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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Who's the totalitarian?

I sometimes think of freedom as consisting of a trilogy: economic freedom, political freedom and civil liberties. The importance of preserving civil liberties often receives great emphasis. My take is that economic and political freedom are root and branch of the tree of liberty. Civil liberties are more of a blossom or flower. Complaints about the administration's real or imagined infringement on civil liberties while ignoring some groups attacks on free speech really miss this crucial point. It is particularly misleading when the President is compared to Hitler. The implication, I assume, is that somehow he is a totalitarian facist. This misses by a mile as the excerpt below demonstrates. (emphasis mine)

In this best of the web, James Taranto excerpts a Washington Post article.

The Democratic National Committee is attempting to use the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law to suppress a documentary critical of John Kerry. Sinclair Broadcasting, which owns 62 TV stations nationwide, plans next week to air "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal," which features interviews with former prisoners of war who feel betrayed by Kerry's antiwar activism. The Washington Post reports:

Sinclair's decision . . . is drawing political fire--not least from the Democratic National Committee, which plans to file a federal complaint today accusing the company of election-law violations. "Sinclair's owners aren't interested in news, they're interested in pro-Bush propaganda," said DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe, whose complaint will accuse the firm of making an in-kind contribution to the Bush campaign.

If this is an in-kind contribution, what is "Fahrenheit 9/11"? How about Bruce Springsteen's pro-Kerry concerts, or for that matter newspaper editorials endorsing one candidate or another?

All these things of course are constitutionally protected free speech, as is "Stolen Honor." McAuliffe's complaint is frivolous, though it does underscore the absurdity of campaign finance laws that attempt to silence some political speech while carving out an exception for the media.

As well, it underscores the authoritarian nature of the political left when it comes to political speech. Liberals are quick to cry"censorship" when others merely criticize far-left or anti-American speech (remember the Dixie Chicks?), but they are eager to use the force of government to silence those with whom they disagree.

Who's the totalitarian?!

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