Bits and Pieces

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

More on Free Political Speech

I've tried to post this four times now, but Blogger decided to steal it for it's own dastardly purposes. Damned Blogger.


I've never thought about campaign finance reform as a priority until a few weeks ago. See, here in the UK elections are played out very differently than they are in the US. We don't go for the vastly expensive, year-long marathons you have over there. We don't have multi-million dollar advertising budgets.

We settle instead for a more toned down affair. Maybe the candidates will submit to a few interviews with the likes of Jeremy Paxman on the BBC (not the light option, trust me), a few town hall meetings and a hell of a lot of hand shaking and baby kissing. All in all out candidates don't need $100 million campaign budgets. They don't need to spend so much time raising money. I'm not quite sure why this is, but it seems as if there was some sort of gentleman's agreement many decades ago that we wouldn't resort to buying elections. Maybe it's just that the British people are generally too stingy to waste millions on a long, drawn out campaign. Who knows?

But I digress. Something Dean Esmay said in response to my previous post on the subject made me think. He said: 'I intend to do everything I can to openly defy these vile laws.' In addition to this, a commenter on one of my Command Post pieces remarked: 'This hearkens back to an ancient tenet of the Internet: "Usenet considers censorship a form of network failure, and routes around it."'

As far as I can see, a core characteristic of Americans is that they will happily defy any unjust law. You could extend this to unjust rule, regarding your rejection of British rule all those years ago - but let's not go on about it, eh?

What seems a constant in American history is the fact that whenever an unjust law is passed not only will there be a concerted popular effort to defy it, but someone will always find a way to make a fast buck off that defiance. Just ask Al Capone.

But abolition isn't the only example of Americans defying ridiculous laws. In states that ban fireworks, citizens travel across state lines to pick up all the rockets and Catherine wheels they need. Not only do the citizens defy a stupid law, but the businessmen who spot the gap in the market and open shop yards from the state line make out like bandits.

Another example: states such as New Hampshire that have no sales tax see a flood of shoppers pour in every day from neighbouring staes such as Vermont and Maine. Not so much an unjust law, but a nice bonus for the citizens. Again, the shoppers avoid the tax, and the store owners bring in the money hand over fist.

See, every time the government passes an unjust law, not only do they achieve the opposite of wha they intended but they always - always - end up in a worse position than if they hadn't passed it at all.

Forget my idea about outsourcing articles to the UK. Now I'm imagining towns sprouting just over the Mexican and Canadian borders, towns supported by hordes of bloggers crowding internet cafes each posting anything they want without fear of punishment, exercising the free speech that was first born when a few well-meaning souls added a little something to the Constitution many years ago. Screw the FEC.
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