Libertarian: I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Means

From Lee Goodman on an opinion piece in the WSJ

This startling assertion of government power became public in December when the FEC released an enforcement file in the case of a Boston television station's regular Sunday-morning news program, "On the Record." The station, WCVB, had invited two congressional candidates (a Democrat and a Republican) into its studio to appear on "On the Record" in the weeks leading up to the 2012 election and formatted the joint appearance as a 30-minute debate.

Another candidate (a libertarian) who was not invited filed a complaint alleging that the value of WCVB's production costs and airtime constituted unlawful corporate contributions to the two candidates who were invited.

Wow, I am sure glad the "libertarian" is pushing for government regulation of speech and government restrictions on the decision-making of private businesses.


  1. DKH:

    Without researching this particular case any further, I don't think someone needs to turn in their libertarian credentials just because they want the laws enforced as they are on the books. Arguing that the rules should be different doesn't necessitate following your own concept of the rules.

  2. jdgalt:

    Not all "property" as recognized by the law is legitimate property as recognized by libertarian principle -- especially when a large part of its value comes from a government TV-station license.

    Granted, I don't approve of any attempt to enforce an election-contribution-limit law. But purist-libertarian appeals to property rights ought to be confined to cases where those rights have a clear pedigree.

  3. Scott:

    I may believe that the rules of the game should be different, but once those rules are established, I still have to play by them.

    Say a particular football coach believes the extra point should be eliminated, yet nearly every time his team scores a touchdown, they go for the extra point. Should he be criticized for that?

  4. Joe:

    I don't believe the mortgage interest tax deduction or the geothermal heat pump tax credits should exist, but I am taking advantage of both of them this year. Unfortunately the current rules already make the playing field look more like a hill than flat. Not saying that out of principal this guy should be doing such a thing, but I don't know that it is completely wrong considering the rules in which they are forced to play by.

  5. Morlock Publishing:

    I've got to disagree with you this time, Warren.

    If WCVB was handing out $100,000 in cash for campaign purposes, and - without any formal policy, just the whim of an employee - decided to hand the cash to two politicians who are in favor of the corporatist state but not to the one politician who is a libertarian, is it not reasonable for a libertarian to do one or both of the following:

    1) urge that WCVB is disbanded and never receive tax dollars again
    2) urge that until that glorious day arrives, WCVB hands out cash to all candidates equally


  6. treeher:

    Reminds me of the cancer patient who believed in natural healing and who refused traditional medical treatment with a 95% survivor rate and subsequently died in three months. His principles were intact, though!

  7. ErikTheRed:

    For those who are interested, the unnamed candidate is Daniel Fishman -

  8. FelineCannonball:

    In this case the rules (as defined by the supreme court in the Forbes case) don't necessitate the invitation of a third party candidate to what they term a "nonpublic" forum. Today's supreme court is probably even more on the side of corporate media rights. According to the court the candidate can still speak on a street corner or in a park, given he doesn't draw too big of a crowd or use a PA without appropriate permits. Or if he has a lot of campaign money filtered through secret superpacs, he can buy the TV station, tape a camera to his head, and get all the TV time he wants because money is speech and can't be regulated or something.

  9. Bram:

    Well... If Teams Blue and Red are going to pass endless laws, why not shove a few of them up their posterior?

  10. Meekrob:

    Must've been one of those Bill Maher-type "libertarians."