There is found across many civilizations and cultures through history a “Golden Rule”: Treat others the way you want to be treated.
With regard to politics, I think the Conservative/Libertarian Golden Rule is: do not give the government a power you would not want used against you or things you support.
I wish liberals would abide by this, since it seems they often fail to see that government is not some independent being possessed of free will; government is controlled by humans, and its will changes depending on elections.
I thought of this particularly in the context of Citizens’ United, in which money, when spent on political causes, like campaign donations, is a form of free speech and that corporations have a right to free speech and may therefore spend money on political campaigns. To me it is common sense, but Liberals, for some reason, despise this ruling and see it is the antithesis of the American Experiment and a contradiction/corruption of “democracy”. As a result, they want to overturn Citizens’ United (in this respect, I suspect Citizens’ United will be their Roe v Wade). But can they imagine for a moment the consequences of enabling government to curtail the free speech rights of corporations?
First and foremost, it seems as though all Liberals are either unaware of or choose to ignore the fact that Citizens’ United applies equally to labor unions (that darling of Liberalism) as it does to corporations. If Citizens’ United is overturned, then the first thing the Republicans will do when they inevitably come back to power (though I will concede that may not be for a while) is to outlaw labor unions from donating money to political campaigns, ban unions from sponsoring political advertisement, and forbid unions from paying its members to show up to protests. In fact, unions would be banned from spending any money on anything and would further be banned from publishing anything; no flyers, no sponsored protests, no picket-signs, and no money for billboards.
Second, abortion clinics would be forbidden from advertising their services, and would not be able to have any signs or indicators on their building declaring themselves to be an abortion clinic. Since advertisement is “free” speech and it takes money to advertise (money no longer being considered protected speech under the 1st Amendment), this would be perfectly legal and subject to the whims of Congress.
Third, all publishing corporations will be forbidden from publishing such Liberal tracts as The Communist Manifesto, or anything written by Thomas Friedman or other liberal authors, or textbooks on Keynesian economics, or Obama’s autobiography, etc.
Fourth, any pornography made by a corporation would be made illegal to produce, sell, or consume.
Fifth, all TV news corporations must present their news form a conservative standpoint.
Sixth, Republicans would establish the “Board of Responsible Speech and Expression”. The Board will be composed of 5 members (all white males in their 50s) appointed by Congress to 20 year terms. Members can only be fired and/or replaced if 80% of each House of Congress votes to do so. The Board would review anything corporations like The New York Times or The Washington Post would wish to publish and eliminate anything deemed “too liberal” or “un-American”. The Board would also review any films made by corporations like Paramount Pictures or Universal Studios and ban any films from being made that are anti-religious or depict America in a bad light. If you are wondering what the terms “un-American” “too liberal” or “anti-religious” or “depict America in a bad light” mean, they mean whatever the Board members want it to mean. And no, you cannot challenge their decisions in court; any decision made by the Board is final.
Those are just some things I can think of off the top of my head; let people as stupid and as numerous as Congress think of some things, and I’m sure they will come up with stuff much worse than what I have listed here. Are they likely to happen if Citizens’ United is overturned? No, but I wouldn’t put such things past Republicans, and I can easily see Democrats doing things similar to these.
The simple fact is that Citizens’ United guarantees more freedom, both for citizens and for corporations. Is this potentially dangerous? Of course, but that is what is meant when it is said “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” Though it may be dangerous to allow unlimited amounts of money into the political process, it would be much more dangerous to grant government the powers necessary to prevent this. Can money influence elections? Absolutely, which is why we as voters have got to be more informed and make smarter decisions. How about from now on we all vote for the candidate that spends the least amount of money in a campaign? If we are so stupid as to believe half of what is said in an election, then we deserve to lose our Republic. It is also why we need less, not more, “Democracy”, but that is a discussion for another day.