Why is Regulating What People Say Wrong?

One of my favorite musicians, Loudon Wainwright, sings about our future under President Trump.

Wainwright worries that Trump is fond of locking up demonstrators even though Trump agreed under oath when assuming the Presidency to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution including the part that says that “Congress shall make no law” regulating what people say. Trump gave a long inauguration speech where he neglected to mention the Constitution and he rarely, if ever, mentioned it when he ran for President. One thing he should’ve mentioned is that President Obama has been sending government agents to meetings to intimidate people who give speeches to doctors. “Congress shall make no law” allows no exceptions because it is intended to protect despised minorities such as Ku Klux Klan members, corporate executives, and people who speak to doctors.

Why shouldn’t the government prevent the Ku Klux Klan from spreading hate? The reason is that the best response to bigots is to say things reflecting tolerance. The Klan can even join an Adopt-A-Highway litter removal program run by a state government, advertising themselves on a sign seen by thousands of passing motorists.

Why shouldn’t the government prevent corporate executives from telling their friends and relatives of important company news before the public? The reason is that the corporation owners can insert a provision in the employment contracts of the company managers prohibiting them from giving insider information to their friends, preventing them to make a killing in the stock market at the expense of other shareholders. If you buy stock in a corporation where the previous owners have omitted such a provision, you’ve agreed that you’re not annoyed if the executives treat you poorly relative to their friends.

Why shouldn’t the government prevent drug company representatives from saying things to doctors that might persuade them to unwisely buy drugs? The reason is that doctors rely on patients believing that they understand the human body and will not be deceived by drug companies. Doctors who fail will lose patients and be run out of the business if it happens repeatedly. Incompetence doesn’t survive for long in a free market.

Humans are chimps that walk upright and sing and speak like dolphins and orcas. The less we say, the less we prosper. The United States will stagnate under Trump as it did under Obama because the citizens don’t value their rights and it would’ve made no difference if Hillary Clinton had been elected. Freedom is too frightening for them to try.

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