Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Round TBD (by Alex)

Man, you fouled that one off

OK- that was a LOOONNNNGGG post, so I will respond to a few things at a time as I don’t think I can respond to everything you brought up all at once.

First, you have made a HUGE error in logic- again. Part of this is that you are not even answering the question you originally asked (or you didn’t ask the right question in the beginning). Let me sort that out for you, since you are hopelessly incapable of doing it yourself.

You keep hounding on the “we don’t know” answer to your question, which, despite your protestations is correct. You absolutely, 100%, do not KNOW what the collective thinking of the time about the second was. Yes, you have some writings by some authors (and, let’s not even get into the fact that what got preserved and passed on to future generations may not have been truly representative of the collective thought at the time- it is just a SAMPLE, as all recorded history is). And I don’t mean “you don’t know” in the tree hugging hippyesque “nobody can know anything” kind of way… I’m talking the literal “you could be way off base” kind of way.

Allow me to illustrate this in a way so simply that even you might see it. If I start an archeological dig at a site and I recover some artifacts, some writings, some bones… I can begin to put together an idea of how these people lived. The more artifacts I dig up, the more detailed a picture I can conjure up. But, the point is, there is still a good chance I got something wrong, maybe even really wrong. It requires me to speculate, based on the artifacts, what I THINK they mean.

You, and all of your strict “I have determined EXACLTY what they meant” compatriots, try to say, after your “archeological dig” through the writings of a select few, that you now KNOW what it all means… “yessir, it’s only what I say, and there is no other possible interpretation of it- this is a FACT”. How hard is it to realize that you are, in fact, only INFERRING what you want from the evidence? Now if they had sat down and wrote “This is what the Second Amendment really means”, you’d have a pretty good idea. But you don’t have that. So you cobble together the writings you have, and you use them to SPECULATE as to what the original intent was. Now, nowhere in my writing do I say “There is no way your particular interpretation is correct”. So while you run off and assume I have challenged your particular interpretation, you miss the boat completely. All I have said is that it is an interpretation, not a fact. I seriously don’t understand why you have a problem with that- you drew conclusions from looking at some isolated readings (and the writings from the actual ratifying conventions are pretty sparse). Fine. Just own up to that and don’t pretend that you know what they thought.

In fact, since you never bothered to ask what I THOUGHT the original intent was, you still don’t know my opinion of it. (You keep challenging me to defend a position that I have, as yet, not taken- that everything you hypothesize is wrong). What you asked, and it pains me to have to be this obvious and repetitive is: What was the intent at the time of ratification. The fact that you cannot admit that you don’t know this (again in the very real sense of an opinion versus a fact- not the existential “does anyone really know anything” type horseshit) and are postulating, reveals a wonderful lack of awareness on your part. Either ask the right question (what do I think the original intent was) or admit your flawed logic, but arguing that you somehow have double-super-secret powers that allow you to fill in the missing blanks in the historical records just makes you look like an ass.

This primary error is then quickly compounded by another. (No good deed goes unpunished I guess) You now think, despite my clear protestations otherwise, that I want to ignore the constitution, change its meaning willy-nilly, or have no “rule of law”. Again, since you choose to ignore what I actually said and just filled it in with what you WANT to believe I said, let me set the record straight.

First, I do believe that there is a basis, and underpinning of the law, that is formed by the constitution. I don’t believe that words only mean what I say they mean, and that everything is completely relative. However, that being said, a foundation of a house is not a house, and a foundation of the law is not “the law”. There are interpretations, changes in concepts, evolutions in society that must be accounted for. So yes, it is the basis for the law, but basis implies that there is more. So stop ignoring that even a foundation is only a PART of the whole. Yes it is important. And yes, the founder’s intent is a PART of the equation (you keep saying that I don’t care what they thought at all, which is yet another misrepresentation of my words. I don’t think what they intended overrides all the other factors, it is just one part). But the full equation rests on case law, on how society values have changed and evolved, on deciphering new and complex legal challenges that would have baffled the founding fathers.

And yes, the same words can have different meanings over the course of time. The 14th is a prefect example. While the 14th clearly says that everyone has the right to due process, it wasn’t “originally interpreted” as such. If we are locked into “what did it mean at the time of ratification”, then we lose the entire civil rights struggle, which predicated all of its progress on getting America to finally make true on the promise of equal protection and due process- because those rights lead to all the others. Same words, same law- vastly different interpretation of what it meant over time. Using your logic, we should be stuck with the Reconstructionists version of it. Sad really.

I got a pretty clear picture of how you’d ignore my actual words, versus what you wanted to read into them, when you were so grossly wrong in your guess of who I am. So I will offer you a little insight, if it helps. You think I am young, or maybe from California. I was born in 1969 in Washington, DC, where I attended public school. I graduated from the same high school profiled in the movie Remember the Titans. I went to CU Boulder (yes, but before it became notorious) and have an MBA from Yale, where I also snuck in a few Law School classes for good measure. You think I will let them “chip away” at the constitution, and would gladly sacrifice all the freedoms that make this country great. Man, you are SO wrong on that account.

I don’t believe in “hate” laws of any kind (speech or action), and would not impose extra sentence on someone who committed a crime on a minority, even if they professed outright that they did it solely because of the race, ethnicity etc. of the victim. (Even though I am myself a minority). I have argued for free speech in cases where the groups involved are offensive to everything I believe (think KKK march in Skokie). I was appalled at Kelo, and felt that many members of the court that I personally admire let me down big time. I see the Homeland Security Act as a backdoor attempt to give government powers it was expressly designed not to have, and it will be abused. I think that civil rights doesn’t include the right not to be offended, I think church and state need to be separated, I am against the rape shield laws, and I think the smartest thing this country could do in the “war on drugs” is to legalize them (although I have never so much as smoked one joint in my life).

So, no, I am not the passive, “he doesn’t respect the constitution and will just let it get eaten away” type- sorry to disappoint. I have positions that offend both the left and the right. I don’t fit stereotypes easily, and I hate lazy arguments (like “the constitution ONLY means what the founders thought”).

What I believe is that we have to actually THINK about how to carefully balance each of the rights in the constitution, including the 2nd. Saying “All we have to do is figure out what the framers wanted and just stick with that” is laughably stupid. The ONLY reason that the constitution is as powerful as it is that it is a living document- it adapts. Not willy nilly, “hey I am this kind of law now” type changes, but gradual, powerful change like a sea change. The 14th is a prime example of getting away from what the founders intended, and applying the underlying principle underneath to a modern world. So keep on burying your head in the sand, and believe that the answers live only at some specific moment in time, in some specific mind. I will keep working in reality, and doing the “heavy mental lifting” that is required by those who want to keep a free society free.

I’ll respond to the other points a bit later- gotta get back to work and pay some bills.

Next Post in the series
Previous Post in the series

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.