Yes, it really could happen here

From our good friend Phineas, writing on his site as well as Sister Toldjah:

Freedom of speech beaten and left bleeding in Australia?

Posted by: Phineas on November 18, 2011 at 3:01 pm

This is the kind of authoritarian garbage I would expect from real dictatorships, such as Venezuela or Russia or… Chicago, but not from one of the stalwarts of the Anglosphere:

The whitewash begins. Now that the carbon tax has passed through federal parliament, the government’s clean-up brigade is getting into the swing by trying to erase any dissent against the jobs-destroying legislation.

On cue comes the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which this week issued warnings to businesses that they will face whopping fines of up to $1.1m if they blame the carbon tax for price rises.

It says it has been “directed by the Australian government to undertake a compliance and enforcement role in relation to claims made about the impact of a carbon price.”

Businesses are not even allowed to throw special carbon tax sales promotions before the tax arrives on July 1.

“Beat the Carbon Tax – Buy Now” or “Buy now before the carbon tax bites” are sales pitches that are verboten. Or at least, as the ACCC puts it, “you should be very cautious about making these types of claims”.

There will be 23 carbon cops roaming the streets doing snap audits of businesses that “choose to link your price increases to a carbon price”.

Instead, the ACCC suggests you tell customers you’ve raised prices because “the overall cost of running (your) business has increased”.

(Emphasis added)

So a barkeep or beauty salon owner in Australia can be fined one million Australian dollars for speaking the truth?

Seriously?

Once again, we see the statist, totalitarian nature of the Green movement laid bare for all to see in a way that would leave Stalin smiling. Dare to criticize the dogmas of the High Church of Anthropogenic Global Warming and you’ll be fined for more than you’re worth. Question their jihad against the demon CO2 and watch as the Carbon Tax Inquisition smashes your business.

Phineas continues to note that, for Australians, freedom of speech is not something guaranteed in their constitution,¹ but the result of the decision in Lange v Australian Broadcasting Corporation, by the High Court of Australia.

Phineas was surprised that such a governmental restriction on speech could exist in a free country, but noted that we “enshrine free speech as a natural, preexisting right” in our Constitution. Such, Phineas seems to have implied, couldn’t happen here.

Well, if he meant to imply that, I think that he’s wrong. Our Supreme Court reaffirmed that the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, even for corporations, in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission [558 U.S. 08-205 (2010)]. However, the decision reaffirming freedom of speech was only 5-4; it would take only the retirement or death of one conservative Justice, and his replacement by someone appointed by President Obama, to once again render corporate political speech subject to regulation and prior restraint by the federal government, and this is a goal for which many liberals strive. Prior to Citizens United, and, if our friends on the left get their way, possibly once again, why couldn’t the federal government institute just such a requirement for corporations and businesses?

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¹ – Australia does not have a single, written constitution in the same manner as the United States, but one composed of several documents and pieces of legislation.

5 Comments

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for the link, much appreciated. :)

    Regarding “It can’t happen here,” that isn’t what I meant to imply, though the fault for the misunderstanding is mine for not explaining myself. I was more struck by the differences between the two political cultures: that in America free speech is specified in the Bill of Rights as a liberty to be protected from government (being assumed to be a natural right), whereas in Australia the courts apparently had to “discover” or “imply” it, much like the right to privacy arguments here. The difference is subtle, but significant, and I wanted to note it. Should’ve made myself more clear.

    (I can’t now find the original source I had for that footnote (Bad blogger, bad!), but there’s an interesting discussion of free speech rights at the Australian parliament site: http://is.gd/bYTHMp .)

    So, yeah, I agree: it can happen here.

  2. There was a good article on Larry Elder interviewing Chris Matthews. Larry kept interupting Chris to show Chris how he treats his guests. I think Chris didn’t get that. Then Larry asked Chris how far left of center he was Chris said he plays it down the middle. Chris’s nose grew then. Larry kept after him on the subject. Chris relented said he was just a little left of center. Larry asked of a football field where would you be. Chris said maybe the 40 yard line. Larry laughed at that, and so did I. So taking that, I’d sayour chances are good this could happen with BO because mentally he’s on the 10 yard line, but he’s forced to act from the 20.

  3. It’s pretty hard for centrists like Obama and liberals to negotiate with conservatives who are not even in the stadium, they are that ‘far out’! :)

  4. Wagonwheel says:
    November 20, 2011 at 12:58

    It’s pretty hard for centrists like Obama and liberals

    That statement will keep people doubled over in laughter for days. ObamaCare real CENTRIST there, NOT!!!!! What a Wagonload of ……

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