If the government tells you how to spend your money, is it a free country?

While this court case was decided back in 2010, people are still upset about this ruling. My politics class required us to write about it, so here goes.

Citizens United v. FEC

 “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

 – 1st amendment of the US Constitution

 In the case of Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court was justified in ruling that parts of BCRA were unconstitutional.  Prior to this ruling, Citizens United would be prevented from airing a documentary 30 days before an election, while allowing, for example, a media conglomerate, the right to promote candidates.  To limit the rights of certain entities to publish information, expressly goes against what this country stands for.

America was founded on principles that maximize freedom from government. This country was made for people to be autonomous. Through the limiting of governmental powers, establishing a system of checks and balances and allowing representatives and people to make decisions, rather than a single leader, the founding fathers created the closest thing in existence to a “free” country.

When a government dictates what is allowed to be said or how an entity can spend their money, the entity, whether a business or a person, is no longer autonomous. The exchange of information in the marketplace of ideas is severely limited when the government, rather than the people, acts as the gatekeepers to information.

It was never the government’s job to dictate how a private entity spends its money. Unfortunately, there are people in our country that want to limit freedom. They want the government to be able to be in control of what messages make it out into the public. Regardless of what type of entity, whether it’s you or your family’s restaurant, or the union your friend belongs to or your favorite charity, these people wanted to dictate and limit others’ ability to spend the money they earned on promoting their ideas.  People who want to restrict entities’ ability to spend their money as they deem fit, have motives that run counter to the Constitution.

According to Steve Simpson, from the Institute for Justice, “The larger & more powerful the government, the greater the incentive is to spend more & lobby more to take control of that government.” To prevent corrupt governments issuing monopolies on information, it’s imperative that corporations, unions, families and people are allowed to bring their ideas to the masses. Freedom of speech puts power in the hands of people, rather than that of governments and their cronies.

The first amendment was put in place so that people, not governments, could share information, without a governmental filter, to make the most informed decision about choices that affect their lives. The Supreme Court was justified in breaking down an unconstitutional barrier to free speech. This ruling was a victory for people over oppression and tyranny.

Start a political career with Consolidated Student of the University of Nevada

Want to get into politics but don’t know where to start? Never been to so much as a city council meeting? Have no idea what Robert’s Rules of Order are? Start your foray into politics by running for a position in student government during the summer!

This summer, four positions have opened up on the senate. Currently, a seat for the College of Fine Arts will open up this month. Positions for the senate will be for the duration of the 42 senate session term, which ends at the end of October 2012.

Senators are expected to come to every senate meeting, which, during the summer, are every other Monday and begin at 4 PM. Beginning in Fall 2012, meetings are every Monday night at 6 PM. Senators will vote on legislation, scholarships, grants, funding for student organizations and UNLV parties. Senators will be required to serve on two committees, ranging from Safety & Awareness to Scholarships to Ways & Means. Senators are required to spend at least five hours per week doing office hours in the the CSUN offices.

If being a senator doesn’t interest you, positions for assistant directors will be available this summer which last for a term ending in May of 2013. Assistant directors help student government directors in various offices such as Nevada Student Affairs, Marketing & Design and Elections, etc. If you have a talent for speech writing, research or graphic design, you can easily build a professional portfolio that will be presentation ready come graduation.

For more information about running for an open position on CSUN senate or for an assistant director position, come visit the CSUN offices on the third floor of the student union. All senate positions receive monetary compensation in the form of $50/ meeting as well as $1,500 per semester.

Nevada’s Illusion of Choice

Nevada’s known for its Libertarian leanings. “Stay off my property!” “Don’t charge me taxes!” “Parents can educate their own kids!” Suffice to say, Nevadans are highly suspicious of their government and those who claim to represent the voice of the people.

When it comes time for elections, Nevada’s voters are the only ones who can choose, “none of the above candidates” at the ballot box. Unfortunately, all votes cast for “none of the above candidates” are disregarded by ballot counters. According to the Las Vegas Weekly, columnist Rick Lax wrote,

“Walden Earhart won the 1976 Republican primary for Nevada’s at-large congressional district with 9,831 votes. Opponent Dart Anthony only received 8,097, but the popular ‘none of these candidates,’ received a whopping 16,097 votes … which were thrown out, giving Earhart the win.”

What?! Why give people the option to vote for “none of the above candidates” if they’re going to be thrown out, regardless? It makes no sense. A special election should be held and new candidates should be able to run, while those that lost should not be able to run during this special election. Nevadan’s votes should be counted.

Unfortunately, thanks to a new lawsuit, some people want to take away choice and force voters to vote for “the lesser of two evils” although they certainly aren’t phrasing it that way. According to Matt Hufman of the Las Vegas Sun,

“The lawsuit wants to force people to choose between candidates, arguing that without ‘none’ on the ballot in the races for president and senator, voters will ‘cast their votes for one of the candidates running for those offices, including Gov. (Mitt) Romney and Sen. (Dean) Heller.’ As an example, the lawsuit cites a Republican who says he plans to vote for ‘none,’ adding that if he doesn’t have that option, he’ll pick Romney.”

Nevada needs choices. This lawsuit should be shot down and “none of the above candidates” votes should count in elections.