On Dec. 10, 2003, freedom took two body blows. The first was the decision by the Supreme Court of the United States to permit the limitation of political speech. This is not exotic dancing or flag burning. This is "Vote for Sam Smith" -- the beating heart of our democracy. The Supreme Court has just tied a gag around our mouths, and most of the intellectual class is delighted. Apologists obscure the crude reality of this repression by calling it "campaign finance reform." Well, you can call manure a cow pie, but it still stinks.
The second blow was the death of Robert L. Bartley, editor of The Wall Street Journal, whose death at age 66 leaves the world of ideas a bit wobbly, like losing one leg of a four-legged chair. More on Bartley in a moment.
I'd like to say that it's hard to believe that the Supreme Court would uphold such an obvious assault on liberty as the McCain-Feingold bill. But then, this is the same court that finds "constitutional" justifications for race-based preferences and late-term abortions. These decisions, and many others, are unhinged from anything in the text of the document. Anyone who has not noticed that a majority of the court simply enacts its whims has not been paying attention.
Liberals have howled for three solid years now that in 2000, the conservatives on the court stampeded over the law to place their preferred candidate in the White House. (The truth is that the Democrats had successfully suborned the Florida Supreme Court to flout the law and the U.S. Supreme Court merely stopped them from hijacking the election.) But look carefully at McConnell vs. Federal Election Commission, and what do you find? The conservatives on the court were vehemently opposed to this assault on speech despite the fact that these restrictions will undoubtedly favor incumbents. And who happen to be the majority of incumbents? Republicans.