The Rights of AllSteven Lieberman
Some challenges for the Democratic Party are presenting themselves on Inauguration Day. These are fairly big-ticket items and do require a fair degree of pondering by all of us as we lurch forward toward a “more perfect union”.
As I have mentioned before, the loss of the presidential election by Donald Trump was a maelstrom of events, but central to that was Donald Trump himself. “Republicanism” was not really on trial… Donald Trump was. This was seen in the numerous house races that were won by the Republicans, as well as the flipping or controlling of various state legislatures.
I would argue that the Georgia races were also largely a campaign against Trump that were lost specifically because of… well… Trump himself.
As I mentioned in last week’s blog (which was admittedly met with mixed reviews by my dear readers), President Trump has acted in ways that are decidedly not Republican. This has nothing to do with his style… this is exclusively his substance. From protectionism, to the use of the executive order (as did his predecessors, to be fair), to the manipulation of domestic markets, President Trump has acted far more like President Jackson than any other save Franklin Roosevelt (both Democrats).
Was there voter fraud? Yes.
Were there Constitutional problems associated with state judges and executives bypassing the state legislatures to enact their own voting schemes?
Would it have altered the outcome of the election?
Who knows? Maybe… but, maybe not. The point that must be focused on is not how Trump could have squeaked by and secured a second term… the real question is why these shenanigans made a difference at all. President Trump should have literally won by a landslide. He didn’t… but his fellow Republicans did.
Then why did I start this posting by talking about the challenges of the Democratic Party? After all… they secured the spot at the top of the ticket. They now control the House… and sort of control the Senate. I say “sort of” because they did not secure an actual majority. The Democrats and the Republicans both must share the leadership positions. Vice President-Elect Harris only comes into play where there is an actual tie vote. She does not sit in the Senate herself. As such… there will not be a “majority leader” in the Senate for at least the next two years.
That being said, the Democrats are now put into the unenviable position of not only governing, but of securing the rights of minorities.
That last part is not relegated exclusively to racial minorities. The Constitution protects ALL MINORITIES… be it racial, religious, and yes… even political.
So far, the Democrats are off to a horrific start.
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Our country was founded on the idea of immigration from foreign lands. We have encouraged it and, at least up until recently, benefited from it. We were told in elementary school that we are a “melting pot”… that is not entirely accurate, a more apt metaphor would probably be a tossed salad. Our citizens have not abandoned their previous cultures for an “American” one… rather their cultures have remained largely intact and woven into the tapestry that defines “American Culture”… forgive me for the mixed metaphor.
Ensuring protection of minorities has, by design, been a necessity from our inception. And we have not been entirely successful as our nation has grown. We have engaged in horrific actions in the past against our fellow citizens based on their minority status. Yet we acknowledge these transgressions and endeavor to improve on our failings. This aggressive introspection is where academia tends to excel. Like the court jester, they point out the less than desirable behavior of individuals and institutions for all to see.
Now racial and ethnic minorities have achieved a power few could have forecasted a hundred years ago. Yet their power comes not from the ultimate goal of the individual to simply be left alone by the government… their power comes from using the government as a tool to extend largess to their respective groups. This has fostered tribalism, collectivism and, in many ways, a culture of victimization. It has also generated enormous income-earning potential for the Victimization Industrial Complex, that network of operatives that sees the world as a zero-sum game and works the system for the benefit of their disparate constituencies.
Yet, minority status is broader than simply the color of one’s skin, or the national origin of one’s parentage. Minorities often transcend skin color and wander into the realm of political thought.
These minorities require as much protection against government coercion as any other; our Bill of Rights guarantees this. As we have said time and time again, “popular speech requires no protection at all… unpopular speech requires the full muscular protection of the First Amendment”.
Yet, here we are.
The Democrats are now flirting… aggressively… with language restrictions. From the somewhat banal banishing of gender pronouns in Congress, to the more egregious pontifications of what could best be described as a “Ministry of Truth” to vet online speech before it becomes “problematic” to the regime. (Problematic is being cloaked in the veil of accurate, but accurate is an elusive term. Was it accurate to say there was no Russian Collusion with the 2016 election? Was it accurate to say President-Elect Biden received huge payments from the People’s Republic of China? Was it accurate to question the integrity of the election?)
They are also using their agents in the private sector to enforce their marginalization of contrary thought where direct government intervention would appear to be completely unconstitutional.
Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Instagram… the equivalent of the modern press, has begun an almost Stalinist purge of those who disagree with the collective.
“We do this for public safety” they chant in mantra justifying their actions as the pursuit of saving lives. While there may be a shred of nobility in this, in law we refer to it as prior restraint.
“But wait… we are private companies! It’s not like the government is doing it!”
While the Classical Liberal in me sort of agrees with this assessment, the modern legal scholar sees the fallacy of this argument. Through the concept of entanglements, these “private” companies interface and receive direct benefits from the government. As such, they are not free to violate a customer’s civil rights when it suits their own agenda. (Anyone who has owned a business and sought to restrict access to their product or service is, well, aware of this.)
Ultimately, a nation can only survive if the citizenry feels that government is in place to secure their rights, not dole them out as a form of political patronage. When this trust is breached, the ruling class is subject to two potential outcomes:
A whole-scale rejection of their edicts… often articulated in the phrase, “They can’t arrest us all!”
Or… as is more often the case: revolution.