Will Wilkinson, summarizing as far as he knows the position of progressives on the Citizens United ruling:
A government that accepts that its rightful power is indeed limited along the lines of a naive reading of the First Amendment – “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech” — will be unable to maintain the integrity of the democratic process against the undermining influence of powerful corporate interests. Since the rights and liberties of most citizens depend on an equitable democratic process, this kind of restriction on government power together with the existence of corporations is a threat to ordinary citizens’ rights and liberties. Crucially, a state that maintains the power to exercise a meaningful countervailing influence against corporate power is less of a threat to liberty than are corporations when the state has tied its own hands.
Does that sound like a fair interpretation of the progressive view? If you think there’s something wrong with it, what is it? I think this view pretty clearly implies that the Constitution makes some profound mistakes about the sort of government required to protect citizens’ liberty. But maybe it does! So I don’t count “progs think the Constitution is flawed” as an adequate argument against this view.
It’s a fair interpretation. What’s wrong with it is their decision on emphasis, and the proposed “solution” it leads to. Compare the following two excerpts from that summary:
A) “This kind of restriction on government power together with the existence of corporations is a threat to ordinary citizens’ rights and liberties.”
B) “This kind of restriction on government power together with the existence of corporations is a threat to ordinary citizens’ rights and liberties.”
The key to the issue is highlighted in B. Yet the progressive response highlights A. Funny, since the government without the restriction applied resulted in jack squat of significance. No Will, “progs think the Constitution is flawed” isn’t an adequate argument, I agree. I prefer this one: “progs think the proper response to a problem created by government is more government power”.