“A Natural Right with Naturally Unequal Consequences”

John McGinnis:

I am in strong agreement with the Derek Muller’s opposition to Progressive ideas to reform laws relating to campaign speech. He is particularly eloquent on why the Framers believed that limiting government was the best route to eliminating political corruption—the opposite of the Progressive agenda, which seeks to expand the state.

We can build on his insight by suggesting new kinds of limitations. For instance, Congress should create rules that impede not only all appropriation earmarks but also other kinds of special interest legislation. That kind of reform would go much further toward dispelling the appearance of corruption in campaign contributions than ratcheting down the amount of these contributions. We should restrict the power of politicians before treading upon the speech rights of citizens.

In this brief essay, I would like to offer additional support in both political theory and our Constitution for Muller’s skepticism about Progressive campaign reform. Indeed, I can think of no issue more important in constitutional law today, because campaign reformers want to permit legislators to regulate electoral speech rather than curbing legislative corruption through the natural rights of speech expressly protected by our Constitution.

My response to Derek’s essay is here.


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