Distributed civil disobedience

Quoting from The great FEC scare.

This interview with FEC Commissioner Bradley Smith, warning that political bloggers may soon be subject to draconian regulation as a consequence of McCain-Feingold, has been linked to from all over the blogosphere.

I’m frankly not sure how seriously to take it, because in all honesty I don’t entirely trust any “news” story bylined by the guy who made up the “Al Gore claimed to have invented the Internet” story (and, later, boasted about having done so). A basic technique of the modern Right is to enlist the libertarian impulses of decent people in the service of policies that actually serve to consolidate power in fewer and fewer hands, and lots of libertarians have shown themselves to be entirely user-friendly in this regard. Not being an expert on the intricacies of campaign law, I’m not entirely sure all this alarm about Imminent Regulation Of Weblogs (film at 11) isn’t just a con designed to undermine support for any limitations on the latitude of the ultra-rich.

Assuming the story is legit, though, Nathan Newman, as he so frequently does, talks sense.

The FEC is making noises to limit the speech of blogs in the name of campaign finance reform. Josh worries that this “would mean the end of what this site and so many others on the right and left do.”

Only if we follow the rules. I won’t. Free speech is worth fighting for and the best way to do it is to refuse to be silent. There are a lot of bloggers out there and that’s a lot of people to throw in jail if they all pledge to defy the rules.

I think most campaign finance rules restricting contributions are worthless and lead to idiotic proposals like this one. This is a good place for the insanity to stop. The more bloggers who pledge to defy the FEC, the less likely they are to move forward.

I’ll take that pledge.

Count me in… if it comes to that.