Thursday, March 04, 2004

Occasionally, I get some flashes of insight into what enrages my paleoconservative friends about inauthentic conservatism.

Such is the case recently in a discussion I've been having over at PunditFilter (a site I really like, by the way) with some folks about the Locke v. Davey case.

One of the correspondents there was decrying the decision against Davey as a travesty of religious freedom. I disagreed, pointing out that the duly-enacted Washington state constitution specifically disallows taxpayer money to fund religious study, and that there is no constitutional right to scholarship money, and that the Supreme Court's ordering the funding of these scholarships would be the height of the judicial activism that all conservatives ought to oppose.

To my chagrin, I've found that some self-styled conservatives really have no interest in reasoning through this; they know the end they desired, and like the Left, would see it imposed by any means neccessary--including judicial fiat.

One correspondent said:
I don't think anyone would have seen a different Court ruling in favor of the scholarship as "rewriting the democratically-enacted constitution of the state." Instead it would have been upholding those freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. It wouldn't have overruled the people, it would have protected their rights, as it should. Instead, with its decision, the Supreme Court is re-writing law in this case, ignoring the US constitution in favor of a misinterpretation of a state constitution.
First of all, however it may be "seen" is irrelavant to me, and irrelevant to the case.

But beyond that, this seems like Orwellian double-speak to me. The claim here is that a ruling in favor of Davey would have protected the rights of Washingtonians by denying them the provisions of the state constitution they enacted. In other words, it would have protected them from themselves, a concept with which the Left regularly rules.

Furthermore, no actual provision of the U.S. Constitution is cited in support of the "freedom" of tax-funded religious education it allegedly guarantees.

And to top it off, it is alleged that the U.S. Supreme Court is "re-writing law in this case," despite the fact that there is no right to scholarships in the U.S. Constitution that I can find (though you'll probably begin to hear it in lots of John Kerry stump speeches), and that the constitution of the state of Washington bans such funding.

I pointed out that we conservatives ought to be consistent. Conservatism means something. It is against over-centralization. It is for local government. We supported Roy Moore in his battle against the federal court. Do we want constitutional change by judicial fiat or don't we?

Another correspondent said that I ought not to "[lump] conservatives into the same basket":
Not all of us supported Moore and his thumbing his nose at the federal court.

Personally, I don't think this is a state's matter because it cuts to the core of religious freedom. When that's curtailed, it transcends states rights and becomes a federal issue, period.
This person claims the label of conservative, but whatever philosophy this is, it isn't conservatism.

Roy Moore is said to have "thumbed his nose" at a federal court because he believed they had no right, citing no law whatsoever, to order him to not acknowledge God. Yet self-styled "conservatives" evidently believe that we are not a nation of laws, but rather a nation of men who tell us what the law is.

Of course, these lofty-sounding (though radically unconstitutional) notions of "greater freedom" and "transcendance" are precisely the same reason we've now had Roe v. Wade for the last 30 years. The reasoning is exactly the same as that on the Left--that some issues are just to big to let the unwashed masses decide.

Such "conservatives" have allowed the Left to formulate the mechanism for social engineering, and they only want to take their own turn at the wheel every now and again. They've allowed the Left to choose the city, stadium, and boundaries of the field that the game will be played on, and then label temselves "conservative" because they think they've chosen the correct color uniform.

So, to my paleoconservative friends, let me say: I think I understand now what you feel when you think you see Statism disguised as conservatism.

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