Poor, Persecuted Kirk Cameron

Poor, Persecuted Kirk Cameron March 8, 2012

You have to feel for Kirk Cameron. He just can’t believe how unfair people are to him. He goes on national television and condemns all gay people and then — gasp! — he gets criticized for it. Oh, the humanity. Thankfully, he released a statement to the Worldnutdaily:

“I believe that freedom of speech and freedom of religion go hand-in-hand in America,” he continues. “I should be able to express moral views on social issues – especially those that have been the underpinning of Western civilization for 2,000 years – without being slandered, accused of hate speech and told from those who preach ‘tolerance’ that I need to either bend my beliefs to their moral standards or be silent when I’m in the public square.

See Kirk, what you got there is called criticism. It happens when you get up in public and say stupid shit. And that freedom of speech thing that protects your right to say bigoted things also protects our right to call you a bigot. Don’t like that? Suck it up, slowboy.


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  • I shouldn’t be flabbergasted every time someone seems to think that freedom of speech only goes one way, but I am.

  • neonsequitur

    “You have to feel for Kirk Cameron.”

    I do?

  • Who Knows?

    Tabby, it is amazing the number of people who think that the Constitution protects them from the consquences of their speech. Just the other day a dumbass was on some website standing up for Rush Limbaugh because his freedom of speech was being violated by all those advertisers abandoning him.

    Fucking morons.

  • jamessweet

    You know, that’s it. I am rabidly in favor of free expression in almost all contexts, but this last outburst has made me realize that we need a new exception to the First Amendment: Anybody who complains that their freedom of speech is being violated because other people are exercising their freedom of speech to criticize something the first person said while exercising their freedom of speech… $1000 fine. Repeated offenders could be imprisoned.

    Today, Kirk Cameron is free to say that freedom of speech means he can’t be criticized for being a dumb bigoted asshole. But he shouldn’t be. That’s where I draw the line.

    It’s true that freedom of speech means nothing if we don’t protect offensive speech… but what about stupid speech?

  • Kirk should use a banana to prevent his outbursts of stupidity.

    I suggest he insert it in his ass.

  • John Hinkle

    I should be able to express moral views on social issues… without being slandered [etc. etc. more whining]

    Where was it, maybe chapter 6 of Kinginites, where it saith, “13 And ye shall spittle forth moral views, whereforth they will pointeth at thee, mocketh thee, and laugheth at thee. 14 And ye shall reacteth with whining and a wringing of the hands. 15 And it shall geteth so bad that ye shall naileth thyself to a cross because the meanies just don’t get it.”

  • Sastra

    Cameron isn’t invoking freedom of speech so much as he’s trying to establish religious privilege as “freedom of religion.” The social agreement that we not mock, argue with, criticize, or even roll our eyes over anyone displaying their piety in public is supposed to extend to their doctrine. Just as we should smile benevolently when a grandmother leads her grandkiddies in saying grace at the Waffle House, we must exhibit similar tolerance and restraint when some self-appointed spokesperson for God modestly admits that it is his “faith” which leads him to mention who is damned, and his love for country that compels him to urge that it follow God and take note of this.

    Sure, you can criticize. You’re supposed to say “Well, I don’t agree, but I sure do admire your devotion to God. If this is your faith, then I stand back in respect, no matter how ‘wrong’ I privately think you may be. It takes a lot of moral strength to stand by your faith. Well done.” A mild criticism, no more.

    It’s so painful for people like Cameron when we religious bigots fail to do that. They’re startled and hurt.

  • Larry

    So does anybody have video of Obama’s stormtroopers holding Cameron down and beating him to prevent him from having his little say?

    No? Well, I’m sure Obama is withholding it.

  • Chiroptera

    “I believe that freedom of speech and freedom of religion go hand-in-hand in America,” he [Cameron] continues. “I should be able to express moral views on social issues – especially those that have been the underpinning of Western civilization for 2,000 years – without being slandered, accused of hate speech and told from those who preach ‘tolerance’ that I need to either bend my beliefs to their moral standards or be silent when I’m in the public square.

    Right. Freedom of speech means you get to spew your venom without other people being about to exercise their freedom of speech by calling you on it.

    Or, as Sastra says, what you’re really saying is that your freedom of religion — specifically your religious sacrament of being an asshole — trumps other people’s freedom of expression to point out that you are an asshole.

  • d cwilson

    Obviously, Kirk has been listening to Brian Fischer when he said that the First Amendment only applies to Christians.

  • To be fair, the left has been keeping Kirko from getting all those prime acting jobs that went to the likes of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Tom Hanks. Because talent and intelligence have nothing to do with success in Hollywood. Yeah, right.

    My homophobic father would say hateful, anti-gay things to me but follow them up by saying, “But I still love you.” I finally asked him whether he was trying to convince me or himself that he loved me. I think people like Kirk are just trying to convince themselves.

  • To be fair, the left has been keeping Kirko from getting all those prime acting jobs that went to the likes of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Tom Hanks.

    Don’t forget Leonardo DiCaprio! After all, he was on Growing Pains during its last season. If it weren’t for Leo, then it could have been Kirk Cameron who got to star in Titanic and Inception!

  • cptdoom

    Ed, you didn’t include the part of the statement when Cameron claimed he had gay friends who supported him. He didn’t provide any names, however, or other contact information for these “friends.”

    And I love how Cameron’s supporters like to claim he is being “persecuted” merely for his statements on marriage. They seem to ignore the statement that the existence of homosexuality is detrimental to civilization, because that’s not offensive at all, right?

  • alost

    Yes, Kirk indeed used the “I have (black, gay, etc) friends who supported what I said” defense, which of course means that his comments cannot be criticized by members of the gay community. Unless they’re self-loathing or “trying to be cured”, I cannot for the life of me comprehend the perspective of a gay individual who would support Cameron calling something that’s part of themselves “detrimental” or “destructive.”

  • fastlane

    Jamessweet:

    Anybody who complains that their freedom of speech is being violated because other people are exercising their freedom of speech to criticize something the first person said while exercising their freedom of speech… $1000 fine. Repeated offenders could be imprisoned beaten about the head with a clue by four.

    Fixed.

  • Artor

    “You have to feel for Kirk Cameron.”

    Yes, and the appropriate feelings are:

    Nausea, bewilderment, revulsion, frustration, pity…

  • lofgren

    To be fair, I did spend a few years in college persecuting Kirk Cameron. That scene got kind of old when I quit drinking, though.

  • subbie

    @fifth dentist:

    Kirk should use a banana to prevent his outbursts of stupidity.

    I suggest he insert it in his ass.

    What passes for his head is in the way.

  • evilDoug

    “You have to feel for Kirk Cameron.”

    Why do I picture a doctor wearing a rubber glove with a lubricated forefinger?

  • I strongly recommend this takedown of Cameron by the always entertaining John Scalzi:

    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/03/07/speech-and-kirk-cameron/

    (Scalzi’s already a national treasure for his “Being Poor” essay.)

  • Conservatives are always and everywhere the victims. Even when — especially when — they’re attacking gays.

  • From the Christian-to-English Dictionary: “Censorship” = “You disagree with me and actually say so.”

  • raven42

    “I should be able to express moral views on social issues – especially those that have been the underpinning of Western civilization for 2,000 years – without being slandered, accused of hate speech and told from those who preach ‘tolerance’ that I need to either bend my beliefs to their moral standards or be silent when I’m in the public square.”

    I like how he makes *that* an underpinning of Western civilization. It’s not free speech, or life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or habeas corpus, or anything else. It’s the No Gays rule that is the lynchpin of Western Civilization, and without that we’re doomed. Somehow.

  • Chiroptera

    raven42:

    Actually, if I were to read the last 2000 years of European history and try to guess at the underpinning of Western Civilization, I’d’ve guessed it would have been taking pagans, Muslims, heretics, and bad tempered elderly women and burning them at the stake.

  • I’m pretty sure Cameron’s lack of a post Growing Pains Hollywood career is entirely his own fault. He became born again part way throught the series and apparently became a major pain in the ass about the show’s content. Given that I doubt he was willing to play the game after the show got cancelled and make the kind of compromises needed to have a Hollywood career.

  • I hate when people say that I preach “tolerance” or that all “intolerance” is immoral. That is bullshit. Intolerance of the type of bigotry that Cameron spouts is not only okay in my book, but should be encouraged. I have no tolerance for the stupid shit that people like him reel off daily.

  • lancifer

    Sastra wins the internets today,

    Cameron isn’t invoking freedom of speech so much as he’s trying to establish religious privilege as “freedom of religion.”

    This is exactly right. Religious people think that pulling out the “its my religion” card somehow requires others to waive their rights in regard to whatever issue it is that triggered their religious sensibilities (irrational beliefs).

    I think it is just a further extension of their “magical thinking” that is really nothing more than latent narcissism.

  • coryat

    Larry: So does anybody have video of Obama’s stormtroopers holding Cameron down and beating him to prevent him from having his little say? No? Well, I’m sure Obama is withholding it.

    I heard Andrew Breitbart had a copy before the Obama hit-squad got him.

  • baal

    The SCOTUS is happy with Kirk’s view on freedom of speach, however.

    Spending Money = speech,

    limiting spending money = limiting speech

    That’s all fine and well but the SCOTUS also found it limits speech if you give a poorer candidate money since that’d ‘chill the speech’ of the super rich fellow who would then be ‘forced’ to pay more.

    What of evening the playing field so ever one gets heard? That’s right out.

  • lancifer

    Hey baal,

    What if I have lots of time to go around speaking and you don’t. Should my “speaking time” be rationed to keep things equal?

    What if I have a fleet of skywriting planes and you don’t? Limits on air access perhaps?

    The point I’m making is that my resources are mine and if I wish to use them to express myself why does the government get to decide how much of those resources I get to use?

    If I have more resources than you, do you get to have the government limit my access to my resources? Do we all have to be throttled down to the poorest and least capable person’s ability to express themselves?

  • Ichthyic

    The point I’m making is that my resources are mine and if I wish to use them to express myself why does the government get to decide how much of those resources I get to use?

    is this a public election?

    then, yeah, if you can’t see why that wouldn’t be fair, you really haven’t thought about this much.

    if you can’t see that the vast majority of the current problems in Western democracies are caused by EXACTLY the attitude you are expressing, you haven’t thought about this much.

    in short:

    you haven’t thought about this much.

  • Poor Kirk.

    He doesn’t think he should be made to bend his beliefs to other’s moral standards, but he thinks its perfectly reasonable to force others to have to follow his moral standards.

    I guess its just another example of the hypocrisy of the religious zealot.

  • lofgren

    I hate when people say that I preach “tolerance” or that all “intolerance” is immoral. That is bullshit. Intolerance of the type of bigotry that Cameron spouts is not only okay in my book, but should be encouraged.

    People who say that don’t understand how tolerance works.

    1. Intolerance of tolerance = intolerance

    2. Tolerance of intolerance = intolerance

    3. Intolerance of intolerance = tolerance

    People who preach tolerance are opposed to 1&2 and in favor of 3. The virtue of tolerance means actively opposed to intolerance, not passively accepting of whatever.

  • lancifer

    Ichthyic,

    You didn’t make anything but an insulting appeal to emotion. Care to make an actual rational argument or am I supposed to be shamed into agreeing with you because you said I was the cause of everything wrong with society?

  • Chiroptera

    lancifer, #34:

    To be fair to Icthyic, he was responding to an insulting appeal to emotion, not a rational argument.

  • Michael Heath

    lancifer writes:

    Sastra wins the internets today,

    to Sastra’s:

    Cameron isn’t invoking freedom of speech so much as he’s trying to establish religious privilege as “freedom of religion.”

    I thought Sastra’s point deserved another encore performance and am glad somebody, in this case lancifer, beat me to the first.

  • Aquaria

    You have to feel for Kirk Cameron.

    I wouldn’t touch that with someone else’s hands.

    1. Intolerance of tolerance = intolerance

    2. Tolerance of intolerance = intolerance

    3. Intolerance of intolerance = tolerance

    So the “in” crosses each other out, or is it more like multiplication:

    Odd times Odd = Odd

    Even times Odd = Even

    Even times Even = Even

    Ugh–Why am I going down a math road? I hate math.

  • Aquaria

    The point I’m making is that my resources are mine and if I wish to use them to express myself why does the government get to decide how much of those resources I get to use?

    Gee, cupcake, maybe it comes back to how sometimes just because you could do something doesn’t mean it’s the thing to do.

    I mean, most of us learn that we could shit in the punch bowl at parties, but we don’t do it.

    Idiot rich people throwing their money around to win elections to offices they don’t deserve is something they can do, of course, but it doesn’t mean they really should be doing it when someone more qualified could have it.

    Try to keep up.

  • bobbyearle

    The rule is: You don’t have the right to not be offended.

    The corollary is : You don’t have the right to not be criticized.

    It has to suck like a Hoover to be Kirk.

  • Ray C.

    6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

    6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

    6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

    6:8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

    6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. [Ye know how the rest of this goeth.]

  • Rip Steakface

    Was ready criticize Ray C. for godbotting. Then I realized “oh, he’s using the babble to show how Kirky is stupid even by his god’s standards.”

  • Ichthyic

    am I supposed to be shamed into agreeing with you

    nope. don’t really care what you think.

  • lancifer

    Chiroptera,

    To be fair to Icthyic, he was responding to an insulting appeal to emotion, not a rational argument.

    Really? Let’s compare.

    Me,

    The point I’m making is that my resources are mine and if I wish to use them to express myself why does the government get to decide how much of those resources I get to use?

    I made a rational argument that I should be free to spend my assets to express my thoughts and not be limited by the government to a certain amount of free speech. No appeals to emotion or use of insults.

    Ichthyic,

    if you can’t see that the vast majority of the current problems in Western democracies are caused by EXACTLY the attitude you are expressing, you haven’t thought about this much. No appeal to emotion or use of insults.

    in short:

    you haven’t thought about this much.

    Hmmm, So the “vast majority of the current problems of Western democracies are caused by EXACTLY the attitude you are expressing.”

    So my attitude is causing the “majority” of the problems plaguing Western democracies.

    And “in short” because I don’t agree with him/her “I haven’t thought about it much”.

    Yeah, pretty much the same type of argument.

  • scifi the first (formerly scifi1)

    In the meantime…

    @aaronbaker – thanks for the link. Excellent. This stood out for me:

    “…if you want people to respect your ideas, get better ideas.”

    @Aquaria – mind if I nick this?

    “I mean, most of us learn that we could shit in the punch bowl at parties, but we don’t do it.”

    I find myself occasionally at the mercy of the Jerks-Dodson effect when confronted by moralist, religious fuck-knuckles and I think this is a ‘nice’ comeback 😉

    I can see why Cameron ‘used’ to be an atheist. Thinking and basic human compassion were obviously too hard for him.

  • Chiroptera
  • andrewlephong

    @25

    I’m pretty sure Cameron’s lack of a post Growing Pains Hollywood career is entirely his own fault. He became born again part way throught the series and apparently became a major pain in the ass about the show’s content. Given that I doubt he was willing to play the game after the show got cancelled and make the kind of compromises needed to have a Hollywood career.

    IIRC, he objected to the fact that a female co-star on the show posed for Playboy in real life, and he demanded the writers write her off the show, which they apparently did because he was the star and he threatened to walk off the show. Must be fun working with Kirk, can’t imagine why anyone outside the Left Behind movies wouldn’t want to star alongside him.

  • lancifer

    Chiroptera,

    A formal argument.

    We are guaranteed freedom of speech in the constitution with the exception of slander and incitement to riot.

    Using my own resources to express political ideas is not slanderous or inciting violence.

    Therefore I should be able to use my resources to express my political ideas.

    Of course it expresses exactly what I said previously, but since you insist on pedantry…

    There you go.

  • lancifer

    Ichthyic,

    don’t really care what you think.

    Well, the Supreme Court of the United States “thinks” the same thing.

    Care about that fishboy?

  • Gay marriage will lead to sex with crocoducks.

  • Kirk Cameron can take this deceased crocoduck and eat it feathers, bones, and all for all I care. What he did was an act of hate speech. He is a bigot. Fuck him.

  • robertfaber

    Kirk Cameron masturbates to images of other men fucking him in his ass, daily. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but that’s the only explanation of his behavior that makes sense to me.

  • concernedjoe

    Lancifer, #47 and in context of above:

    Your rational argument is a priori – that is we are to assume you know infallibly all meaning and nuances of concepts from selected words meant to guide rather than rigorously state Law, or mores, or all social contract actions, or answer all contradiction, or in themselves satisfy all overall objectives, or be omniscient of every situation through all time in which interpretation may be necessary.

    You then back you your interpretation (in a rub it in your face way) with an appeal to authority (SCOTUS) ignoring other expert and authoritative precedent opinions (even within the SCOTUS) to the contrary. This is further compounded by the happenstance of the the authority to which you appeal – that is we have a SCOTUS weighted toward a view – we have had others weight contrary. Law judgement is not math – it is humans.

    Now I do respect your opinion – that is to say – though I think it wrong (I have a different opinion) I cannot and should not dismiss it a apriori. And I do not – and have and remain cognizant of it in forming my opinions.

    I keep coming back to objectives and purposes in a broader sense. I do not think the more modern context of society should use a document that began to free people from aristocracy and that began – however tortuously and ambiguously – to imbue all people with control over their destinies and lives – should now be used to perpetuate an aristocracy.

    I am simply boiling my argument down to this, if one man one vote has meaning one, then “one” entity cannot control (or skew artificially) the decision making dialogue. Do I need to discourse on how propaganda works – and how powerful people (entities) can sway “common” people to act/vote against their own best interests in support of essentially the aristocracies?

    Do you really think the Koch’s should have more say than any other 2 people? do you think the 10 major stockholders of GE should be more powerful politically than any 10 “common” people?

    My argument is brief not rigorously done – time and eloquence I lack. Hope you get my gist – hope you can see I am trying to fairly ask you to consider the points.

  • velociraptor

    @48

    “Well, the Supreme Court of the United States “thinks” the same thing.”

    The SCOTUS also “thought” that Bush v. Gore and Dredd Scott were the correct decisions.

    Have you any other bad arguements?

  • Chiroptera

    lancifer, #47:

    Thanks, lancifer. That clears it up.

    baal and Icthyic made the comments that they don’t like the current interpretation of our laws. And your response is…to repeat what the current interpretation of our laws are.

  • Lycanthrope

    As a rule, I hate stereotyping. But I’m gonna break my rule. What is it about fundies and a complete inability to grasp simple distinctions? Such as:

    “You, the citizen, can pray in public.” vs. “No agent of any level of government can lead a public prayer or force you to pray.”

    or,

    “The government cannot censor your freedom speech.” vs. “Other individuals can use their freedom of speech to criticize you.”

    It’s seriously not that difficult.

  • KG

    The point I’m making is that my resources are mine and if I wish to use them to express myself why does the government get to decide how much of those resources I get to use?

    I made a rational argument that I should be free to spend my assets to express my thoughts and not be limited by the government to a certain amount of free speech. – lancifer

    As has already been pointed out, you didn’t make a rational argument, but an assertion that private spending on influencing elections should be unrestricted. We are seeing the consequences of accepting that assertion in the current Republican presidential primary campaign, and can expect to see more of the same in the election itself: a few extremely rich people spending vast sums on promoting specific candidates for the highest public office, mostly by means of attack ads on rival candidates; and no candidate who is not either extremely rich themselves or backed by such a person able to compete effectively. Unless you believe, in the teeth of the evidence, that these extremely rich people are wasting their money because such campaigns make no difference, then what the USA currently has is close to a bidding war for the presidency. You’re evidently fine with that, but I think most of us here prefer democracy – for which a broad range of views, issues and proposed policies needs to be readily accessible and debated, without a handful of billionaires having the opportunity to hog the discussion.

  • Anri

    We are guaranteed freedom of speech in the constitution with the exception of slander and incitement to riot.

    Using my own resources to express political ideas is not slanderous or inciting violence.

    Therefore I should be able to use my resources to express my political ideas.

    The pertinent difference being that giving money to a political party for advertising isn’t expressing your ideas – it’s expressing theirs. Likewise, setting aside a sum of money for a message and then asking someone else what your message should be isn’t expressing your opinion but theirs.

    You are – and should be – utterly free to express your political opinion. Other people are not utterly free to have you express their opinions for them. It’s not always a crystal-clear difference, but it’s important, IMHO.

    (And if corperations are equivalent to people, and money is equivalent to political opinion, then Wal*Mart should be president.)

  • lordshipmayhem

    “You have to feel for Kirk Cameron.”

    Why? Is his light bulb gone out again?

  • kermit.

    Anri (And if corperations are equivalent to people, and money is equivalent to political opinion, then Wal*Mart should be president.)

    Depends.

    1. Was Wal*Mart born in the US?

    2. Is Wal*Mart at least 35 years old?

    If yes, then I think it’s clear that Wal*Mart is qualified.

    I mean, SCOTUS had already determined that it has constitutional rights, yes?

  • scifi the first (formerly scifi1)

    @Lycanthrope –

    “It’s seriously not that difficult.”

    Apparently, it is….!

    I agree with the implication that it shouldn’t be that difficult.

    But think about Cameron’s (and others) inability to grasp simple sciencey theories and facts.

    No surprises when he gets FOS and the like wrong.

    I think Kirky stopped being an atheist ‘coz thinking jus’ got too haaaard!

  • lancifer

    concernedjoe,

    Since your response is the only one that approaches a rational argument I’ll do my best to reply in kind.

    Your rational argument is a priori…

    Only in so much that all rights are a priori and not granted by governments.

    …we are to assume you know infallibly all meaning and nuances of concepts from selected words meant to guide rather than rigorously state Law, or mores, or all social contract actions, or answer all contradiction, or in themselves satisfy all overall objectives, or be omniscient of every situation through all time in which interpretation may be necessary.

    One need assume no such thing. The first amendment just reaffirms the right of free speech that underpins all of our other rights. In the US this right is codified to remove any ambiguity but it is a self-evident human right that is universally accepted in all free societies.

    Any impingement must be in response to a direct threat of denial of the rights of another individual.

    You then back you your interpretation (in a rub it in your face way) with an appeal to authority (SCOTUS)…

    Well, yes and no. In my comment it is clear that I am replying in kind to a blunt snub from Ichthyic. It was just a slap at Ichthyic’s dismissal of my opinion. It was in no way an appeal to authority in regards to my argument.

    As I said freedom of speech is not granted by the Consitution, nor the SCOTUS. The SCOTUS is just the organ of governance that affirms this right.

    Also it is a bald assertion and an insult to voters to say that money spent on political speech before elections determines the outcome.

    The Aryan Nation could spend trillions on advertising an not get 1% of the vote.

    The biggest other objection, even granting that government has the power to decide who gets to exercise their speech rights and spent how much to do so, is that it would give those in power the ability to decide who gets to speak.

    Some government organ would be in charge of deciding who gets to spend how much to say what.

    It doesn’t take much imagination to see the opportunity for abuse and tyranny in such a system.

  • dingojack

    Ok let’s look at the claims made here:

    Also it is a bald assertion and an insult to voters to say that money spent on political speech before elections determines the outcome“.

    And the all those voters just spontaneously decided they don’t like candidate X? The huge negative advertising blitz by candidate X’s opponents had absolutely no effect whatsoever? You have evidence of this claim, of course.

    “The Aryan Nation could spend trillions on advertising an not get 1% of the vote“.

    And the Aryan Nation could paint themselves blue and call themselves Picts, so what? Is this a median, mode or mean position? How closely does advertising spending correlate with ‘purchasing’ decisions in political contests? Data please.

    Some government organ would be in charge of deciding who gets to spend how much to say what“.

    Non sequitur. Making sure everyone spends the same amount in no way vets content (candidates, and their machine, are free to spend their limited budget anyway they see fit, to say anything they like). Any evidence that this would not be the case?

    Dingo

  • concernedjoe

    Lancifer I do appreciate your fervor while I remain unmoved.

    Let me briefly analyze:

    1. No one here really is saying and certainly not I that free speech is NOT a basic right of individuals.

    But it is obvious that not all applications/forums/methods/means are to be taken a priori – nor that all applications/forums/methods/means situationally will be deemed allowable regardless of the basic right.

    What I suggested is that you expect us a priori to accept your SITUATIONAL application of the basic right as word. Your expectation is that all will and should connect the dots from basic to specific like you do.

    I am suggesting you have no reason to demand that- those are not the rules of the law game. And empirically one only need count the cases of law that struggled to connect dots from the basic to some specific. That is to say my statement is supported by history – in regards to this subject yes – and in regards to many other Constitutional issues.

    2) You missed the point – at least I did not really see you address it – about that there are overarching objectives in establishing societies by compact.

    Some principles sometimes are internally in conflict – it is always a balancing act (freedom vs. security; property rights vs. community interests, etc.). In this particular case freedom to throw weight around so that the overall tool for every citizen to make an informed decision and equally treated and equally represented at some level are compromised.

    3) Now you seem to think (seems to me) that money/power is either always benevolent or ineffectual. That to me is naive. Sure the neo-Nazis would fail with a frontal attack – but given money and more nuanced presentation (PR bought with money) and perhaps some staged event or issue they could be competitive. More recent and empirical – do you think the gays in CA – or human rights in general – are better off because massive money from essentially powerful corporations threw money into anti-gay propaganda?

    I think you think you are being thoughtful – and I think you feel your ground is the highest – and I think you have good intentions. But essentially it is not as definitive as you paint it; but more importantly the unregulated influence of the super-rich not as benign as you pretend it to be.

    I am curious – Do you really think the Koch’s should have more say than any other 2 people? do you think the 10 major stockholders of GE should be more powerful politically than any 10 “common” people?

    And I say this respectfully – if you do not see a problem with unregulated money in the political process I think you’re not seeing the big picture – nor fairly assessing history – nor how the the wealth tiers in the USA have so insanely started to collapse.

    Have a good night.

  • lancifer

    concernedjoe,

    Well let’s have a look at your most recent remarks.

    But it is obvious that not all applications/forums/methods/means are to be taken a priori – nor that all applications/forums/methods/means situationally will be deemed allowable regardless of the basic right.

    You seem to be missing my point that rights are not limited except when they directly take away the rights of others. Access to speech, whether through popular media or direct means does not limit anyone else’s rights.

    There is nothing in the constitution or common law or any other expression of the rights of humans that requires everyone to be limited to a common denominator of free speech.

    This is purely a moralistic appeal to the “common good” not a rational appeal to the nature of the right of free speech.

    You missed the point – at least I did not really see you address it – about that there are overarching objectives in establishing societies by compact.

    If I have missed it, it is because no such “over-arching objectives” can take priority over the basic rights of people. The idea of “societies by compact” is not the basis of our society it is a vague and moralistic way of stating what philosopher Utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham expresses as “It is the greatest good to the greatest number of people which is the measure of right and wrong.”

    The framers of the constitution explicitly rejected this view, as do I. They insisted that there exist individual rights that cannot be violated no matter the benefit to any number of other individuals.

    You are arguing that the rights of some people should be limited because the number of times they can express their ideas and/or the number of methods they use to express their ideas is greater than the ability of others to do the same.

    You decorate this irrational argument with an appeal to morality, that somehow this greater access is “unfair” or “damaging” to society as a whole.

    I am curious – Do you really think the Koch’s should have more say than any other 2 people? do you think the 10 major stockholders of GE should be more powerful politically than any 10 “common” people?

    How do you suppose that you are going to regulate “how much” speech everyone is entitled to and who is a “common” person and who is not?

    How about editors of newspapers? Are they going to be limited to the same “amount” of speech as gardeners? How about radio show hosts? Are they exempted from these limits? If so why? Movie stars and other celebrities? Are they to be regulated so that their large fan bases are not “infected” by their “unfair” access to the media? How about documentary film makers like Michael Moore? People that make you tube videos?

    I could continue this list but I hope you get the point. Speech is not a commodity that can or should be rationed even when you don’t like what people say and the ability that they have to say it effectively.

  • concernedjoe

    Lancifer – thanks for response.

    Again I believe you think you you have high ground. While I believe a more nuanced and multifaceted consideration is required to achieve fairness which is a big objective of any set of moral rules.

    So I remain unmoved (as you do BTW re: my efforts) – but perhaps because we are talking apples and oranges.

    What strikes me is that we vehemently agree that an INDIVIDUAL’S right to free speech is sacrosanct (but not with caveat – nothing is – and you indeed recognize caveats in your posts)!

    I – perhaps you would too – fight to extend and defend any aspect of that to a PERSON’S freedom in general to be and conduct life as they are. This speaks to right of privacy; this speaks to the State’s LACK of right to inflict their political-religious morality on me or you or anyone; this speaks to a person’s right to do what they feel they must do with their body; this speaks to a PERSON’S right to use their resources for their pleasures (prostitution, gambling, drugs, etc. included) and aims as they need and want without State encumbrance. But again – I speak to the rights of a PERSON (biological), AND I believe people maintain their rights within collectives they may form to leverage their voice.

    But again – their are caveats – whether we agree on what those caveats are is a detail – we DO (if I believe your words above) agree that caveats rightly must exist!

    Let me try this – not to expect in the least to immediately change your opinion – but to hopefully develop some common framing to help you consider what I am saying without thinking I am 100% counter-positioned to your sentiments.

    There are two aspects of this discussion I think people of like mind with me are concerned about:

    1. that Corporations – so self-serving and of narrow objective – have the same FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN rights that we do as humans in a society. This to “us” (maybe not to you) is absurd and dangerous; it may be called Corporatism at best – but it tastes like a very important and defining ingredient of Fascism to many.

    NOW THIS MAY SOUND UNFAIR OF ME BUT I ASK YOU NOT TO ARGUE THIS POINT. I PRESENTED “OUR” POINT OF VIEW ONLY TO EXPOSE OUR CONTEXT MORE. YOU SHOULD CONSIDER THIS CONCERN (CALL IT A FEAR WE HAVE) WHEN YOU TRY TO CONVINCE US WE NEED NOT FEAR ANYTHING.

    2. that without regulation it is easy for the very powerful to drown out the less powerful – even if the “commoners” form collectives. Let’s try to relate this to a caveat you yourself recognize but first let me address your question above to me:

    I – and others here with me – think that when any entity can BUY the stage and then write the script and narrative – and then control the play – in essence are allowed to propagandize or serve their own agenda while drowning out others – especially when it is clearly a propaganda operation with little regard for exposing truth it conflicts with something you recognize as a caveat!

    We are not free to incite riot – right? You agree. OK you may not agree with the nuance of this we form based on what we hold as the objective of the words – but you agree on the caveat per se.

    Where we part ways perhaps is that we view the objective as not being “no blood in the streets” but rather that no mob can form to in some way – subtle or not subtle – trample and stifle the rights, safety, person-hood of individuals or groups (say gays for example) or render the democracy less democrat via some force. Riot is anything deleterious to the overall objective – that all can have life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness under a democratic republic in which one person one vote counts for something.

    Well you the question – what are the tests? One has to be simple – because it is SUBJECTIVE. So to be fair we have no recourse really but to say we limit the power (say money allowed) so the point of it being deleterious cannot occur easily. Sort of – at what point will the electric shock kill – well we know for ANY person x amps will and y amps will not – but we have a choice between x and y and we pick a point and hope for the best.

    You disagree? I bet you do BUT only in degree.

    Let me pose this: say I am rich enough to absolutely buy up all media and absolutely control the discourse – what people see as facts – the shading of things – etc. Would you – regardless of my point of view or aims as this rich person – allow me to do that?

    You cannot argue “that’s impossible” you have to answer simply yes or no. If you answer “sure I would” – well I case we are more different than I think – but I suspect given the binary choice Y or N you’d have to say NO!

    Why is that NO necessary? Because really if allowed it would be not different in essence that allowing a person to incite a riot.

    OK enough from me – think about my ramblings.

    Peace out!

  • concernedjoe

    I apologize to any readers for the massive typos – lack of proofing and correction.

    Hope my meaning is clear enough.

    my excuse: la vecchiaia!

  • dingojack

    You still haven’t explained why limiting the amount that can be spent on (allegedly) ineffective advertising is equal to vetting what someone can say*?

    Nor have you provided any evidence to back up the claim that such restrictions lead to government control of political messages.

    Dingo

    —–

    * It could be legitimately argued that unregulated budgets for political advertising leads to rich individuals, organisations and companies simply ‘buying’ elections, by drowning-out actual discourse with mere propaganda. Any democratic election should involve ‘informed consent’ of the governed

  • concernedjoe

    Dingo I assume you were addressing 67 to Lancifer an not me (say my 65).

  • Chris from Europe

    1. that Corporations – so self-serving and of narrow objective – have the same FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN rights that we do as humans in a society. This to “us” (maybe not to you) is absurd and dangerous; it may be called Corporatism at best – but it tastes like a very important and defining ingredient of Fascism to many.

    Sorry, but that is pure unadulterated bullshit. As a corporation represents people, they cannot lose their own rights upon banding together. But I would agree that the state should be allowed to make regulations to a certain limited extent about the use of resource of a corporation.

    You should note that Citizens United doesn’t rely on corporate legal personhood. I don’t see any benefit in banning it, but possible harm. Why should Alabama, for example, have the right to after the NAACP or an angry prosecutor after the ACLU? You are probably thinking about big business corporation, but why should the state be allowed to treat grannies’ gardening association arbitrarily? (That’s what not having rights means, after all.)

    The actual issue isn’t corporate legal personhood or that corporations are covered by freedom of speech. Banning corporate personhood wouldn’t overturn Citizens United. The government would still be banned from making laws abridging the freedom of speech.

    And if corporations would be banned, couldn’t their owners, agents etc. (who are human beings) simply continue with influencing campaigns? The Kochs and other billionaires wouldn’t be stopped. And disclosure could be improved now, if only Congress wanted to. One shouldn’t forget that the whole SuperPAC thing is a transparent joke that plays out before our eyes. They are “independent” *wink* and thus can circumvent the spending limit for a candidate.

    This complaint about corporate freedom of speech is a distraction at “best”, a poison pill for an amendment at worst.

    Of course, Citizens United should be overruled by amendment (or *cough* court stacking). But it would be more reasonable to give Congress the necessary powers to do the job, not more.

  • concernedjoe

    Chris #69 I think it is irrational (actually absurd) to anthropomorphize non-living entities – and I also think it is a naive and absurd concept that a corporation represents people citizens in any comprehensive way.

    They represent the will of the majority stockholders by vote – but think about it – that could be 2 people in a sea of a 100 people.

    And sure an incorporated “Sierra Club” may be a forum I support to advance my desire for a better biological environment but they do not represent me politically.

    Nor does Entergy in which I hold stock represent me politically in any sense I want outside of being good at managing the business and addressing issues morally.

    Do they vote for me or any stockholder really in government elections – or in Congress as my real political Representatives do?

    And as to the thing you mentioned not me, “Citizens United” – I am not arguing the case – but Justice Stevens I think TOTALLY NAILED IT. I’ll let him do my talking.

    None of that stuff is germane though.

    The discussion is over something Chris that you and I agree about: “.. they cannot lose their own rights upon banding together. But I would agree that the state should be allowed to make regulations to a certain limited extent about the use of resource of a corporation”. You and I agree!

    All I am arguing for is the regulation of things that could be deleterious to the fairness and accuracy of the democratic process.

    I do not think it out of line to say when corporations become the unbridled power brokers we are not served as a democracy.

    Simply their wealth and greed used in political process without restrictions runs the real risk of pocketing politicians and perverting the democratic process.

    Look we agree on several things in your post. Actually we can leave it at that.

    Esoteric things aside – I am not asking that corporations not represent the interests of their business, and associations – e.g., Sierra Club – can advance causes in their charter.

    But I think you and I agree that the use of these resources need some effective control to avoid corruption of our political “leaders” and of the system in general.

    Peace out.

  • lancifer

    concernedjoe,

    I very much appreciate your sincere and well crafted responses.

    While I think we are not going to come to agreement on this issue I am pleased that we didn’t end up hurling invective at each other.

    I don’t have time to write the kind of response that your post deserves at this time, and my wife is calling me to spend some time with her before we sleep and she goes to work.

    I will say that the rights of corporations is a different issue, one I would be glad to discuss at some other time.

    Also this discussion was off topic and started by a remark by Ichthyic, who was not as sincere or thoughtful as you have been.

    I hope we will have an opportunity to talk again soon.

    It’s been a pleasure discussing this issue with you.

    Lancifer

  • concernedjoe

    Yeah it was off topic (but interesting). Thanks for your thoughts.

    My beautiful wife had the good sense to sneak off to bed while I snored on my easy chair ;-).

    Good night

  • Chris from Europe

    I think it is irrational (actually absurd) to anthropomorphize non-living entities

    Huh? Corporate personhood isn’t doing that. Corporations aren’t seen as real people because of corporate personhood. It simply allows corporations to fulfill a legal role.

    If you up the Wikipedia entry about legal personality, you see that European countries have similar and even explicit protections for artificial persons. That doesn’t prevent sensible campaign finance laws. If you have to pass an amendment anyway, there’s no need to ban all aspects of corporate personhood. Maybe one should guard against future Supreme Court decisions and make clear that corporations don’t get suffrage. But then one could pass amendments codifying all the progress that has been made in the last century (or even Marbury vs Madison, you can never know).

    I have a big problem with statements that say that corporations have no rights because to me that implies that arbitrary treatment is legal. Would the government be allowed to favor one corporation over another (no equal protection)?

    If you want to end corporate personhood that means that you want only goodwill by politicians and the executive to protect corporations, not due process under the law.

    Do you want the situation to be same as in Egypt where the government simply searches and seizes material of political organizations arbitrarily because they need a scapegoat? Do you want to undo Citizens United or rather NAACP vs Alabama?

    All I am arguing for is the regulation of things that could be deleterious to the fairness and accuracy of the democratic process.

    I agree, for example, that Congress should be able to restrict again which funds a corporation could use for political campaigns.

    So I would agree with a limited and explicit restriction of the rights aspect of corporate personhood that doesn’t generally eliminate important protections that are and should be applicable to a corporation. But that’s not the same as banning corporate personhood. I haven’t seen a proposal that includes a restriction without going too far.

  • concernedjoe

    Chris I think we agree for the most part and tried to express agreement on major points in my earlier post. I, like you to be fair to myself, are being side tracked by tangential things hard to explain in brief.

    Let me try to clarify some points only for the record. But please read them in the context of: WE AGREE IN THE MAIN – AT THE BOTTOM LINE! We have no ESSENTIAL argument on the gist of this subject. And I thank you for sharing your non-USA perspective.

    1. Corporations are not people (citizens) – we agree. That is not a silly ground rule to clarify in this subject’s context.

    Why? Because not being “people”/”citizens in effect” says that they as an entity do NOT have the same rights and privileges as a “person”/”citizen” does under the Constitution. And this is where it is important: without clear agreement on this distinction the Corporatists here can couch any regulation of a Corporation’s activities, rights, and privileges as an attack on the actual Rights of actual Citizens.

    This to me is an important point – without emphatic distinction at the political and legislative and jurist level it allows an easier path for the powers that be to convince people/citizens to allow laws that favor corporations over society because they are lead to feel that defending corporate rights are defending their own rights as common citizens.

    I do think a reading of history supports how the propaganda of things like “what’s good for GM is good for the Nation” and “if they limit corporate political/social activity they limit my (common citizen) activity” can trick people to support things outside their best interests.

    2. While I hold (1) as I stated I agree that WITHIN THE BOUNDS (AS RELATED TO THEIR BUSINESS) OF THEIR CORPORATE CHARTER a Corporation can address political topics that concern them. I do believe the Charter of Incorporation is a State (Fed and Individual State) concern and can and should be issued with clear boundaries.

    But again I agree wholeheartedly that Corporations can advocate on issues related to their their business as per Charter. And non-commerce Incorporations (e.g. Unions, environmental groups, business groups, etc.) do like-wise. I would extend this to supporting specific candidates only if the members/stockholders given a ONE PERSON (not stock) ONE VOTE rule defined the candidate and terms.

  • concernedjoe

    Wow – did not mean to submit that yet!! I continue:

    3. No such restrictions (as in 2) can nor should exist for individual Citizens.

    4. The issue to me is MAINLY of allowing control of the narrative. No one – nor focus group – nor any entity person or otherwise can be allowed to control the narrative.

    Nothing can be allowed to incumber a free press that advocates for presentation of the truth as best they can to all Citizens, and nothing can be allowed to stifle view points.

    Money is concentrated in a few – they can easily arrange situations that limit the narrative and frankly pervert the truth.

    Something has to prevent that fair to all. The only way I see that is tenable now is by limits on money one can spend. The formula has to somehow allow (make possible) expression somewhat equal for all players. And a FREE press has to stay above it and be allowed to critic and expose honestly – and to that job effectively and forcefully.

    We are dangerously drifting away from this.

    5. As to Citizens United – I stand by Justice Stevens’ opinion.