Cause, Effect, and the U.S. Supreme Court

I hadn’t heard about this:

The campaign finance reform case being argued Wednesday at the Supreme Court is about the tension in federal elections between free speech and government regulation.

Another campaign finance reform vs. free speech case. Last time, the Court ruled in favor of free speech. Five to four. This time…well, I don’t know why they’d rule otherwise, but then, I don’t know why we’re having this argument in the first place.

On the pro-free speech side, the ACLU and the NRA (and wouldn’t that be an awkward meet-and-greet?), represented by former Bush administration Solicitor General Theodore Olson:

Theodore Olson, who will argue for a conservative group that filed the appeal now before the Supreme Court, said the law was a mishmash of “incomprehensible” regulations.

And on the shut-the-hell-up side, some group called “Public Citizen:”

“Overturning these well-established laws would turn our elections into free-for-alls with massive corporate and union spending,” said David Arkush of Public Citizen, “and would make officeholders beholden to the deep pockets that promote them.”

It’s an amazing display of blindness. Mr. Arkush, and others like him, can’t see cause-and-effect.

Why do those “deep pockets” want officeholders beholden to them? Because those officeholders have power. They have money – lots and lots of money, generously “donated” by the taxpayers – and they have authority, through legislation, regulation, and simple influence.

They can make sure a venture succeeds. They can make sure the same venture fails. So no kidding, people want to influence the influence-holders, and they do that by giving money.

Cause: government power. Effect: citizens trying to influence that government. You take one, and you add one, and you get…

…come on, you know this one…


If people like Mr. Arkush and groups like Public Citizen really want to remove the influence of money from our politics, they should work to remove the influence of politics from our lives. They can’t see it, but it’s the only way.

(Lance Burri is The TrogloPundit)

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