"There's not a Red America, or a Blue America, there's the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA." ---Barack Obama, 2004

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Libertarian's take on the latest SCOTUS decision involving CFR

For some reason, the Libertarian view has always fascinated me...and not necessarily in a bad way. In some ways, I see their perspective and agree with them on most things on the social front.

A close Libertarian friend of mine passed this along to me earlier today, from another one of her Libertarian friends...it's worth checking out and mulling over.

To all my friends who have been braying about CFR. You might find things you agree and disagree with in here. As I am always refining my position, I'd love to hear your thoughts...

My friends who are pro CFR have a healthy and well-intentioned fear of corporatism. When big business and the government get too cozy we can rightfully call this relationship fascism-- that's exactly what it is by definition. And this state of affairs is rightfully to be avoided. Fascism is basically socialism for business. America is and always has been in danger of creeping fascism, and some fear that stripping away the "check" that CFR provided will accelerate that movement. There's a recent NYT article that essentially refutes the argument that CFR or any corporate giving to politicians have influenced votes or elections-- something I knew before this issue reemerged on the political radar, but something that not everyone can readily accept.

CFR was "bad" law, found to be unconstitutional by the SCOTUS. CFR punished some forms of group expression and not others. For example, unions had a number of ways of skirting the CFR laws, and newspaper editorial columns were exempt from the CFR restrictions altogether-- but some filmmakers who made a film under an LLC could not present their anti-Hillary Clinton film 30 days prior to the election. Why is the corporate owned New York Times allowed to stump for a candidate and not the filmmakers? Or Starbucks? Or Microsoft? Well, they may now do so-- at the peril of alienating vast numbers of consumers, especially given the fact that now they will be compelled to disclose their identities on any political ad, something that COULD BE AVOIDED with soft-money contributions in the CFR era.

I also fear creeping fascism. My libertarian philosophy is engaged in a constant struggle to accept freedom along with the dangers said freedom also presents. But I have a different approach to the solution. Instead of looking for new laws to restrict freedoms on various classes of people and groups, I seek ways to correct existing law that is not in keeping with my principles. As a libertarian, I am against many types of welfare, including corporate welfare. I am against laws that establish protected classes of individuals and groups. And I am for Constitutional amendments that clarify and specify our nation's intent.

The concept of any group not having the same rights as an individual is very Constitutionally core and must be addressed through the amendment process. This would be analogous to the debate over the 2nd amendment's right to either an individual's right versus a group right to bear arms. Ironically, here, it is the left who favors the group's right-- not the individual. This is another core issue that most Constitutional scholars claim must either be "left alone" or directly amended to reflect a new point of view.

Most of my friends on Facebook and in real life are democrats, progressives and liberals of various stripes. And it must be a drag to have a lurking libertarian in your midst-- truly libertarians are an unloved bunch-- hated by the right for our fierce love of social rights, and hated by the left for our strict interpretation of the Constitution. But, I hope you'll take this opportunity to understand that even people who disagree with you on this point of law, do so with full knowledge of the consequences, and believe that a strict adherence to the exact wording in the Constitution is a far better approach than passing bad laws that attempt to counter other bad laws.

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