Thursday, January 28, 2010

I'm A Professional, Eh

From the north of the border, here's David Warren, regarding Canada's "Nanny State" regulation of political spending, and thus speech:

Nanny audits political spending through an immense bureaucracy, which has the effect of reversing power relations between the "wise" political parties and those crazy voters.

Is this the argument for campaign spending controls? I think it is the real argument, but it is not the argument commonly offered. The "official" argument is that, sans Big Nanny, those big corporate interests on Bay Street or wherever would "buy" the elections.

This premise, in turn, is even more insulting to the electorate. It holds that we can be bought, as easily as politicians. The insult is also quite unfair. Canadians, as all other electors, have a human tendency to resent obvious attempts to buy them, and to express that resentment through the secret ballot. (It might be different if we, like the politicians, had the opportunity to benefit from the pay-offs directly.)


There are many and huge ramifications [of the Citizens United decision in the US], but the chief one is that the decision attacks the contemporary lobbying system. In effect, those advancing special interests are condemned to lobbying the entire electorate, instead of just lobbying the politicians behind closed doors. This directly undermines the political class. It goes to the heart of their ability to broker deals not in the public interest, and pass them into law without public debate.

And that in turn is why the response to the decision from the political class has been unfriendly to the edge of berserk. They correctly understand that "politics as usual" is now under review, actually and not rhetorically.

Read the whole thing, eh.

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