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Kim Davis vs Gavin Newsom, Liberalism vs the Rule of Law

One of the reasons why Republicans have associated their party with the elephant is because the elephant is known to have a long memory.  These days, when the public’s attention spanned has dropped below that of a goldfish… literally… what counts as a ‘long memory’ means being able to recollect what happened a couple of days ago, or, at best, a few months ago.  So, it is not surprising that in all rapturous joy that gay marriage advocates fell into when Kim Davis was sent to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses, surrounded by self-righteous chest-thumping indignation about ‘upholding the law’, most people will have forgotten the case of Gavin Newsom.

Gavin who?

Right.

The wikipedia entry sums it up nicely:

In 2004, Newsom gained national attention when he directed the San Francisco city–county clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, in violation of the then-current state law. In August 2004, the Supreme Court of California annulled the marriages that Newsom had authorized, as they conflicted with state law at that time. Still, Newsom’s unexpected move brought national attention to the issues of gay marriage, solidifying political support for Newsom in San Francisco and in the gay community.

Kim Davis has been marched off to jail in the midst of taunts and jeers, but Newsom was hailed as a hero, even though he did basically the exactly the same thing, except from the other side of the issue.  The licenses were later voided, but neither he nor the clerk faced any jail time that I am aware of.

Did you hear any liberals complaining about Newsom acting in defiance of the rule of law?  Of course not.  This is because progressives don’t care about the rule of law.  Oh, they may say they do as it suits them, but, in the grand tradition of Saul Alinksy, they will say anything in order to get what they want.  In fact, the ‘rule of law’ is really the antithesis of progressivism, because, progressivism is guided by gut instincts and emotion, both of which can, and historically have, changed in a split second.  The slow, methodological machinations of law-making cannot keep up with the changing appetites of those who are ‘slaves’ to their stomachs.

It is important to note that, as far as the rule of law goes, Kim Davis is an elected official, and per Kentucky law, can only be removed from her position by impeachment.   The ‘rule of law’ avenue for taking action against politicians who have fallen out of favor is not usually jail time, but that old, tried and true mechanism of electing someone else in their place.  Whoa, what a concept.  For the truly egregious, there is of course impeachment, as already said.  Otherwise, while it is surely a nice big mess Davis is making, it is not substantially different than the mess that Newsom made, or liberals make whenever they decide to violate the ‘rule of law.’  Indeed, most of the liberals I know will confess quickly that they would rather uphold their conscience than obey an unjust law.  But this only applies to their conscience, you see.  They couldn’t give a skubala about the conscience of those who disagree with them (eg, pharmacists who don’t want to distribute abortifacients).

It is not really necessary to point out the depraved hypocrisy of liberals.  I think anyone who is paying attention can think of a thousand illustrations without my help, and of course there is no helping the liberals at all.  As the saying goes, a conservative is a liberal who was mugged; in other words, most liberals are a lost cause.  There is no reasoning with them.  Reason has nothing to do with their position and action.  Most of the time, a liberal is awakened to reality because reality has beaten them to a pulp, and they had no choice (eg, so-called ‘9-11 Republicans’).  Yes, sad to say, people usually do have to die somewhere along the way before a liberal changes their heart and mind.  (This is because defying reality is a deadly business;  you can stand in front of a bus going 75 mph and wish that it won’t kill you on impact, but the reality is otherwise.  Sorry to report.)

With that in mind, I’m actually more concerned about the Republicans and ‘conservatives’ that have decried Davis, and even border-line supported her incarceration, on the view that it is a defiance of the ‘rule of law.’

If there is anything that has been illustrated vividly in the last 15 years or so, and in particular in the gay marriage debate–best illustrated by SCOTUS’ summer decisions on the matter–the rule of law is effectively dead in the United States.  It is a fantasy.  It is not real.

You may even share this viewpoint:  obeying a judge, and especially the Supreme Court justices, is a plain, straight-forward practical example of ‘obeying the rule of law.’  Obeying the rule of law is something that conservatives, and conservative Christians in particular, feel very strongly about.  But this presumes that the law is actually in view.  In two separate decisions, one with John Roberts once again defying basic literacy skills in upholding Obamacare, and in another inventing yet another way that the 14th amendment abolishes states’ rights re: gay marriage, we have vividly seen that it is not the law that is controlling, at all.

For something to be ‘law’ it has to be some kind of codified language, which must in turn (by definition) be subject to basic principles of literary interpretation.  If I write, “This is a cat” but then everyone runs around characterizing what I wrote as though I had actually referenced a dog, that is not in line with basic reading skills… and this does not change if you are a Supreme Court justice.

Indeed, what we are seeing in our judiciary has nothing to do with the ‘rule of law.’  Rather, it is the exact same kind of phenomena that the early Brits were trying to curtail with the Magna Carta:  the ‘law’ was turning out to ‘mean’ whatever the king wanted it to mean, vis et voluntas.   So, too, we have discovered that our ‘laws’ only mean what our oligarchs in the judiciary want it to mean.  When our judges, in reality, abandon the plain sense of the words on the paper, we are not obeying them in deference to the ‘rule of law’ but because of ‘force and will.’  Progressives have traditionally been good with this (see, Roe vs. Wade), only clamoring for adherence to the ‘rule of law’ as dictated by the royals as suits their pleasure (see, for example, how quickly they change their attitude if you’re talking about Citizen’s United!), but that is something that Constitutional conservatives, what with their long memories and all, should ever condone.

The judge that ruled against Davis put his finger on the real issue, in my opinion.  According to this article,

“Her good faith belief is simply not a viable defense,” Bunning said, noting that allowing an individual’s beliefs to supersede the court’s authority would set a dangerous precedent.

This is a Republican-appointed judge, mind you.

But, Bunning is of course correct about one thing:  “allowing an individual’s beliefs to supersede the court’s authority would set a dangerous precedent.”

It is precisely why, for thousands of years now, Christians have been considered a threat to the governing powers, who cannot countenance even the idea that there might be an authority that is higher than them.  The Romans, for example, did not batter the Christians to death because the Christians actually did anything in violation of Roman law.  The problem was that Christians merely had the belief that there was a law higher than Roman law.

The idea that a person’s beliefs actually do supersede the government’s authority is one of the pillars of America’s constitutional system, as vividly stated in plain, easy to understand, words in the First Amendment.  The whole point is that there are things the government cannot do because, as the Declaration of Independence also plainly states, “that [people] are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Now, for liberals, who are in the main secular humanists who do not believe that there is a Creator at all, then there cannot even in theory be anything ‘higher’ than ‘vis et voluntas’ because all authority is co-identical with the government.  There is nothing higher than the ‘social contract’ because there is nothing higher than ‘society.’  America’s conservatives should never have this outlook.

According to the law, the Supreme Court is completely and utterly in the wrong regarding the gay marriage issue.  They are only ‘right’ in the ‘might makes right’ sense.  According to the law, Bunning is wrong to incarcerate Davis.  According to the law, if people do not like what she has done, they can elect someone else, or the legislature can progress through the prescribed process for removing her (ie, impeachment).  One’s conscience “superseding the court’s authority” is certainly a dangerous precedent… dangerous to the principle of vis et volunas, that is… but it is the foundation for liberty.  For Christians, for atheists, for liberals, libertarians, Jews, Muslims, whatever.

If you are a conservative, I will only allow you to disagree with me if you can produce for me evidence that when Gavin Newsom acted in defiance of the law in accordance to his conscience, you believed he, too, should have been incarcerated.

 

 

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