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HJR 171: Free Speech for Me, But Not for Thee

Bad Bill of the Week

This week’s Bad Bill of the Week is actually a House Joint Resolution. HJR 171, crafted by Rep. Verla Insko (D-Orange), urges the NC General Assembly to draft a resolution opposing the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and calling on Congress to amend the Constitution to reverse the free speech rights protected by the United decision.

For those who may not recall, the United decision reversed previous laws that banned independent political expenditures by corporations (including non-profits and unions). The expansion of free speech rights was met by liberal groups as some sort of “threat against democracy” – and Rep. Insko wants the U.S. Constitution amended to enshrine a permanent ban on free speech exercised by groups of individuals classified as “corporations.”

Opposition to the United decision, however, has nothing to do with preserving democracy or the voice of average citizens. Like most liberal/progressive issues, it has to do with control. In this case, liberal politicians want to control political speech by determining who gets to speak.

Taken to its logical conclusion, those who want to ban political speech from corporations would prohibit book publishers from publishing books praising or critical of certain candidates.

The answer to political speech you don’t approve of is not to silence those speaking, but rather to counter with your own speech. A free society doesn’t use government force to silence people.

One final note, for those concerned about big money in politics: Take a look at the size of government. The larger the size and scope of government intrusion into our lives, the more is at stake for individuals and businesses alike. Government meddling creates the need for businesses and other groups to spend money to influence politicians in order to either gain political privileges or fend off harmful restrictions.  Reducing the reach of government would drastically reduce the felt need for organizations to spend money on the political process.

Because it would undermine one of the core principles of a free society – free speech – HJR 171 is this week’s Bad Bill of the Week.

This article was posted in Bad Bill of the Week by Brian Balfour on March 4, 2013 at 1:45 PM.

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This article can be found at http://www.nccivitas.org/2013/hjr-171-free-speech-for-me-but-not-for-thee/

Comments on this article

  • 1

    Thomas Allen
    Thomas Allen Mar 06, 2013 at 9:54

    Unlike individuals, who create the state, corporations are artificial creations of the state. The state should have the power and duty to regulate and restrict corporations anyway it so desires. The Supreme Court has caused major problems in this country, not only with the United decision, but earlier decisions, of treating corporations like individuals. Restricting corporations political speech in no way restricts the employees or shareholders of the corporation in their political speech. That said, I do not particularly favor a constitutional amendment.

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