Yet as the spin around the Electoral Finance Bill demonstrates, this defence of minority "rights" is applied by this government and its allies in a most discriminatory manner: it is applied only to racial minorities.
There is one minority however who this government thinks should sit still while the law removes their voice and taxes them to hell; who should remain silent their right to speak freely is muzzled; who should keep quiet even while this government goes through their pockets to pay for views which they oppose.
The one minority whom this government has chosen not to protect but instead to do over, are people who have earned their own money. The rich. The wealthy. This "ownership class" it seems is the one minority that deserves not protection, but out and out political persecution.
Why shouldn't people be entitled to advertise their own views with their own money, just as long as all are free to do the same thing? Why should people be required to stay silent while they're forced to fund views they oppose? What's actually wrong with "big money" and those who've earned it? Why should the speech of producers be rationed, while they're forced to fund the speech of the unproductive?
There is nothing more cancerous or corrosive than to vilify the most productive members of society.
There was a time last century when those who didn't own property were excluded from voting. one could be forgiven for thinking that those fomenting the present feeding freezy would like to bring about that same situation in reverse.
Perhaps you think the word "persecution" too harsh? Consider this*:
If a small group of men were always regarded as guilty, in any clash with any other group, regardless of the issues or circumstances involved, would you call it persecution? If this group were always made to pay for the sins, errors, or failures of any other group, would you call that persecution? If this group had to live under a silent reign of terror, under special laws, from which all other people were immune, laws which the accused could not grasp or define in advance and which the accuser could interpret in any way he pleased -- would you call that persecution? If this group were penalized, not for its faults, but for its virtues, not for its incompetence, but for its ability, not for its failures, but for its achievements, and the greater the achievement, the greater the penalty -- would you call that persecution?Any good reason they deserve to be silenced?
If your answer is ''yes'' -- then ask yourself what sort of monstrous injustice you are condoning, supporting, or perpetuating. That group is the [world's] businessmen. . . .
* * * * *
* From the introduction to Ayn Rand's 1961 article 'America's Persecuted Minority: Big Business,' reprinted in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.
UPDATE: A graphic from a reader at Kiwiblog makes plain the difference between "big money" and "government money" under the Electoral Finance Bill: