Fixing Citizens United

    1. Not the Chamber of Commerce’s coinage
    2. How Stupid?
    3. Fixing Citizens United


My fair city (well, “Greater” my fair city) is doubling down this summer on its new slogan: “The shortest distance between two points is under construction.”


Two ideas so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them. Indeed, the second one’s so perversely stupid that it might require a Harvard intellectual:

Even more disturbing to me personally, as someone who registered as a Democrat back in 1972, are the disgraceful and dangerous ideas emanating from the university world, which is universally dominated by the Left. For example, the recent movement on several campus to re-segregate student housing by race — in the name of “diversity and inclusion.” This is a species of doublethink that would make George Orwell gasp, and I have yet to hear of a college president or dean who dares to object. The sanctioning of this deranged hypocrisy is shaping a generation that could easily turn into political monsters when they eventually come into power …

(James Howard Kunstler, emphasis added)

This is the self-proclaimed male feminist who wrote an incredibly popular article in the New York Times about sexual harassment on Wall Street, and who proposed that the way to end gender inequality in the workplace is for “men of status” such as “hedge fund founders” to speak about women with respect—failing to realize that, by designating men as the protectors of women, he is only further reinforcing patriarchal norms.

This is the man who uses his feminist credentials as a shield to defend himself against women’s claims that he harassed or assaulted them—because how could he, a feminist, possibly participate in the oppression of women? After all, he is not like those other men. He voted for Hillary Clinton, attended a workshop on consent, wrote an op-ed about women’s rights—how could he possibly perpetuate systemic violence against women?

What these male feminists fail to realize is that, as men, they will always be oppressors. No matter how many feminist marches they attend or how much feminist literature they read, they are not exempt from perpetuating the subordination of women. Their support of the women’s movement does not erase the fact that they, on an individual level, are capable of harassing, assaulting, or silencing women—nor that, on a structural level, they continue to benefit from a system that establishes male dominance at the expense of women. And even though male allies may genuinely feel guilty, they will continue to benefit from male privilege. The patriarchy does not offer special exceptions for men with good intentions. Men, as a class, are culpable for misogyny, and male allies are no different and no less capable of demeaning women through their words, actions, and complicit silence.

(Nian Hu in the Harvard Crimson, emphasis added; H/T Denny Burk)

If he dares presumptuously to speak out against misogyny, “he is only further reinforcing patriarchal norms.” If he sensitively honors Hu’s implied STFU, it’s “complicit silence.” A man absolutely can’t win in Hu’s world.


Think Citizens United is terrible and the fix is easy?

[L]eading press entities continue to decry the rulings in Buckley and Citizens United, even as their own freedom to speak about candidates and elections as they choose and to spend however much they choose (or are able) to spend in that regard is unlimited. A telling example surfaced after Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito pointed out in 2012 that in cases involving the press, the Supreme Court had long since established that media corporations possessed sweeping First Amendment rights. “The question,” he said, “is whether speech that goes to the very heart of government should be limited to certain preferred corporations: namely, media corporations.” The very idea, he urged, “that the First Amendment protects only certain privileged voices should be disturbing to anybody who believes in free speech.”

The response of the New York Times was one of consternation. The press was protected, it argued in an editorial because of its function, “the vital role that the press plays in American democracy.” According to the Times, the Citizens United majority had “never explained why any corporation that does not have a press function warrants the same free speech rights as a person.”

But the Times’s editorial fully, if inadvertently, vindicated Justice Alito’s submission that it viewed itself as “preferred” in that it could exist in corporate form and receive full First Amendment protection while nonmedia corporations — universities, museums, theaters, bookstores, and not-for-profit entities such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association that take positions on public issues — would not.

As for nonmedia corporations, if the Times’s position were correct, as Brooklyn Law School professor Joel Gora has observed, its corporate owners could “endorse a presidential candidate on page twenty-six” while “the corporate owners of General Motors” could be held criminally liable for publishing an ad with the identical message on page twenty-five. Or for publishing a message that disagreed with that of the Times.

(Floyd Abrams)

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Men are men before they are lawyers or physicians or manufacturers; and if you make them capable and sensible men they will make themselves capable and sensible lawyers and physicians. (John Stuart Mill, Inaugural Address at St. Andrew’s, 1867)

“Liberal education is concerned with the souls of men, and therefore has little or no use for machines … [it] consists in learning to listen to still and small voices and therefore in becoming deaf to loudspeakers.” (Leo Strauss)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.