Monday, January 31, 2011

Free Speech: Our Money vs. Their Money

Politics and money: two words pretty much guaranteed to stir up controversy, but unfortunately not enough honest debate on their influence on each other.

Let's face it, today good intentions are insufficient...if you want to get your message out, it takes money. That's reality, and anyone who denies it is naive, dishonest, or both.

Of course, politics being what it is, the source of money that's used to send particular messages attracts scrutiny. This is as it should be, but I've noticed a certain amount of hypocrisy from the Left when it comes to financial issues. 

The liberal handwringing and gnashing of teeth over the Citizens United case and groups like Americans for Prosperity never ceases to amaze me.  Frankly, I just don't see the difference between getting millions of dollars from one group or another, and the source of the money doesn't necessarily prove or disprove the validity of a message.  It is pretty entertaining though, to watch a group sponsored by union money come and yell at you for taking corporate money. 

Last week I attended a great forum hosted by Americans for Prosperity on the subject of school choice.  I'm proud of the public school education I received (kindergarten all the way through law school), but my parents were very involved in my education and we lived in a good school district.  That's not true just a few miles away from where I grew up.  I want everyone to have the chance to get the same great education I did.  

There were a few dozen liberal protesters that showed up at the event, and wow, did they ever miss the point.  One guy had a poster that said "No Corporate Control of Our Schools."  Ummm, not a single person there that night was advocating for corporate takeover of the education system.  One protester yelled, "who paid you to be here?" at Dick Morris, and some other comment about how dare he fly in here and "tell us how to run our schools," to which Morris humorously responded that he wasn't paid at all to be there and he was actually a Florida resident, with a house about two hours away.  Ah, facts are pesky little things, aren't they?

Most offensively, when Ralph Reed commented that he was proud to be a Christian and a conservative, and then he said that he was glad that we have free speech rights in this country, a young man sitting in front of me jumped up and did a Nazi salute, while one of his friends yelled out "Fascists!"  

Excuse me?

How delusional do you have to be to think that "Nazi!" or "Fascists!" is an appropriate response to "free speech is great"?  Seriously, these guys must have gone to failing schools, or they would have known that the Nazis were the antithesis of free speech supporters.

If your first response to hearing a conservative opinion is to yell "Nazi," then you've just proved you have no argument at all.  Keep it up, you left wing bozos.  You and your little friends will all snicker at how fun it was to call a minister a Nazi, but you will never, ever win another person over to your side with that tactic.  

Remember, politics is a spectrum.  We win elections by energizing our base and convincing the moderates and independents our ideas are better.  As long as the conservative side continues to stick to facts and logic and act like adults, and the liberals just accuse us of being Nazis, racists, or whatever the nonsensical ad hominem attack of the day happens to be, we will continue to win.

For more on this issue, please check out this intriguing article from Timothy P. Carney at the Washington Examiner I found this weekend, with a comparison of organizations backed by George Soros and the Koch Brothers.  The quote I've included from the end of the article sums up very nicely the "moral difference" between the liberal and conservative sides.

...Finally, while Soros money and Koch money are superficially equivalent, there's a crucial distinction. If we take both sides at their word, Soros and other liberal donors spend in order to impose their preferences on others while the Kochs and other free-market donors spend in an effort to be left alone to buy and sell with willing parties.

The moral difference is this: Only one side is trying to compel others to conform to its preferences.

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