Whatever the question, a growing segment of the culture thinks the answer is always more regulation of political speech. Do you tell people what candidate to vote for? You should be regulated. Do you avoid telling people what candidate to vote for? You are a liar; you really want to tell people which way to vote, but aren’t admitting it. You should be regulated. Do you spend a lot of money on political speech? That level of spending is grotesque. You should be regulated. Do you spend only a little? The laws are working. Let’s pass more of them. Are you a nonprofit that pays no taxes? You’re getting a gift and should be regulated. Are you a for-profit entity that does pay taxes? You’re distorting democracy and should be regulated!
It’s time we realized that the tax and campaign finance laws that apply to political speakers are designed to prevent people from speaking effectively and that many opinion leaders want to use them to do just that. If we want to prevent another scandal like this from happening — and more importantly, if we want to protect our ever-dwindling right to freedom of speech — we need to recognize that we can have freedom of speech or we can have a regulated marketplace of ideas, but we cannot have both.
This iconic picture of firefighters raising the stars and stripes in the rubble of Ground Zero was nearly excluded from the 9/11 Memorial Museum — because it was “rah-rah” American, a new book says.
Michael Shulan, the museum’s creative director, was among staffers who considered the Tom Franklin photograph too kitschy and “rah-rah America,” according to “Battle for Ground Zero” (St. Martin’s Press) by Elizabeth Greenspan, out next month.
“I really believe that the way America will look best, the way we can really do best, is to not be Americans so vigilantly and so vehemently,” Shulan said.
Look at this description of Detroit from today’s Observer:
What isn’t dumped is stolen. Factories and homes have largely been stripped of anything of value, so thieves now target cars’ catalytic converters. Illiteracy runs at around 47%; half the adults in some areas are unemployed. In many neighbourhoods, the only sign of activity is a slow trudge to the liquor store.
Now have a look at the uncannily prophetic description of Starnesville, a Mid-Western town in Ayn Rand’s dystopian novel, Atlas Shrugged. Starnesville had been home to the great Twentieth Century Motor Company, but declined as a result of socialism:
A few houses still stood within the skeleton of what had once been an industrial town. Everything that could move, had moved away; but some human beings had remained. The empty structures were vertical rubble; they had been eaten, not by time, but by men: boards torn out at random, missing patches of roofs, holes left in gutted cellars. It looked as if blind hands had seized whatever fitted the need of the moment, with no concept of remaining in existence the next morning. The inhabited houses were scattered at random among the ruins; the smoke of their chimneys was the only movement visible in town. A shell of concrete, which had been a schoolhouse, stood on the outskirts; it looked like a skull, with the empty sockets of glassless windows, with a few strands of hair still clinging to it, in the shape of broken wires.
Beyond the town, on a distant hill, stood the factory of the Twentieth Century Motor Company. Its walls, roof lines and smokestacks looked trim, impregnable like a fortress. It would have seemed intact but for a silver water tank: the water tank was tipped sidewise.
They saw no trace of a road to the factory in the tangled miles of trees and hillsides. They drove to the door of the first house in sight that showed a feeble signal of rising smoke. The door was open. An old woman came shuffling out at the sound of the motor. She was bent and swollen, barefooted, dressed in a garment of flour sacking. She looked at the car without astonishment, without curiosity; it was the blank stare of a being who had lost the capacity to feel anything but exhaustion.
“Can you tell me the way to the factory?” asked Rearden.
The woman did not answer at once; she looked as if she would be unable to speak English. “What factory?” she asked.
Rearden pointed. “That one.”
Now here’s the really extraordinary thing. When Ayn Rand published those words in 1957, Detroit was, on most measures, the city with the highest per capita GDP in the United States. […]
Do you share the widespread assumption that morality has to be based on religion? If so, are you willing to check that assumption?
Both those on the Left and those on the Right, both the foes and friends of capitalism, take it to be axiomatic that only an external authority–God or “Society”–can ground morality.
I’m going to show you that’s wrong. I’m going to show the objective, absolute, secular reason why capitalism is the only moral social system. And the evidence that I’m right about this, the evidence that morality is absolute but secular, is contained, under the surface, in the positions of those on the Right, even when religious, and those on the Left, even when multiculturalist/relativist. In actual practice–pronouncements to the contrary notwithstanding–both sides appeal to and use secular morality to justify their political positions.