question is who decides what is right and wrong? I say people, not some beauraucrat, should decide.

People are free to either disagree or simply not consume my message. The editorial board at the LA Times and their elitist counterparts believe that people are not properly able to digest complex information from varied sources and come to a coherent opinion or decent voting pattern. What else would explain how George W. Bush was reelected in 2004? The only way that people could have come to such an idiotic conclusion was because they were inundated with faulty information from the evil genius and his minions.

Believing that people are too stupid to govern is totalitarian in nature and antithetical to the original concept of government of the people. If there is utility in banning certain ads then why not ban other advertisements? Shouldn’t we ask ourselves what is an advertisement? Aren’t newspaper endorsement, blog postings, and public endorsements forms of advertisements?

The “bright line” that the LA Times should be worried about is between attacking the source of speech and speech itself. There is no way to separate the two without undermining the latter. Perfecting the system clearly entails threatening the freedom of the individual which is not in the best interest of society.

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