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Unexamined Premises

Monthly Archives: June 2012

Fundamental Transformation

June 29th, 2012 - 6:07 pm

Let’s cut to the chase regarding yesterday’s stunning Supreme Court decision about ObamaCare: conservatives have no one to blame but themselves for this — and, in fact, looking back at the SB 1070 ruling, should have seen it coming. Everyone got a little too comfortable with the notion that John Roberts would be a reliably conservative — i.e. political — vote. And now look.

But the real lesson is this: it’s not the Supreme Court’s job to save the country from the folly of its legislators. To quote the chief justice:

Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.

That’s the part he got right. And then, as if to emphasize the point, he went and upheld a law that effectively destroys the notion of limited government and personal sovereignty, when he could have struck it down. Welcome to the emanations of the penumbras of  ”fundamental transformation.”

The Arizona case had already showed the Court’s willingness to split the baby,  without regard to the larger political issue. For all the Left’s shouting about the politicized nature of the court, Roberts pulled that rug out from under them with his strangely muddled exercise in legal sophistry — an opinion that saved the Democrats’ bacon by deciding that the individual mandate was not a penalty (even though that’s what the administration argued)  but a tax, and while Congress couldn’t use the Commerce clause as a cudgel to beat the public into submission, the General Welfare clause would serve just as well. In other words, even though the effect of this one man’s thinking was political, it was arrived at by lawyerly means.

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‘The Right Thing to Do’

June 27th, 2012 - 3:16 pm

Get used to this phrase, because you’re going to be hearing it a lot. Especially if the Supreme Court slam dunks the Patient Deflection and Unaffordable Care Act into history’s ash can tomorrow.

One of the defining characteristics of the modern Left is its constant appeal to a “higher moral authority.” For a group with a sizable cohort of atheists, they are positively giddy in their devotion to morality. You hear it from them all the time. As my favorite lefty, “David Kahane,” writes in Rules for Radical Conservatives:

When we speak of such things as fierce moral urgency, our “morality” is based on absolutely nothing more than whatever suits our purposes, and bears only an accidental resemblance to anything found in such traditional sources of morality as churches and synagogues, or basic common decency…

Although we’ve been able to attract a great many well intentioned or well indoctrinated or, well, let’s call it confused, people to our side, that’s mostly because we’ve so stridently claimed, with no factual basis whatsoever, the moral high ground for so many years that it is now socially unacceptable to oppose us.

President Obama thinks a lot of things are the right thing to do, whether shoving Obamacare down the nation’s throat, unilaterally changing the law on illegal immigration, making recess appointments when the Senate is not officially in recess, and simply refusing to “faithfully execute” duly passed laws, such as the Defense of Marriage Act. As Sen. John Kyl said to Bill Bennett on the radio, “impeachment is always a possibility.”

The farce that was the Clinton trial in the Senate — aided and abetted by the Senate Republicans and presided over by the late Chief Justice Rehnquist, wearing a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta costume — pretty much ensures that we won’t see another impeachment in our lifetimes (unless, of course, it’s of a Republican president). And, in any case, Kyl was speaking speculatively, answering the question of how to rein in a runaway chief executive.

But the larger issue — of lawlessness at the executive level in the name of a “higher morality” — remains. As my character “Kahane” explains above, there is in fact no moral basis for the Left’s bogus morality; it’s just its usual lust for power dressed up in Judeo-Christian trappings in order to seduce the gullible, the devotional, and the feeble-minded. It’s “American taqiyya” in action, asking “what would Jesus do?” while watching Alinsky’s Lucifer give you two thumbs up.

True, there’s a sucker born every minute, as Barnum famously said. But even (in Glenn Reynold’s phrase) “self-identifying rubes” eventually come around once the disparity between kind word and brutal deed becomes too evident to ignore. So how can we help them?

The first thing is to stand up say: it’s not the right thing to do. Because we’re talking principles, not programs.

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First Principles

June 26th, 2012 - 12:00 am

With less than six months before the critical 2012 election, it’s vital that those on the right not fall into the trap of accepting the premises of leftist argumentation. To do that — to cede even a single inch of turf, or to acknowledge that they are arguing or advocating in good faith — is already to have lost. Therefore, repeat after me:

Principles, not programs. Principles, not programs. Principles, not programs.

We often hear it said that the coming election is as raw a clash of political philosophies as can be imagined — the most important election since 1860. And in a sense, that’s true. The national divide over the issue of slavery and its expansion into the rapidly settling territories was a constitutional crisis of the first order. It took the Civil War to sort out an issue that the Framers had partially punted, at a dreadful cost of lives and treasure. To say that the postwar Union was nothing like antebellum America is an understatement.

Now we are engaged in a great Cold Civil War. But the decision American voters will make in November is far more than merely an ideological clash about what the Constitution meant or means. For that supposes that both sides are playing by the same rules, and have a shared interest in the outcome. That presumes that both sides accept the foundational idea of the American experiment, and that the argument is over how best to adhere to it.

That is false.

For some, this is a difficult notion to grasp. To them, politics is politics, the same game being played by the same rules that go back a couple of centuries. The idea that one party — and you know which one I mean — is actively working against its own country as it was founded seems unbelievable.

But that is true.

Don’t take it from me, take it from Barack Hussein Obama who famously said on the stump in 2008: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

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Many gullible voters took that to mean that the end of the George W. Bush era was at hand, and little more. Ho-hum: politics as usual. But the minute I heard that, I knew exactly what Obama meant. “Fundamental transformation” is the Holy Grail of the modern Left — I do not say “American Left,” since much of its inspiration and sustenance is most definitely not American — and by “fundamental transformation” they mean the utter destruction of the founding principles of limited government, individual self-reliance and personal freedom. In their place, they bring the poisoned gifts of fascism, central planning and rule by a credentialed aristocracy of like-minded fellow travelers.

And when they say “by any means necessary,” you had better believe they mean it. Election 2012 is not a clash of political parties but an existential struggle for the soul of America. To treat it as anything but that is both willful blindness and arrant foolishness.

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