George Soros: Only My Interests Are Public
Here is a spokesman for George Soros explaining his billionaire boss's disgust with Citizens United v. FEC, the 2010 case in which the Supreme Court lifted restrictions on political speech by unions and corporations:
George Soros believes the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United opened the floodgates to special interests' paying for political ads. There is no way those concerned with the public interest can compete with them. Soros has always focused his political giving on grass-roots organizing and holding conservatives accountable for the flawed policies they promote. His support of these groups [America Votes and American Bridge 21st Century] is consistent with those views.
Got that? When George Soros participates in political debates, he is advocating "the public interest." But when people with views different from his do so, they are simply pushing their own "special interests." Since Soros has always been free to spend as much of his own money as he wants on political speech, it is not surprising that he's upset when the same freedom is extended to fellow citizens who pool their resources as corporations (which include all manner of advocacy groups, not just big businesses). After all, some of those newly ungagged mouths may say things that offend Soros' sensibilities. But this is not the sort of thing you are supposed to say out loud. It takes an astonishing lack of self-awareness and empathy to assume that you have a monopoly on sincerity and public-spiritedness, that people with different opinions are not just wrong but disingenuous. We have a First Amendment to protect us from people with that mentality.
For more on the reaction to Citizens United, see my December 2010 Reason cover story.