July 14, 2003

Uncivil War


Some conservatives used the "states' rights" argument to condemn the recent Supreme Court sodomy ruling. Objectivist scholar Dr. Harry Binswanger concisely explained why that argument is mistaken in this letter to the editor of The New York Sun:

"Scalia in his dissent on the sodomy decision writes: 'It is the premise of our system that those judgments are to be made by the people, and not imposed by a governing caste.'

"Sounds like he's trying to keep meddlesome government out of people's lives doesn't it? But look at the switch he has pulled: the 'judgments' he wishes to protect are the laws passed by the Texas legislature -- laws arresting individuals for behavior that, whatever one thinks of it, is clearly within their rights. The meddlesome 'governing caste' is the Texas legislature, which the Supreme Court properly told: stop arresting individuals for private, peaceful, consensual activity.

"Yes, I'm sure the Texas law does reflect the will of the majority of Texans. So what? Slavery represented the will of the majority in the ante-bellum South. Hitler's Reich reflected the will of the majority of Germans in the Nazi era.

"Unlimited majority rule is a form of statism, not Americanism. Our system, contrary to Scalia's notion, holds individual rights above the power of any majority to infringe, 'and among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.' A right is the individual's protection against the will of any collective, whether that collective is called 'the State,' 'the people,' or 'Das Volk.'"

(Dr. Binswanger moderates an e-mail discussion list called HB List. His site has samples and a one-month trial offer. I've been a subscriber to HB List for years and highly recommend it.)

Posted by Forkum at July 14, 2003 07:55 AM