Citizens United and SOPA/PIPA
You know, letting corporations donate to political campaigns and have free speech rights will destroy the country. Giving corporations the right to speech, like us, is a monumental threat to democracy. They would make us all beholden to the 1%. They would buy campaigns, transform this country into a plutocracy or, worse yet, a full blown corporatocracy. Who knows what terrible things they could do to our country. Why, with their money and resources, they would be able to warp and corrupt public opinion, and turn them against the government. They might even lead a campaign to stop online censorship!
I find it somewhat amusing that the progressives who railed against Citizens United so furiously are now finding themselves the beneficiaries of that decision. Citizens United allowed corporations and such organizations as unions to spend money on political campaigns, though they could not be donated to political parties or candidates, and had to be spent separately. What else was the SOPA Strike Wednesday but a political campaign, with Hollywood on one end trying to use the political system to do away with due process in order to reap more profits, and tech companies and grassroots citizen-activists on the other trying to prevent such a mockery of law? I’m not a legal expert, but it would appear to me that if Citizens United hadn’t been decided the way it were, and the McCain-Feingold Act was still in place, this campaign might not have gotten off the ground, or if it did, it might not have been as wildly successful as it was.
Think about it. If Google, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, Reddit, and other such websites and technology companies didn’t jump in the pool, the SOPA Strike probably would not have had much success. Instead, over seven million people signed Google’s petition, Wikipedia made a boat-load of money from the pledges of support (I believe; could be wrong about that one), and the number of senators against PIPA, SOPA’s twin, went from only five to thirty-five—and two of the defectors were the original co-sponsors of the bill.
All that because two years ago this Saturday, our Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to blatantly prohibit political speech by corporations, unions, and other entities.
When you get down to it, using your corporation to spread a message is merely using your own property—since you own in, even if it is jointly with several other people—to spread a message. At it’s ultimate limit, it becomes a question of “Should a person be allowed to use a microphone to enhance his or her ability to communicate beyond what a non-microphone using citizen could?” I think we can figure that one out.
Maybe progressives should reconsider all their fire and brimstone on this matter. They got SOPA and PIPA right. Maybe they could also get Citizens United right.