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To what extent does MONEY=SPEECH?

Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
edited December 2011 in Debate and/or Discourse
I just saw this little exchange between two extra-ordinary members of the forum, and thought this might be interesting enough for its own thread:
Modern Man wrote:
Freedom to use capital to enable speech is not the same as freedom of speech. Money is not speech and money should never be considered a valid accessory to speech because it is inherently coercive.

Following your logic, the government could pass a law making it illegal for newspapers to pay their employees salaries or to spend money on paper and newsprint. The newspapers could keep publishing, but all reporters would have to work for free and all supplies would need to be donated. The government can't ban your ability to spend money to exercise your rights.

I basically agree with Modern Man here. A law saying that “Michael Moore can’t produce or direct any more movies or publish any more books” is different from a law that says "nobody can pay money to buy a Michael Moore book or a ticket to a Michael Moore movie", but it's still an effort to censor Michael Moore and to prevent the spread of Moore's ideas.

Making such a law more general might make it more fair. There could be a law banning money being spent on health care related commentary. That seems even worse in many respects though.

Money is totally basically speech. Right? Wrong? Why?

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Posts

  • Fallout2manFallout2man Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    Well okay, to start what do we agree freedom of speech even means? Is it merely the ability to talk, or is it the ability to be effectively listened to by others?

    Fallout2man on
    On Ignorance:
    Kana wrote:
    If the best you can come up with against someone who's patently ignorant is to yell back at him, "Yeah? Well there's BOOKS, and they say you're WRONG!"

    Then honestly you're not coming out of this looking great either.
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Well okay, to start what do we agree freedom of speech even means? Is it merely the ability to talk, or is it the ability to be effectively listened to by others?

    I'd say that restricting the medium can effectively restrict the message, so largely the latter. You have no right to the medium, in that you can't compel others to carry your speech, but if they're willing to I'd say this falls under freedom of speech/expression, and any limits on it should fall under the same legal standards.

  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    Well okay, to start what do we agree freedom of speech even means? Is it merely the ability to talk, or is it the ability to be effectively listened to by others?

    I would consider speech to be extended to writing or making audio/visual works, art, blogs, podcasts, broadcasts, etcetera. Very broad.

    The freedom is in being able to actually engage in those pursuits, should one choose to use the time and effort and opportunity to do so.

    I'm not sure what "the ability to be effectively listened to by others" means. Could you elaborate?

    2ezikn6.jpg
  • Tiger BurningTiger Burning (poster is a bear)Registered User, SolidSaints Tube regular
    edited December 2011
    Well, to be clear, money isn't speech, but a restriction on spending money on speech is a restriction on speech. Which is what 'freedom of speech' and the 1st Amendment are about. No one is entitled to any particular amount of speech, but the government is generally prohibited from placing restrictions on it.

    Tiger Burning on
    “You could tell by the way he talked, though, that he had gone to school a long time. That was probably what was wrong with him.”
  • Fallout2manFallout2man Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote:
    I'd say that restricting the medium can effectively restrict the message, so largely the latter. You have no right to the medium, in that you can't compel others to carry your speech, but if they're willing to I'd say this falls under freedom of speech/expression, and any limits on it should fall under the same legal standards.

    So you're saying that it's the ability to effectively air your message without being involuntarily interfered with?

    On Ignorance:
    Kana wrote:
    If the best you can come up with against someone who's patently ignorant is to yell back at him, "Yeah? Well there's BOOKS, and they say you're WRONG!"

    Then honestly you're not coming out of this looking great either.
  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    Well, to be clear, money isn't speech, but a restriction on spending money on speech is a restriction on speech. Which is what 'freedom of speech' and the 1st Amendment are about. No one is entitled to any particular amount of speech, but the government is generally prohibited from placing restrictions on it.

    Except that considering "spending money on speech" to be legally and Constitutionally equivalent to actual speech opens up some huge loopholes when it comes to the government regulating commercial activity in certain industries.

    For example, if money is speech, then should the government be able to prevent media consolidation in major media markets?

    Also, I'm unconvinced that limiting the amount of money that can be, say, donated to political campaigns, is an actual infringement of speech, since there's no restriction on who or what can be donated to, and the restrictions are applied equally to all citizens.

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. 5386-8443-8937Registered User regular
    I mean yeah MM is right. The question is do we value what we gain from restricting monetary speech in politics enough to restrict it anyway?

    sig.jpg
  • Fallout2manFallout2man Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    I would consider speech to be extended to writing or making audio/visual works, art, blogs, podcasts, broadcasts, etcetera. Very broad.

    The freedom is in being able to actually engage in those pursuits, should one choose to use the time and effort and opportunity to do so.

    I'm not sure what "the ability to be effectively listened to by others" means. Could you elaborate?

    Well much of the specifics of my fairness doctrine debate is locked up in a re-imagining entirely of money and the economy's role in society. The ability for most people to pursue their hopes and dreams depends almost if not entirely on their ability to effectively accumulate large amounts of capital support. Capital provides access to both human and natural resources that are often necessary to obtain what you want.

    In my case I see these capital requirements as abhorrent and want to reduce or eliminate them whenever possible because they make your ability to pursue your desires dependent firstly and foremost on your ability to accumulate money. Which is fine if all people had about equal monies, but all people do not have equal monies and those who have accumulated money have spent vast amounts of monies to prevent said equality from occurring.

    Which creates a stacked deck where those with large economic advantages now have vastly unfair access to mediums and methodologies which act as force multipliers upon their words, enabling them to carry an unfair advantage at convincing people what they believe is true and in preventing those beliefs from ever being effectively challenged.

    In brief, imagine only the Rich or the people that the Rich like get access to broadcast their ideology (Capitalism) on TV/Radio because they make it impossible for anyone else to broadcast. They then use this advantage to spread vicious lies and tell everyone else to kill anyone who thinks otherwise then the people who appear on TV/Radio to tell those lies. Then you have lost your freedom to speak in this scenario I would think because while you may technically exercise the pursuit of it through vocalization, art, etc. you are not free from artificial consequences created by the Rich to prevent anyone from challenging their accumulation of capital through their message broadcast on TV/Radio.

    So the salient difference I guess is what level of interference in messaging and for what reasons do you consider interference with someone's ability to explain and advocate their speech to others a violation of their right to speak?

    I hope that all made sense. ^_^;;

    Fallout2man on
    On Ignorance:
    Kana wrote:
    If the best you can come up with against someone who's patently ignorant is to yell back at him, "Yeah? Well there's BOOKS, and they say you're WRONG!"

    Then honestly you're not coming out of this looking great either.
  • Tiger BurningTiger Burning (poster is a bear)Registered User, SolidSaints Tube regular
    edited December 2011
    Well, to be clear, money isn't speech, but a restriction on spending money on speech is a restriction on speech. Which is what 'freedom of speech' and the 1st Amendment are about. No one is entitled to any particular amount of speech, but the government is generally prohibited from placing restrictions on it.

    Except that considering "spending money on speech" to be legally and Constitutionally equivalent to actual speech opens up some huge loopholes when it comes to the government regulating commercial activity in certain industries.

    For example, if money is speech, then should the government be able to prevent media consolidation in major media markets?

    Also, I'm unconvinced that limiting the amount of money that can be, say, donated to political campaigns, is an actual infringement of speech, since there's no restriction on who or what can be donated to, and the restrictions are applied equally to all citizens.

    No freedom is absolute, of course, but restrictions on political speech need to meet a pretty high bar to be justified, because that is exactly the kind of restriction likely to be pernicious.

    As to the other, a blanket prohibition on speaking about the government or any government actions could also be equally applied and still be an obvious violation.

    Tiger Burning on
    “You could tell by the way he talked, though, that he had gone to school a long time. That was probably what was wrong with him.”
  • ronyaronya Arrrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited December 2011
    Is this meant to be a precise reference to Citizens United, where one can make a property-rights-based case for restrictions, or is it a a general reference to an archetypical wealthy individual putting wholly-owned private resources toward political ends?

    I think there is a case to be made that under the latter case it is in fact possible to systematically corrupt a political landscape using private wealth - a simple example being using private investment to reward districts who vote in a favorable manner (in support for parties who enact policies which enforce rent-seeking to create that supply of private wealth!). Crony capitalism is a real thing that exists and it is worth remembering that no country on the planet has a perfect system of private property right enforcement to begin with, so granting accumulated wealth more and more influence can end badly.

    Of course the United States is not especially corrupt by international comparison, which minimizes the extent of the problem; I think the practical possibility is quite well demonstrated, though.

    ronya on
  • Fallout2manFallout2man Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    mcdermott wrote:
    I'd say that restricting the medium can effectively restrict the message, so largely the latter. You have no right to the medium, in that you can't compel others to carry your speech, but if they're willing to I'd say this falls under freedom of speech/expression, and any limits on it should fall under the same legal standards.

    Considering our current fiscal and monetary system how is what we're doing right now basically not the wealthy compelling others to carry their speech? The News anchors in some cases may care a bit about reporting, but many of them do it because "it's their job" (which speaks nothing to the vast amounts of resources both human and natural which are required to support their broadcasts, again often secured by people who feel a need to "do a job" to gain access to the ability to live) which I would think is tantamount to compelling others to carry your speech involuntarily?

    Fallout2man on
    On Ignorance:
    Kana wrote:
    If the best you can come up with against someone who's patently ignorant is to yell back at him, "Yeah? Well there's BOOKS, and they say you're WRONG!"

    Then honestly you're not coming out of this looking great either.
  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    I would argue that the case for restricting money spent on political advertising is similiar to the case for yelling in public. It's not the content that's being restricted, but the quantity- because at some point, if you do too much you start drowning out everyone else. If you're yelling at the top of your lungs in a public square, then no one else can make themselves heard. If you're spending a billion dollars to buy up every single tv station, well then no one else can advertise on TV, and that's not good.

  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    I think it's really difficult to decouple money and speech in "unlimited" media. In the broadcast spectrum and in the couple months before elections (WRT television) you can justify regulation as a way of preserving everyone's ability to speak, but outside those situations I have a pretty hard time.

    What is screwed up is the lack of reporting requirements. I don't think we should regulate (say) the Koch brothers' ability to fund the messaging they want, but it shouldn't be possible for them to do it effectively anonymously through the array of 'shell' PACs that have popped up since citizens' united was decided.

    ed: media consolidation is also a big problem

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
    gkcmatch_zps97480250.jpg
    remember pluto? Once a planet but now a pseudo
    funny how information changes the facts that you know
  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    Except that considering "spending money on speech" to be legally and Constitutionally equivalent to actual speech opens up some huge loopholes when it comes to the government regulating commercial activity in certain industries.

    For example, if money is speech, then should the government be able to prevent media consolidation in major media markets?

    Also, I'm unconvinced that limiting the amount of money that can be, say, donated to political campaigns, is an actual infringement of speech, since there's no restriction on who or what can be donated to, and the restrictions are applied equally to all citizens.

    No freedom is absolute, of course, but restrictions on political speech need to meet a pretty high bar to be justified, because that is exactly the kind of restriction likely to be pernicious.

    As to the other, a blanket prohibition on speaking about the government or any government actions could also be equally applied and still be an obvious violation.

    Does spending money only qualify as speech when the government decides that what is being purchased is "political" enough? Should anti-trust laws not apply to media conglomerates but still apply to other commercial enterprises?

    You're also confusing a restriction on the quantity of money spend with a restriction on the topics that qualify as protected speech.

  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Six pack on a dick Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    Put a restriction on the ability of politicians to vote on (or, bring to a vote in the first place) legislation due to conflict of interest that would be financially beneficial to their campaign contributors and see just how quickly corporations stop speaking with their wallets.

    matt has a problem on
    h1DI1.jpg
    All my fuckin life I lived a normal fuckin life
  • kildykildy Registered User regular
    I'm of the opinion that money = speech is fine, and allowing unlimited monetary contributions would in theory be fine if we did not also couple it with the opinion that political speech is extra protected to the point where you cannot effectively punish people for lying with said speech.

    If it was trivial to fine people for knowingly speaking falsehoods in the political arena, money = speech would just be a slight issue of representation. Most of the complaints don't come from "they have SO MANY ads!", they come from "dude, that ad is just factually incorrect. How the hell are you allowed to just flat out lie/clearly omit facts."

    We basically provide a megaphone, which is right and proper, but then decide that political speech should be extra protected by protecting it from slander and libel repercussions. That and the typically short cost/benefit of such spending makes it easy to win big based on bullshit, and not get punished for it until AFTER the event it was trying to influence. See all the random fines that go out after elections and ask yourself if the risk/reward on that fine was worth it.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote:
    I'd say that restricting the medium can effectively restrict the message, so largely the latter. You have no right to the medium, in that you can't compel others to carry your speech, but if they're willing to I'd say this falls under freedom of speech/expression, and any limits on it should fall under the same legal standards.

    So you're saying that it's the ability to effectively air your message without being involuntarily interfered with?

    Pretty much. You may be limited in means, but you should have the ability to employ those means to air your message. Any restrictions on that should, at the very least, need to be justified as an actual infringement of your first amendment rights (which, obviously, are not absolute). Otherwise, I can lock you in a room alone and you have the "right" to all the speech in the world. But it's meaningless.

    To this end, money is essentially equivalent to speech because money is the means by which one airs their message beyond earshot. Even when it's not your own speech, spending money to spread somebody else's message is no less an expression of that message than if it were your own.

    mcdermott wrote:
    I'd say that restricting the medium can effectively restrict the message, so largely the latter. You have no right to the medium, in that you can't compel others to carry your speech, but if they're willing to I'd say this falls under freedom of speech/expression, and any limits on it should fall under the same legal standards.

    Considering our current fiscal and monetary system how is what we're doing right now basically not the wealthy compelling others to carry their speech? The News anchors in some cases may care a bit about reporting, but many of them do it because "it's their job" (which speaks nothing to the vast amounts of resources both human and natural which are required to support their broadcasts, again often secured by people who feel a need to "do a job" to gain access to the ability to live) which I would think is tantamount to compelling others to carry your speech involuntarily?

    Any of them can quit, any of them can refuse. We can argue that the wealthy have larger bullhorns than the poor, in that few OWS protesters are probably broadcast media owners, but that doesn't really change the basic point that the ability to purchase means to spread one's message is hard to separate from the message itself.

    I think it's really difficult to decouple money and speech in "unlimited" media. In the broadcast spectrum and in the couple months before elections (WRT television) you can justify regulation as a way of preserving everyone's ability to speak, but outside those situations I have a pretty hard time.

    What is screwed up is the lack of reporting requirements. I don't think we should regulate (say) the Koch brothers' ability to fund the messaging they want, but it shouldn't be possible for them to do it effectively anonymously through the array of 'shell' PACs that have popped up since citizens' united was decided.

    ed: media consolidation is also a big problem

    Agreed on all counts. I don't see any real right to anonymous broadcast/widespread speech, and even if there were I'd argue that there is a compelling government interest to restrict as regards elections, at least within specified timeframes.

  • Tiger BurningTiger Burning (poster is a bear)Registered User, SolidSaints Tube regular
    Lawndart wrote:
    Except that considering "spending money on speech" to be legally and Constitutionally equivalent to actual speech opens up some huge loopholes when it comes to the government regulating commercial activity in certain industries.

    For example, if money is speech, then should the government be able to prevent media consolidation in major media markets?

    Also, I'm unconvinced that limiting the amount of money that can be, say, donated to political campaigns, is an actual infringement of speech, since there's no restriction on who or what can be donated to, and the restrictions are applied equally to all citizens.

    No freedom is absolute, of course, but restrictions on political speech need to meet a pretty high bar to be justified, because that is exactly the kind of restriction likely to be pernicious.

    As to the other, a blanket prohibition on speaking about the government or any government actions could also be equally applied and still be an obvious violation.

    Does spending money only qualify as speech when the government decides that what is being purchased is "political" enough? Should anti-trust laws not apply to media conglomerates but still apply to other commercial enterprises?

    You're also confusing a restriction on the quantity of money spend with a restriction on the topics that qualify as protected speech.

    You misunderstand. Restrictions on freedom of speech can be justified by competing concerns. In the case of political speech the justification needs to be particularly compelling because protecting political speech is the primary concern of the amendment.

    As to the second point, you tried to justify the restriction by asserting it could be applied equally. I provided an example where it should be clear that being applied equally is insufficient by itself to justify a restriction.

    “You could tell by the way he talked, though, that he had gone to school a long time. That was probably what was wrong with him.”
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Certain methods of speech are restricted because positions of power allow those speeches to drown out the freedoms of speech of people not in power. Money as speech is also capable of suppressing the speech of others with less money, so there is a precedent for restrictions on the freedom to spend money on speech.

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    You misunderstand. Restrictions on freedom of speech can be justified by competing concerns. In the case of political speech the justification needs to be particularly compelling because protecting political speech is the primary concern of the amendment.

    The First Amendment doesn't say anything about only or primarily protecting political speech.

    I'm wondering why, exactly, spending money only qualifies as free speech when the government (or others) arbitrarily decide that money is being spent on "political" things.

  • Tiger BurningTiger Burning (poster is a bear)Registered User, SolidSaints Tube regular
    Paladin wrote:
    Certain methods of speech are restricted because positions of power allow those speeches to drown out the freedoms of speech of people not in power.

    You have an example of this?

    “You could tell by the way he talked, though, that he had gone to school a long time. That was probably what was wrong with him.”
  • So It GoesSo It Goes Well, that seems pretty ludicrous.Registered User regular
    Put a restriction on the ability of politicians to vote on (or, bring to a vote in the first place) legislation due to conflict of interest that would be financially beneficial to their campaign contributors and see just how quickly corporations stop speaking with their wallets.

    ha, nobody would be able to do anything in congress

    NOPE.
    Vd0n7Bk.jpg
  • So It GoesSo It Goes Well, that seems pretty ludicrous.Registered User regular
    Paladin wrote:
    Certain methods of speech are restricted because positions of power allow those speeches to drown out the freedoms of speech of people not in power. Money as speech is also capable of suppressing the speech of others with less money, so there is a precedent for restrictions on the freedom to spend money on speech.

    huh?

    certain methods of speech are more restricted than others, like commercial speech and imminent threats and inciting to riot and stuff, but I don't think that's what you're talking about?

    NOPE.
    Vd0n7Bk.jpg
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    'Freedom of Speech' is sort-of a nebulous concept. in my opinion. It's not really practised anywhere (even in the United States, with the most liberal laws concerning freedom of speech, almost all of the publishing venues are privately owned - and publishers most certainly do censor & filter what's submitted to them), and it's implementation would be impossible without violating other rights (assuming it was a feasible concept in the first place). Even If you take a narrow approach and say that by freedom of speech you mean, "The White House can't tell Random House or Nature or Fox News that they can't publish certain articles," the White House would disagree on certain matters (like classified documents, to name an obvious example).

    So saying, "It's infringing on [X]'s rights to 'freedom of speech' by limiting the amount of money they can throw into the propaganda machine," doesn't mean much to me.

    TOG Solid wrote:
    If that guy wasn't white he would have gotten popped by so many tasers simultaneously that Marvel could use that as the new origin for Electro.
  • So It GoesSo It Goes Well, that seems pretty ludicrous.Registered User regular
    Lawndart wrote:
    You misunderstand. Restrictions on freedom of speech can be justified by competing concerns. In the case of political speech the justification needs to be particularly compelling because protecting political speech is the primary concern of the amendment.

    The First Amendment doesn't say anything about only or primarily protecting political speech.

    I'm wondering why, exactly, spending money only qualifies as free speech when the government (or others) arbitrarily decide that money is being spent on "political" things.

    caselaw has dictated that political speech cannot be limited as much as say, commercial speech

    so I think the SCOTUS has kind of interpreted that way

    NOPE.
    Vd0n7Bk.jpg
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Freedom of Speech means, in my opinion, your right to speak. It is not a right to be heard or a right for people to have people listen to you. You should be free to communicate in anyway you want (that isn't already illegal, like threats of violence, libel, slander, etc.) but everyone else has the right to ignore you and/or tell you why you're wrong or why they disagree with you.

    Money certainly helps you have more ways to speak but I think the only part of society we should restrict money in is politics. I.E. corporations shouldn't be able to dump shittons of money into a campaing (looking at you supreme court, you bunch of wankers).

    Lh96QHG.png
  • So It GoesSo It Goes Well, that seems pretty ludicrous.Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote:
    'Freedom of Speech' is sort-of a nebulous concept. in my opinion. It's not really practised anywhere (even in the United States, with the most liberal laws concerning freedom of speech, almost all of the publishing venues are privately owned - and publishers most certainly do censor & filter what's submitted to them), and it's implementation would be impossible without violating other rights (assuming it was a feasible concept in the first place). Even If you take a narrow approach and say that by freedom of speech you mean, "The White House can't tell Random House or Nature or Fox News that they can't publish certain articles," the White House would disagree on certain matters (like classified documents, to name an obvious example).

    So saying, "It's infringing on [X]'s rights to 'freedom of speech' by limiting the amount of money they can throw into the propaganda machine," doesn't mean much to me.

    freedom of speech doesn't mean you have a right to have your speech published by private companies - it's that the govt shall not infringe on it

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    NOPE.
    Vd0n7Bk.jpg
  • Tiger BurningTiger Burning (poster is a bear)Registered User, SolidSaints Tube regular
    Lawndart wrote:
    You misunderstand. Restrictions on freedom of speech can be justified by competing concerns. In the case of political speech the justification needs to be particularly compelling because protecting political speech is the primary concern of the amendment.

    The First Amendment doesn't say anything about only or primarily protecting political speech.

    I'm wondering why, exactly, spending money only qualifies as free speech when the government (or others) arbitrarily decide that money is being spent on "political" things.

    For now the third time, it doesn't. Restrictions on speech are forbidden unless they can be justified by other, legitimate, compelling interests. What constitutes such an interest varies depending on the kind of speech. Restrictions on political speech face a much higher hurdle than restrictions on commercial speech, for what should be obvious reasons.

    “You could tell by the way he talked, though, that he had gone to school a long time. That was probably what was wrong with him.”
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote:
    'Freedom of Speech' is sort-of a nebulous concept. in my opinion. It's not really practised anywhere (even in the United States, with the most liberal laws concerning freedom of speech, almost all of the publishing venues are privately owned - and publishers most certainly do censor & filter what's submitted to them), and it's implementation would be impossible without violating other rights (assuming it was a feasible concept in the first place). Even If you take a narrow approach and say that by freedom of speech you mean, "The White House can't tell Random House or Nature or Fox News that they can't publish certain articles," the White House would disagree on certain matters (like classified documents, to name an obvious example).

    So saying, "It's infringing on [X]'s rights to 'freedom of speech' by limiting the amount of money they can throw into the propaganda machine," doesn't mean much to me.

    freedom of speech doesn't mean you can tell random house what the publish, it means the government can't tell them what not to publish

    also while the white house would obviously like to keep its secrets, prior restraints are pretty much a no-no

    gkcmatch_zps97480250.jpg
    remember pluto? Once a planet but now a pseudo
    funny how information changes the facts that you know
  • kildykildy Registered User regular
    Lawndart wrote:
    You misunderstand. Restrictions on freedom of speech can be justified by competing concerns. In the case of political speech the justification needs to be particularly compelling because protecting political speech is the primary concern of the amendment.

    The First Amendment doesn't say anything about only or primarily protecting political speech.

    I'm wondering why, exactly, spending money only qualifies as free speech when the government (or others) arbitrarily decide that money is being spent on "political" things.

    For now the third time, it doesn't. Restrictions on speech are forbidden unless they can be justified by other, legitimate, compelling interests. What constitutes such an interest varies depending on the kind of speech. Restrictions on political speech face a much higher hurdle than restrictions on commercial speech, for what should be obvious reasons.

    I'm fine with the idea of it being a higher hurdle, my main complaint is that slander and libel appear to fail to clear that hurdle. The basic idea in the US with political speech is "you can pretty much just lie, it's totally protected", which is a bit TOO far on the well protected side for me.

  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    Lawndart wrote:
    Well, to be clear, money isn't speech, but a restriction on spending money on speech is a restriction on speech. Which is what 'freedom of speech' and the 1st Amendment are about. No one is entitled to any particular amount of speech, but the government is generally prohibited from placing restrictions on it.

    Except that considering "spending money on speech" to be legally and Constitutionally equivalent to actual speech opens up some huge loopholes when it comes to the government regulating commercial activity in certain industries.

    For example, if money is speech, then should the government be able to prevent media consolidation in major media markets?

    Also, I'm unconvinced that limiting the amount of money that can be, say, donated to political campaigns, is an actual infringement of speech, since there's no restriction on who or what can be donated to, and the restrictions are applied equally to all citizens.

    I suppose there might be some conflicts with certain desired political outcomes if protecting freedom of speech is important enough.

    Conflicting desired outcomes doesn't mean we need to redefine our understanding though. For example, limiting the amount of money one can spend on political literature, when applied equally to all citizens, just means that all people are restricted equally. Saying that no money can be spent disseminating ideas just means you have an extremely draconian censorship regime; the law's lack of specificity doesn't make it less restrictive, it makes it more restrictive.

    2ezikn6.jpg
  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Six pack on a dick Registered User regular
    So It Goes wrote:
    Put a restriction on the ability of politicians to vote on (or, bring to a vote in the first place) legislation due to conflict of interest that would be financially beneficial to their campaign contributors and see just how quickly corporations stop speaking with their wallets.

    ha, nobody would be able to do anything in congress

    So you're saying nobody would notice the difference?

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    All my fuckin life I lived a normal fuckin life
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Paladin wrote:
    Certain methods of speech are restricted because positions of power allow those speeches to drown out the freedoms of speech of people not in power.

    You have an example of this?

    Government resources cannot be used to campaign

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    I mean yeah MM is right. The question is do we value what we gain from restricting monetary speech in politics enough to restrict it anyway?

    That's a good, broad question without a single right answer.

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  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    freedom of speech doesn't mean you have a right to have your speech published by private companies - it's that the govt shall not infringe on it

    I understand that - but, increasingly, governments and corporations are starting to become intermingled. I mean, no sane person denies that Fox News, for example, isn't affiliated with the Republican party.

    If I posit a future where Fox News becomes, effectively, the only publishing outlet, with the Republicans in power, you can still have your 1st Amendment just as is stands today, but it won't mean shit, will it?

    TOG Solid wrote:
    If that guy wasn't white he would have gotten popped by so many tasers simultaneously that Marvel could use that as the new origin for Electro.
  • Fallout2manFallout2man Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    mcdermott wrote:
    Pretty much. You may be limited in means, but you should have the ability to employ those means to air your message. Any restrictions on that should, at the very least, need to be justified as an actual infringement of your first amendment rights (which, obviously, are not absolute). Otherwise, I can lock you in a room alone and you have the "right" to all the speech in the world. But it's meaningless.

    To this end, money is essentially equivalent to speech because money is the means by which one airs their message beyond earshot. Even when it's not your own speech, spending money to spread somebody else's message is no less an expression of that message than if it were your own.

    Any of them can quit, any of them can refuse.

    I have a gun to your head, I tell you to empty your pockets or you will die. You still can chose to say "Fuck you!" but that choice would not be wise. Any of them can quit, yes, but when there exists the capacity to coerce compliance through the use of money, which is a necessity of life in today's society then that choice is about as meaningful as your choice to obey me while I mug you. Sure it's not a direct, immediate death but starvation in this respect as well as exposure to extremes can be far worse due to being prolonged and filled with ancillary social denigration from others.
    mcdermott wrote:
    We can argue that the wealthy have larger bullhorns than the poor, in that few OWS protesters are probably broadcast media owners, but that doesn't really change the basic point that the ability to purchase means to spread one's message is hard to separate from the message itself.

    If everyone's metaphorical bullhorn were made equal then wouldn't that do it? I mean That's what I'd think is the point of the fairness doctrine. Allowing the wealthy to still accumulate vast wealth and keep it, but that when they wanted to say they were interested in "telling the truth" that they had to share that bullhorn with people who disagreed so that they didn't have the ability to prevent the poor from ever using a bullhorn at all. It's like Plato vs Matthew Vadum on Democracy vs Inequality. Both think that in a democracy it's unfair the poor can vote to take from others. Plato's solution was to reduce or eliminate inequality, Vadums is to prevent the poor from voting.

    Either way, people inherently trust the bullhorn because our socioeconomic paradigm allows the accumulation and maintenance of monopolies on all sorts of things which create a capacity to effectively secure trust not through actual displays of honesty but entirely through the accumulation of wealth and employing it via behaviorism to shape the conditions which directly interfere with the efficacy of speech. This creates a situation where wealth may parlay trust into supporting an ideology which people will follow if those beliefs are never debated or publicly challenged. Either we prevent divisions of Wealthy/Poor or we have to find some way to completely divorce the accumulation of money from the effectiveness of speech.

    Otherwise the wealthy will always drown out everyone else's speech (In one form or another) and there is little you can do about it.

    Fallout2man on
    On Ignorance:
    Kana wrote:
    If the best you can come up with against someone who's patently ignorant is to yell back at him, "Yeah? Well there's BOOKS, and they say you're WRONG!"

    Then honestly you're not coming out of this looking great either.
  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    My opinion is that no one in modern society is effectively censored by lack of money. Money certainly enables someone to be more easily heard, but without fundamentally restructuring our society - by which I mean you totally throw away capitalism and go with something else -that just can't and won't change. But lacking money doesn't make it impossible for someone to disseminate their own thoughts in just about any medium.

    There are some circles where I think you might have a legitimate point, Fallout2man, but not in every one, and certainly not with regard to art and culture.

    Drez on
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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote:
    Any of them can quit, any of them can refuse.

    I have a gun to your head, I tell you to empty your pockets or you will die. You still can chose to say "Fuck you!" but that choice would not be wise. Any of them can quit, yes, but when there exists the capacity to coerce compliance through the use of money, which is a necessity of life in today's society then that choice is about as meaningful as your choice to obey me while I mug you. Sure it's not a direct, immediate death but starvation in this respect as well as exposure to extremes can be far worse due to being prolonged and filled with ancillary social denigration from others.

    While I'm not some silly libertarian that doesn't recognize economic duress, I still wouldn't compare this to "gun to the head." I buy the economic duress argument when talking about people at the bottom rungs of society. But for most working in media organizations? Less so. They have the qualifications that they should be able to find employment sufficient to survive elsewhere. The level of economic "force" here just isn't enough for me to find the argument compelling.

  • Tiger BurningTiger Burning (poster is a bear)Registered User, SolidSaints Tube regular
    Paladin wrote:
    Paladin wrote:
    Certain methods of speech are restricted because positions of power allow those speeches to drown out the freedoms of speech of people not in power.

    You have an example of this?

    Government resources cannot be used to campaign

    Government resources can't be used to campaign because they don't belong to the campaign.

    “You could tell by the way he talked, though, that he had gone to school a long time. That was probably what was wrong with him.”
  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    The Ender wrote:
    freedom of speech doesn't mean you have a right to have your speech published by private companies - it's that the govt shall not infringe on it

    I understand that - but, increasingly, governments and corporations are starting to become intermingled. I mean, no sane person denies that Fox News, for example, isn't affiliated with the Republican party.

    If I posit a future where Fox News becomes, effectively, the only publishing outlet, with the Republicans in power, you can still have your 1st Amendment just as is stands today, but it won't mean shit, will it?

    But there is really no danger of that happening. If it ever did happen then, yes, I would agree, but it doesn't now and I find it hard to believe that speech in this country will ever get to that point.

    As it stands, no one's freedom of speech is being infringed upon through economic disparity or any such thing. Freedom of speech doesn't and shouldn't mean that the speech of all people must be given equal weight or that society must ensure that all people can disseminate their speech to the same degree. It just means that people have the ability to disseminate speech. And that is totally possible, even with Fox News existing as it does.

    Drez on
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