Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Tyranny of the Majority, per se

Can’t imagine any liberal or libertarian reader of this blog thinking of the entire Schiavo dilemma and not think it’s a refutation of my anti-legal proposals. The Republican federal government moving swiftly to abrogate the courtsthe legal guardian, and hospice technocrats in the favor of appealing to a passionate faction, seems the ultimate thing our Constitution was designed to stop. (And sadly, I can’t imagine any conservative reader of this blog, period).

That’s a side problem with our Constitution itself being seen as a source of goodness and legitimacy. Anytime one political side is thwarted by it, they deny that it is the nature of the Constitution to thwart them and blame someone else, causing people to only remember when it protects them, not when it stands in there way. I wish this entire escapade would send more Republicans to my parliamentary way of thinking, but instead it will likely send them to Scalia’s rants about activist judges.

If anything, the most recent series of events should show how legal principles of limited government are not standing in the way of the majority doing whatever it wants, especially these days. Those curmudgeons at lewrockwell.com say it well:

But there is another problem that adds to the historic record in illustrating the fallacy that written constitutions can limit political power. Words are but abstractions, never equating with what they are intended to describe. As such, they must always be interpreted, and in our society such powers of interpretation have been assumed by the state, which has always given self-serving interpretations of both its powers and limitations. Humpty Dumpty understood this far better than most lawyers in declaring: "When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less."

As the Schiavo case was unraveling in the halls of Congress, the thought kept running through my mind: under what constitutional authority is the GOP presuming to act? The commerce clause? National defense? The "general welfare" clause? (The latter didn't seem to apply as this legislation was designed for only one family!) The answer became quite obvious: the federal government operates on the principle that its powers extend to whatever it chooses to regulate!

This is the lesson to be learned by those who still embrace the illusion of limited government: once you create a political system - which, by definition, enjoys a legal monopoly on the use of force - there is no way to keep that power from being exercised in ways that large numbers of people desire. So understood, the best that can be said about the Constitution is that it continues the deception of keeping the government from doing all the terrible things that it does!

So let’s see. Our Congress, in order to accomplish this, has a) acted immediately without any “wise” deliberation, b) used its powers of subpoena to extraordinary degree, c) met no differing opinion in either House or the executive, d) took over a matter that belonged to the states, e) acted without even any reference to what legal view gives them power over this matter. It really is acting like a parliament anyway. Now why shouldn’t we just do away with the whole thing, so we can get rid of silly things like pork for southerners or the electoral college as well?


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