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"Indeed, the rage of theorists to make constitutions a vehicle for the conveyance of their own crude, and visionary aphorisms of government, requires to be guarded against with the most unceasing vigilance."
     -- Joseph Story
     Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States
     Book III, § 1857.
 

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Yet more from Andrew Sullivan:

... [M]any establishment Republicans believe that the criminalization of private gay sex is a legitimate position, even when they personally disagree with it.
It is a legitimate position, Andrew.
That's how close they are to the fundamentalist right.
... Which is to say, not very close at all. "If I don't revile him, I must really agree with him, my protestations to the contrary notwithstanding." Unbelievable dishonesty.
That's how little they care about individual liberties.
Not at all. They are also entitled to number, among those liberties, such things as representative self-government, and to weigh those other things in the balance against your stated desire to have the Supreme Court strike down your pet peeve without constitutional authority, and on that basis, to say, "I'll see you in Hell first."
I guess, as so many gloating liberals have emailed me to point out, I have been incredibly naive.
What makes you think you're improving?
I expected a basic level of respect for gay people from civilized conservatives.
Oh, my, that sneer was so, so... so fetching! I feel so convinced, now! Way to argue, there, Andrew.
I've always taken the view that there are legitimate arguments about such issues as marriage rights or military service and so on; and that fair-minded people can disagree. And, of course, there are many fair-minded people among Republicans and conservatives who do not agree with Santorum, and I am heartened by their support, especially the Republican Unity Coalition and Marc Racicot, RNC head.
Not much to disagree with, there, except for the implication that there are no fair-minded persons who agree with Santorum.
But something this basic as the freedom to be left alone in own's own home is something I naively assumed conservatives would obviously endorse - even for dispensable minorities like homosexuals.
Do you, by any chance, know what "conservative" means, Andrew? It is not a violation of conservatism to resist the urge to dash off a quick rewrite of long-standing laws on the basis of no more than spiffy new arguments, no matter how convincing those arguments may appear (and especially when those spiffy new arguments are so graciously presented). That is what conservatism is.
I was wrong.
Why stop then?
The conclusions to be drawn are obvious.
Then why don't you draw them? Do you, perhaps, want the wiggle room to deny them later, lest they eventually blow up in your face?

It is obvious, Sullivan is jealous of the aura of unquestionable rightness which wraps the idea of racial equality before the law; he wants it for himself. Not that he wants to earn it, mind you; he's just pretending he already has it.

Scroll down a bit, and Sullivan has this to say:

My preference would be for Texas voters to throw out this invasive and discriminatory law.
Absolutely. And if he had stopped there, I'd have supported him.
My second choice would be for the Court to strike down the law on the grounds of equal protection, in as much as it criminalizes the same "offense" for one group of people (gays) but not for another (straights).
Now he's drawn his rights into direct conflict with mine. Homosexuality is not prohibited as a legislative classification by the Constitution. Those legislatures which enact that homosexual conduct shall be treated differently under the law, are doing what they have a perfect right to do; the voters who elected those legislators have a right to see their aggregate will manifested in public policy -- unless the Constitution forbids that policy. And the Constitution does not forbid it. Sullivan only sees the narrow substantive right he wants protected; he doesn't care about the far more basic structural right that stands in the way of his desire, nor the number of persons to whom he must deny that right in order for the Supreme Court to give him what he wants.

It's a silly basis for law, but silliness is not grounds for the Supreme Court to strike it down. It has rotten consequences for a select group, but rotten consequences is not grounds for the Supreme Court to strike it down. If "silliness" and "rotten consequences" were grounds for striking down laws, there would be very little law left standing, and, what is more to the point, little point in electing legislators.

-- posted by Clayton 4/24/2003 09:19:00 PM


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