Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Speech is not Money (and vice versa)
“Speech is not money.” Most of us can at least agree on that much, so you'd think it would be enough to simply say, "Therefore money is not speech." But in our logic-starved world, that just isn’t enough anymore. I must convince you further that money is not speech or you might falsely believe, as our corporate sponsored Supreme Court declared again today, that it IS. In an attempt to clear up this confusion about what is and is not “speech” I’ll make an argument to support my view that money is NOT speech, followed by the only logical argument I can think of to support the opposing view (i.e. the Court’s view).
ARGUMENT FOR: Speech is the use of words, written or spoken, to convey a message. If a message is intended to cause an action or influence an opinion, a message must contain relevant information to that end. In addition, that information must make sense to the listener in order to elicit some sort of logical response. Now depending on the predisposition of the listener and the quality of the message, the response may vary from: A.) Total agreement and support, up to and including the smooth completion of a task or action, to B.) Complete disagreement and refusal to cooperate, up to and including a punch in the nose. Other influences that may affect the impact of the message, such as: Which way the wind is blowing? Are the listener’s shoes comfortable? Is there a duck in the room? etc. are not considered speech, even though they may in fact alter the response of the person being addressed. Can you think of anything else that might affect the impact of a message, or alter a listener’s response? …BINGO! You guessed it. A fistful of cash. Of course cash isn’t speech any more than a duck in the room, or a gun to the head is, but it sure gets results when words (i.e. speech) fails. Now here’s why it matters. In some countries guns and intimidation equal power over the masses and in other countries extreme wealth equals power… and in both cases that power is all too often used (after speech fails) to thwart the will of the people. Thank you for listening. I hope you will agree with me that money is NOT free speech.
ARGUMENT AGAINST: Don’t listen to that idiot up there. If you agree with me I'll give you $100.00... Okay, you drive a hard bargain... $200, but you owe me.