Wednesday, September 14, 2005

It's Democracy, Stupid!

Thomas Sowell writes about the harm done by "the nationally televised Roman circus and mud-slinging contest that these hearings have too often become." He goes on to make a point I've been trying to:
There has been much hand-wringing about how or whether we can tell what the "original intent" was among those who wrote the Constitution. But the moral and legal bases for the authority of the Constitution do not rest with those who wrote it. The moral and legal authority of the Constitution comes from those who ratified it -- "we the people" -- not those who wrote it.
In other words, our system is designed to allow those who make up our society what it will be like, within certain limits, by enacting their own laws from state to state and town to town. If people don't mind have a gay enclave in their city, far be it from me to tell them they can't have one, but the people in my little town shouldn't have to follow the same rules as New York or San Francisco.

One of our real mistakes over the past 50 years is to see every issue as one of civil rights. It was wrong to force blacks or any racial minority to be treated like second class citizens. But that doesn't mean that pornography is the same kind of consideration, or homosexual behavior in public places, or panhandling and vagrancy or gay marriage. There are sound reasons other than bigotry to object to many behaviors that are being claimed as rights. Just about any group can find a way to distinguish itself from everyone else and claim prejudice, but the push to sensitize society to every personal feeling someone might have, as in the questioning of John Roberts about referring to some one as "Amigos" or portraying women who become pregnant and feel shame or desperation as vicitms because they can't have abortion on demand, just leads to absurd results, a society that doesn't reproduce enough to maintain itself, for instance, or one so hamstrung by legaliities and political correctness that every person is isolated from everyone else for fear if being thought "insensitive."


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