Campaign finance redux

Posted on October 15, 2010 by


Following the lecture today (10/14/10), I decided to alter my intended blog subject slightly not to sound too redundant. I intend to address the critical need for campaign finance reform, not the feeble smallish tweaks that politicians tend to favor, but advocating a complete overhaul of the entire system of funding elections.

What are the major issues of limiting funding of campaigns?

When we seek to limit the domination of ruling class and the overreach that they hold on our election of individuals to public office, we must question the influence that large amounts of money brings from the ruling class and their concerns. Can money really equal a voice? Does it encourage equality or does it grant greater privilege to moneyed interests? I do not believe those corporations are “persons”, the idea that persons natural and artificial are now equals should cause concern to all people, including those that now benefit from the recent SCOTUS decisions. What they seem to forget that social environment does not remain static and that the change of control that we see today has a way of reversing itself.

Distribution of offices is a method to achieve equality, according to Aristotle’s Politics. This expression of equality is disrupted by large influx campaign cash. Corporations are meant as a means rather than an end. They were meant as a way to encourage the investment of private capital, it was a way for the investors not to be held liable for the debts incurred through risky business ventures. This new found expression of personhood is an end. Has it become a “person”, capable of “independent” decisions and desires? Is it now mortal, only capable of existing in one temporal place and time? Can it be jailed for crimes?

How can these problems be addressed?

Entrenched interests will not allow a fundamental alteration to our economic system and alternatives have been so irrationally vilified that it seems scarcely possible that change will occur short of catastrophic events. But we can eliminate the fallacy of equivocation that has occurred from the confusion of the use of the word of person and a return to greater restriction of the campaign finance laws than we have at present.

How has the Fairness doctrine and equal time policies, which we once used to maintain a civil debate, affected the discourse and that since their elimination civility has disappeared? These changes occurred in 1987 in a FCC ruling on a 4-0 ruling. That decision led to the looming explosion of talk radio and cable television editorial current event programing masquerading as news programs and has led to the cultural war expansion or escalation in war-speak

So what does this all mean?

Are we moving toward an expressly libertarian vision of the how campaigns are financed, or are conservatives exploiting an advantage that they hold over progressives? How can a movement of entrench money be overcome when your oppressor holds such advantage. The GnOP has proven the strength of simply say-no-to-dems.

Which system provides the most workable example for reform?

Personally I like the idea of the British campaign season, it lasts just five weeks and is completely publicly financed to the tune of  19 million pounds (26 million dollars) for all three major political parties. Strict libel laws limit the dialogue to relevant topics mostly because they don’t have the written right of free speech. Free speech is expressed in case-law rather than constitutional law. They rely on 700 years of common law rather than fighting over the meaning and non-meaning of a 8000 word document.                   Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage. -H.L. Mencken

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