Posted: 30 Apr 2013 12:30 PM PDT
From social conservatives to libertarians, most Republicans claim that the foundation of their views lies in the Constitution. The problem we face as a republic isn't the threat posed by those who admittedly hold no reverence for our founding document, but rather from the hypocrites who use the Constitution as a shield to protect themselves, but throw it aside without hesitation when they are on the attack. The Bill of Rights' power comes from its definitiveness – either it applies all the time, without exception, or it serves no purpose at all. The right loses the moral authority to claim to be champions of asserting its limitations on government if they so eagerly dismiss the parts which step in the way of their own agenda.
There is no political issue of greater importance than the necessity that any action taken on it abide by the Constitution. There is no part of the Bill of Rights which should be read with an asterisk next to it, placing conditions upon the rights so that their preservation is conditional upon "reasonable" limitations, or the preservation of one group's views on morality. Morals are what guide our choices – how we live our lives, whether our actions match up with what we purport to be our beliefs – but objective ethics form the steel cage which restrains government. When you allow the government the opportunity to make decisions and roam free, you trust a feral animal to behave as a house pet. You trust it to follow your commands, while your empowerment of it is what makes it dangerous.
Truly limited government wouldn't need to feign morality. The only reason so many (mistakenly) believe that it has lost its moral compass is that it has encroached so far into so many areas of our lives. Bureaucrats, not teachers, control the public education system – and No Child Left Behind was only a drop in the bucket as to how and why – so is it really any surprise when the government exercises the authority freely given to them in lowering standards and increasing propaganda? The problem isn't a lack of morality in the government's decision-making process. The problem is that voters on both sides of the aisle just accept government as an entity with its own free will. When the watchful eyes and greedy hands of government invade all areas of life, the 10th Amendment seems to be the only escape route.
In 2010, Arizona's SB1070 stirred up controversy and got the lay-person involved in the border enforcement debate, and Jan Brewer became a hero on the right nationwide for standing up to Obama in defending her state's right to enforce its own laws. In the same vein, Governor Brewer pledged to make use of her executive power in preventing her state from seeing being subjected to ObamaCare. "Arizonans are increasingly concerned and alarmed about the rapid and dramatic expansion of the federal government into their personal lives," she assured. Yet Brewer took the exact opposite stance when Arizona voters approved medical marijuana – following up her vocal opposition of the medimari bill with a suit in federal court to challenge her state's program.
That she, as a conservative, wanted to prevent what she saw to be a stepping stone to marijuana legalization is understandable. One could perhaps argue that as governor of a border state trying to deal with inadequate federal support to keep Mexican drug cartels in line, that her position is tied more to a pragmatic concern for her state's specific difficulties in addressing drug prohibition. Yet, even if Brewer is in the minority who support marijuana illegality or one of the 7% of Americans who believe we are winning the War on Drugs, the question remains: how does she reconcile her unabashed hypocrisy on when she believes the 10th Amendment should or shouldn't apply? Or more, why do so many who pledge loyalty to the Constitution appear comfortable applying it a 'la carte as well?
When the pot calls the kettle black and liberals accuse conservatives of being ideologically consistent, they do have a point. When it comes to victories in states tightening regulations on abortion, or in the banning of Sharia Law, Republicans claim victory in the name of the 10th Amendment. However, when voters approve same-sex marriage for their state or work to legalize marijuana or – as in Arizona – even medical marijuana use, the same social conservatives rely on the federal government in hopes to trump the states' jurisdiction on the issue.
That is not to say that there aren't times when a states' rights approach isn't appropriate. The 10th Amendment was not intended to be a catch-all under which anything and everything could be deemed constitutional. The reason our Founders put it at the end of the Bill of Rights rather than the beginning is that it is supposed to be used only when the action to be taken by the states does not violate other constitutional prohibitions on government action. More confusing than the selective defense of states' rights is the inconsistency in which portions of the Bill of Rights are or aren't seen by the right as acceptable to violate on a state level.
Recently North Carolina's House Speaker killed a bill which would have made Christianity the official state religion. The legislation asserted that states were immune from the 1st Amendment's establishment clause on the grounds that it referred only to a federal establishment. While a third of Americans would support Christianity as the official state religion and see no conflict with the 1st Amendment, an even larger number believe preventing gun violence is more important than preservation of the constitutionally-affirmed right to bear arms. If there is overlap between those two groups, it is minimal – yet both are comfortable with circumventing the Constitution when it is necessary for their agenda.
Generally, liberals wants to keep religion out of government at all times and under all conditions – and anything short of that is a blatant violation of the 1st Amendment. Conservatives want to preserve gun ownership rights for all firearms without exception – and see anything short of that as unconstitutional. Yet, it's not an either/or choice where one is right and the other wrong, nor should loyalty to the Constitution be seen through the filter of a false dichotomy of left vs. right.
I have written before about what libertarianism means to me personally, and how I reconcile my conservative views on topics such as abortion and the dangers posed by Islam with my desire to keep laws and regulations at bay on any issues which do not directly involve protection of one's sovereignty. What I find coming to mind more often than why I consider myself a libertarian is why I do not consider myself a conservative.
With the mainstreaming of the Tea Party movement came a shift toward questions of constitutionality where previously right-vs.-wrong or frugal-vs.-wasteful had been the focal points of the debate. Those who found themselves figureheads of modern conservatism, like Glenn Beck, now proudly proclaim themselves to be libertarians.
His views haven't really changed, only his chosen label. For some Republicans, rigidness in constitutional dedication is for "impressionable libertarian kids in college dorms" – but many others are discovering that they are more comfortable with a fissure between their personal values on morality and how much authority the government should be handed in legislating morality. The foundation of my identity as a libertarian with conservative values (rather than a conservative with libertarian ethics) is rigidness in the belief that the Constitution should always be the deciding factor in how tightly we fasten the cuffs restraining government.
True conservatives realize that the Republican Party has no interest in their values – these days, the label of "conservative" doesn't stand for uncompromising limitations on government; it stands for advancing the socially-conservative agenda at all costs. Conservatives who believe there are no exceptions to when statism from the right is worse than not being right are beginning to accept that perhaps libertarians' refusal to be "reasonable" and "moral" in politics does serve a legitimate purpose.
Conservatives who are truly concerned with the preservation of the Constitution need to prioritize adherence to its limitations on government over the conservative agenda. Belief in the sanctity of the Bill of Rights isn't an issue of liberals vs. conservatives or Democrats vs. Republicans. The Constitution protects states' rights in all appropriate exercises of their authority – and protects all of us from the dangers of statism. All we have to do is let it.
Posted: 08 Aug 2012 09:05 AM PDT
Written by Eric Moquin
In the wake of yet another senseless killing that has interesting timing, we need to start thinking bigger picture. We need to, as Constitution loving Americans, think of what might be happening right under our noses. It may not be so, but the past month or so has been curiously morbid. Friends, If you know someone, who seems acutely bitter or frustrated, talk to them. See if you can talk to them and make sure they are not thinking about taking to “the ledge”. We need to band together and try to cut this out, as much as we can, as a community, knowing wee can only do so much. But I think we can do more. We are going to face yet another round, as it feels like round after round these days of emotionally charged knee-jerk reaction control “needs”. These discussions have multi-tier effect that the founders of this great nation warned us against repeatedly as most of you are well aware. What we need to do is talk to each other more, constructively. This latest killing was no doubt an emotional action. Logical thinking wins the day not emotions, but that is easier said than done. We need to stop and think first much more often. Talk to each other, both logically and emotionally, but we need to remember and understand and convey to anyone remotely capable of this, loud and clear that isolated emotional attacks like this are counter productive to any cause and are a waste of perfectly good lives. It solves nothing and above all is immoral, illegal and wrong.
We all I am sure are hearing the rumblings of this being a left-wing gun grabbing conspiracy. I can’t speak to that, but what I do know is that gun control does NOT take guns out of the hands of criminals and the disturbed. The underlying issue of gun control in the case of the Colorado and probably Wisconsin tragedies is not the cure of the illness, but a an incorrect treatment of a symptom. We need to treat the actual cause of the illness, and that is illness itself. These people that commit these disgusting acts are ill, need help, and did not get help. Talk to each other but do mot pry. Get to know each other. Help each other. We also do not want to do this just to become tattle tales on each other, but maybe we can help one another avoid going down these paths. Please pray for the families that were injured and lost loved ones that they may get peace and healing.
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