My central claim in response to the issue that has been posed for this panel is that free political debate has, in fact, not outlived its usefulness. I concede that free political debate is under siege, as of course I must in view of the pressures that ever-more-insistent calls for ever-more-draconian regulation of campaign finance practices put upon it. But in what follows, I make three brief points in support of my central claim that if freedom succumbs to these pressures, it will not be because it has become “outdated” or that in principle it cannot “bear the weight of 21st century demands.” It will be because it will have lost out to the advocates of regulation-or, if you will, of “reform”–in what has been and will continue to be an ongoing battle of ideas and values.

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