Re "Liberals' dirty shame," Opinion, March 31
Jonah Goldberg's claim that liberals will fight for porn but not for free speech is a crock. What is actually at issue in the "Hillary: The Movie" case is whether corporations have the same 1st Amendment rights as humans. There is a good argument that they do not.
Goldberg attempts to disguise the differences between the Larry Flynt case and the "Hillary" case. First, there was no attempt to ban the "Hillary" movie -- only a question of whether allowing it to be broadcast shortly before an election and without identification of its sponsors violated federal campaign finance laws.
Flynt's Supreme Court case wasn't about pornography, as Goldberg would have us believe. It was about a parody of an ad that was extremely unfair to its target, Jerry Falwell, but that was not deliberately designed to circumvent the law, as the "Hillary" movie apparently was.
People like Goldberg were happy to use the law to try to suppress Flynt's cheap shot at Falwell, but now that the law restricts corporate contributions to political campaigns, they suddenly support free speech -- not for you or for me or for unions but for big corporations.
There may be reasons to rule in favor of corporate contributions, but freedom of speech is not one of them.
Randall H. Stoner
Goldberg is right: That some Americans would question a corporation's right to endorse a political candidate shows a scary threat to the freedom of expression.
American liberals who advocate for their own free speech while threatening someone else's are self-serving, hypocritical and deserving of freedom themselves only by the forgiving grace of the Bill of Rights.
Reminds me of a certain Times columnist. Why is a state or local ban on pornography "fine" with Goldberg? He subjectively separates the liberty to make and sell "On Golden Blonde" from the liberty to create and market other expression.
Like Goldberg, I'm paid to create ideas and content that a certain constituency wants to purchase. Unlike him, I conscientiously defend the right to express even ideas I find as ghastly as some expressed in his column.
I recognize equal threats to basic American liberty: from freedom-hating liberals who would silence an anti-Hillary documentary, and from freedom-hating conservatives who would silence Hustler or Buttman magazines. Both camps are equally hostile to pure intellectual liberty, so I won't roll around in either sty.
Scott D. Small
The writer is the managing editor of Buttman magazine, an adult publication.