Friday, January 21, 2011

No More Ben & Jerry's For Me

No, this isn't a diet thing. Ben Cohen was on America's Morning News this morning. He is starting up a campaign to amend the Constitution. Namely, he wants to silence Corporations.

Last year, the Supreme Court actually read the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
They found that limits placed on what corporations, unions, and others spend on political campaigns are unconstitutional. If you read the amendment, this is the only finding you can get out of it. There is no wiggle room. There is no clause at the end of the amendment saying that congress can legislate this amendment. It says "Congress shall make no law..." There is no way around that.

Ben doesn't like free speech. He thinks that corporations, no more than groups of like interested people, factions if you will, should not have, or have a limited voice in free speech. He wants to amend the Constitution to this end. Not only is this directly against what the Founders wanted, Madison speaks to this directly in his famous Federalist number 10

Says Madison:
There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.

Ben takes the first approach, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence. To this Madison replies:
It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it was worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.

Madison has a solution. It is in the Constitution. Representatives of the people are elected every two years, Senators every six. It gives the people, and the corporation a way to hold accountable its representatives, as plainly evidenced this last month, and two years before. The congress that left office, surely was not the congress that the corporations wanted. The congress that took office, especially in the Senate, is definitely not the one that the corporations wanted. You see Ben, despite the amount of money that is spent on individual campaigns, it is the people of the district that decide who is to represent them.
Despite massive corporate spending, Harry Reid still won his election. This is just a single example where the corporations were on the loosing side. The people of Nevada spoke. They wanted Harry Reid to stay. It is to the people that Reid is beholden to, never the corporations.

Free speech is not free if it is limited. I will express my displeasure with you, by never buying your product again. If offered free, I will not accept. I consider you a threat to my liberty, and I will not support your business, charities, or causes. I have the freedom of choice, and unlike you, I will not work to restrict that freedom for others.

Ben Cohen, ice cream man

James Madison, architect of the Constitution, fourth President of the United States, signer of the Constitution, author of the Federalist Papers, and first President to lead troops in to battle as President.

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