Sunday, September 16, 2012

The unintended consequences of Citizens United

MoveOn.org and many other progressive movements want very badly to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision on Citizens United, which opened the floodgates of big money to political campaigns.

The perceived purpose of Citizens United is that the elite very wealthy will have a political advantage over the poor huddled masses. It was believed that to win politically, one only needs the ability to repeat one’s own message enough times to win, regardless how false or misleading the message.

It’s a horse race of gaining ground in the minds of voters. All you need is the message with the strongest emotional glue to stick in their minds, and the simplest idea to easily pass between voters without distortion. This form of message is typically an emotional appeal that evokes fear of punishment from God, attack from any cultural outsider, crime, threat to children, threat to personal freedoms, etc.

This kind of message works very well on people who are easily influenced by peer pressure, people who are raised in isolation from other cultures or lack different sources of information. People whose lives are entrenched in a corporate culture are highly exposed to these kinds of messages, and must act in accordance with their corporate masters, or face being ostracized by their peers.

This kind of political tactic has been applied since organized hierarchies used propaganda, likely the beginning of recorded history. This method was made more visible in the United States with the advent of corporate personhood.

The small business owner knows he or she relies on the good will of the neighborhood, but other types of business owners are absentee owners who could not care less about the local community. It seems that these latter business owners are in full support of Citizens United and Corporate Personhood.

Every time technology advances forms of communication to the public, what follows is an effort to consolidate control of communication, but there is currently an effort to keep the Internet neutral so that it does not become completely controlled by a few people.

The Internet has become so prolific that for the time-being it is “out of control” and nearly everyone has access to a wider variety of perspectives than ever before in recorded history. With the Internet comes the shining light of scrutiny on the old tactics of repeating false assertions to gain political advantage.

A perfect example is the ability of the news media to fact-check Paul Ryan’s speech at the Republican National Convention in 2012.

The Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court has given so much latitude to those who use deceptive communication that they have inadvertently exposed themselves as charlatans. These kinds of messages were previously communicated to specific audiences in state, county and municipal politics with great success because they were isolated from the scrutiny of the Internet. Thanks to Supreme Court Justices Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia, Alito and Thomas, the newly found freedom of Citizens United has become a trap to ensnare self-centered social predators who attempt to gain power through deception.

So, what is the real motivation to overturn Citizens United? It turns out that granting more freedom of communication to groups that previously lurked and worked in the shadows is exactly the kind of medicine our society needs.
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