Saturday, February 4, 2017

Neil Gorsuch

George F. Will, “Where Justice Scalia was wrong,” The Advocate, Baton Rouge, LA, February 4, 2017, online at 
If ever there was an opportunity to write “seemed” rather than “was” it is to appreciate Antonin Scalia. But I do not feel the same respect for Will. IMO, Will leans left and expresses astonishing scholarly-ignorance in the above referenced column. 
In the Declaration of Independence, patriots declared, in the phrase “all men are created equal,” that kings are human, and the states could provide equal or better leaders. The states would wage war on that principle, the authors staking lives on their claim. Furthermore, tacitly, their deist god would defeat the king’s protestant god. In other words, theism is true, but not your theism. In the Treaty of Paris, the king recognized neither a nation nor a confederation of states but thirteen independent states, naming each one. The states agreed without objection to neither nation nor confederation.
Four years later, delegates of 12 of the 13 states gathered, authorized to strengthen the Articles of Confederation, but debated forming a national government limited by the people in their states. Only 39 of 55 delegates or about 2/3 of states representatives signed the draft constitution. IMO, the signers are the founders; the ratifiers approved the draft; after ratification, politicians were elected and are not founders.
On June 21, 1788, nine of 13 states ratified the US Constitution with the agreement that the 1st Congress would add a bill of rights. In 1988, the nation was formed. The bill of rights was ratified on December 15, 1791 representing 14 states. However, the bill of rights was negotiated by politicians, not founders. IMO, the founders---only the founders---the only founders---signed the draft on September 17, 1787.
Abraham Lincoln erroneously extolled the Declaration of Independence above the US Constitution. I speculate he did so because otherwise he had no viable reference for emancipating the slaves---ignoble means for a noble cause. Lincoln erroneously, after Nevada statehood, influenced Congress to require subsequent new states to incorporate in their state constitutions the essence of the Declaration.
Lincoln erroneously said “
our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation”---in 1776. Not so: a nation of the people rather than states was specified in 1787, ratified in 1788 for modification, began operations in 1789, and was ratified by politicians in 1791.
Will: “The drama of American democracy derives from the tension between the natural rights of the individual and the constructed rights of the community to make such laws as the majority desires.” Will writes the traditional way, which has brought us to today’s chaos, but cannot possibly suggest a remedy. There must be a standard above majority opinion.
In addressing the Ninth Amendment, Will quotes not “the Framers,” but the politicians in the 1st Congress. Bork’s “inkblot” statement reflected Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 84, “. . . aphorisms . . . in several of our State bills of rights. . . would sound much better in a treatise of ethics than in a constitution of government.” But Scalia’s belief in majority rule is what bothers me the most. However, much as I must reduce my ignorance of Finnis, I do not agree with the correction Will implies, perhaps liberal democracy.
A civic people may realize that most everyone wants broadly-defined-safety-and-security, hereafter Security. They may also recognize that the preamble to the constitution for the USA is a civic contract that is neutral to religion rather than secular. A civic people may avoid competition for dominant opinion by iteratively collaborating to make best use of the-discovered-objective-truth. Best use means addressing the unknowns according to best fit to the interrelated discoveries. Individuals have equal opportunity to collaborate for a civic culture, but some are coached for it and some are dissidents.
The above described Security seems a dominate goal that could establish a civic culture. Perhaps Neil Gorsuch will prompt we the civic people to emerge, so as to help we the people find our way. 
Copyright©2017 by Phillip R. Beaver. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for the publication of all or portions of this paper as long as this complete copyright notice is included.