The following article originally was published February 1 by Grand Junction’s Free Press.
At least Dan Maes answered the questions
by Linn and Ari Armstrong
Recently the Supreme Court struck down part of the McCain-Feingold censorship law in the case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The decision is tragic because the Court only partially restored the First Amendment, and apparently four of the justices cannot comprehend the simple phrase, “Congress shall make no law…”
Leftist critics of the ruling argue that, while a lone individual might have some rights to free speech, individuals do not have the right to freely associate to express themselves. Further, these critics claim, you have no firm right to spend your own money on expression.
To grasp the left’s hypocrisy on finances, just ask a critic of the ruling whether the right to get an abortion would be preserved if women and clinics were forbidden from spending money on abortions. (Eugene Volokh raised this point.)
Regarding this case the left is perfectly consistent with its Marxist roots. Marx wrote, “The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness.”
In simpler terms, you are just too stupid to independently evaluate a film or ad funded by a corporation. You need the benevolent nannies of the left to help you think straight.
Unfortunately, some people do everything they can to prove Marx right. They thoughtlessly buy junk just because the idiot box or their friends tell them to. They never read great books or otherwise develop their reasoning skills. They vote for candidates based on appearance, smooth talk, and hysterical smear campaigns against the other guy.
However, trying to save people from their own stupidity only entrenches stupidity. People cannot choose wisely if they lack the capacity to choose badly. In terms of free speech, people must be free to say and believe stupid things, if we wish to preserve the right and ability to say and believe profundities.
The law properly guards against fraudulent speech. You can’t legally tell someone a used car has only ten thousand miles on it when it actually has a hundred thousand. Nor can you make up lies about a candidate. Established law already addresses such matters.
Aside from libel, however, people should be free to say whatever they want about candidates (using their own resources), whenever they want, and with whomever they want. That is precisely what the First Amendment is all about.
We can’t blame bad government on advertisements. After all, smear campaigns work only if voters fail to critically judge them. It is you, the individual voter, who must carefully evaluate claims, do some background research, and seek the broader context. If you fail to do so, censorship laws will not save the republic but will only further erode its foundation.
Let us make 2010 the year when candidates articulate their views on the issues and voters decide accordingly. Let us make this election about ideas, principles, and policies, not hair dye, cowboy hats, and vocal timbre.
It is in this spirit that we introduced our Candidate Survey, found at http://tinyurl.com/cosurvey10. Unfortunately, as of our deadline, we had heard from only two candidates running for governor or U.S. Senate. Dan Maes, the Republican challenger to Scott McInnis, said he’d answer the survey and followed through on his word. We also heard from independent candidate Rich Hand. You can find their responses linked from the original survey.
Though we originally contacted all the major-party candidates (or their representatives) for those offices by January 13, our initial correspondence did not make it to the right parties in the case of McInnis and Democratic top gun John Hickenlooper. While representatives of both candidates have now confirmed receipt of the survey, they have not committed to answering it. We encourage readers to ask these candidates to answer the survey.
Maes is the underdog, and we disagree with a number of his views. Generally, though, we are impressed by his responsiveness, straight talk, sincerity, and hard work.
Maes is a pretty solid fiscal conservative. He thinks the state should cut taxes and permit the traditional energy industry to thrive (thereby also increasing the tax flow from energy). He is too unfriendly to immigrants in our view. Disappointingly, he said campaign censorship laws should be “maintained,” and he thinks flag desecration should be Constitutionally outlawed.
Most disturbing is Maes endorsement of the “personhood” measure, which if fully implemented would outlaw nearly all abortions, outlaw common forms of birth control, restrict fertility treatments, and subject women to severe legal interference.
Maes also punted on several questions. For example, we asked, “Should abortion be legal in cases of rape or incest?” Maes answered, “It already is.” Cute. Perhaps Maes would care to answer the question next time: what does he think the law should say?
At least Maes answered (most of) the questions. That’s a start.