Tag Archives: Libel laws

Trump’s Libel Law Enlargement is Unlibertarian

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

Paul Grad for Oregon Governor: Abolishing Libel and Slander, Article I Section 10

Two of the abridgments of Freedom of Speech, which the Left has totally ignored, and only the Libertarians have addressed, and even then feebly, are Libel and Slander, which together constitute Defamation, or an assault on, or “injury” to Reputation.paul 19

Article 1 Section 10 of the Oregon Constitution states, in part, that “every man shall have remedy by due course of law for injury done him in his person, property, or reputation”. This Section of Article 1 badly needs amending, and, if elected Governor, I will urge the public and legislature to do so.

Unfortunately, it has been generally held in America that it is legitimate to restrict Freedom of Speech if that speech maliciously or falsely damaged the reputation of another person. Basically, Libel and Slander laws argue a “property” Right of anybody in their own reputation. But this is obviously patently false, because Reputation is based solely on the subjective feelings, emotions, and attitudes held by others within their own brains. But since no one can own the feelings, emotions, and attitudes and opinions taking place in another person’s brain, it should be obvious that no one can literally have a property right in their own reputation. People’s reputations fluctuate all the time with the fluctuations of belief and opinion of the general public. No one can possibly own that. Therefore, speech attacking someone, even if malicious and false,  cannot be an invasion of personal property Rights, and therefore should not be subject to restriction or legal sanction.

Is it moral to employ libel and slander? Certainly not. But, as Libertarians, we are solely concerned with what is legal under the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration, not with what is moral. Unfortunately, they are not always congruent.

However, even on a pragmatic level, the abolition of Libel and Slander, the components of Defamation of Reputation, would have a healthy effect on our society. Firstly, if Libel and Slander laws were abolished, people would be far less likely to put credence in charges against major figures without confirming documentation. Currently, people are far more likely to believe an outrageous charge, since, if the charge were false, the person would sue, so if the person doesn’t sue, people will say “Why doesn’t he sue?” and the outrageous lie will be believed. If the “Socialist Crier” newspaper claims that Paul Grad has sex with ants (it’s not actually true), and Paul Grad doesn’t sue, the false accusation is far more likely to be believe.

Moreover, our Friends on the Left seem to have completely overlooked the fact that Libel laws discriminate cruelly against the poor, since a poor person is far less likely to be able to afford the very costly libel suit which the wealthy person can afford. Indeed, under current law, the wealthy can use the Libel laws as a taser against the poor, gagging perfectly valid criticisms and accusations under the threat of sueing them for Libel.

Thus, the poor man is far more likely to have his Freedom of Speech abridged in our society under our current Libel laws than he would if these laws were abolished. Something which the Oregon’s three or four Leftist political parties never seem to mention.

Fortunately, the American Libertarian impulse against restrictions on Freedom of Speech has managed to somewhat weaken these laws, like the Oregon Statute of Limitations of one year in which to begin a suit. But Freedom of Speech will never truly be Free in America, especially for the poor, until Libel and Slander laws are abolished. And Oregon should be in the forefront of that abolition.

So let’s abolish Libel and Slander laws in Oregon, and Amend Article 1 Section 10 to eliminate the words “or reputation”.

Paul Grad, Libertarian, for Oregon Governor, paulgrad4governor.wordpress.com