Of ‘Fairness’ and the slippery slope

This will be another post that has only a tangential relationship to gun rights. Gun bloggers are sometimes accused of focusing so intently on the right to keep and bear arms that other rights are ignored. In my case, I suppose there’s something to that–I very rarely talk much about other rights here. For that, I make no apologies. I consider gun rights advocacy my specialty–a cancer researcher isn’t condemned for not doing enough to cure AIDS, and the gun rights issue is where I think I have some competency.

Still, today’s post will deal primarily with the First Amendment. We’ve been hearing rather a lot in the last few days about a push to revive the so-called “Fairness Doctrine.” Indeed on election day, Senator Chucky Schumer (in)famously compared conservative talk radio to pornography.

Here’s a transcript of that particular segment:

“The very same people who don’t want the Fairness Doctrine want the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] to limit pornography on the air. I am for that… But you can’t say government hands off in one area to a commercial enterprise but you are allowed to intervene in another. That’s not consistent.”

As offensive as the comparison of certain political opinions to pornography is, my point is not so much the offensiveness of it, but what this says about the statist mindset.

Specifically, I would like to point to ” . . . you can’t say government hands off in one area to a commercial enterprise but you are allowed to intervene in another. That’s not consistent.”

The only way I can interpret that is that it means that regulation of one aspect of communications media is being used to justify regulation of every other aspect. That seems the very definition of the “slippery slope” argument. When the existence of one law is used as justification–for the sake of “consistency”–for more laws (which themselves can then be used to justify still more laws), the police state has indeed arrived.

Senator Chucky could just as easily have said that because the government prohibits felons from possessing guns, it would be “inconsistent” to say that it cannot prohibit anyone else from owning them.

Hmm . . . maybe this post had more to do with gun rights than I’d thought.

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