Yesterday's Supreme Court Decision

My good buddy Eric asked me what I thought about yesterday's Supreme Court decision, and I am happy to oblige him with my wisdom.  My words will, of course, be the final authority on the issue and I'm sure all debate will cease after I have spoken.  Ha.

First of all, I want to say that it wasn't any of the Supreme Court's business to involve itself in the matter.  Whether I agree with McCain-Feingold or not, it is the legislative branch, not the judicial, that is to pass laws.  Otherwise, we end up with nine--or, in yesterday's case five--unelected, unaccountable people making laws for the country.  That is not what the Founding Fathers of this country had in mind.  The legislature legislates, the executive enforces, and the judicial applies the laws.  That is how it is supposed to be.

But, with that caveat, I agree with the decision.  People--individually and collectively--should be free to spend their money any way they desire, and if corporations want to pour millions of dollars into supporting a candidate, then that's their business; it's their money. Just because people are rich doesn't mean they shouldn't be free. Keep in mind that there have been no limitations on how much money unions can give to candidates. A lot of corporations will frequently give money to both candidates to cover themselves no matter who wins, so some of this argument is nothing more than politicians posturing for photo-ops.  That's a good way to get votes, too.  Get on TV a lot so people will know who you are.  And the fellow who is already in office gets that free TV time to scream his head off about how corporate money is ruining the electoral process.  What a pack of hypocrites.

It's also important to remember that there are always more "poor" (or middle class) people in a democracy than their are "rich" folks.  The poor can always outvote the rich, regardless of how much money the latter spend to get someone elected.  It's votes that count, not money.  Sure, more money is always advantageous; it is in nearly every walk of life.  How many poor people live in Malibu?  But in an election, money is never the sole factor in victory, and, especially in today's information saturated world, there are a multitude of ways to gain knowledge about candidates that have nothing to do with money.  Read this blog, for example. I'll tell you who to vote for, and it won't cost you a dime (though donations will always be graciously accepted, preferably in the millions....).

The scream against the decision, of course, is "fairness" and "equality."  But freedom is rarely fair and never results in equality.  Put me and Michael Jordan on a basketball court playing one-on-one, and if he is left "free," the game won't be "fair," and the result will certainly not be "equality."  This is, however, one of the greatest debates of our age and the issue for any self-governing people--do you want "fairness" and "equality" (if such is really possible, and I have my doubts), or "freedom" and "inequality"?  You cannot have both.  If people are free, they will not be equal.  If people are equal, they will not be free.  My inclination is towards freedom, which is why I support the decision.  Freedom can be abused, of course, but then, so can "equality."  Just look at the 20th century communist countries for full evidence of the latter. 

But freedom is dangerous without a virtuous citizenship.  As Burke said, it will produce "folly, vice, and madness, without restraint."  So...does that mean turning a country over to power-hungry politicians with the authority to control peoples' lives?  Ask the people of Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia about that option.  There's no easy choice in today's increasingly immoral world.  Our Founding Fathers had it right--government by a virtuous aristocracy of merit with the support of a virtuous populous.  Unfortunately, it didn't work, but that's because of the corrupt nature of the human animal.  People will abuse "equality" as surely as they will abuse "freedom"--and visa versa.  As I said, my tendency is towards freedom because I want people to mind their own business and leave me alone, and I want to enjoy the fruits of my labors.  And since equality is unnatural, the only way it can be achieved is through governmental force (DeTocqueville argued this, and correctly).  And that means I have to pay for it.  I don't especially like that, especially if those to whom I am forced to give haven't earned it.

Yet there is one more reason--the most important of all--that I lean towards freedom over equality and that is I cherish religious freedom above all else.  And it is almost an ironclad law of history that, whenever a government, or an individual, gets too much power, the first freedom restricted is religious freedom, simply because no absolute government can allow allegiance to any higher authority than itself.  A secular tyranny will attempt to destroy all religion; the Soviet Union being a case in point.  A religious tyranny--and there have been plenty of those--will limit any religion's freedom except the one it favors.  Power is a dangerous, dangerous thing, and the more of it that is in the hands of the wrong people, the graver the danger to freedom--religious and otherwise.  And if government is given the power to arbitrarily take away people's money in the name of "fairness" or "equality", then it can arbitrarily take away anything else under the guise of any excuse it may devise.  There must be stated, and adhered to, limitations on the powers of government--and the freedom to break from that government and form another in case tyranny develops.  Do I need to explain this to Americans today?  I fear I do.  I know I do.

The Supreme Court's decision yesterday--even though, as noted, it should never have been involved--was the correct one because the Constitution, nowhere, gives the federal government the right to ursurp to itself the powers granted under McCain-Feingold.  But then, it's been a long time--before the War Between the States--since politicians in Washington, D.C. paid any attention to the Constitution (Grover Cleveland, one of my favorite Presidents, was a rare, though inconsistent, exception).

This is an imperfect world, however.  Perfection lies on the other side of the grave, not this one.