Without going into the specifics of the President’s desire to “toughen” Libel laws, we should point out that any toughening is a move away from the Libertarian realities of America’s original political philosophy, and a move away from the Bill of Rights.
The reason is that all Libel and Slander Laws are un-Libertarian, as Professor Murray Rothbard pointed out in his discussion of this issue. This is because, to Libertarians, only assaults on people’s property Rights, including their body, can be considered Crimes or Aggression.
Now the key point is that your “reputation”, which is what the plaintiff in a Libel suit is claiming was damaged, is not your personal property. Your reputation is a thought or thought pattern in the mind and brain of another person, and so your reputation is actually their property and not your own. Thus damage to your reputation is brought about in the minds and opinions of others, which is their personal property and not yours, and thus you have no just claim to damages of that reputation. You have no Property Right in your reputation.
Professor Rothbard also pointed out that currently if someone libels or slanders someone, especially someone famous, and they do not respond with a Libel suit, then many people will start to believe the validity of the wild claim. But if Libel and Slander laws were abolished, the public wouldn’t take too seriously the claims of the wild-eyed fanatic who says he has irrefutable proof that the President has sex with goats in the Oval Office closet.
The President doesn’t have to toughen Libel laws to protect himself against the rotten propaganda machine of the media; his supporters in the public can see their incredible animus against the President very clearly.
The President was elected, and has received a bashing like no President ever did in modern history. The Democrats, 95% of the media, and apparently the intelligence community in alliance with many Republicans, all seem to just pummel the man mercilessly, despite the fact that he was elected by the People according to the Constitution. While I don’t agree with many of his positions, I do at least agree with quite a few, and much more some of his rhetoric during the campaign that he seems to be backing off on. But the bottom line is: He wasn’t Mrs. Clinton, and he wasn’t a long-term politician, and he really was just a mescolanza of Democratic and Republican programs based at core on a dollar bill.
So quash the Libel Law legislation, Mr. President. You don’t need it.
—Paul Grad, Vegan Non-Affiliated Libertarian