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Goodbye To All That, Maybe

I've taken the liberty, since it's my blog and everything, of promoting one of my own comments to a separate blog entry. I'm too lazy to rewrite it, so I'll just tell you it's in reference to this earlier post of mine, and in reply to a comment by Avedon:

I think it's quite possible that an anti-choice, anti-civil-liberties, anti-separation of church and state, hard right conservative will ultimately replace O'Connor. You'll note that I'm not predicting what the outcome will be with regard to the seat. I'm predicting that it will be the beginning of the end of the domination of the Texas GOP.

I regret to say that my prediction will probably be made more certain by a hard-right conservative taking the seat. A court that repeatedly offends the sensibilities of the nation will probably hasten the downfall of the Texas GOPers.

I'm not saying losing the seat to a hard-right conservative will somehow, in the end, be worth it. But if it does happen that way, all will not be lost. It will simply be left to the people to take back their legislatures, state and federal, from the Texas GOP wing of the Republican party. And, in fact, I think they will do it. Especially if a hard-right Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

I think there has been a tendency since, I dunno, Brown v. Board of Ed. for the left to look upon the courts as a variety of Philosopher Kings. "The people are stupid so thank gawd we have these Philosopher Kings saving us from them".

As long as these Philosopher Kings in black robes ruled for civil rights and so forth, these Kings were acceptable. After all, it's a lot easier living under the rule of an enlightened Philosopher King than it is having to go through all the mess of participating in your democracy.

But as the hard-right will tell you, Philosopher Kings can go sour on you. Their rulings can start stinking up the joint as they have lately, and as they will increasingly, if the Supreme Court goes hard right. When that happens, it's time to turn away from them. It's time to turn back to the genuinely democratic branch of our government. It's time to pit the tyranny of the majority against the rule of the Philosopher Kings.

In that battle -- assuming it remains within the bounds of the Constitution -- the will of the people will always emerge triumphant. The majority can always exercise its tyranny over the Philosopher Kings -- up to and including, if necessary, removing the Philosopher Kings from their thrones. The hard-right fantasizes about it, but of course the people wouldn't really stand for it over messes like Schiavo, etc. If the Philosopher Kings overturn Roe v. Wade, however, I think it will be a different story.

If the majority will not stand for choice being taken away from women, then women will continue to have choice. The Philosopher Kings have failed us in this, as evidenced by the unavailability of abortion in many areas of this country. It is time for the people to speak again, through their legislatures. The biggest problem is not hanging on to a women's right to choose. The biggest problem is getting the people over their reliance on the heretofore, but-now-no-more, enlightened rule of their Philosopher Kings.

It may be time for the left to take advantage of the increasingly anti-liberty nature of our Philosopher Kings. It may be time for the left to start using the rulings of the hard-right courts to turn the eyes of the Republic away from its Philosopher Kings and back toward the potential for (enlightened, one hopes) tyranny that they, themselves, hold in their own hands.

In short, I don't see the problem with taking the battle back into the legislatures if we have to. Except that it's a pain in the ass, of course. To be honest, it is easier to live under an Enlightened Philosopher King. Until he goes bad on you, of course. So I dunno... maybe this the God of Democracy's way of telling the people they have to start paying attention and participating again.


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Well-reasoned, and I'm doing a pointer to it on my lj, but you're WRONG WRONG WRONG. If there's one thing I trust less than the people, it's the people who are willing, nay eager, to participate in politics. Politics is the parable of the body parts fighting and the rectum winning by shutting down until the others submit: Victory goes to the asshole who's stubbornest. I'm still putting my trust in science--an abortion pill that can be easily distributed so as to take women's control of their own bodies out of politics forever.

In what way am I wrong? All I'm really saying is that relying on the courts is kind of a last ditch strategy. As a gay man, I've seen the courts crap on my civil rights over and over again, and then occasionally get it right. I have no faith anymore in their benevolence, especially now that they are going harder and harder right.

Whether we like it or not, this is a democracy and the majority rules, it gets to pick the judges, it gets to pass the laws. It gets to do whatever it wants, pretty much, even within the bounds of the Constitution.

I think it's time to stop relying on the last ditch strategy of relying on the Philosopher Kings. It's all well and good to have contempt for The People -- I probably commit that sin as enthusiastically as anyone -- but the fact remains that they are the ones who pay the piper and hence get to call the tune.

I'm not saying picking proper judges doesn't matter. Quite the contrary, I think it matters tremendously. That's why we have to concentrate of getting to be the ones that pick them. But remember this: if, say, the public fills its legislatures with representatives who pledge to keep abortion "safe, legal, and rare", then that is what we will have in this country, whether the Philosopher Kings like it or not.

Arthur, the abortion pill half of your desire is an issue for science, and is arguably already here. The easily distributed half can't happen without political effort.

Avram is right. In fact, "easily distributed" isn't even on the map. Right now, we need political effort for "distributed at all," not only for access to abortion but also where what is being distributed is simple birth control.

(And let me just warn all the CEOs out there right now, it'll be a bad day for your company when some pissant pharmacist you've hired refuses to give me my pills, and then refuses to transfer the scrip.)

It may very well be that to wake people up and get them to start electing anyone with a brain, things have to get bad. I had a prof once who always claimed that the best way to get a bad law repealed was to enforce it.

Politicians have been free-riding on Roe, for example, for a long time. I don't want Roe reversed. But I am sick to death of politicians getting to claim they are pro-life and still getting elected by the masses (who overwhelmingly prefer safe, legal and rare), because the masses don't think choice is an issue.

I'm very depressed about all of this today. Feh.

I certainly hope that you are right.

The downfall of the Texas GOP is probably in the making now. DeLay, Cunningham, Abramoff, Franklin, Rove, et all are slowly draging this administratrion into the pit.

But any appointed SCOTUS judge, especially if young, will allow the evil to live on long after the Bush administration.

But any appointed SCOTUS judge, especially if young, will allow the evil to live on long after the Bush administration.

In some ways, the even worse case is the federal bench below the level of SCOTUS going hard right. I wish the hell people would actually think about these things when voting. It's so effing obvious to anybody who gives a moment's thought to how our judiciary actually works. It drives me nuts.

Still, we have to remember that in spite of what the hard right says, judges cannot legislate from the bench. They can only put the brakes on laws generated by the legislatures. So, you know, even if we are cursed with a hard-right judiciary for one or even two more generations, the effect can be mitigated if we get ourselves back to the place to where we are the ones generating the laws.

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