Friday, October 16, 2015

The Un-American-ness of "Constitutional Conservatism"

No, you can't argue with people who think letting people marry whom they love is cause for the violent overthrow of the government

This isn’t, by the way, just about incitement to violence. All this talk about liberal “tyranny” also illustrates the fundamentally anti-democratic nature of “constitutional conservatism.” Most liberals, even if they really, really hate conservatives, would concede that everybody has the right to contend for their point of view in the arena of elective politics. The central conceit of constitutional conservatism is to deny the equivalence of policy preferences, and to assert that favored conservative policies are permanently enshrined by the Founders—who in turn were inspired by divine and natural law—immune from popular majorities, no matter how large. It helps to understand that when someone like Ted Cruz talks about “liberties,” he’s not just talking about freedom of expression or even of religion, but the right to use your private property however you damn well please free from taxation or regulation or unions.

If you feel your own POV is the only legitimate set of ideas consistent with the Constitution or even the structure of the universe and the Will of God, then you are not going to be interested in compromise or limits on your exercise of power or civility towards the opposition, are you? I’m afraid that is more responsible for what Tom Mann calls “our current distemper” than is usually recognized.

In any event, in the short term progressives, responsible conservatives, and most of all the MSM need to challenge Second Amendment ultras either to repudiate the right to armed insurrection or stop using rhetoric that suggests one of our two major parties is promoting “tyranny” or trying to “destroy the country.”

No comments: