The Supreme Court struck a significant blow to legislation that limits the amount of money corporations can spend on political campaigning. It is easy to get behind such legislation; the more money one has the more influential one can become, money equals power, and money and power are two things that corporate America is not lacking.
Clearly the intentions behind laws such as McCain/Feingold are all well and good; limit the amount of money corporations can funnel into political campaigns and limit the amount of influence those companies have over the candidates, thus restoring the power to the people. However, this point of view falls apart on two levels; one is the constitutionality of limiting assemblage and free speech, and the other is the false assumption that corporate influence over candidates somehow reduces the power of the individual.
Some people could not care less about the first issue; they don’t view corporations as individuals and do not care if corporations enjoy the same rights as you and I. What these people fail to realize is that a corporation is nothing more and nothing less than the people who make it up. By limiting free speech rights of corporations, the legislation in turn limits the rights of all the individuals represented by the organization. In addition, anytime the federal government reduces or limits the rights of one group, the rest of us are one step closer to joining them. Regardless of how effective a piece of legislation is, it is the Supreme Court’s job to determine its constitutionality. Just because you think a piece of legislation does good, does not make the court’s decision any less valid. If anyone has a problem with this, the founding fathers set forth an amendment procedure to remedy the situation.
The second issue deals with the fairness of corporate influence. On a social justice level, many make the argument that the foundation of our democracy is at stake when the political process is bastardized at the hands of immensely powerful organizations. The little guy continues to be squashed and cannot be heard, so he must be protected in the form of legislation that limits the power of those doing the squashing, thus leveling the playing field. The only problem with this stance is that it is based on the false assumption that the “little guy” is somehow being pushed out of the process. At the end of the day politicians are elected by the people, not corporations. Even if corporations can shape the candidate, nothing can force the people into nominating and ultimately voting for those candidates. So legislation that limits political corporate influence, is in essence designed to make it less likely for the little guy to make the wrong choice. This is insulting, shit flows down hill, who we elect to office cannot be blamed on corporations, or unions or special interest groups, but on us; the onus is on the million “little guys” who show up to the polls.
The people who are “looking out” for the little guy are in essence saying, “you are too easily influenced by TV commercials and are too stupid to decide on an appropriate candidate on your own, so we must protect you from making bad decisions.” It’s a noble task to try and preserve the integrity of the candidate pool, however, it is incredibly insulting to assume that the American people can’t see through that influence and make the appropriate decisions on their own. Like most liberal social philosophies, this one assumes people cannot look out for themselves, and attempts to protect them by essentially limiting their freedoms. No thank you.