Freedom Of Speech And Political Contributions

Mona Charen at NRO had an interesting article about political contributions and free speech.  I had to email here about.  The article was called Rethinking Political Virtue and you need to read it and then read my response to it.  Or not, it’s a free country, unless you are reading this in Iran (or England), then all I can say is keep up the good fight, you might get there yet.

The Response:

In your article Rethinking Political Virtue you give examples of people harmed when their political contributions  come to light. and end with:

“Even absent the fear of direct retaliation, many Americans have reasons to keep their political contributions private. Surely some closeted gay Americans would not welcome employers noting their contributions to the Log Cabin Republicans or the Human Rights Campaign.

The Supreme Court has confirmed that limitations on contributions are curtailments of free speech. It’s time to consider whether the chilling effect of excessive disclosure on free speech is worth it.”

I will tell you that I don’t like the idea of people using things like this to go after people for political reasons but you have to understand that while the First Amendment does protect Speech it does not protect against the consequences of speech.  It’s not meant to do so and that is the point.  Its point is that while we can say what we want we must take the consequences of doing so.  You are fighting the wrong problem, the problem isn’t that people use this information about people to attack them but the fact that we as a society allow the attackers to get away with it.  We let those people lose their jobs and kowtow to the whims and threats of a vocal minority of the insane rather than telling them to shut up.  We appease them by giving in rather than fighting them.  I’m not saying that we should do it legally, because it’s their right to say what they want but when they try to bully you we need to push back, when they make their threats we need to get back out there and call them out, challenge them, expose them to the world for the bullies they are, put their ideas on display for the ridicule it needs, if they can’t handle it they will run home and it will be over.  The sane win.

It is not a perfect world, and sometimes people will be hurt, but we have a duty to ourselves to stand up to our beliefs, if the people see that a company is going to let themselves be bullied they will stop supporting it, but a company that comes out and laughs off the silliness of the minority bullies and exposes their agendas people – even those who may disagree – will respect them.  If a company or organization comes out and says that they support personal freedom, and that their members are allowed to have their own opinions people will respect them and the bullies will lose.  Political contributions should be made public, the home addresses of the people should not.  There is a difference, one is about Free Speech and the other is about safety.  The reason we are losing our freedoms is because we are not fighting to keep the, we talk about it but we do not do it.  If an organization is threatening to do harm they should be arrested, if they are just saying crazy things they should be publicly mocked until they straiten up or shut themselves up.   I understand why you say what you do, but you are letting them win, you’re backing down.  You cannot compromise Freedom.

People respect other who are not afraid to stand up to their beliefs, even when they disagree.  All you are doing is giving an aspirin to someone with a brain tumor.  Yes it gets rid of his headache but doesn’t fix the problem.

We cannot let people silence us, and we cannot silence ourselves from fear for we will do a disservice to both ourselves and the world when we do.  If one man could walk in front of a tank in China we can stand up and yell.  The founder of your magazine wanted to stand Athwart history and yell stop, well I want to stand here and yell come and get me, I will fight!  Or in more poetic words:

“This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say, “To-morrow is Saint Crispian.”
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say, “These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.”
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words,
Harry the King, Bedford, and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered,
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.”

That speech gets me going whenever I think about it.

I’m posting this as an open letter (although it is an email) on my website because I believe others need to see it and understand.  Thank you.  Keep up the good work over there at National Review.

Takashi Yamamoto
Yokohama, Japan

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2 Comments

  1. We let those people lose their jobs and kowtow to the whims and threats of a vocal minority of the insane rather than telling them to shut up

    You’re assuming of course that the majority is sane. I think the jury is still out on that one

  2. I’m banking on the idea that the majority is sane just cowardly or at least adverse to confrontation. In that case eventually they might get tired and push back hence my rant.

    I might be wrong, very, very wrong…


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