David Harsanyi is looking at the Death of the Constitution. A document widely ignored by both parties when it gets in the way of something "really important". Like preventing gay marriage. Or prohibiting drugs.
Perhaps the flaw in the document is its ambiguity rather than its complexity. Giving Congress the wide-ranging authority to "make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper" to provide for the "general Welfare," for instance, gives every do-gooder who can cobble together 50 percent-plus-one of the vote the authority to define the common good.Such attitudes were common at the founding of the country.
This includes conservatives, who would often have trouble passing their own originalist constitutional purity test.
Under what authority does government dictate the parameters of marriage, for instance? What in the Constitution allows Washington to prohibit the peaceful economic transaction between individuals — whether it be marijuana or anything else? (Alcohol prohibitionists had the decency to pass a new amendment.)
So, because the Constitution has become too complex for many of us to decipher, and thus irrelevant, its time to boil the whole thing down to its troglodytic and/or graceful basics and engage P.J. O'Rourke's rules of governance in a free society:
1. "Mind your own business."
2. "Keep your hands to yourself."
The early currency of the United States was printed with the slogan “Mind your business”!Today we have liberal conservatives and liberal liberals. The common thread? Both see government as a force for good if only they were in charge. Neither sees government as a necessary evil.
The slogan, which is attributed to Benjamin Franklin, appeared on early US coins and paper currency.
Harsanyi in another column lays it out with respect to troubles on the Right.
...it's social conservatism that will most often turn those with secular sensibilities away from the right. Even within the movement, a libertarian vs. social conservative debate has roiled on forever. This dynamic is only going to change when political expediency becomes a force more powerful than faith — which is to say the day after we pay off the national debt.Eric at Classical Values makes fun of these "conservatives" who do deserve it. The only "rational" explanation I can come up with is that these "conservatives" think gayness may be catching.
Now, it's true that social conservatives can be unfairly ridiculed as bigots in these debates. But sometimes, as it happens, they act like bigots.
When, for instance, a bunch of influential organizations decide to boycott the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) yearly confab simply because a gay Republican group named GOProud happens to be participating, we have stumbled upon such a moment.
...let's remember that last year leading GOP presidential contender Mike Huckabee skipped CPAC, explaining that the event had become "increasingly libertarian and less Republican."Ah yes. The dreaded libertarians. Whose #1 sin is that they want government to leave them (and every one else) alone. I suppose the "conservative" answer is "What good is it being in government if you can't mess with people? There are eternal souls at stake. That must be saved. By force if necessary."
In the comments at Clayton Cramer's blog I present the secular/Jewish perspective on the "conservative" desire to save souls by government force.
There is going to be friction. You see I do not need saving. You can't imagine how offputting it is to hear that I do. I don't need my sins to be forgiven. What I need to do is to get busy and right any wrongs I have committed.So how do you square that circle? Mind your own business. Jesus managed to save souls (so some believe) without recourse to government force. Why can't you? Or as some wag put it:
The persuasion of Jesus is better than the sword of Rome.
I suppose the persuasion is more effective if you have a "persuader" in your hand. Al Capone had a handle on that:
"You can get much further with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone."
Which may be true. But is it religion? Or better: is it Christian? Well once upon a time it was Christian as the pogroms and expulsions the Jews of Europe suffered attest. Do we want to go there? Again? It is the kind of thing you get when you marry church and state. The past history of Christianity and the current history of Islam attest to that. Which is why Jews are especially twitchy about any move that seems to marry church and state even in the smallest particular. Such marriages have meant death or disabilities for Jews every time they came into being.
Cross Posted at Classical Values