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June 04, 2010

Jackie Knotts: Sacred Honor Compels Me To Say That Informing The Public How We Senators Vote On Bills Is Nothing More Than A Sikh Conspiracy Against The Very Constitution of South Carolina

"The fact that they’re debating whether legislators can be forced to go on the record with their votes tells you everything you need to know about the state of transparency and entrenched power in SC."

And since everyone thinks I'm a stealth liberal now, let me say that Knotts' curious argument -- that it's unconstitutional to require legislators to record their votes and report them to the public -- is the sort of stupidity I hear too often from partisans on both sides, as a stupid, dishonest, and ghastly "Because I said so" non-argument of last resort.

If you can't argue the merits of your position, just make some daffy claim your hands are tied because to do otherwise would be unconstitutional, so you're not defending some evil status quo, but rather nobly contending for some abstract constitutional principle which just, sadly enough (sniff sniff), demands an evil result in the instant case.

But you don't want that evil resort, of course. Heavens no-- it's just this greater constitutional principle demands it. Sacred Honor, etc.

This isn't to say that all such arguments are suspect; just that some just reflexively play the Constitution Card at the drop of the hat because they don't have anything else.

Look at liberals and the Arizona border enforcement law. Liberals cannot argue the merits of their position -- Open Borders Now, Open Borders Forever! is unpopular as hell -- so they simply claim that the Constitution requires open borders (well, they argue that the Constitution forbids any and all efforts to close the borders, hence, in effect, the Constitution, and not crass identity-group politics, requires Open Borders, as it permits of no other option).

They evade arguing their actual position-- both meritless and unpopular -- by derailing the argument into some nonsensical twaddle about James Madison encoding open borders into the Constitution in invisible ink, employing Freemason symbology.

There are real constitutionalist arguments and there are specious ones. Obviously, Knotts is making a specious argument -- this nation was founded in a conception of legislators' right to keep their votes secret from the public that elected them? Really? Which Federalist Paper argued for a new Right of Kings? -- and it doesn't surprise me that this Mensa Chapter President again tars the movement by making constitutionalism seem like the Last Refuge of the Scoundrel.

But I often find the whole argument usually debased in the first place, where "The Constitution says so" is used too frequently as a tarted-up way to say "Because I said so."

But seriously -- what the hell is going on in South Carolina? This state needs a serious reform movement, stat.


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posted by Ace at 07:45 PM

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