June 23, 2002

I'M DISAPPOINTED that this George Will column didn't mention the problems at SFSU, UCSD, Orange Coast Community College, etc. But it does contain one quotable passage:

This year's enactment of yet more campaign finance regulations that expand government restrictions on the quantity of political speech is just the latest confirmation of what professor Martin Shapiro of the University of California School of Law at Berkeley noted in 1996. He wrote that "almost the entire First Amendment literature produced by liberal academics in the past 20 years has been a literature of regulation, not freedom -- a literature that balances away speech rights. . . . Its basic strategy is to treat freedom of speech not as an end in itself, but an instrumental value."

Yeah, and not even much of an instrumental value. It would be overly harsh to say that much of the left's enthusiasm for free speech vanished as soon as communists no longer needed it. But the thought has occurred to me, and it's one reason why I stopped considering myself part of the left.