I just saw a Facebook post protesting the Supreme Court’s decision making some campaign finance rules unconstitutional. The post said “Speech doesn’t corrupt, money corrupts. Money isn’t speech.” But they’re mistaken – how you spend your money IS speech under the first amendment, just like flag burning, sign waving, protesting and rude finger gestures. It’s an action that expresses an opinion.
There’s a good reason for the maxim “money talks.” In fact, the reason some people think that there should be contribution limits is the fear that the rich people will drown the little guys out. It’s always been true that if you’ve got money, you can talk louder, and longer than someone who doesn’t. But the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, not equality in audience numbers. Prohibiting people who have money from exercising their rights because the rest of us can’t afford to exercise our rights to the same degree doesn’t make us more free, and it certainly doesn’t make us better informed.
In fact, here in the 21st Century, we can see a wide variety of views on any issue you can name, from the comfort of your __________ [fill in the blank with anywhere you can get cell or cable or satellite or internet service]. Most of the people on these media spend little or nothing to promote their views. (And in most cases, you’ll get what you pay for when you read them.) However, many people using Facebook or YouTube have huge audiences.
It’s also worth noticing that just being rich doesn’t mean you agree with other rich people. Do you think George Soros or Al Gore or Barbra Streisand would agree with Warren Buffet or Charles and David Koch? Seriously, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, NPR and Fox don’t promote the same views, and they’re all media giants. And unfortunately, none of the above agrees with Gary Johnson or Ron Paul.
So, chill out America – the Supreme Court got one right. Your voices can still be heard, and this decision allows you to more easily join your voices with others who agree with you. Anything else is censorship.