Recently, the Supreme Court overturned two legal precedents that banned corporations from contributing money to campaigns. The issue, according the majority opinion, went beyond electioneering. According to Anthony Kennedy, it was about freedom of speech. As he stated in the majority opinion, “When government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought, This is unlawful. The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves.”
Many leftists and supporters of more stringent governmental control on business see this Supreme Court Decision as a tragedy, but the truth is that they are wrong. The Supreme Court supported liberty and made the right decision in support of corporations’ rights. First of all, contrary to what many dissenters say, the First Amendment does indeed protect corporations’ right to free speech. The text reads clearly: “Congress shall make no law…. abridging the freedom of speech.” The last clause applies to freedom of speech by any entity, not just persons.
The very idea of capitalism states that corporations can have full control over what they invest in and where the direct money. Furthermore, the very idea of free speech entails freedom to spend money as one pleases. To think, if the government could truly control where a corporation’s money went that would give them effective control over the entire process of free speech. Who is to say they couldn’t encroach further and eliminate to an individual citizen’s right of free speech as well?
To those that claim this will contribute to corporate control over electioneering, you need to wake up. Every election is bought and sold. Now special interest groups can just do them out in the open, which is a good thing. There will probably be less underhanded funneling of money to campaigns. Barack Obama foolishly stated, “This is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.” Hasn’t this been happening in every election?
The other argument made against this Supreme Court decision is that it will harm democracy. No, it won’t! The electoral process has not changed. It’s not like we are going to revive voter proscriptions to keep certain individuals from having the right to vote. In fact, in many ways the electoral process has been enhanced. Now, individuals can know who is really supporting their candidates and to whom they are making allegiances. Sure, there might still be underhanded deals to prevent voters from knowing the origins of private finance, but chances are this cumbersome process will be avoided and replaced by the more immediate process of direct contribution.
So this entire political hullabaloo leaves me with one question that illustrates just how absurd the dissenters’ opinions are: If groups can organize and protest to change policy, why can’t they donate money to candidates to do the same thing?