I presume that all readers are familiar enough with football to understand what an “own goal” is
When during the run-up to the 2008 election Leftists tried to prevent distibution of a video critical of Hillary Clinton, the case eventually made it to SCOTUS. A central issue was that the video was made with assistance from corporate funding and the Left wanted that delegitimized.
In what has become known as the “Citizens United” case, however, SCOTUS ruled that a group of people (which is what a company is) have the same free speech rights as individuals, so corporate funding of political campaigns is OK.
Leftists have been fuming about that verdict ever since. Huge union contributions to political campaigns are OK but corporate donations are not, apparently. But it was the Left that forced the issue by their censorship campaign. Own goal!
The latest fumarole that has appeared is in the NYT (where else?), where a Harvard professor, BENJAMIN I. SACHS, points out that pension funds often buy corporate stock and that pension money may therefore be supporting political campaigns that the pension contributor disagrees with. With rather obscure logic, he argues that pensions therefore violate free speech. I suppose he is arguing that they are some form of forced speech.
There are so many things wrong with his argument with that it is difficult to know where to start (e.g. political contributions would normally be made out of revenue, not out of capital) but let me point out the argument that the good professor is careful NOT to make. He notes that unions have some restrictions on political uses of their members’ dues but is careful not to argue that pension funds should be barred from investing in corporations.
Why? Because pension funds buy corporate stock only because they see it as a good investment and if they were barred from such investments they might have to resort to buying things like California government bonds instead. Good luck with that!
Besides, coporations are big contributors to Green/Left campaigns anyway, so it could be the “free speech rights” of conservative union members that are being denied. So if the good professor’s wishes were translated into some form of action (e.g. a bar on all corporate political donations), it could well be the Green/Left that loses most, not conservatives. Own goal.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see TONGUE-TIED. Also, don’t forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here