The Trial by Public Domain
The Supreme Court of the United States yesterday continued the process of dismantling any semblance of constitutional democracy in this country. The court ruled by a 7 to 2 margin that a California law which banned the sale of violent video games to minors violated the game manufacturer's free speech rights. While from a purely academic standpoint there might have been a germ of an argument, in a real world environment the court's ruling is an objective absurdity. The California law does not outlaw possession of the video game by minors it merely creates a gateway by which minors must obtain parental consent.
The video game manufacturers pointed to their own voluntary code and labeling of violent video games but imagine voluntary codes for driving automobiles. Codes with no penalties, please don't rob the bank or please don't drink and drive. Society has learned long ago that voluntary codes don't work. I learned the same about voluntary codes when I was buying cigarettes at age twelve.
The court also declared a thirteen year old Arizona public campaign finance law unconstitutional on free speech grounds because it violated the rights of opposing candidates. The court is returning again to their recurring theme that money equals speech. So if I wanted to run for the office of Governor and wanted to use ten million dollars of my own personal fortune to do so. The court has ruled that my free speech rights are violated when the state uses matching funds to assist other candidates running for the same office.
The court did not merely open the floodgates by allowing corporate money to pour in to our elections by invalidating the Campaign Finance Reform law. It more succinctly set in place a precedent, a foundation stone, that from here on out, money rules. Last week the court ruled in favor of generic drug manufactures, stating that they had no obligation to provide information over and above the original manufacturers. While that decision might not have sounded extreme or revolutionary, the court is sending a signal that they are prepared to de-legislate from the bench. The will of the people in any state, city or municipality to legislate any control over any industry, any chemical or any product will be now be considered a hindrance to the free speech rights of the manufacturers.
The courts ruling is designed to strip from government the power to legislate. Cigarette warning labels are a violation of the tobacco company's free speech. Joe Camel ads on the back of a Captain Crunch box? Sure why not? Making food producers list the ingredients of their products or forcing manufactures to list how much sugar or how much fat is in their product? This is where this ruling will lead; telling the public of a product's unhealthy ingredients is to limit the corporation's free speech. This court holds the rights of the corporation in greater esteem than the right of the public to know.
Say good bye to, "Know when to say when" campaigns instead, "Have another Budweiser! Cause it's a long drive home!"
<blockquote>"This is a historic and complete win for the First Amendment and the creative freedom of artists and storytellers everywhere," said Michael D. Gallagher, president of the Entertainment Software Association.<\blockquote>
Well, yes and no, the corporations may claim that free speech won, but I wouldn't plan any Mapplethorpe exhibits in the local high school any time soon.
"Even where the protection of children is the object, the constitutional limits on governmental action apply," Antonin Scalia
Who decides what that constitutional limit of government will be? Why the court does, of course. A puritanical Taliban that will rule over all offices of our government. This ruling is a complete inversion and perversion of what free speech is all about. The court has put their thumbs on the scales of justice; free speech has nothing to do with regulatory power.
<blockquote>"California has singled out the purveyors of video games for disfavored treatment -- at least when compared to booksellers, cartoonists and movie producers -- and has given no persuasive reason why," Antonin Scalia<\blockquote>
Scalia obviously lives in some alternative universe, minors can't buy Hustler magazine nor can they purchase books or movies from adult book stores by statue. As for cartoons, we are back at the original argument about minors and gateways. Either the court is saying to the public that minors have the same free speech rights as adults or the court is saying that government has no legitimate right to legislate due to a corporations free speech rights.
It's funny, I was in an antique shop the other day and there was an old quart beer bottle up on the shelf that advertised, "Family size." I joked, "Sure kids, drink up!" Scalia's argument turns that joke into a legitimate question. Adding the California ruling to the Campaign Finance Reform decision, why can't big tobacco place cigarette vending machines in elementary schools? To ban them would be to infringe on big tobacco's free speech rights. The companies would argue School administrators have singled out the purveyors of tobacco for disfavored treatment, for don't the schools have vending machines which sell pencils and soft drinks?
Of course I'm taking this to the tenth degree but only to make a point, that this court ruling had nothing to do with video games. This ruling was about ensconcing court power and castrating legislative power. No more, firearm bans, no more warning labels, no more safety warnings. Why should an automakers free speech rights be abridged to inform the public of their miles per gallon ratings as mandated by the government? In fact, what right does the government have to inspect meat processors for cleanliness or safety? If the inspectors found anything deficient that would merely be the government's opinion and it would trample upon the meat packers free speech rights by defaming their products in the eyes of the public.
This is the toxic cesspool upon which corporate fascism shall build their Brave New World. The makers of the drug Zyprexea have been sued by several states for selling Zyprexea off label. Off labeling is when drug companies sell a drug for uses that it was never approved for by the Food and Drug Administration. In the wake of the courts decision, I imagine the drug company check books have now closed forever. Why the government is violating the drug companies free speech rights! The government by legislation has limited where and when the drug makers can sell their products, if Lilly says Zyprexea can make you fly or can give you a bigger pecker or a rounder ass by this Supreme Court's decree that becomes protected free speech.