Citizens United. Money=Speech

Will Wilkinson tries to give what is to his mind a charitable reading of why progressives or liberals have a problem with the Citizen's United Case.

I say tries because like most people who attempt to conceive of why someone else might think the way they do he believes that they must think in someway the same way he does. So be begins with a conception of state power and its limits as the first principle. Most people do not work from first principles.

Most people in my view, and that includes myself and anyone who claims to speak from first principles, is a mishmash of barely held together biases and prejudices that fight one another at every moment. In a partial sense I agree with Hobbes when he says, "In deliberation, the last appetitie or aversion immediately adhering to the action, or to the omisson thereof, is what we call the Will, the act (not the faculty of willing)".

That is we are only sometimes reasoning creatures. So for liberals the problem is two fold. The first is the sense that corporations, thought of only as money making corporations, have more power and more influence than the people. The people, if a political party has won a majority, who have the actual governing right. A government being in existence by the consent of the people who are not corporations.

If I am a person a corporation is not a person because he is not like me would be one way of putting it. (If all of this seems confused and jumping around it is because I believe that the reasons themselves, if they are called reasons, jump around. Also I believe that libertarians are just as subject to this and the supposed logic from principles that most libertarians will reason from is itself is merely barely contained prejudice and passion) Think of reasons for this. I cannot poison an area and claim a monetary justification and be merely fined for killing people. I'd be put in jail, the news reports would give me a snappy name and the trial would be everywhere, if enough people died or got sick. Even if through negligence I kill someone, time in prison not a fine would be the probable outcome. I then am more liable for my actions than a corporation.

So then to speech. If a corporation is not treated as a person in respect to their responsibilities then how could they have the same rights? Now some might say, as one commenter at Wilkinson's does that how could a group of individuals somehow lose their rights when they incorporate that they had when they were individual. The reason, if they are given privileges over and above in respect to liability for their group actions then they must conversely lose certain rights as a group.

Now I as an individual am slightly more sanguine about the ruling than many others. For the federal government I don't think that it will have much effect. For state governments, well most of them are already captured by corporate power. We will see what the effect is.

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