(This is a letter I wrote to a Congressional Committee in response to a call for comments.)
There are two distinct types of political action by organized campaigns, the first type involves campaigns for the election of candidates for public office, the second type of campaign involves advocating by education an opinion or stance about an issue that may impact legislative action, cultural change or indirectly electoral choice.
The first should require open transparency. The arguments are well known but can be summarized under the heading of knowing the sources of influence behind those who directly affect national behavior by enacting enforceable law. Citizens need to be able to evaluate whether their vote or another source of influence is behind the outcomes of legislative action. Such is our society, that a large portion of all political allegiances have their reservations about who legislation really is designed to benefit.
For a long time the second type, educational campaigns, were distinctly issue or ideology bound and were seen as largely benign, with some notable exceptions until political, industry and trade groups were finally required to announce their sponsorship of educational messages because of their dominate influence over the content or the benefit to be derived from the educational campaign.
Now the disclosure requirement is to be changed to include the public listing of all donors to the sponsors of such educational campaigns. This creates a serious problem and may have a truly unintended but real set of disastrous legislative consequences.
Many describe current politics as an evolution away from ideological based political stances and debate about legislative action into an emotional issue driven political advocacy where legislation and judicial action are considered tools to enforce social morae’s through law upon those in disagreement. The widely utilized label of “culture wars” can be found on any given day in our news media of all kinds.
So why would revealing the personal advocacy of a donor to an issue campaign be a problem? The first is the elimination of their privacy and their right to determine for them selves who to reveal their political allegiances to. This didn’t used to be a problem because ideological advocacy is about the principles used to decide issues. Today, in the culture wars, issues are the political advocacy and revealing your stance is tantamount to having to say who you have voted for and which side of the culture war you should be assumed to have allegiance.
The social change in our legislative governments where public officials, political activists and media proponents of cultural war openly call for actions to deny opposing citizens and public officials alike the right to employment, to suffer public humiliation and to receive justified personal violence has forever changed our political landscape. These attacks on basic freedom are justified by the cultural war because of their belief that opposing views are, in fact, evil.
The culture war has at its heart a belief system where religion, environmental concern, racism, misogyny, homophobia, etc. are all considered forms of evil that drive all opposing issue positions, no matter what the issues actual subject or reasoning. They believe that anyone who espouses opposing opinions, they consider driven by these evils, is inherently evil themselves.
This is at the heart of culture war activists revealing the personal information of their opponent’s social media accounts causing their homes to be sourced for disruption or attacked, their employers put under pressure to fire them and personal violence to be perpetrated.
This proposed legislation will make the outing of such information legally justified, will remove the protection of law from the privacy of political preference and hasten the day when citizens no longer can feel free to empower or express speech about what they believe is right, but only what they feel won’t be retaliated against.
We, as a country, have almost eliminated the founder’s “Public Square”. You can’t put up a table at a supermarket in most cities. The regulations make citizen action impossible. So social media has become the new public square. Except that public square is completely controlled and manipulated by a very few individuals and organizations with publicly stated cultural advocacies.
Even access to information is prioritized by the search engine companies according to their cultural advocacy (as the mountains of documents from Google clearly show). Facebook is famous for black listing the most innocent of posts because someone or some algorithm was set up to express a cultural “knee jerk” reaction in favor of one side of the perceived culture war.
Congress and the courts have protected these economic giants by declaring they are not the public square while they daily Tweet their public square messaging into it. It is also on Twitter where gangs of culture warriors attack anyone they disagree with in the most abusive terms. Many have simply been driven away and silenced. Millions have opted out of even responding to surveys and public political polls.
Please repeal this legislation. No compromise. If we can’t help express information we believe our country needs to know because you have empowered the culture warriors to mount , what is in effect, terrorist campaigns against opposing speech, our liberty is lost.
Have taken the oath to protect and defend the
Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic