Get the Money Out of Politics!

“Oh, no, my young Jedi. You will find that it is you who are mistaken… about a great… many… things.” – Emperor Palpatine, Return of the Jedi

MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan is launching a push to get the money out of politics (story here). He wants a Constitutional amendment to ban private campaign contributions.

It’s a common refrain, and everybody see’s there’s a problem. Money flows in, wins elections, curries favor, and the government is for sale. How do we stop it? Well, Ratigan says we should forbid money. That’s tricky though.

Suppose I want Mitt Romney to win the presidency in 2012. (I don’t, but suppose I do.) I mean I really, really want this. So, I decide to stand on a street corner and should really loudly that Mitt Romney is awesome (he’s not, just go with the story though). Is that fair? Is that freedom of speech?

Suppose I also go down to my local radio station and buy air time to declare to the masses that I support Romney. I start a blog and buy advertising at as many websites as I can think of, to declare my love for Romney and his magical underpants (OK, cheap Mormon joke … moving on). Am I free to do so? Is this freedom of speech? Freedom of expression?

Suppose I also call Mitt and ask him for help in designing my commercials and advertising; help which he willingly gives. I’ve now run afoul of campaign finance laws but seriously, isn’t this just freedom of speech coupled with freedom of association? Isn’t this a free country?

What part of this runs contrary to freedom? What part of this would you want to amend with the Constitution?

By now you’re coiling up the standard hey-maker of “bribes,” or “kickbacks,” or “crony capitalism,” or “special influence,” or “publicly funded bailouts,” or some other retort. (Careful friend – a laydown like the one I just gave that leaves the problem open to debate is a trap … and you ought to know as much.)

How do we address the problem of kickbacks and crony capitalism if we cannot limit money in politics? How do we do it? How do we ensure that the elected officials don’t betray the public trust and use public funds to prop up favored donors (Solyndra, anyone?) or other special interest groups?

Well, I propose that the answer is actually rather simple – and it doesn’t require a Constitutional amendment at all. Here’s what Jefferson had to say about it:

“In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution” – Thomas Jefferson

The answer is simple. It’s mind-bogglingly simple. It is so simple that the progressive mind cannot grasp it.

IF, and my is that a big if, the government had no power to misappropriate funds for kickbacks, bribes, entitlements, crony capitalism, or any other such thing – THEN there would be no reason for anyone to buy an election.

They’re not buying elections, they’re buying the goodies that go along with it. If there are no goodies – because the government has no power or authority to give away such goodies – then there would be no purpose to influencing the election other than a pure belief that one candidate is better than the other.

And why does this not require a Constitutional amendment? Because that is EXACTLY how the Constitution is written. We don’t need to change it – we only need to use it. We don’t need to modify it any (not on this point), we only need to let it actually reign as the law of the land (it still is, right?) and this all dissipates. It all goes away. It all vanishes.

If the government did not usurp power over the lives of free men, then nobody would stand to gain a monetary windfall through electioneering.

I say it is difficult for the progressive because they cannot conceive of a government in which the wise, elites do not rule over the rest of us with their grand wisdom and elitism for the betterment of all. The idea of free people governing their own lives and making their own decisions is beyond their grasp. This is why they think we need to change the Constitution.

And tell me, Mr. Ratigan, when there is no private money in the pot, how will elections be funded? Public money? And tell me, Mr. Ratigan, when only public money is used, will this increase or decrease the power of the entrenched political class and the Republican/Democrat parties? Don’t think too hard – the answer is rather obvious.

Why is it that every solution these guys come up with is a greater restriction on freedom? Consider what they’re actually saying here: “the system is corrupted, and the problem is that the people have too much freedom and are using it to tempt the poor congressmen into misbehaving.” Talk about blaming the victim. That sounds an awful lot like “well the blame is at least 50-50, I mean, did you see what she was wearing?”

Pull the plug Dylan.

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