Thursday, January 26, 2006

Let the blogs out

The always interesting John McAdams outs the coming MJS story on regulating bloggers.

Careful readers of this blog may have discerned that restricting speech in the guise of campaign finance "reform" drives me to rend my garments. Treating blogs as a campaign contribution is pretty much tantamount to unadulterated suppression of pure speech. Blogging is more or less free. To place a value on it you'd either have to amortize the cost of a blogger's computer, electricity, internet connection (back to dial-up?), etc. Alternatively, you'd have to calculate the market value of something that no one really pays for.

Clearly, if you have a lot of bloggers (particularly those with traffic) who are supporting your candidacy, that will help you. Just like it will help you if you have a lot of people displaying your bumper stickers or yard signs. I am not a political professional, but I did major in political science and my general impression is that, in politics, it is better to have lots of support than a little.

The internet has created an electronic town square and has provided a forum for clever and not so clever) people who no one, in the past, would have ever heard to be heard - by, at the very least, his or her fellow political junkies and policy nerds. Sometimes bloggers do wonderful things; sometimes they behave in less admirable ways. That's free speech.

If restricting speech in the blogoshere is not unconstitutional, then I can see no bar to restricting every other form of communication that might influence an election.

If that doesn't scare you, then you must be Russ Feingold.

Aside: Incidentally, if you are of a certain age (or even if you are not), check out Prof. McAdams' web page on the Kennedy assasination. The radio traffic from the Dallas police department is fascinating. Kept me up to 2 in the morning one night.

2 comments:

Dad29 said...

If we can have "Hate Crimes" we can have the elimination of blog-speech.

Dean said...

Might want to check your link, Rick. I think this one works.

Nice article in Friday's paper, too.