Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Column on US Supreme Court Squelching Liberty

Don?t Expect Court to Care for Liberty

Tibor R. Machan

The US Supreme Court ruled, on Monday, May 23rd, 2005, that to compel
people to support its propaganda with which they disagree does not violate
the First Amendment to the US Constitution, the one about everyone having
the right to freedom of speech. Yes, the court acknowledge, no one may be
coerced into funding some private party?s advertisements or related
speech. But when the government or some part of it decides it will
proselytize for something, it can make us all fund it.

Justice Scalia, writing for the majority in the 6 to 3 decision,
explained: "Compelled funding of government speech does not alone raise
First Amendment concerns." He added: "Citizens may challenge compelled
support of private speech, but have no First Amendment right not to fund
government speech."

Of course, since government has come to be legally authorized by courts
after courts to take money from people for whatever the government?s
agents want to fund, why would it not then extend this same legal
authority to fund propaganda? After all, government supports National
Public Radio, PBS, Voice of America and umpteen public service messages,
many of them contrary to what millions of American citizens want
supported. And, of course, thousands of government projects are funded
with which millions of Americans disagree.

In short, this is nothing very new. But it is a case that makes it very
clear and unambiguous that we aren?t free to spend our resources for our
purposes and that government may rob us to fund theirs. Why? Well, the
theory is, the government is us. Once the election is over, the
administration and its hooligans may all spend away at their hearts?
content since this isn?t a free country but a tyranny of the majority.

In a free country, in contrast, there would be nothing aside the
protection of our individual rights that government would be authorized to
have us all fund. That, as the US Declaration stated with no ambiguity at
all, is why governments are instituted among us: ?To secure these rights
(those listed in the Declaration, ones we all have and need protected).?
Because that is the only true public interest, the legal authorities of a
free society would be justified in spending funds on advancing it. That is
what we all would be paying the government to do, freely, by being
citizens of the country.

Supporting various special interest projects, such as promoting beef
eating, has absolutely no relationship to such a bona fide, genuine public
interest. But, because the original idea of what government is supposed to
do has been totally corrupted by now, and because one of the main force of
this corruption has been the US Supreme Court, it is hardly any wonder why
this same court reaffirmed government?s legal authority to loot us all of
our resources so as to promote yet another pet project the government?s
agents have cooked up.

As reported in The New York Times, ?Justice Scalia's opinion was joined by
Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Sandra Day O'Connor,
Clarence Thomas and Stephen G. Breyer,? while Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
concurred separately, saying that she viewed the assessments in all the
marketing cases as ?permissible economic regulation?.? Notice how chummy
all these otherwise quarrelling justice have become when it concerns
government spending the resources of the citizenry on matters having
absolutely nothing to do with the true public interest but with some
cockamamie project of its hirelings. Of course, they themselves are part
of this gang, so why would you expect it otherwise?

As an aside, this bit about how such spending amounts to ?permissible
economic regulation? is poppycock. The commerce clause, of Article 1,
Section 8, which empowers Congress ?to regulate commerce ... among the
several states? meant nothing like this mess of government intervention
the court has been rationalizing for decades now. It meant ?to regularize
commerce,? which had been irregular because the different colonies didn?t
share a common free market. The whole point was only to eliminate barriers
to the free flow of commerce, not to empower Congress to act like some
fascist or socialist economic planning agency.

Alas, if there were any integrity left to the US Supreme Court, we could
perhaps hope for some liberty in our future from that corner but that hope
has been squelched a long time ago.

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