Irradiated by LabRat
One of the better of several available screeds pointing out that the “People’s Rights” amendment would pretty much exist to give the government the ability to summarily muzzle, sue, or disband any entity larger and more profitable than a garden party that it disapproved of.
I feel others more qualified than I have done a perfectly fine job of presenting the idea that a)This is what it would effectively do, and b)This would be a very bad thing, bad far out of proportion to the ills it’s meant to address.
What I would like to note is on the subject of the entities this particular broad stroke is no doubt aimed at: lobbying groups, PACs, special interest groups, all conglomerations of persons whose business is to bother legislators and the public at large in the name of their particular goal: I am glad that they exist and I wish them continued existence.
There are a large number of issues, policies, and subjects in general that I care about, and I do not have anything like the time or energy to pay attention to all of them all at once. I don’t have the time or energy to pay attention and due diligence to any one them, in fact. I am downright pleased as punch that there exist groups whose paying jobs and reason for existence revolve around professionally caring about things that I do and exerting influence on people who have a direct relationship with these issues.
This system is not without its large and systemic flaws. Groups who represent the interest of majorities wield more force than those who represent minorities; they suffer profoundly from principal-agent problems; they sometimes “represent” me in ways I truly wish they would not; they pursue goals I consider irrelevant or actively counter-productive; they blow issues that are not of particularly critical relevance out of proportion in election cycles; they are a primary contributing agent to how legislation winds up bloated, byzantine, and full of irrelevancies.
There’s also the fact that people I consider my sworn ideological foes have access to exactly the same processes and have their own leviathan lobbying platforms, but I consider this acceptable. My only wish is that they be more self-evidently stupid or hateful more often, not that anyone have the power to make them go away.
But, without the professional issue-obsessers and interest-pushers, my- and every other individual with those various enumerated rights we’re supposedly being protected by such a bill- influence over the actual process of creating policy relevant to various issues we care about dwindles to effectively zero. There’s this blog, which doesn’t stay on a single topic for more than a day or two, and there’s the standard letter to the congresscritter, which the critters mostly don’t read, and that’s about it. The remaining source of influence dwindles to the government and whoever happens to be immediately buddies with the people in it, which takes the fundamental problem of said government having an extraordinarily narrow and blinkered perspective on the country and the world in general and makes their isolation total. (Remember, media corporations would get their rights stripped, too.)
It’s a terrible voice, but it beats the hell out of no voice.