Re: GOP standards were higher that DEM standards

From: Russell Blackford (
Date: Sat Aug 11 2001 - 17:58:35 MDT

Mike said

>Well, what I don't understand why, if restricting your ability to yell
>fire in a theater is a legally regulatable, that restricting the ability
>of the media to bias the election cannot be similarly regulated. Our
>right to vote, after all, is the lynchping of our entire system, and
>nothing else should be allowed to interfere with the individuals right
>to make their own decision. Liberals are always eager to talk about how
>the courts are there to ajudicate boundary overlap of different rights.
>In this case, the media's free press rights overlap the rights of every
>voter to vote equally, unbiased by outside influences outside of
>persuation on party platforms, etc. Which is to be considered greater? I
>say the right to vote is more important.

Mike, I think this is a very reasonable and arguable position. I might
accept a well-drafted and narrowly confined law along the lines you propose,
for similar reasons to those you propose.

However, it is an example of the problems that arise when we try to analyse
problems in terms of "rights". My view is that "rights" don't exist.

I'm not talking here of legal entitlements or of the kinds of constitutional
principles that are often called "rights" (though they are often no such
thing, merely limitations on legislative power). There are good and clear
reasons why the legal norms in any society include entitlements, ie rights.
But I am saying that, when you analyse what the law *should*, be you get
stuck with ethical analysis that depends on trying to reconcile peoples'
ultimately subjective (if heavily overlapping, given the similarities of our
genes, overall existential condition, etc) ethical commitments and values.

I think the usual position of libertarians (or at least *a* prominent
position that I see in the libertarian literature) is that fundamental
(pre-legal) rights *cannot* conflict. I find this highly implausible.

However, I know you and I have some deep disagreements on all this. I'm just
offering you a point of view to think about, as I think about those I see
coming from you.

Best wishes


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