Friday, January 22, 2010

An Obscenely Bad Idea

Normally I try to keep my views on politics that are not related to nuclear energy and other technological and scientific developments off of this blog, because I feel that N^4 is not the place for that sort of thing. However, I feel I must speak up about the most recent ruling by the US Supreme Court regarding campaign contributions by corporate interest groups. In effect, it has ruled that there is no cap or limit in terms of how much a company can spend on an election campaign to influence its outcome. The amount of corporate influence in our country's major elections is already intolerable, and now this practically a validation that the voices of corporations are more important than the rest of the voting public. As it is, many of our political "representatives" are already bought and paid for as they effectively do the bidding of who ever has the deepest pockets. In this case, it is almost like the equivalent of applying a thick layer of grease to the highway to hell as we are all forced to ride it through its inevitable downward spiral.

I have had some doubts that our political system was up to the task of looking after the welfare of our nation's citizens, but this ruling has made its inherent dysfunction blatantly obvious. Prior to this ruling, I have also kept my views on healthcare off of this blog because I felt it was a subject that was best left untouched as my blog is not normally meant to be a political soapbox. However, I have been following the whole debate with a feeling of rising anger as I saw how people that were elected to represent us were fully prepared to deliver us bound-and-gagged to the very corporate racketeering scheme that people were seeking shelter from. Needless to say, my confidence in my government has largely taken a complete nosedive after my trust in it had already been languishing for years.

The implications of this ruling are obvious. It takes the first amendment and places it for sale to the highest bidder as it says that free speech can now be bought and sold like any other commodity. Those with limited financial means are now considered to be "less free" as they would not be able to afford to purchase as much "freedom" unlike some of our well-heeled corporate representatives. Our political system is broken, and evidently beyond repair at this point as it has largely resisted any attempt at reform.

So, once again I apologize to my readers for the brief outburst of indignation but this has made me very angry indeed. It does not matter whether you consider yourself a conservative or a liberal at this point your right to free speech has been given a price sticker. Unless you can afford to buy up all of the media outlets, thinktanks, and funnel soft money to political candidates, your first amendment rights have now largely been revoked. We might as well dress up in our new company-issued uniforms complete with a ball gag and handcuffs and bow before our corporate overlords. Our Supreme Court has failed us all.


Kit P said...

The only money I contribute to politics is through the PAC of my company. There is a whole lot of nonprofit organizations out there that appear to have no ethical standards at all. They can justify the most outrageous lies against how our energy is produced.

There are a lot of hard working tax paying Americans who work 24/7 to supply energy. I see no reason why my voice through my company should not be heard as loud as some trust fund baby.

You may want to consider that 'corporate overlords' are really decent human beings who got to where they are at because of hard work and talent.

SCOTUS got this one right.

Neurovore said...

Whether or not the CEO of a company got to where he is through his talent and hard work or not is beside the issue. I also disagree with the enormous amounts of soft money being funneled through major elections regardless of the source whether it be from a corporate or a non-profit organization. This is because it seems as if it is tantamount to buying a political candidate outright.

...and yes, organizations like Greenpeace and the Sierra Club are morally bankrupt and I do not excuse their actions, either.

gatto said...

"If you're looking for an example of how advertising is a really corrosive force in society, I advise you to look away from consumer product advertising and just look at political advertising, because it's a stain on our democracy. If you're selling soup or soap or oatmeal or automobiles, one thing you basically have to do is tell the truth -- not the eternal truth, but the factual truth. Sometimes you put your best foot forward, but you have to fundamentally not mislead people, not overly exaggerate. There's a limit to the amount of puffery that you're entitled to. You basically have to stick to the facts, because even if the government doesn't do anything about it, your competitors are going to drag your ass into federal court, and they're going to sue you, and they're going to make your life a living hell. And while they're doing that, your campaign is off the air, and by the way, it's in the newspapers, and you're taking a lot of hits to your brand image.

So by and large, advertising is essentially truthful, except political advertising, which year after year ... gets worse. It's just the artful assembling of nominal facts into hideous, outrageous lies. And it is the fundamental venue for political discourse in this country. It's an abomination. Because of the First Amendment, there's not a whole lot we can do about it, but it makes me sick."

Neurovore said...

Ultimately, I think that fundraising and campaigning should be cut off entirely, similar to what is suggested here...

The Fate of Democracy in the US I

The Fate of Democracy in the US II

Why Democracy Doesn't Work

The Pinworms of Peace and Prosperity

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