Friday, July 18, 2003

Compassionate conservativism
When I first heard Bush use the phrase "passionate conservative" I thought, "this can't be good'. Jonah Goldberg acknowledges that passionate conservatism isn't real conservatism, but he doesn't pass judgment. Is it a good thing? I say no, just another sign that the country is moving to the Left.
A conspiracy!
Chris Muir isn't doing day by day for a month because he's supposedly on some sort of medical leave. I blame Kant. And the French.
Creating a right
This is a plea for someone knowledgeable in Constitutional law to clarify some things for me. I have questions and need answers.

It is my understanding that we do not derive our rights from the government, that our rights to free speech, free association and all the rest are derived from our nature as human beings. I also remember hearing or reading somewhere - sorry, I don't remember where - that the Bill of Rights is redundant, that it explicitly guarantees rights we would have had anyway (we'd still have freedom of speech if the first amendment didn't exist). The Bill of Rights is not a complete enumeration of our rights, only an affirmation of some key rights. In fact, the ninth amendment makes it clear that "just because certain rights are not mentioned in the Constitution does not mean that they do not exist".

My question is this: what are these unmentioned rights? What is the standard for determining what unenumerated rights are retained by the people?

I've been thinking about this since I've seen some analyses of the recent Lawrence v. Texas Supreme Court decision like this one at NRO that claim the Court just "create[d] a right to gay sex". The writer of this particular article notes that no such right is mentioned anywhere in the Constitution, and even claims "our Founding Fathers did not fight the Revolutionary War over a right to homosexual sodomy". Yeah, well, I'm sure they didn't fight for my right to type on a keyboard while sipping Dr. Pepper and listening to the Foo Fighters, but I'm doing it.

Yet somehow "Give me Foo or give me death!" doesn't have quite the same impact. So what did our Founding Fathers fight for? Liberty, yes, but what does that mean in practice? Does it imply liberty from all laws, or liberty from oppression, or liberty from want, or from effort, or from responsibility? What, exactly, does liberty entail, and what rights do I have to exercise that liberty?

This brings me back to my question of standards. I don't know if this question has been answered by the Supreme Court or by Congress, but if it has I'd like to know about it. I think the only consistent standard would be the classic Libertarian one, that you have the right to do whatever you wish as long as it doesn't infringe the rights of others. I believe this is what our Founding Fathers fought for.

Assuming this standard, it turns out I do have the right to type on a keyboard while sipping Dr. Pepper and listening to the Foo Fighters because I'm not hurting anyone by doing so. Likewise, there is a right to homosexual sodomy. This right doesn't have to actually be found in the Constitution because it is implied by the ninth amendment and because such an act between consensual adults does not violate other rights. Simple as that. Let me know if I'm wrong.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Who's to blame?
I refer you to an InstaPundit post only because he leads with "I blame the French". It reminds me of the inside joke my brother and I have - both of us being Ayn Rand fans - where every bad thing can be blamed on Immanuel Kant:

Most people follow an inverted moral code, where so-called moral acts can in fact be quite harmful. I blame Kant.
The whole country is sliding into socialism. It's Kant's fault.
My computer just gave me the Blue Screen of Death. Kant, you SOB!
The cat coughed up something nasty in front of the bedroom door. Damn you, Kant!

Perhaps the same will happen with the French, the universal, global, planetary scapegoat:

The U.S. may have acted on questionable if not clearly inaccurate intelligence. I blame the French.
Anti-Semitism is becoming more, um, popular in Europe. The French are behind it.
The Concorde is no longer flying. It must have been French sabotage.
My french fries are cold. Isn't it obvious who the culprit is?

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Back from vacation
I apologize for the extended absence, but my wife and I had been cruising the Caribbean and I certainly was not going to take the time to blog on the ship. Not only did I have better things to do, but the ship charges fifty cents a minute for Internet access, which adds up fast. I'll give the highlights of the trip in another post.

One of the unfortunate side effects is I have no idea what's going on in the world. I suppose I could have sat around the cabin watching CNN International (or whatever they call it), but again, I had better things to do.