The ironies of this argument. Isn't it the conservatives who are arguing
for a democracy? In Utah's same-sex marriage case, the conservatives keep
arguing that a majority of Utahns oppose same-sex marriage, therefore the ban
should stay intact. But it's the progressives who are making this argument
according to him? By the way, the Constitution was created to protect the rights
of minority groups. Therefore, it's the conservatives who are trying to
"invoke the right of the majority." Poor argument.
Conservatism, especially Fiscal, has a very good and needed message that the
country needs to hear.Unfortunately, it gets drowned out by the
voices of the conservative crazies. You know them.The Birther
types.The "shut down the IRS" types. The "legitimate
rape" types. The Louie Gohmert types.". The "campaign
with Ted Nugent" types.The "shoe thrown at Hillary was staged"
types.This is no longer the fringe constituency. It is BECOMING the
base. And, sadly, GOP encourages them. Their "noise" clouds a
legitimate message. And it is a huge turnoff to many. Conservatism
is not crazy in the least. But their messengers are quickly getting there.
On the question of whether the rights of man precede government, the Declaration
of Independence is clear:"We hold these truths to be
self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their
Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and
the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are
instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the
governed...."Progressives pay lip service to the Declaration,
but ignore its plain meaning. The state exists for man, not man for the state.
Liberty is our natural right, and democracy our means of protecting it.
Blowhard self-serving sophistry. Seriously, that's what this opinion piece
is all about.
Nate said:"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are
created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable
Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That
to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their
just powers from the consent of the governed...."You do realize
that as this was written, those truths and rights didn't include anyone but
white men with money, so it was just words when written, they sounded good, but
it would be over a hundred years before women would fight tooth and nail for one
of those self-evident truths."To enjoy privilege without abuse,
to have liberty without license, to possess power and steadfastly refuse to use
it for self-aggrandizement — these are the marks of high
“The temperature of today's politics is commensurate to the stakes of
today's argument.”I could not disagree more…Whatever else you think about this article, the “stakes” such as
they are, are small potatoes next to the psychological aspects driving up the
temperature. We are losing the ability to engage in sober dialogue,
to be rational, and to place facts and the values we attach to them in proper
perspective.In short, we are becoming a country addicted to
self-righteous indignation and much of our media has become the moral equivalent
of a drug dealer.
Another brilliantly articulated exposition of the central problem we have, and
probably always will have, as a nation.I wish more people were
capable of understanding root problems as well as Mssrs. Will and Sandefur
obviously do. Our nation needs more of that understanding but we seem headed in
the opposite direction.
Commentaries on the Constitution gives us incite into the intent of the
Constitution. It says: "Let us never forget, that our constitutions
of government are solemn instruments, addressed to the common sense of the
people and designed to fix, and perpetuate their rights and liberties. They are
not to be frittered away to please the demagogues of the day. They are not to
be violated to gratify the ambition of political leaders. They are to speak in
the same voice now, and for ever. They are of no man’s private
interpretation. They are ordained the will of the people; and can be changed
only by the sovereign command of the people."Some place along
the way, our elected political leaders have "frittered away to please the
demagogues of the day." Our Constitution is slowly fading into oblivion.
Interesting article. This article reaffirms to me what I have always believed;
Liberals believe rights and liberties emanate from the central government and
Conservatives believe rights and liberties are God given. Thus the role of
government for liberals is much different than how conservatives view the role
of government. In all of history the vast majority of humans have lived under
despot Kings, tyrants and dictators where the central government told the people
what they could or could not do. Along came our founding fathers who thought the
people should tell the government what it could or could not do, not the other
way around. In all of world history, this was truly exceptional. This is what is
meant by American exceptionalism and it is truly a Conservative idea!
And -- Nowhere in the U.S> Constitution does it say CAPITALISM had to
be our economic model.
airnaut. Actually the 10th amendment's commerce clause is CAPITALISM in
itself. It certainly isn't talking about socialism, period.
Nate made the perfect argument for same sex marriage. The constitution endows us
with inalienable rights, which is to say we can't permit them to be usurped
even if we want to, such as in a popular vote.
I think this was a pretty good analysis of the two differing philosophies.I know SOME will hate it... because it's George F. Will
after-all...But I think IF you can pretend you don't know who
wrote it, and read it without pre-judging it... you will find it interesting and
helpful in understanding both sides.I can see the position of both
sides. And I think we need BOTH sides. Like somebody said... you can't
fly very far with only one wing. But BOTH sides need to focus on supporting
each other... instead of tearing the other down and suppressing or dismissing
people with the differing point of view.===Try
re-reading it with a totally open mind (not even considering who wrote it)...
and see if you can't learn something about the other side... and what
motivates them...I think if we understood some of the stuff he went
over here, we could understand each other better and get along a lot better.Neither side is all good... and neither is all bad. We need both. We
should not focus on eradicating either.
It’s astonishing to see how the right-wingers like to label &
caricature those who disagree with them, so let’s clear up a few
things.1.Our rights come from WE THE PEOPLE, exactly as the
Constitution implies - Jefferson in the Declaration (not a governing charter, by
the way) was simply expressing his Deist leanings. Our rights don’t come
from government any more than they come from a bronze-age god.2.The
first three words of the Constitution implies democracy (Breyer is right) and
all the writings of the Founders talk about self-government. I don’t know
what self-government means if it doesn’t mean a democracy. And for you
purists, it’s a Republic simply because most people have day jobs (i.e.,
too busy to vote on every single issue).3.Of course the Constitution
enshrines basic rights and liberties but it was never meant to create a country
that was ONLY interested in individual liberty – that form of government
is called anarchy.Bottom line – the majority does rule and can
decide on whatever laws, regulations, economic systems, etc., unless expressly
forbidden by the Constitution.
MountanmanHayden, IDairnaut. Actually the 10th amendment's
commerce clause is CAPITALISM in itself. It certainly isn't talking about
socialism, period.10:36 a.m. April 17, 2014======== ???10th Amendment:"The powers not delegated to the
United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are
reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."But, if
you meant "commerce clause", that would be found in -- Article I, Section 8, Clause 3:[The Congress shall have Power] To
regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with
the Indian tribes;====== I still can't see how
trade can only mean soley Capitalism, and precludes any and all Socialism.We trade with other Countries -- Socialist, Communist, -- ect. all the
2 bits.Good comment. And it applies to many issues in politics As
you note, partisanship prevents people from looking objectively at virtually
anything ideas, good or bad, from the other side.They CANNOT give
the other side "A WIN" regardless of whether it is good for America.But, best be careful. You write "Neither side is all good... and
neither is all bad. We need both."Again, I completely agree.
And that mentality (which encompasses most of my posts) gets me labeled a
LIBERAL.At a minimum, it would get you labeled a RINO. Not that
there is anything wrong with that. In fact, I have come to define RINO as a
@Tyler D,It always astonishes you to see how the RIGHT-wingers like to
label & caricature those who disagree with them... Wow... did
you not see JoeBlow 5:04 a.m.'s lists of "TYPES" of people?"The Birther types.The "shut down the IRS" types. The "legitimate rape" types. The Louie Gohmert types.". The "campaign with Ted Nugent" types.The "shoe thrown at
Hillary was staged" types"....I was going to comment on his
labels and "TYPEs"... but decided not to (Until YOUR comment accusing
RIGHT-Wingers of labeling those they disagree with...Can you show me
a similar list of labels from a "RIGHT-winger"??===I don't think you can. I haven't seen one here.But I have
from the LEFT-Wingers (LDS Liberal is notorious for his typing and labeling)...
but you totally overlook that and claim only RIGHT-wingers do it?Maybe the blinders didn't let you see HIS list of labels and
"Types" for people he disagrees with...===Kinda
ironic I think... That no right-wingers have done that in this topic, and a
left-leaning guy did.. but you're disappointed in RIGHT-wingers for
As usual George F Will is busily conflating ideas and attempting to undue the
will of the Founders, which was to give us a workable government. NO George. The
Declaration of Independence does NOT “set the framework” for reading
the Constitution. They are two separate documents designed to fulfill two very
separate functions. The Declaration justified our separation from Britain, and
the Constitution gives a plan of governance. Thus, when we talk about
government, we ALWAYS differ to the Constitution, NOT the Declaration of
Independence.Who says Progressives are obsessed about majority rule
at the expense of Liberty? . . . Certainly not Progressives. Progressives
believe in PROGRESS that can be implemented through good governance. NO George, Progressives don’t play down Liberty. Although Liberty can
exist in some cases without government, good governance actually enhances
Liberty by promoting and providing for the General Welfare, as specified in the
Constitution.“The argument is between conservatives who say
American politics is basically about a condition, liberty, and progressives who
say it is about a process, democracy.” WRONG. Progressives aren’t
all that concerned with “process,” they are concerned with RESULTS.
@2 bitsI should have worded that a little better… here’s
what I meant:When George Will caricatures people into an either/or
proposition of either believing in liberty or not, or… When
Nate suggests Progressives (does that mean anyone who’s not a dittohead?)
believe we “exist for the state” or…When samhill
agrees with Will’s caricature and laments that more of us don’t
“get it” or…When Mountanman says “Liberals
believe rights and liberties emanate from the central government and
Conservatives believe rights and liberties are God given,” well…I felt it was necessary to call these out and further make the case that
one can think Limbaugh, Beck, et al are nuts and still cherish our founding
documents & principles.I for one do…I’m
just tired of the right-wingers claiming to be the only ones that do, and
I’m especially tired of religious conservatives attempting to rewrite
history by constantly portraying our founding as establishing a Christian Nation
and implying the Founders were little more than divine puppets (this last is
admittedly a bit off topic… apologies). PS – Liked your
@Mountanman Liberals believe rights and liberties emanate from the
central government and Conservatives believe rights and liberties are God given.
=========I love when people tell me what I believe. I
have seen a very prevalent defense of "traditional marriage" on these
forums that "Marriage isn't a protected right in the Constitution"
To me it would seem this would indicate the opposite of what you
claim. Regardless, these rights come from the very nature that we
are living, breathing, thinking, human beings. They are not given by any
earthly power; only protected. The Constitution cannot, and does not grant
rights, only ensures their protection; and in return we agree to forego some of
our rights. We the People are sovereign; We the people created the Constitution
that in turn creates a National Government, which in turn empowers State
Governments.By that logic, any right not expressly surrendered to
the National Government, naturally reside with the People, or can be surrendered
to the State and local governments, if not already prohibited by the
Constitution, or Federal Law.
As much as disagree with many of the things Ezra T. Benson said -- I will agree
with this.forming a "Government" for the people, and of the
people boils down to this.Farmer does everything himself. Grow crops
and protect family and fields 24/7/365.Later, the area grows to a small
group of Farmers.Then, a larger group of Farmers, who finally
decide that it would far easier for them to COLLECTIVELY hire one guy, to
protect all of them -- so they can focus on what they do best Farming.So, they elect one of them and give him authority to serve and protect
and calle him the Sheriff.The bigger modern extension of this is --
The Fireman, The Teacher, The Military, to assure
clean air, food and water, The Roads, Power, Water, Electrical, Sewer,
Trash, Medical, and further policing businesses to Serve and PROTECT the
citizens.To Serve and Protect.That is the role and duty of
Govenment.The details of what services we "farmers" want,
and how to pay for them is were we differ.
Darrel,IF same sex marriage is part of YOUR "Pursuit of
happiness"... then I think it is something that pre-dates government, and
should be secured and protected by the government. That's why I think the
Supreme Court would be on your side (IF they would ever agree to hear and rule
on one of these cases).I just wish same-sex-marriage advocates
didn't think it was so important to change the pre-existing definition of
the term "Marriage". You don't have to re-define
"Marriage" to pursue your happiness (or at least you shouldn't).
As long as you are free to pursue happiness... I think the government has done
it's job to secure your rights. But they don't have to slap down
people with more traditional religious beliefs for you to pursue happiness (IF
we allow other union types that would make you happy). That was the
over-reach... prohibiting other union types.Anyway.. the topic
isn't same-sex-marriage. But it's a good example of what the
Constitution says the government is supposed to secure... our God-given rights
(not our Government-approved rights).
The article states, " Conservatives believe that liberty, understood as a
general absence of interference, and individual rights, which cannot be
exhaustively listed, are natural and that governmental restrictions on them must
be as few as possible and rigorously justified. Merely invoking the right of a
majority to have its way is an insufficient justification. "How
come I don't believe it? Well, being gay, I wish that they did believe it.
You certainly don't see that here in Utah. Oh yeah, they constantly
complain about the government sticking its nose into our lives, but when it
comes to the state of Utah, it is very different. look at same sex marriage! The
first thing out of their mouths is the right of the majority(Mormons) to have
its way! Gay rights are not the only time that they fall back on the majority!
Just ask any none Mormon! Then they will tell you " If you don't like
it, go somewhere else!"These conservatives are such hypocrites! They
constantly complain about Obama and how government is in our lives too much. I
feel the same about them! Who are they to tell me I can't get married?
Open Minded,President Benson didn't invent this. It's called
the "Social Contract". Google it, or read Jean-Jacques Rousseau's
famous 1762 book on this topic.The antecedents of social contract
theory are found in antiquity, in Greek and Stoic philosophy and Roman and Canon
Law, as well as in the Biblical idea of the covenant.Social contract
theorists seek to demonstrate, in different ways, why a rational individual
would voluntarily consent to give up his or her natural freedom to obtain the
benefits of political order.Hugo Grotius (1625), Thomas Hobbes
(1651), Samuel Pufendorf (1673), John Locke (1689), Jean-Jacques Rousseau
(1762), and Immanuel Kant (1797) are among the most prominent of 17th- and
18th-century theorists of social contract and natural rights. Our
founding fathers were highly influenced by John Locke. They mention his
philosophy all the time in their personal writings.Locke believed
that natural rights were inalienable, and that the rule of God therefore
superseded government authority; and Rousseau believed that democracy
(self-rule) was the best way of ensuring the general welfare while maintaining
individual freedom under the rule of law... The exact age-old schism
George Will is explaining...
@2bitsThat was a well thought response to my argument. Thank you
for your civil dialog.I have been very happily married to my wife
for nearly nine years, and I would argue against anyone who says they have 3
better kids than I do. The point I wish to make is, I did not need to place my
marriage on a Statewide ballot to enjoy all of the benefits society provides to
those that are legally married. I feel that if I wish to protect my right to
marry the person of my choice, I have to fight for that right for all, even for
those with whom I might religiously, morally or in some other manner may
disagree.If Person A makes Person B feel complete, and I can see no
harm done to society in allowing them to be united before the law, who am I to
say no?We don't allow family members to marry because their
offspring may result in serious birth defects...harm has been shown. Therefore,
society can, and has prohibited this type of unuion.Heck, if
everyone is a consenting adult, I am all for polygamy.
It would be really refreshing if just once George could simply tell us what he
thinks rather then trying to tell me what I think, especially seeing as he never
seems to get it right. If his arguments for his position are strong it should be
able to stand on its own without mischaracterizing others point of view.
If we believe that government is the source of our rights, then we reject
everything that led to the founding of our nation. Our forefathers told the
world that God gave us liberty and that the purpose of government was to secure
those liberties so that no other nation could use its power to take away our
liberties. There are many today who think that liberty comes from government.
They think that a President is a de-facto king, that Congress is subject to that
king, and that the Supreme Court is subject to the king's will. They have
abandoned everything that constitutes freedom and liberty.We are
Americans. As Americans, we are responsible to take care of ourselves, without
government aid. We have the responsibility to restrict government. We have the
responsibility to protect the most fundamental unit in society, the family. We
have the responsibility to reject any idea that rejects God and God's plan
of happiness, which requires that we discipline ourselves to reject any and all
rules or regulations that destroy the nobility of the family and its purpose.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that
among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Declaration of
Independence. Could it be stated more clearly where our rights and liberties
come from? I rest my case.
2 bitsCottonwood Heights, UTOpen Minded,President Benson
didn't invent this. It's called the "Social Contract". Google
it, or read Jean-Jacques Rousseau's famous 1762 book on this topic.========= Agreed, I know Ezra T Benson did not 1st make this
remark, I just used him and his reference to it to quiet my
ultra-Conservative friends -- the will never argue with anything Ezra said.Nice twist, deflect and diversion -- My point is -- WE
farmers form Government to Serve and Protect us, so that we might Pursue
our own Happiness -- Rather than sleep constatnly with one-eye open, worrying about wild animals, wild-fires, or thiefs in the night.It
starts there -- and since our Farm is now 330 Million, and many of
us are no longer farmers, but urbanites in cities, our needs have changed
to adabt to our newer more modern surrounds and cicumstances,and so too
must our Government.
"There are many today who think that liberty comes from government. They
think that a President is a de-facto king, that Congress is subject to that
king, and that the Supreme Court is subject to the king's will."Who exactly are "they" and where exactly have "they"
declared that Obama is a "de-facto king" with the other two branches of
government "subject" to that "king"?Part of a civil
discussion is not twisting people's position to say the absurd things that
you want them to say. That's called a strawman argument.
One of the things that muddy the waters is that there are a number of different
concepts which can all be referred to as "rights". One way to
distinguish between natural, God-given rights and other kinds of rights is the
Gilligan's Island test. If you're stranded on a remote island with
others, what rights do you have? Those are natural rights. Do you have the
"right" to make someone else provide health care, or food? No. But you
do have the right to take care of your own health, find your own food, defend
yourself, or shack up with anyone who is willing to join you.The
marriage license offered by the state isn't a natural right. The
state's involvement in marriage is this: the state wishes to incentivize
certain relationships by offering benefits to those who meet the criteria
posited by the state and who are willing to abide by agreement. This is
perfectly legal and constitutional as long as the criteria posed by the state
are relevant to what the state is attempting to accomplish (and what it's
trying to accomplish is above board).
Will says: "The argument is between conservatives who say American politics
is basically about a condition, liberty, and progressives who say it is about a
process, democracy."Huh? I see it as the opposite. Although
most conservatives adhere to the notion that we are endowed by our Creator with
certain rights, we believe deeply in the democratic process. The Constitution
had to go through a democratic process to be ratified and so has each amendment.
If you believe same-sex marriage should be a basic right, amend the
Constitution -- In the same way proponents of the Equal Rights Amendment tried
to ratify it 30 some years ago. But as we're seeing, it's much easier
to claim it's been in the fine print of the 14th Amendment all along rather
than go through the democratic process.
This is a very poor use of Mr. Will's intellect. Very little about human
beings or life is black/white. It may make it easier to reduce everything to
simplistic, binary categories, but doing so only DISTANCES you from reality. Mr.
Will should give back the money he was paid for this one. It offers very
Hey 2bits -Yes, the founders were influenced by Locke and his
concepts of Liberty. According to Locke, when people enter into the social
contract, they GIVE UP their natural liberty in favor of the kind of liberty
made possible by government and law. According to Locke, Liberty or
“freedom of men under government is, to have a standing rule to live by,
common to every one of that society, and made by the legislative power erected
in it.”George will tells us that natural liberty is that
“which simultaneously justifies and limits democratic government.”
No it does not. Locke says that Natural liberty is sublimated upon entering the
social contract. Contrary to what George Will would have us belief,
Locke does NOT stubbornly insist that the natural liberty found in his
hypothetical state of nature should take precedence over the higher liberty
achieved through good governance.Will and his plutocrat-serving
colleagues are trying to sell America a false bill of goods, and they try to
support their behavior with words they falsely attribute to great thinkers of
the past.Basically, today’s Right Wing ideology is based on
lies on top of lies.
@Tyler DIf the shoe fits, the progressives are going to have to wear
it. In the progressive utopia, Julia must have her morning-after pills -- paid
for by me -- even though my church teaches me not to participate in abortions.
Countless other progressive positions violate individual liberty. They range
through just about every amendment in the Bill of Rights. Make all the noise you
want about it, but if someone decides every question in favor of state power and
against individual rights, it becomes not a stereotype, but a pattern.
@Happy Valley Heretic "...it was just words when written...."No, the Declaration was much more than that. The power of those ideas overcame
the ruling social order one measure at a time. It took just over a half-century
to overcome slavery; it took another half-century to produce the 19th Amendment.
But the seeds were planted in the Declaration. The outcome was inevitable, as
long as we stayed true to the ideas.I don't think progressives
are grateful enough for the Declaration and the Constitution. We see too many
disparaging comments right here in this forum. In reality, those documents laid
the foundation for nearly every good thing we have.
@HutteritePops is right. We're talking about natural rights
here. Obtaining a state license is something else.
Hey Nate – “I don't think progressives are
grateful enough for the Declaration and the Constitution.”Well, you are wrong about that.Progressives are extremely grateful
for those documents, but they recognize that the United States Constitution
takes precedence over the Declaration of Independence.Progressives
want to see PROGRESS in our government’s ability and wilingness to provide
for and “promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty
to ourselves and our posterity.” It is self-described
“Patriotic Conservatives” who oppose the Constitution.
Liberty and democracy are not mutually exclusive to the point where you choose
one or the other. Both are vital. Both have limits. There was conflict between
individual freedom and majority rule when Jefferson proclaimed “we are all
Federalists and we are all Republicans.” That was over 200
years ago. Some today still wrestle with it.
@USUStudent:"In Utah's same-sex marriage case, the conservatives
keep arguing that a majority of Utahns oppose same-sex marriage, therefore the
ban should stay intact."There are may who oppose SSM because
other types of marriages will of necessity and to be fair to all, will follow.
Which will cheapen the ritual and eventually be the cause of its demise.@Hutterite:"Nate made the perfect argument for same sex
marriage. The constitution endows us with inalienable rights, which is to say we
can't permit them to be usurped even if we want to, such as in a popular
vote."I take it then, you approve of all types of marriages
including SSM, polygamy, incest, underage, and a variety of other combinations,
"you're stranded on a remote island with others, what rights do you
have? Those are natural rights. Do you have the "right" to make someone
else provide health care, or food? No."Of course that isn't
a natural right. And no one claimed it was. And of course you don't have
the "right" to force somebody to drive on the right side of the road, or
force somebody to buy a license to operate a business. And you don't have
the "right" to force somebody to pay for a military, or pay to have
roads built on your island. Those things aren't rights, they
are how we have decided to order, and arrange our society. Just like we have
decided to help poor people afford food and healthcare. You're confused on
the concept of rights. "As Americans, we are responsible to take
care of ourselves, without government aid. We have the responsibility to
restrict government. We have the responsibility to protect the most fundamental
unit in society, the family. We have the responsibility to reject any idea that
rejects God and God's plan of happiness,"No we don't