Libertarians Even Further Adrift

I think maybe its time for me to stop reading the news.  What else can a good libertarian do when Republicans oppose free trade, support government intervention in the economy, and spend tax money like drunken sailors while Democrats vote for new restrictions on free speech?

The latter occurred yesterday, as the House failed to get the 2/3 majority necessary to pass the Online Freedom of Speech Act, mostly on the strength on opposition from Democrats (you know, those principled supporters of civil liberties).  Politicians have again shown themselves ready to trash the Constitution in order to limit the speech of those potentially critical to themselves.  Apparently, there is reason to hope, since bill sponsors are trying to bring the bill to the floor in a more routine process that would require only a majority vote for passage (which the bill appears to be able to garner).

My only problem with this initiative is that it falls far short of the mark of protecting all Americans.  Right now, only the major media outlets have full free-speech rights in an election.  This bill would extend free speech to the Internet.  Here's an idea:  Why don't we give everyone back their first amendment rights, as I wrote here:

These past few weeks, we have been debating whether this media
exemption from speech restrictions should be extended to bloggers.  At
first, I was in favorThen I was torn.
Now, I am pissed.  The more I think of it, it is insane that we are
creating a 2-tiered system of first amendment rights at all, and I
really don't care any more who is in which tier.  Given the wording of
the Constitution, how do I decide who gets speech and who doesn't - it
sounds like everyone is supposed to:

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.

I
have come to the conclusion that arguing over who gets the media
exemption is like arguing about whether a Native American in 1960's
Alabama should use the white or the colored-only bathroom:  It is an
obscene discussion and is missing the whole point, that the facilities
shouldn't be segregated in the first place.

By the way, I don't want to ever hear from the NY Times again about some company that is being monopolistic.  The NY Times has opposed the Online Free Speech Initiative from the very beginning in a transparent attempt to quash a competitive media that is stealing readers from it at a very fast clip.  I'm sure they hate having this type stuff on the Internet.  And this is the same NY Times that was one of the very few supporters of the Kelo decision because they were in the midst of getting a new HQ via an eminent domain landgrab.  Reason number 635 I don't agree with giving the press more rights than the rest of us have.

  • http://www.zianet.com/ehusman/weblog/blogger.html Eric H

    Excuse me, but I have been on a crusade of my own of late to get people to stop comparing the current federal spending spree to drunken sailors. It unfairly gives drunken sailors a bad name. Not only has no drunken sailor ever expected me to pick up the tab, but probably not all of them together could have put me personally a few hundred thousand in the red, much less a all of us a few trillion. Besides that, drunken sailors eventually pass out and - here's the kicker - they STOP SPENDING! There is no evidence that this Congress or President ever will. In fact, when things pick up, Delay might countenance a tiny bit of fat sneaking back into the budget.

    Thank you for your future attention to this detail.

  • http://www.zianet.com/ehusman/weblog/blogger.html Eric H

    Excuse me, but I have been on a crusade of my own of late to get people to stop comparing the current federal spending spree to drunken sailors. It unfairly gives drunken sailors a bad name. Not only has no drunken sailor ever expected me to pick up the tab, but probably not all of them together could have put me personally a few hundred thousand in the red, much less a all of us a few trillion. Besides that, drunken sailors eventually pass out and - here's the kicker - they STOP SPENDING! There is no evidence that this Congress or President ever will. In fact, when things pick up, Delay might countenance a tiny bit of fat sneaking back into the budget.

    Thank you for your future attention to this detail.