- We get the Plutocracy we deserve
- The new Α & Ω
- Is the Daily Currant shilling for Snopes?
- Progressive Eugenicist Indiana
- Plotted Parenthood
- More on Christian Marriage in the new regime
I was thinking about how we’re living under federal judicial tyranny – until reality brought me up short.
It’s not exactly false that we’re living under judicial tyranny. The courts have been decreeing “progressive” social policy under dubious constitutional pretexts, after all. That’s a sort of tyranny.
But we’ve acquiesced. The courts have no police, National Guard, Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines. The executive branch controls enforcement of the courts’ decrees. Courts have only the power of persuasion, and they’ve been falling short of persuading.
The executive branch has its own independent obligation to uphold the Constitution – not whatever pops into the head of 5/9 of the Supreme Court. No less a figure than Abe Lincoln, in the wake of Dred Scott, took seriously that obligation himself to interpret the Constitution. He parsed it like this:
[Stephen Douglas] denounces all who question the correctness of that decision, as offering violent resistance to it. But who resists it? Who has, in spite of the decision, declared Dred Scott free, and resisted the authority of his master over him?
Judicial decisions have two uses-first, to absolutely determine the case decided, and secondly, to indicate to the public how other similar cases will be decided when they arise. For the latter use, they are called “precedents” and “authorities.”
We believe, as much as Judge Douglas, (perhaps more) in obedience to, and respect for the judicial department of government. We think its decisions on Constitutional questions, when fully settled, should control, not only the particular cases decided, but the general policy of the country, subject to be disturbed only by amendments of the Constitution as provided in that instrument itself. More than this would be revolution. But we think the Dred Scott decision is erroneous. We know the court that made it, has often over-ruled its own decisions, and we shall do what we can to have it to over-rule this. We offer no resistance to it.
Judicial decisions are of greater or less authority as precedents, according to circumstances. That this should be so, accords both with common sense, and the customary understanding of the legal profession.
If this important decision had been made by the unanimous concurrence of the judges, and without any apparent partisan bias, and in accordance with legal public expectation, and with the steady practice of the departments throughout our history, and had been in no part, based on assumed historical facts which are not really true; or, if wanting in some of these, it had been before the court more than once, and had there been affirmed and re-affirmed through a course of years, it then might be, perhaps would be, factious, nay, even revolutionary, to not acquiesce in it as a precedent.
But when, as it is true we find it wanting in all these claims to the public confidence, it is not resistance, it is not factious, it is not even disrespectful, to treat it as not having yet quite established a settled doctrine for the country ….
Many of the courts’ decisions have been less than unanimous, opposed by a majority of the people, poorly reasoned and unpersuasive, and inconsistent with the deep constitutional principle of self-governance (not to mention the wisdom of not tearing down a fence until you know why it was put up). But some states’ Attorneys General liked the outcomes so well the waved a white flag and surrendered, declining to do their duty to defend their states’ laws.
So what we have, I submit, is a plutocracy of:
- overreaching courts,
- spineless legislative and executive branches, too busy in their circle jerk of incumbency protection and pillage to lift a hand in protest, and
- business interests that profit by family breakup (e.g., more furnished housing units needed, more people forced to enter the workplace as single persons).
Specifically, it’s their overwhelming conviction that the new pope is not just pro-gay but soon will be recognizing gay marriage and (who knows) maybe even gay priests. For the modern liberal, with gaze fixed below the waist, there is literally nothing of higher importance for Francis and the life of the planet. Other than perhaps race, nothing transfixes the modern progressive mind quite like gay sex; it’s the new alpha and omega.
(Paul Kengor via David Mills) Kengor and Mills think the liberals are wrong, by the way:
The desires of sexual minorities do seem to have precedence over all other concerns and they are eager to take any possible sign that the Church is giving in as if it were proof that she were. It is an extension of the philosopher Santayana’s remark of 100 or more years ago that (as relayed by Bill Buckley) the only thing modern liberalism wants to liberate is man from his marriage bond.
They’ve duped themselves, Kengor concludes, and he notes that they’re going to be very upset with Francis when they realize they’d been duped. They will, I’ll predict, blame Francis for misleading them.
I’ve discovered that Snopes has an RSS feed so you can get the latest urban myths debunked before they even catch up with you if you’re a geezer like me. And their FAQ page denies the known fact, beloved by conservative purveyors of Ninth Commandment violations, that Snopes is funded by George Soros.
Most have heard of the program in Nazi Germany, in which more than 400,000 people considered unworthy of life — those with hereditary illnesses, but also the dissident, the idle, the homosexual, and the weak — were targeted for forced sterilization beginning in the 1930s. Few realize that some of the inspiration for Germany’s eugenics program, and even the language for the Nuremberg racial hygiene laws, which among other restrictions banned sexual intercourse between Jewish and non-Jewish Germans, came from eugenicists who had been practicing for years in the United States. Some 60,000 American citizens were sterilized, often under coercion or without consent.
The first state to enact a eugenics-based sterilization law was Indiana, in 1907; it was followed 2 years later by Washington and California.
(For the Public Good: The Shameful History of Forced Sterilization in the U.S.) Eugenics in the anglophone world was, by the way, a “progressive” cause. The protesters were prophetic religious curmudgeons like G.K. Chesterton.
Indiana’s cutting-edge adoption of eugenics is as embarrassing as its persistence as a northern hotbed of Klan activity.
A further threat comes from the gay insurgency, which will press the administration to find some way to federalize the marriage issue and to compel acceptance of the chimera of “gay marriage.” Thus it seems important to accelerate a serious debate within American Catholicism on whether the Church ought not pre-emptively withdraw from the civil marriage business, its clergy declining to act as agents of government in witnessing marriages for purposes of state law.
If the Church were to take this dramatic step now, it would be acting prophetically: it would be challenging the state (and the culture) by underscoring that what the state means by “marriage” and what Catholics mean by “marriage” are radically different, and that what the state means by “marriage” is wrong. If, however, the Church is forced to take this step after “gay marriage” is the law of the land, Catholics will be pilloried as bad losers who’ve picked up their marbles and fled the game”and any witness-value to the Church’s withdrawal from the civil marriage business will be lost. Many thoughtful young priests are discussing this dramatic option among themselves; it’s time for the rest of the Church to join the conversation.
But Archbishop Chaput seemingly agrees with the principle of Weigel and of the Pledge:
Catholic priests could “refuse to conduct civil marriages now as a matter of principled resistance” to gay marriage, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said last week.
“A friend recently suggested that the Church should get out of the civil marriage business altogether,” Chaput related in his October 20th First Things Erasmus Lecture in New York.
“In a way it makes sense. It’s hard to see how a priest or bishop could in good conscience sign a marriage certificate that merely identifies Spouse A and Spouse B. That’s happening now,” he said.
“This dramatizes in a concrete way the fact that we face some very hard choices in a new marriage regime,” Chaput stated.
I’m not a religious authority, but the Pledge sounds like a very good and prophetic idea to me, even if it is a bit late.
UPDATE: The title of the blog as originally published mis-stated the date.
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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)