An Amicus Brief About Political Truthiness

There’s a case before the Supreme Court about political speech and how truthful it must be. It’s a sticky issue, as it pits freedom of speech against an informed public, and who is to decide how truthful a statement is, anyway? P.J. O’Rourke wrote an amicus brief on behalf of The Cato Institute stretching the points of the arguments into satire.

The question is: “Can a state government criminalize political statements that are less than 100% truthful?” The actual argument begins on page eight of the pdf (page 2 of the document).  

In modern times, “truthiness”—a “truth” asserted “from the gut” or because it “feels right,” without regard to evidence or logic5 —is also a key part of political discourse. It is difficult to imagine life without it, and our political discourse is weakened by Orwellian laws that try to prohibit it.

After all, where would we be without the knowledge that Democrats are pinko-communist flag-burners who want to tax churches and use the money to fund abortions so they can use the fetal stem cells to create pot-smoking lesbian ATF agents who will steal all the guns and invite the UN to take over America? Voters have to decide whether we’d be better off electing Republicans, those hateful, assault-weapon-wielding maniacs who believe that George Washington and Jesus Christ incorporated the nation after a Gettysburg reenactment and that the only thing wrong with the death penalty is that it isn’t administered quickly enough to secular-humanist professors of Chicano studies.

The rest of it is just as funny, and would be even funnier to those more familiar with constitutional law. It includes plenty of examples of political prevarication, slander, and mud-slinging from history. -via Metafilter


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