Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Monday, March 07, 2005

I Want My Name on This List

And you should, too.

The premise of McCain-Feingold is that there is "too much money in politics," and so Congress saw fit to restrict constitutional rights to free speech in the interest of "equality." This approach assumes that campaign contribution money doesn't count as speech (that's what our Supreme Court said when it found McCain-Feingold constitutional). Bull crap. For more reasons than one, McCain-Feingold is a legislative abomination, but let me focus my remarks here on how it relates - or may relate - to blogs.

The story going around the internet now is that bloggers could be found in violation of federal law if they link to or publish text from political parties. If I discuss why so-and-so should win an election, the Federal Elections Commission can deciding that I'm working in conjunction with a political party, and if the value of that work exceeds statutory limits, I will get fined or go to jail. Never mind that I might not know the source I'm linking. Never mind that any and all material posted on the internet is de facto public domain, and has thus far been fair game. Free speech must take the sidelines because there is "too much money in politics."

And that right there is my Exhibit A of why McCain-Feingold is an abomination. Blogs are the equalizer. Blogs are the medium by which the poor (i.e. me) can have a voice, be read by someone in Texas, or Illinois, or Virginia, or Mali for that matter. I don't have the money to do buy a television station or newspaper company, but I have a modem and internet access. And here in the world of blogs, I have as much money as Daily Kos, Instapundit, Atrios, Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt, or anybody else. The only currency here is credibility, built post by post and link by link over a long period of time. If I try to pull the crap Dan Rather pulled, no one will listen. If I plagiarize, I will be found out. If my ideas are stale and unoriginal, I will be ignored. And all that is right and good, and it's free - blogs are the perfect medium to combat the perceived threat of "too much money in politics." If the FEC wants to crack down on blogs, their interest is revealed not as that of equalization, but of consolidation of information to the credentialed press - where people like me can never have a voice (unless I go on a five-state killing spree, and then only as the flavor of the month).

John McCain, think there's too much money in politics? Then take away the incentives to dump that money in. George Soros just learned to his bitter humiliation that elections can't be purchased, and it was in spite of, not because of your detestable law. If the plutocrat has no incentive to pour his money down the drain, because bloggers with no massive fortunes has an equal voice, the problem is solved. But take away that equal voice, and the plutocrat rules the day, all to the detriment of that lamentable McCain-Feingold.

Because I believe in the transformative power of Free Speech, I join this insurrection. Because I believe that blogs are a medium whereby ideas must stand and fall based on merit, rather than packaging, I join this insurrection. Because I believe that ill-conceived legislative adventures, when they cannot be corrected by the Supreme Court, must be corrected by the voice of the people standing up to tyranny, I join this insurrection. Because I believe that McCain-Feingold facially violates the very first article of our Bill of Rights, I join this insurrection.

And you should, too.