Here’s what a statesman and constitutionalist sounds like
Slaying canards: Ted Cruz defends the First Amendment, which is being challenged by a Senate Democrat-led Constitutional Amendment proposal. Forget your party affiliation for the moment; it matters not a whit. Either you believe in the Bill of Rights or you don’t. It’s a time for choosing.
A friend of mine on facebook takes issue with me (and Cruz, and Ted Kennedy, and the history of liberalism up until its current New Left usurpation), writing:
Money is not speech, rather it is the size of your megaphone. Anyone can say whatever they want. Limits on the purchase of mechanisms to promote your speech is not a Costitutional right.
The first Amendment is “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.” Just as people have the right to peaceably assemble, but not in the middle of the Baltimore Beltway at rush hour, and just as people have freedom of speech, but not to commit slander, most agree that reasonable limits on these rights are accepted. For those who are literalists of the Constitution, speech should be speech, not buying commercials on TV or buying adds in newspapers. Words mean something and the writers of the Constitution chose the word “speech” to mean something.
Of course, originalism — and the intentionalist principles upon which it’s founded — doesn’t require literalism. It instead commands we look at signs — in this instance, “speech,” — and understand what was meant by both the authors and the corporate intent of ratification as it applies to that signifier. Because it is in those two procedures — the addition of a referent to the signifier in order to turn it into a sign, and so to mean something specific to some specific historical actors, matching their intent to the second order representation that is the signifier, as part of a code, used in a specific context for a delineated purpose; and then the corresponding decoding of that sign and agreement with its intent, which led to ratification of that language — that are what determines meaning, not what we might now do with the word “speech” or “well-regulated militia” or “commerce.”
And there are ways to find out, as closely as is possible, what was intended by “speech” as it was used by the authors and ratifiers. One might consult Madison’s notes, or read the political philosophers who were so crucial to the thinking of our founders.
I will say this: at the very least, pamphleteering would be considered speech — cf. Common Sense — and should a government seize or regulate all paper, printing presses, pens, etc., this would technically leave speech free while at the same time intentionally limiting its ability to be disseminated. It’s like allowing you to buy a car but then refusing you gas.
The last thing we’d want, I’d posit, is for Congress to get involved with telling us when and how we can organize to speak on behalf of political candidates or causes. We already have a ridiculous rate of near-perpetual incumbency. What this is aimed at doing is criminalizing various forms of political speech and protecting the ruling elite from a populist uprising.
In fact, it’s such an abomination that even Ted Kennedy at one point spoke out against it.
There is no debating this. And bumper sticker cop-outs like “money doesn’t equal speech” are no stand in for rigorous argument.
(h/t TRS and sdferr)