Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Either-or

Jerry Brown gets it: his willingness to assert the principle that the majority cannot vote to take away the rights of the minority as the official policy of his office as California's attorney general may be the single most important political development I've seen in some time.

The pure collectivism espoused by the conservative supporters of Proposition 8 - who now openly declare that the will of the majority supercedes individual rights - shows that they have now completed their transition away from any pretense of a concern for limiting government. For decades now the Republicans have been me-too-ing the Democrats. Now, explicitly, there is no longer any fundamental difference between the two parties - though some might say that Brown represents a flip-flop: a Democrat who upholds the idea of a republic based on individual rights, as opposed to the Republicans who now stand for unbridled majority rule, which is what democracy really is.

And it is genuinely bizarre for Proposition 8 supporter Kenneth Starr to claim that Brown has invented "a completely new theory". Um, excuse me, Mr. Starr, have you not heard of the Bill of Rights?

Do you even know which country you're in?

According to the San Francisco Chronicle,
Brown's reasoning would confer upon the state Supreme Court power it has never had, attorneys Kenneth Starr and Andrew Pugno said in their response to the attorney general's December brief.

Brown "is inviting this court to declare a constitutional revolution," the attorneys argued in the 29-page response. "His extra-constitutional vision is one of unprecedented judicial hegemony, a sweeping power vested in the least-democratic branch that overrides the precious right of the people to determine how they will be governed."
No, Mr. Starr, I'm afraid you have it backwards. Mr. Brown is simply upholding the Constitution and Bill of Rights, which uphold the rights of the individual against the tyranny of the majority.

It is you, Mr. Starr, and others like you, who have declared a "constitutional revolution", a revolution to sweep aside the Constitution and its protection of the individual, allowing the individual to be trampled under the feet of the masses of the majority anytime that majority so chooses. Conservatives used to have a word for that: communism.

Mr. Brown is doing his job, and deserves to be commended by every freedom-loving individual in this country.

2 comments:

  1. The SF Chronicle article quotes Brown as saying:

    > "People have a right to amend the Constitution," he said in an interview Monday. "But when it comes to dealing with basic liberties, they should have to demonstrate a compelling interest that it needs to be done for the good of the community."

    There is no "compelling interest" in which the "good of the community" overrides "basic liberties," that is, individual rights.

    Mr. Brown's statement here and his long history of sanctioning statism lead me to suspect his motives and to doubt that he is sincere in supporting "basic liberties."

    It is initially good to hear such words from Mr. Brown, but I try to always keep in mind what I learned from Peter Schwartz: The meaning of a statement is dependent on the context. I doubt that Mr. Brown has the metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, and political context needed to make his statement objective--that is, logically drawn from the facts of reality.

    Time will tell.

    P. S. -- I doubt that the "People have a right to amend the Constitution [of California]." The legislature, not a mass of voters, should be amending a constitution.

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  2. Henry Kennedy1/15/09, 6:21 PM

    Since when is being granted a government license an individual right?

    Consenting adults have the right to form their own private arrangements and to seek to persuade other adults to consent to honor these. But "marriage" is a government license - and licensing is no expression of individual rights.

    The proper policy is not to expand government "rights" so that everyone gets a license and the coercive privileges therein. The proper policy is to remove government from marriage (except insofar as regards contract-protection).

    Too obviously, opponents of Prop 8 are not fighting for individual rights: they are fighting for government-enforced benefits and privileges granted under that particular license.

    I will not recognize any two men as "husband and wife," regardless of what government gun barrel is pointed in my face. You will not get a discount in my motel, for example.

    One problem with the Ayn Rand movement is that it's full of Libertarian poofters, i.e. homosexual subjectivists who rationalize their desire to coerce others as being an expression of "laissez-faire capitalism," "individual rights," and even "a proper sense of life."

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