If money is speech, and speech is money...

Look, I really do understand the arguments about freedom of the press. I do. I also understand that there is a difference between a) the freedom not to be imprisoned for saying the King is a fink, and b) the right to hire a thousand criers in each of the King’s cities to insist that the King is a fink at all hours. Free speech absolutism seems to confuse the two.

As for legal bribery:

If money is speech, and speech is money, should seduction be prosecuted under anti-prostitution laws? How would that work?

If money is speech, and speech is money, then begging is an exchange of value for value. Wow, that’s amazing.

If money is speech, and speech is money, then bribery could still be unethical as a form of inappropriate conversation.

If money is speech, and speech is money, then I should be able to use a loudspeaker to make my dollars bigger. Does this make them worth more?

If money is speech, and speech is money, it should be literally possible to sing for my supper. Or is music *not *speech?


Nobody really believe in Free Speech Absolution, it is mainly a term invented by some people who wants to introduce blasphemy laws. But in any case, how did you make this work in your mind: “If money is speech, and speech is money, should seduction be prosecuted under anti-prostitution laws? How would that work?” – is it because you think throwing money at girls is how seduction works, then I think you need to work a bit on your game.

Can you explain the difference between the two? Are you arguing that freedom of speech only applies to what an individual says, and that the government can suppress speech if two people are saying it, or if one woman is printing it and disseminating it to each of the King’s cities?

You see some line here that I do not.

Do you understand the fallacy of composition? Crows are black birds. That does not mean that black birds are crows.

And yet your entire post seems to hinge on this fallacy. :dubious:

Political money is political speech in the same sense that a printing press is speech or canvassing is speech. If a government curtails the amount of money that I can spend on distributing a message, that is equivalent to curtailing how many newspapers I can print or how many doors I can knock on. In that sense then of course money is speech, just as volunteering is speech or printing is speech. A person engaged in volounteering or printing for a political campaign doesn’t even need to be able to speak or read. But everybody would agree that such a person is exercising their right to political speech. Someone working 4 hours of overtime so they can donate to their political party is exercising their right to political speech in exactly the same way. To have freedom of speech everyone has to be free to decide how best to use their time to benefit their political aims, regardless of whether that use of time involves any actual speech of any kind.

Conversely, political speech is political money. If someone is delivering a message by the use of funds, then the delivery of the equivalent message must be equivalent to those funds.

But that doesn’t mean that black birds are crows as you seem to think. To a crack addict, drugs are a currency and currency is drugs. I doubt anybody would argue with that. That doesn’t allow you to conclude that aspirin is currency accepted by a dime store clerk, as you seem to believe. The equivalency only holds true on issues of illicit drugs and addicts.

I really suggest that you examine the fallacy of composition and then come back to GD.

You tried to write an OP full of deliberate stupidity, and succeeded.

Money is not speech, but it is a necessary prerequisite for speech. Despite your attempts to feign ignorance, this is a fact that has been deliberately and repeatedly exploited by people trying to suppress speech they don’t like. Why do you think the Obama administration pressured banks into cutting off service to pornographers and whistleblowers if not to do precisely that?

Food is also not speech, but that does not mean that starving people to death for saying things you don’t like would not be an attack on the first amendment.

That neither of those first statements is true.

Well, no, you don’t. Because you’ve been misinformed if you think the Supreme Court ruled that “money is speech,” so your entire thesis is based on a straw man.

Here’s what the Supreme Court said: “A restriction on the amount of money a person or group can spend on political communication during a campaign necessarily reduces the quantity of expression by restricting the number of issues discussed, the depth of their exploration, and the size of the audience reached.”

I find that logic impossible to argue with, but I disagree on the principle at stake. I am totally fine with limiting the amount of money that can be used for certain types of political activity, because I believe there are yuuuuuuge benefits to society for maintaining a more level playing field for political activity relating to elections. In fact, as time goes by, I’m more and more convinced that public funding of elections is a far more just and democratic method of electioneering.

Public funding of elections necessarily means restrictions on private money, and thus certain kinds of speech. I could go into the benefits that I see in this approach, but I don’t think that’s necessary at this time given that the OP simply needs to be corrected in the straw man premise of his post.

It is if you sing well enough.

While we’re at it, let’s dispense with “if corporations are people…” meme as well.

It’s already been mentioned that your “speech = money” theory is fundamentally unsound. Money is not a form of expression. It is a representation of economic value used for exchange. You might as well say “speech = lamp”.

It wouldn’t work because it’s a stupid premise. Prostitution is an exchange of goods for sex. Since nothing is exchanged with “seduction”, it wouldn’t be prostitution.

Now go try to spend “begging”.

[quote=“foolsguinea, post:1, topic:745523”]

If money is speech, and speech is money, then bribery could still be unethical as a form of inappropriate conversation.

Try it and see.

It is possible. If you’re Paul McCartney, Madonna, P-Diddy or Bono.

That’s another one that drives me crazy. Corporations are not “people”. They are treated as a distinct legal “person” to separate the assets of the company from the personal assets of the owners.

The other one that pisses me off is the “sudden revelation” about the “real unemployment rate” statistic. The unemployment rate has always been calculated as the % of the workforce who is actively looking for work but can’t find it. If you are retired, a student, a stay at home mom/dad or simply gave up looking, you aren’t considered “in the workforce” and are not part of the unemployment rate statistic. But it seems like some particular right-leaning media keep trying to make the “real unemployment rate” seem much higher so as to incite the uneducated masses who never completed freshman Economics 101, as if it’s some big conspiracy.

Yep. They want to cherry pick the measure that make the other side look worse. There is a principled argument to be made about which unemployment rate (there are lots of measures) is best to use, but when comparing historical rates, you have to use the same one, else you’re comparing apples and oranges.

I’m confused about your position.

Those who think regulation of spending on speech is constitutional often claim that the ban on such regulation is based on a claim that “money is speech.” So are you quibbling with that? Or are you exposing the fact that the claim actually never happened and no court ever equated money and speech?

I need to know before I either enthusiastically praise you and join in, or bash the hell out of you. :wink:

And, of course, no court has ever said money is speech.

Money is a resource that can be used in the assertion of one’s right to speech, or any other right, and therefore a regulation of using that resource to assert that right is not allowed.

I like to compare that to other rights, for instance, suppose the government banned the sale of Bibles? Or the payment of a doctor for an abortion? You could copy your own bible by hand, or convince a doctor to give you an abortion for free–since they are rights, after all–as long as no money is exchanged. Those laws would be overturned in a heartbeat, of course.

I also like to point out that groups that oppose Citizens United are busy spending money on political ads declaring their desire to allow the outlawing of spending money on political ads.

No kidding.

Not only did Citizens United not say corporations are people, it actually acknowledged that they are NOT people when it said that it doesn’t matter whether they are people or not:

Yeah, but they are spending money on speech for a good reason. That makes a big difference.

As with “money is speech,” courts have not said that corporations have speech rights by virtue of being people. They’ve said it doesn’t matter - they have speech rights regardless, because speech is protected, regardless of the source of the speech.

Sorry to have to ask this, but you’re being sarcastic, right?

What do you mean by “legal bribery?”

Are you talking about donations to candidates? Or spending money directly on speech?

If the former, the “money is speech” discussion is entirely different. Donations to candidates have been severely limited for 40+ years and no court has said they can’t be (to simplify).

If you are talking about spending money on speech, well, that’s spending money on speech, not “bribery.” It’s the hiring of those thousand criers saying the King is a fink. There is no distinction between that and saying it yourself, and it has nothing to do with “absolutism.”

Propose a law banning the spending of money on computers and internet access and suddenly people will understand the money/speech thing.

I think “money is speech” is fair paraphrase of Buckley v. Valeo’s holding that you quote. What aspect gets lost such that a distinction is necessary? Would changing it to “money is a form of speech” or “money can be used as a form of speech” or “money can be used to facilitate speech” be better?