Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Friday, June 18, 2004

Do Conservatives "Get" Democracy?

Hi Everyone,

Two conservative groups (at least) are pulling out all the stops to prevent Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" from being released at all in the US.

The groups are "Move America Forward" and "Citizens United" (we never joined them!). "Move America Forward" is the group that successfully pressured CBS into not broadcasting the biography of Reagan. "Citizens United" is preparing TV and Radio ads urging people not to see Moore's film.

The following quotation from the story is very telling: "Mr Bossie said: 'Look, this guy (Moore) is simply producing and advertising this movie at this time to try to affect the election.
"It seems to be left to us to make sure that the media is educated, as well as the American people are educated, as to just what they're up to.'"

Bossie obviously recognizes that Moore's movie is what constitutional lawyers would call "political speech." Nevertheless, he wants to prevent Moore from showing the film. It seems to me that this guy just doesn't get democracy on a gut level. I put it to you that this is representative of the 30% or so of voters who are solid Bush supporters who would never consider voting for anyone other than Bush.

A number of Nader supporters have told me that "there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans." They believe that there if the Democrats win the election there will be no difference. I point to statements and actions by Conservatives like those discussed above to counter that argument.

The stakes of this election are hard to overstate. Bush did not win the popular vote and his administration is eroding civil liberties at an alarming rate. Imagine if he actually wins the popular vote this time - with constituents like this Bossie guy, what "mandate" will Bush think he's got?


Bell Curve said...

Two things.

First, I think your blanket title of "conservatives" is misleading. I don't think your midwest stalwarts would oppose the release of a movie like this. I would argue that this is a fringe group of conservatives who do not represent the whole. On the other hand, you don't see this behavior at the other end of the spectrum. If a radical pro-Bush movie came out, you'd never see Deaniacs trying to stop its release. They wouldn't go watch it, and they'd complain, but they would not go nearly this far.

Second, this movie is going to get released. And all this "controversy" is just going to make it more popular. I think these guys are shooting themselves in the collective foot.

Raised By Republicans said...

Good points. I thank you for clarifying my own views better than I could myself.

Raised By Republicans said...

One other I think more about this it occurs to me that there are censorship demands from the left. But they come from the extreme left. There are, for example, post-modernist leftist academics who object to courses with (percieved) conservative content being taught at universities. But these are true fringe groups. These are people who don't vote for Democratic candidates because they think they have sold out.

The groups involved with the anti-Moore campaign are within the mainstream of Republican party politics. The problem - in my view - is that the Republican Party has moved so far to the right that people who in other countries would vote for post-fascist extreme right parties like the French National Front (FN) or the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) are comfortable voting for the Republican Party in the US.

The difference between the Democrats and the Republicans then is that the Democrats make little effort to accomodate the extreme left beyond perfunctory statements against NAFTA. The Republicans on the other hand make serious policy changes to satisfy the demands of the extreme right. For example, the Republican Congressional reaction to the Oklahoma City bombing was to reopen an investigation of the Branch Davidian shoot out in Waco - a prime demand of the bombers and their affiliated groups. said...

Attempts to prevent the release of Moore's film, in the instances cited above, in my opinion, represent true democracy.

Moore's film is clearly intended to incite American voters against the candidacy of the sitting President. Furthermore, since his work is classified as "artistic", there is no standard of proof, nor any requirement for factual accuracy whatsoever.

Recognition of the potential for damage such a work might have in this election, a group of private citizens are working, on their own, to convince distributors and theaters, by a show of solidarity, to not show the film.

Ultimately, the decision will be left to the theaters and distributors themselves. There is no legal ramification pending against Moore for making his film. Those of us who may object to the blatant and disingenuous use of artistic media to push political agendas appreciate the organizational skills and dedication of those willing to spend their time and money in support of our political and personal interests.

With regard to your other point: exactly which of your civil liberties have eroded under this Administration?

Raised By Republicans said...

First, what's wrong with an artist having a political agenda? Do you think all art should be a political or is it that you object to artistic criticism of a "sitting President."

Second, there is nothing wrong with saying "Moore is all wrong about Bush." But there is something basically undemocratic about saying that because you think Moore is wrong, he should not be allowed to speak.

Third, what's the difference between Moore's movie and a book by a liberal commentator (or a blog)? I suggest that conservatives are more upset about Moore's movie because they expect that it will be a far more effective medium for communicating political opinion.

To sum up, I suspect that whether conservatives admit or not, they are upset because Moore has found an effective medium for presenting political opinions with which they disagree.

Liberals are upset by the Fox network's editorial policy for the same reasons but I've never heard of any nationwide effort to get local cable companies to drop or boycott Fox chanels.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Certainly, carrx is right that private citizens have a right to agitate against Moore's film, just as Moore has the right to try to show it. However, it is disingenuous for a distributor to claim that it is *not* making a political choice if it chooses to not to distribute Moore's film on grounds similar to those carrx has stated.

What civil liberties have we lost?
That's easy.
1. The Magna Carta, and the 5th amendment, says that no person shall be imprisoned without due process of law. Jose Padilla is a citizen (and a person) who was seized on US soil and imprisoned. The government says it need not give him any legal process at all, because he is (they say) a terrorist. This is also the end of habeas corpus.
2. The government may now get blanket wiretap orders on all suspected terrorists from a secret court. There is no public review, ever, of the decisions.
3. The government may seize any person and hold him as a "material witness" indefinitely, by showing a court that you may have important knowledge of a case. The government can and will hold you without being able to see a lawyer.
4. The government may get a secret court to approve reading all your email and financial records, and this decision will never be reviewed. You will never be given a warrant and will not know of it.
5. The government may now hold you in prison if you refuse to identify yourself to a police officer, even if you are not doing anything wrong.
6. The fifth amendment gives you the right to confront your accusers and force witnesses to come ot the stand if they know information that could show you are innocent. A person accused of terrorism has none of these rights. If the other persons who can testify that he is innocent are also accused of terrorism, neither he nor his lawyers may ever talk to them, and they can't be brought to the witness stand.

And that's just to name a few. Your liberty, sir, is in mortal danger. The rule of law is all but gone, and your freedom depends only on your hope that the government won't accuse you of terrorism. If they do, you will have NO rights at all.

john_s said...

'Move America Forward' is nothing more than a front for a GOP-linked public relations firm, Russo Marsh and Rogers. Yet for some inexplicable reason, the fact that RM+R set up MAF is not mentioned anywhere on the MAF website.

RMR made 2.5 million dollars from GOP politicians in 2001/2002. And nothing from Democrat politicians. What a surprise.

See Move America Forward backgrounderplus Russo Marsh and Rogers and Move America Forward backgrounderplus the fiasco over Move America Forward's internet address registration

Raised By Republicans said...

I heard recently that conservative groups are trying to block Moore's TV ads, claiming that they are ads for the Kerry campaign and thus violate FEC rules.

Essentially, they are arguing that all criticism of the "sitting President" should be tightly regulated. Again I ask, "Do conservatives 'get' democracy??"

Anonymous said...

We actors don't get a lot of Film (Professional) till we get "really" famous - but we live and breathe our Film (Professional) regardless. Film (Professional)
Like your blog :o)