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September 04, 2015

Fundamental Concepts - Expediency vs Principle[Weirddave]

This week on social media, THE big topic has been Kim Davis and her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. The Left has been outraged, OUTRAGED I tell you, that someone would so flout the decision of the SCOTUS. Typical of the Left there have been calls for violence, death threats and much social justice wanker posturing. This is all the more strange because what Kim Davis is doing is completely and totally a product of the Left, and I don't mean that Davis is a Democrat(which she is). Davis' refusal to issue same sex marriage licenses is the inevitable result of several generations of left wing political activism aimed at ignoring the rule of law when they find it advantageous to do so.

Think about the basic social contract that is the United States of America. What idea was the cornerstone of the ideological wall that the Founding Fathers used to construct this nation? What single, simple concept embodied everything that they hoped to create, and would serve as a yardstick for future generations to measure their path?

“This shall be a nation of laws, not men”

This was the idea that galvanized a group of Englishmen to revolt against an overreaching crown. This was their solution to prevent future totalitarian regimes from subjecting their progeny to depravities that they themselves were suffering. It was not only to be the framework of the new nation, but also the mortar holding it together, binding both citizen and official into a web of interconnecting loyalties and obligations. Rule by man could, no, inevitably would, be capricious. Rule of law was as constant as the northern star, providing the only model where justice could be guaranteed with tyranny excluded.

Naturally, the Left hates the entire concept with every fiber of their being.


The idea of rule of law is that the law is immutable. It says what it says, and all men are required to respect it. It can be changed, of course, but until it is, it binds the righteous and unrighteous alike. Kevin Costner, portraying Elliott Ness in The Untouchables, spends the entire movie fighting Al Capone's bootleggers. At the end of the movie, a reporter tells him that they are going to repeal the Volstead Act, what will he do then? “I think I'll have a drink” he replies.

To the Left, however, the law is simply a convenient cudgel to beat their foes with until it isn't, at which point it can be ignored. Case in point, contrast to the Kim Davis situation. In 2004 Gavin Newsom, then mayor of San Francisco, ordered that the city clerks issue marriage licenses to same sex couples in spite of the fact that same sex marriage was against the law in California. The Left just got so excited and jumped around like lovesick puppies celebrating Newsom for “doing what was right” and “following his moral convictions in spite of the law”. In 2015 when Davis does the exact same thing, she is roundly condemned. In Newsom's case, the rule of law was inconvenient to the desired outcome so it was ignored. In Davis' it supported the desired outcome, so it was invoked.

And how did the Right react? In both cases, the overwhelming reaction has been the same. In 2004 the Right maintained that the licenses should not have been issued, because rule of law. In 2015, the Right has maintained that the licenses should be issued, because rule of law. Most acknowledge that the law in question is nothing more than an arbitrary edict issued by Justice Kennedy's fiat, but, still, law of the land and all of that. This perfectly demonstrates one of the fundamental differences between Right and Left. The Left believes that the ends justify the means, while the Right maintains that the ends are meaningless, even dangerous, if the means are not just.

However, this time around there is an interesting twist. A growing number of people on the Right have started to point out that the rule of law is pretty darn arbitrary as far as the Left is concerned.

Kim Davis MUST follow the rule of law and issue the marriage licenses. Absolutely must.


But Washington DC isn't issuing gun permits despite being directly ordered by the SCOTUS to do so.


But immigration laws are not just being ignored, they are being flouted with impunity by the Obama Administration and Democrat sanctuary cities.


But the IRS refused to issue permits to conservative non-profits, holding them in limbo for years and possibly influencing the outcome of the 2012 election.

There are a lot more examples, and conservatives are starting to realize that they find themselves on the horns of a rather nasty dilemma. Conservative philosophy is all about adhering to proven principles, but when fighting an enemy that only demands of us that we honor our own standards while having none of their own, this rather puts us at a disadvantage. However, if we abandon our principles for political gain, by doing so are we destroying our philosophy as surely as the Left wants to? In The Untouchables, Elliott Ness wrestles with the same question:

I have foresworn myself. I have broken every law I have sworn to uphold, I have become what I beheld and I am content that I have done right!

Well, it worked out for him. Would it work out for us? Are conservatives doomed to abandon principle for expediency and push whatever policies we want, regardless of what the law says, when we are in power? Could a SoCon President require the Department of Education to require prayer in schools or a FiCon President stop funding for welfare unilaterally? Would we even be conservatives then, or simply nothing more than another gang in power for a brief period of time? That right there is a reallllly interesting question, in which lies the death of the Republic.

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posted by Open Blogger at 04:32 PM

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