Anonymity, in ordinary times, is a tough topic to wrestle with. These days, however, it’s easy: Dissent, and thus democracy, will only survive in today’s culture if anonymity is preserved. Sen. Kamala Harris. (AP Photo/John Locher)

In a cancel culture, anonymity must be a civil right

Washington Examiner July 06, 12:00 AM July 06, 12:00 AM

Anonymity, in ordinary times, is a tough topic to wrestle with. These days, however, it’s easy: Dissent, and thus democracy, will only survive in today’s culture if anonymity is preserved.

That’s why the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision striking down California’s donor-disclosure law was correct and crucial.

In Americans For Prosperity v. Bonta, the court struck down California’s law requiring all charities and other nonprofit organizations to disclose their donors. California, in defending its law, was in effect trying to demolish the precedent set in NAACP v. Alabama, in which the court barred Alabama from requiring the NAACP to disclose all of its members.

Freedom of association is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution. Supreme Court jurisprudence holds that if a government wants to regulate it, the government needs a compelling interest, and the regulation needs to be narrowly tailored. California’s law clearly didn’t meet these standards.

Democrats and their media allies portrayed it as a win for “wealthy donors.” It’s an odd characterization for a coalition of charities and nonprofit groups that includes the ACLU and the NAACP.

The Democrats say they just want to stop rich people or corporations from paying front groups to advance billionaire friendly or corporate friendly policies. But considering that the billionaires and corporations all support the Democrats’ agenda, it’s hard to take that seriously.

When we look at the original defendant in this case, it’s easier to see what is going on. Rob Bonta’s name is on the case because he was appointed California’s attorney general in April. But when California’s law first went to federal courts, the state attorney general was Xavier Becerra. Becerra is, from top to bottom, a culture warrior.

He zealously prosecuted pro-life activists, went after nuns and Catholic hospitals who were insufficiently on board with Planned Parenthood’s agenda.

This is not just a California thing. This is obviously the Democratic Party’s agenda. Consider that President Joe Biden selected Becerra as Health and Human Services secretary even though his only experience in “healthcare” is serving as an abortion extremist. Becerra’s predecessor as California’s attorney general was Kamala Harris, who proclaimed she wages war on pro-lifers “as a prosecutor.”

So now consider why these happy culture warriors would want to force disclosure of all donors to nonprofit organizations: They believe that government can and should repress the groups they see as blocking their idea of progress.

Fight for gun rights? You’re a bad guy. Stand up for the unborn? You’re an enemy of women. Oppose the teachers unions? You’re on the list.

Biden, Harris, Becerra, and Bonda want to use the power of the state to crush dissent.

Meanwhile, their allies in corporate America and the largest media outlets take up the cancel crusade with relish.

Donating to a Republican politician or a conservative ballot initiative is cause for dismissal and “cancellation” already. That one might donate anonymously to a disfavored charity, perhaps even something so disreputable as a pro-life clinic for pregnant women, is intolerable for our thought police in the press and state or federal government.

They must have all conservatives out of hiding so they can take care of us.

Thank God for the Supreme Court standing up for anonymity.

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