March 5, 2016

"Dear Professor Althouse - I view you as a national treasure, but your self-interest ('social issues' aka the mainstreaming of homosexuality)..."

"... is well evident on this blog too. Do you think that a person can possibly achieve the nomination of a major party for President without acting in their self-interest? You have been dogging Cruz since the beginning - the "I don't think he can be the President of all Americans" continues to echo in your writing on this campaign. Why don't you just come out and plainly state your case against Ted Cruz, who as far as I can tell, holds no social positions that would have been considered 'extreme' in the past century?"

Asks Oso Negro in the comments to last night's post about Cruz's rejection of Mitt Romney's plan to produce a brokered convention.

I responded:
1. I have been a social liberal all my life. I have never had a conservative position of any sort on these questions. My support of gay rights goes all the way back to my early 20s, to when I first heard of the subject. Social issues are not just gay rights, however, they include many things that have to do with the liberty of the individual, especially things that relate to women's bodies. I have been on the liberal side of these questions all my life. I don't want legislation that impinges on the freedom of individuals. This is the libertarian position.

2. "I don't think he can be the President of all Americans" is a quote you must have made up to represent what you think I am saying. I'm sure I didn't write that. I don't write like that and I don't talk like that.

3. I don't write that much about Ted Cruz. I respect him for the legal work that he did. I respect the conservative side of these arguments and teach them with respect to my students. This is something I've done for more than 30 years. But politically, it's just not where I stand. You should imagine Ted Cruz with his positions flipped on the issues you care about, so that he's the opposite of pro-life and traditional marriage and all those things you hold dear. Really get inside that visualization. Picture him arguing those positions in his inimitable style, with utter conviction and inflexibility. If you can do that, let me know how much you like that version of Ted Cruz, Ted Cruz 2.0.

85 comments:

Jack Wayne said...

What I get out of that is that you are willing to have the biggest of governments as long as you get social justice. The paradox is huge.

Michael K said...

"I don't want legislation that impinges on the freedom of individuals."

Does that happen to include cake bakers and photographers and flower shops ?

Some of the anger driving Trump is coming from those PC attacks on people who want to be left alone to practice their religion.

Ask Brendan Eich about the freedom of his individual life. How about the waitress in the Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles who lost her job because she donated $10 to Prop 8 ?

It's not just that issue but there are lots of these infringements on rights. Ask the kid who was doing a video report on the U of Missouri campus when he was attacked by that idiot "professor" of whateveritwas.

Laslo Spatula said...

Thoughtful answer to the question.

One of the reasons why I am an avid reader of this site.

I am laslo.

Birkel said...

Which is why you cannot actually respect separation of powers or federalism, beyond academics. Your policy preferences trump all.

But we all need our self-delusions.

Birkel said...

#2 is a paraphrasing of Obama's speech, btw.

Birkel said...

#3

So, Ruth Bader Ginsburg? Not hard at all to picture conservatives respecting her. Scalia did.

Amadeus 48 said...

Michael K--
Some of the things you allude to (for example, Brendan Eich and the waitress) don't come from legislation, but from the intolerance of SJW types who will attempt to silence those with opposing views. The wedding cake baker case is the function of zealous types enforcing public accommodation/ anti-discrimination laws and regulations that have been broadened to include discrimination based on sexual preference. I ask myself what I would think of the cake baker who refused to serve black customers based on a religious conviction, and I conclude that the discriminating baker in that case would and should have a problem. We can and should argue about what groups deserve protection of the anti-discrimination laws, but in general individuals who aren't hurting anyone else should be able to live their lives without the indignity and humiliation of being discriminated against because they are members of identifiable disfavored groups ("we don't serve your kind here").
The gay people I know didn't choose it--it was the way they were born.

Laslo Spatula said...

"One of the reasons why I am an avid reader of this site."

I'd like to expand a bit, referencing a back-and-forth from a post yesterday:

Johnny Monday: "- I like sites that are seeking a truth...those two now to me seem more like they are building a case. I dont need to be sold."

Althouse: "Thanks for answering my question. 

I don't like building a case. I like exploring things and understanding ideas and the ways different people think. I like keeping the conversation open, fresh, and interesting."

I think Johnny Monday hit squarely on something about the Althouse blog.

I stopped reading Instapundit quite awhile ago, for much the same reasons. Just stopped feeling like I was going to encounter anything new, or skewed. Potato chips.

Althouse, whether I agree with a particular point or not, is right about this: "I like exploring things and understanding ideas and the ways different people think. "

The fact that she can instill passion in her readers and commenters by doing this underscores her statement nicely.

Sometimes I think the only thing her site is missing is the occasional photo of naked women. Maybe that's just me.

I am Laslo.

Pettifogger said...

Ann, I share many, though not all, your views on social issues. Cruz appeals to me largely in spite of, not because of, his social-issue convictions. I see him as the best hope we have (however poor it may be) of paring back the size of government. In my view, the most pressing domestic issue we have is an overgrown government that stifles economic activity. I'm not optimistic that Cruz could do much, but unlike any of the others, he would try.

Ken B said...

You don't want legislation impinging upon the freedom of the individual? Which of these do you support?

Legalizing prostitution.
Legalizing heroin, crack, cocaine.
Ending occupational licensing, including for doctors.
Uber and its pricing model.

I ask because you have in the past sneered at libertarians, and now you claim their mantle.
(I support all four.)

iowan2 said...

Cruz wants a constitutional republic. Which means the people govern and not the judges. Abortion. Not a federal power to regulate. Roe v Wade did not legalize abortion as much as granted immunity from prosecution. Local and state powers took care of it. Abortions for rape, and incest, life of mother, were decided on a local individual basis. A doctor and woman made the decission, and if cicumstances warrented, an abortion happened. But the power of the people to hold a DR accountable was always there. As happens in a self governing republic. Granting blanket immunity was wrong, and lacked constitutional basis. Gay marriage? State jusisdiction. And its not marriage, its benefits. And how do we define Gay objectively? The only deffinition I get to is the manner of sexual satiation, and thats subjective.
In short most of the things the federal govt is doing, they dont have the power to do.

Birkel said...

Pettifogger:
That is where I am too. My libertarian leanings can only be affected if there is no Leviathan State with overwhelming power. Power should be diffuse so that society is more robust. People can vote with their feet so that there is a feedback mechanism that informs bad decision making.

Amadeus 48:
The bakers and florists were impacted by state laws. While we might argue about the balance between one set of rights and another, it simply is not a federal matter, as is right. There is no evidence that Ted Cruz would involve himself in those state matters, beyond offering his own opinion.

Michael K said...

"I ask myself what I would think of the cake baker who refused to serve black customers based on a religious conviction, "

I hope you understand, Amadeus, that the baker had served those gays for years and only refused to be part of the wedding.

Maybe you should be asked to participate in a BLM march or, like the Dartmouth students who were trying to study for finals, be forced to stand up and shout (possible with a raised arm or fist) "Black Lives Matter !" They were just trying to study and did not understand how objectionable their white presence was. Until the black students who were not studying for finals invaded the library.

RAH said...

Regarding point 3) I think that you respect ted Cruz and fear his ability to counteract your preferred positions. Perfectly understandable.

Amadeus 48 said...

Michael K-
At Dartmouth there is no regulation or legislation involved. It is just louts threatening and attempting to intimidate innocent bystanders (who weren't even standing by--they were in the library. Dartmouth should have kicked out every identified library invader.

Anglelyne said...

AA: But politically, it's just not where I stand. You should imagine Ted Cruz with his positions flipped on the issues you care about, so that he's the opposite of pro-life and traditional marriage and all those things you hold dear. Really get inside that visualization. Picture him arguing those positions in his inimitable style, with utter conviction and inflexibility. If you can do that, let me know how much you like that version of Ted Cruz, Ted Cruz 2.0.

I would think this would be obvious to any of your regular readers, but it's remarkable how many people seem to have trouble with "your convictions and priorities are not my convictions and priorities". Why would the fact that Ted Cruz "holds no social positions that would have been considered 'extreme' in the past century" be relevant to Ann Althouse's support or lack thereof for Ted Cruz? (That fact is pertinent to other discussions, but not this one.)

Gahrie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gahrie said...

Social issues are not just gay rights, however, they include many things that have to do with the liberty of the individual, especially things that relate to women's bodies.

Wait...are you implying that women and men are different?

I have been on the liberal side of these questions all my life. I don't want legislation that impinges on the freedom of individuals

So you vote for the party that wants to control every facet of your life.

This is the libertarian position.

IIRC, when you spent time with real libertarians, you freaked out.

Gahrie said...

but in general individuals who aren't hurting anyone else should be able to live their lives without the indignity and humiliation of being discriminated against because they are members of identifiable disfavored groups

Except White men of course.

It's perfectly fine to talk shit about White men and to legally discriminate against them...right?

Amadeus 48 said...

Gahrie--
"It's perfectly fine to talk shit about White men and to legally discriminate against them...right?"
Absolutely not.

Gahrie said...

I consider Althouse to be more of a libertine than a libertarian.

Michael K said...

"Michael K-
At Dartmouth there is no regulation or legislation involved."

You seem to have ignored my point. The bakers had not discriminated against gays. They just wanted to be allowed not to participate in something their religion disapproved. That was not a law either but it was taken to be one.

Blacks voted as a majority for Prop 8 in California.

Unknown said...

The baker issue just is not one sided and I think wrong. The cake customer has many options, places to go and get what they want. They can live their life as their morality says. Frequent a baker who has no problem baking a cake with a gay marriage message on it. The cake baker however has no recourse. They are forced by the state at the point of a gun to put aside THEIR morals because the government has decided ( by a single persons vote ) that they are a bigot and should be punished.

It is and was a wrong decision imo. Many judges throw out cases because no damage is done by an action. This should have been thrown out immediately, because no damage was done. The sjw was trying to force another human being to participate in their political statement. Everyone in this matter knew it. This is why we have judges instead of robots presiding over cases, so that we can have some civility and common sense.

They want to boycott the place, fine..but the legal system was being totalitarian in this instance and it was wrong.

With respect to Ann and Cruz, I share here concerns about his dogmatic style of living. Plus I do not think he can beat a democrat. But Trump/Cruz, maybe that is the ticket.

Bob Boyd said...

Laslo said: "her site is missing is the occasional photo of naked women. Maybe that's just me."

Maybe there's hope.

Althouse said: "Social issues are not just gay rights, however, they include many things that have to do with the liberty of the individual, especially things that relate to women's bodies."

Birkel said...

Unknown:

Perhaps we should run a moderate like President Dole (or McCain, Romney) because those conservatives just cannot win.

The one we ran that won -- compassionate conservative President Bush -- was a disaster that oversaw the worst decline in Republican voter registration in history.

traditionalguy said...

Picking at Ann Althouse like she is a Professor that can be rated to get her fired is so special.

This entire enterprise is of Althouse, by Althoue and for Althouse. She has a unique mind and memory resources that she shares with us without asking anything in return. Meade does the work when needed to love and protect her, and for that he deserves our thanks too.

Ann Althouse said...

"Does that happen to include cake bakers and photographers and flower shops ?"

You know, I have blogged on that subject. Why don't you find your answer in the archive here? There's a search box.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann, I share many, though not all, your views on social issues. Cruz appeals to me largely in spite of, not because of, his social-issue convictions. I see him as the best hope we have (however poor it may be) of paring back the size of government. In my view, the most pressing domestic issue we have is an overgrown government that stifles economic activity. I'm not optimistic that Cruz could do much, but unlike any of the others, he would try."

So, you understand the "in spite of" problem that I have with him. To me, he isn't good enough to overcome that problem. But I would like those who don't have the "in spite of" problem to see how it feels to those of us who do. They get a huge spike of attachment to Cruz with these issues that mean so much to them. I'd like them to imagine the spike pointed the other way, repelling them, and then see how close they'd get to the man.

To be clear, I do not like ANY candidate running in 2016. I have no idea who I'm supposed to vote for, but I will pick someone on April 5th, and until then, I'll write about whatever catches my interest.

People have noticed that I don't write much about Cruz. This post is to explain why and to show you that if I were writing more, it would not be to support him.

I do like limited government, but I don't like Cruz because he's not an across-the-board limited-government person. He is not a libertarian on social issues.

Michael K said...

"Why don't you find your answer in the archive here? There's a search box."

I guess this is an uncomfortable topic for you.

The comment was not directed to you but you seem quite sensitive on the penumbras of things you are passionate about.

You might consider reading this essay. I'm sure you don't have time.

I don't care about gay marriage and I am pro-choice but I do object to infanticide and the harassment of little people who can't afford to defend themselves.

We are a long way from tolerance in this country right now and that is a big piece of why we have Trump. I hope you can understand that.

Fr. Denis Lemieux said...

You know, I can understand (while disagreeing with) the libertarian argument for such things as same sex marriage and even euthanasia. That is, I can see how a principled libertarian would come down on the side of being in favour of those things. I really cannot see how a libertarian can support legalized abortion. It is beyond question--supported by any normal reading of biology, embryology, medical science--that there are two living human beings (two distinct organisms of the homo sapiens species, that is) affected by every abortion, one of whom's life is violently ended by the procedure. How is it libertarian to support the legal right of one human being to end the life of another human being?
One could argue it from other points of view, I suppose, but not from the libertarian one, I think.

Michael K said...

Sorry. I just looked again and it was you I was responding to.

I have no idea how to find your specific position on the intolerance of the gay mafia.

rhhardin said...

Support for civil unions is social liberal. For marriage is not.

It usurps a word.

Amadeus 48 said...

The wedding cake case was in Oregon. The Oregon Equality Act of 2007 prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity

According to the Oregon Attorney General's enforcement officers the law provides an exemption for religious organizations and schools, but does not allow private businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation. The bakery was not a religious organization or a school, so it was subject to the anti-discrimination laws.

We can argue all day about which groups should be subject to anti-discrimination laws, and I wouldn't want to be friends with either the plaintiffs or the defendants in this case, but the law was pretty clear that there would be adverse consequences to refusing service to a gay couple in Portlandia. Just as many in the South had to change their ways with the demise of segregation, many in the USA are going to have to change their ways on other things that have become civil rights issues.

A major problem in all this is that the SJWs in this country are close to a lynch mob, particularly on the internet. If your motto is live and let live, you are living in a discomforting time.

Birkel said...

Althouse:

Can you name a single thing Cruz has said he would have the government do to impose his personal beliefs? I can imagine those things with Obama, for whom you voted.

Name the policy preferences he will impose, to your lights. He would send things back to the states, which you seem to want to pretend to support above.

Sayyid said...

"I do like limited government, but I don't like Cruz because he's not an across-the-board limited-government person. He is not a libertarian on social issues."

Then I'll ask again. If this is your genuine position, how did he not win you over in the last debate with his answer on the gay marriage question? He explicitly said that his belief in federalism would take precedence over his social conservative beliefs in several areas, including gay marriage and adoption. I ask as someone who shares your opinion on many social issues and supports Cruz.

Or are you saying that "limited government" means federally imposed policy that states must adopt your position on social issues?

Birkel said...

Amadeus 48:

Take your prejudices against people in the South and tell the people of Topeka, Kansas (Brown v Board) that they are in the South.

Tell Boston, which had the largest race riots during the Civil Rights movement that they are in the South.

Then tell Chicago, which had the second largest riots that they are in the South.

Geography, bitch.

Joshua Mize said...

Why did the commenter conflate arguing for principles and policies you believe in with arguing for your own self interest. Those aren't the same thing.

Michael K said...

"the law was pretty clear that there would be adverse consequences to refusing service to a gay couple in Portlandia."

So,if a gay couple requested a sexual service it would be illegal to refuse ?

The Democrats are big on group rights and not so on individual rights. The First Amendment says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

So, I guess "prohibiting" only applies to groups and not individuals ?

"the law provides an exemption for religious organizations and schools,"

Curious.

Brendon Eich knows about this, I guess.

Amadeus 48 said...

Birkel--
Sorry, you are fundamentally right. It wasn't just the South. I live in Chicago, long known as one of the most segregated cities in the country. I see that every day. But all those problems you read about in Chicago with gangs and gun deaths? I never see them. They are "drive around" problems, because you can drive around them. People here had to change a lot of things in the post-civil rights era, and a lot of things did change. One of the most far-reaching was that Chicago went from being essentially a blue-collar, middle class city to being one-third Silicon Valley and two-thirds Detroit. Talk about inequality? That is inequality.
In defense of my original statement though, the southern states did have segregation under the law, which had to go. That was a big change.

Amadeus 48 said...

Michael K--
I repeat:
A major problem in all this is that the SJWs in this country are close to a lynch mob, particularly on the internet. If your motto is live and let live, you are living in a discomforting time.
As things now stand, the law is involved in too many things that impinge on individual liberty, and it gives the interfering classes a stick to beat others with. I don't see that changing anytime soon. But the law didn't get Brendan Eich. The SJWs did.

Birkel said...

Amadeus 48:

Fair enough. What I see these days is people using the South as the excuse for their own behavior. And that grates, having lived all over.

Personally, I am tired of Democrats who turn their cities into "two-thirds Detroit" lecturing anybody. (The Democrats passed laws in the South to require de jure discrimination, btw.)

It's a pet peeve.

Birkel said...

Joshua Mize:

Because the principles are vacuous when the personal preferences overwhelm judgment.

Amanda said...

Cruz is not against limited government when it comes to forcing women to remain pregnant and give birth to an unwanted child. How will a limited government ensure that women comply and don't seek illegal abortions? How will a limited government ensure they rea main pregnant? How will a limited government know they are pregnant? Will the doctor be made to report all pregnant women to some agency that will monitor pregnant women for compliance? How will a limited government punish women when they have had an illegal abortion. How will a limited government deal with abortionists? How will a limited government deal with millions of unwanted babies in our society? How will a limited government deal with millions more unwed mothers?

Cruz says he will work to get same sex marriage overturned. Tell me why should a limited government exert governmental resources to do this?

Cruz says that he will fight to keep Christian symbols on and in public buildings. How can limited government be efficient when it's off fighting the crusade against secularism?

Ah, so many things a truly limited government won't be able to do. Cruz is telling stories about really truly wanting limited government. Fascism requires a big strong government, with many enforcement agencies.

Michael K said...

"As things now stand, the law is involved in too many things that impinge on individual liberty, and it gives the interfering classes a stick to beat others with."

OK. Fair enough.

"But the law didn't get Brendan Eich. The SJWs did."

He is a multimillionaire. The "Sweet Cakes" bakers aren't.

BrianE said...

I am at the opposite end of the spectrum to Ms. Althouse. I will never vote for a candidate that is pro-abortion since once you've rationalized the killing of an innocent life, what other moral principles will be rationalized away?
Unless you're going to live on a mountaintop, your individual rights will always be in tension with the rights of a society. We form societies in part to organize our lives. We tolerate some deviation-- but at some point it's anarchy and the subsequent authoritarian response.
At the extreme, would urinating in public be one of those individual liberties? If so, we're now arguing individual liberty/societal rights.
Ms. Althouse at this point has not argued against 10th amendment principles. I suspect she does not hold that position, so Cruz's position is irrelevant. In her world, her individual rights will always trump society, except when it doesn't. And she would never acknowledge that any group of citizens has a right to order their society in a way that disagrees with hers.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Is this Ted Cruz 2.0 Ann Althouse? I would vote for that candidate.

hamiyam said...

We must recognize the importance of an old religion in these discussions, namely the idol of LIBERTY. The difference between freedom and license has become unrecognizable in our secular society. It seems the god of liberty is ranked first among the Gods of established religions.

Fritz said...

So much for cruel neutrality.

cubanbob said...

Rather more interesting from Althouse would be her view if the election comes down to Cruz vs Clinton. Does a law professor, a member of the bar who has taken the oath to uphold the canons of ethics and is an officer of the court vote for a criminal simply because of social issues?How does voting for a criminal for president enhance the respect for and majesty of the law?

Jason said...

I don't want legislation that impinges on the freedom of individuals. This is the libertarian position.

Bullshit.

You were just fine with sending a Kentucky woman to prison over not wanting to sign a document contrary to her conscience.


You were just fine with the impingement of economic liberty and freedom of association even to the point of driving ordinary families to bankruptcy. You were cheering them on, actually, and calling for more Christians to expose themselves to the baying pack of hyenas so they could be driven to penury, too.

All from your tenured and lavishly pensioned position - funded, I might add, by taxes contributed by many small businesses run by people just like the owners of Memories Pizza and Sweet Cakes by Melissa.

You wouldn't grasp a "libertarian position" if it bit you on the ass.

n.n said...

In Emanations from a Penumbra we trust.

A cult of special or peculiar interests that has resumed abortion rites, cannibalistic trials, class diversity, and selective exclusion.

Separation of church and state was an inside joke preached by a liberal orthodoxy steeped in a pro-choice religion.

Birkel said...

Amanda thinks limited government means government deciding social issues in the way she prefers, as does Althouse.

Cruz prefers the decisions be made by the 50 states.

It's cute.

cubanbob said...

@ Amanda so many strawman arguments and so little time.

Birkel said...

Jason,

The need to attack Althouse based on her job should be avoided. It's unbecoming and bespeaks jealousy.

The issues are a perfectly good reason to criticize her.

Stick to those.

Jason said...

Birkel.

Her safe and unassailable economic position, relative to those she seeks to enlist the power of the state to destroy, is absolutely relevant.

It would not have been, but it became relevant when she wrote encouraging more businesses to come out like Memories Pizza did so they could be destroyed by the mob, too.





Jason said...

Althouse is also a public employee. I reserve the right to critique any public employee on his or her public pronouncements, anywhere, any time.

J. Farmer said...

@Jason:

"You were just fine with sending a Kentucky woman to prison over not wanting to sign a document contrary to her conscience."

Talk about overwrought. She was jailed for violating a court order; same that would happen to you or me. If she has tasked with a job that is contrary to her conscience, then she should quit. Not stay so that so can be a voice for Jesus (that's not in the job description). Should Catholic clerks, by right of their individual conscience, be allowed to deny members of the public the filing of divorce paperwork? Should people whose conscience consider income tax theft be allowed to not pay?

Birkel said...

"All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state."

The position J. Farmer takes for granted.

Jason said...

Farmer: She wasn't "tasked" and it was not a "job." She was an elected official.

Furthermore, RFRA applies. The least restrictive remedy was trivially easy: Take her name off the form. In fact, that's precisely what ended up happening.

The court order itself was an illegal travesty.

Jason said...

Should Catholic clerks, by right of their individual conscience, be allowed to deny members of the public the filing of divorce paperwork?

If their individual name is on the form, absolutely, yes. Without a doubt. That one's a slam dunk.

Want the document executed? Take their name off the form and use a state or county seal instead.

Jason said...

Catholic state doctors should not be required to perform abortions, and Catholic pharmacists should not be compelled to fill abortifacient prescriptions, either. Nuns should not be required to sign documents authorizing third parties to pay for abortions, anymore than any individual be required by the state to sign a death warrant or face dismissal or other official sanction.

But the modern-era brownshirts are shaking their fists trying to make both of those things happen.

Fernandinande said...

Ken B said...
Which of these do you support?
...
Ending occupational licensing, including for doctors.


That's the only one I disagree with, to some extent: licensing - a declaration of ability - should be voluntary, and people should be free to choose a licensed person or not.

Fr. Denis Lemieux said...
I really cannot see how a libertarian can support legalized abortion. It is beyond question--supported by any normal reading of biology, embryology, medical science--that there are two living human beings (two distinct organisms of the homo sapiens species, that is) affected by every abortion, one of whom's life is violently ended by the procedure.


Quite true, but recall that there are other circumstances in which killing another person is A-OK.

Libertarians don't have a consistent position on abortion. SJW-leaning Reason: "Abortion opponents embrace the smothering power of pointless, picayune rules." but Rand Paul introduced a "Life at Conception Act".

I'll oppose legal abortion until men get the same rights, which can be accomplished without killing anyone.

Sebastian said...

"I don't want legislation that impinges on the freedom of individuals. This is the libertarian position."

In principle, I agree. I therefore favor low taxes, small government, fewer administrative agencies with lesser powers. I oppose universal government mandates for things adults can decide and do for themselves—plan for retirement, buy health insurance, offer employees insurance, etc. Do you? (I would support a form of basic income that promotes individual freedom, including freedom from further mandates.)

But I am also a democrat who thinks that, on most issues, majorities generated via competitive elections should be able to pass legislation, in a way that is amenable to future change if public opinion changes. I therefore also favor legislation that has democratic legitimacy. In the U.S., that includes the legitimacy of legislation passed by states. The centralization and constitutionalization and bureaucratization of decision-making hampers the democratic process. I therefore oppose SCOTUS-imposed abortion “rights” or SSM, EPA mandates, etc.

But I am also a kind of originalist, at least to the extent of recognizing that "the freedom of individuals" is not the primary meaning or intent of many constitutional provisions. Much as I like some results of the incorporation doctrine, it is a judicial travesty. The "freedom" to marry someone of the same sex does not follow from "substantive due process" as somehow implied by the people who actually wrote and passed the Fourteenth Amendment. I therefore oppose SCOTUS-imposed SSM. And so on.

And I also think many supposedly individual freedoms are not individual freedoms. Abortion is a case in point. It minimally involves three lives. Even reading privacy or individual freedom into the Constitution, it does not follow that either baby or father should be granted no say. All the more reason to leave such contested issues to the democratic process (which is bound to produce some results I will dislike).

J. Farmer said...

@Birkel:

"The position J. Farmer takes for granted."

If you want to talk about abstract concepts like anarchism and the state, then we can have the dorm room conversation. I am talking about the way the real world actually operates.

@Jason:

"Farmer: She wasn't "tasked" and it was not a "job." She was an elected official."

Local judges are frequently elected officials in many municipalities. That does not mean judges are not tasked without carrying out the laws. Do you also support Catholic judges refusing to grant divorces to couples out of religious conscience?

"Want the document executed? Take their name off the form and use a state or county seal instead."

A county clerk is not some symbolic position like a head of state. They're technocratic paper pushers. Would you be fine with a Muslim clerk refusing to file paperwork that he or she considered to be in defiance of Quranic instruction?

Catholic state doctors should not be required to perform abortions, and Catholic pharmacists should not be compelled to fill abortifacient prescriptions, either."

You have a very interesting idea of how employment works. Someone takes a job and then immediately starts telling their employers which of their job duties they will carry out and which they will ignore per the individual religious conscience. If you're a pharmacist, you're very likely going to be dispensing oral contraceptives. If that shocks your conscience, then you shouldn't be a pharmacist.

Gahrie said...

@Farmer:

If Catholics voted Democrat like other minorities, you and the Left would be demanding that the pharmacies accommodate them.

Basil said...

Ted Cruz has he same positions on these issues that Bill Clinton had when you voted for him twice.

Please, stop insulting our intelligence.

Michael K said...

"Should Catholic clerks, by right of their individual conscience, be allowed to deny members of the public the filing of divorce paperwork?"

The new Pope is taking care of that.

Birkel said...

J. Farmer:

You have proved yourself. My opinion can sink no further. Do, go on.

Ann Althouse said...

""Why don't you find your answer in the archive here? There's a search box." I guess this is an uncomfortable topic for you. The comment was not directed to you but you seem quite sensitive on the penumbras of things you are passionate about. You might consider reading this essay. I'm sure you don't have time. I don't care about gay marriage and I am pro-choice but I do object to infanticide and the harassment of little people who can't afford to defend themselves. We are a long way from tolerance in this country right now and that is a big piece of why we have Trump. I hope you can understand that."

No, you're completely wrong. It's not an uncomfortable topic for me at all, and I don't need to read up on the topic. I teach a course in Religion and the Constitution and have done so for 10+ years. I follow these issues closely and blog about them all the time. You read this blog, so I don't know why you don't want to brush up on what I've already said about this. Weird that you'd guess that I don't have time. Why don't you have time?

But you say you weren't even talking about me... I don't get it. You were the second commenter, and you quoted me, saying "I don't want legislation that impinges on the freedom of individuals." And then you said "Does that happen to include cake bakers and photographers and flower shops ?" And now you want to say that my assumption that you were talking about me shows that I'm sensitive to topics related to things I care about.

And I care about the whole subject, including the cake thing, which I've written about many times. You may just not like that there is a solution that respects religious people that doesn't require rejecting ssm.

Oso Negro said...

Gosh, the coveted Althouse full post response! To your points, dear Professor --

Regarding the first, I have alsobeen primarily a social liberal all of my life. I couldn't go the distance with gay marriage, as it is my view that all societies impose arbitrary limits on the great continuum of human sexuality, and if you go fiddling with the limits, you can end up anywhere. With the possible exception of sex before puberty (which could be just my hang up), it is hard to justify ANY of those limits with argument from first principles. The arguments for gay marriage work perfectly well for polygamy. At this very moment, I am on my way to visit two young women who aspire to be my co-wives and none of us is a Mormon or a Muslim. Just good old-fashioned deviants. I expect we will quietly go about our business and not force anyone else to like it, celebrate it, or teach its wonders to elementary school children. Oh, you want MORE deviancy? I am 59 and the ladies are both 21. In 2016, it would generally be considered less shocking if I came out as gay and married another 50-something man than sport around with a 21 year old woman, let alone TWO of them. But relative to Cruz, I am just not that interested in what is termed his "social conservatism". It is my opinion that those are positions Ted has considered and feels they are best for him and his campaign, but would be very surprised if he acts on them as President.

To your second point, I would never stoop to fabricate a quote. I could be mis-remembering your words and I do not have the time to search the vast archive. But I recollect you writing something to that effect roughly a year ago, or maybe in the summer during a discussion of the candidates. One of my daughters was among the first interns on Ted's presidential campaigns and as a result I read such comments with closer interest than I might have otherwise. I have referred to that comment multiple times in the past few months. But let me pose the question directly - do you feel Ted Cruz could be President of all Americans? I think you don't.

To your third point, I don't much give care about Ted's social positions, so flipping them does nothing for me. I am not a Christian, nor do I believe in any of the multitudinous deities who haunt our literature, our traditions, or the psyches of a great portion of the minds of humankind. I am not against abortion, though it would be nice to see reproductive rights for men commensurate with those enjoyed by women. And I might argue that I have lived under the flipped vision of forced social liberalism for many years now. So it is not Ted's social conservatism, but his articulated support for constitutional conservatism that draws my support.

I do sincerely appreciate your thorough response to my question!

Blessings on Meadehouse,

Your Faithful Reader,

Oso Negro

Oso Negro said...

Oh, one more question! How does one "search" the archive? I am now curious and do not see a tab.

J. Farmer said...

@Gahrie:

"If Catholics voted Democrat like other minorities, you and the Left would be demanding that the pharmacies accommodate them."

What does this have to do with anything I said? If you're under some kind of impression that I give a shit about Democratic Party politics, please relieve yourself of this misconception.

@Birkel:

"You have proved yourself. My opinion can sink no further. Do, go on."

Who cares about me or your opinion of me? It's completely unrelated to the issues being discussed. Are you incapable of having a conversation without making it personal?

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

"Ask Brendan Eich about the freedom of his individual life."

Eich was the victim of a lynch mob mentality, but he did not suffer any deprivation of his rights. Similarly, if a local broadcast station decide to pull a piece of content in response to a public outcry, the creators of that content would not have suffered a violation of their free speech rights. Freedom to speak is not the same as thing as freedom to be broadcast or be heard.

Jason said...

Farmer: Should Catholic clerks, by right of their individual conscience, be allowed to deny members of the public the filing of divorce paperwork?

Me: If their individual name is on the form, absolutely, yes. Without a doubt. That one's a slam dunk.

Farmer: A county clerk is not some symbolic position like a head of state. They're technocratic paper pushers. Would you be fine with a Muslim clerk refusing to file paperwork that he or she considered to be in defiance of Quranic instruction?

Are you a fecking idiot? What did I just write concerning Catholics? Why on earth would you think just switching the hypothetical to some other religion changes anything?

Dolt.



Jason said...

If county clerks are just technocratic paper pushers, then there is no problem whatsoever with taking the individual's name off the form, which is the remedy required under RFRA.

The law exists. You can't just wish it away.

Someone takes a job and then immediately starts telling their employers which of their job duties they will carry out and which they will ignore per the individual religious conscience.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 exists, too. And indeed, protects the rights of religious employees to do precisely that.

J. Farmer said...

Jason:

"Are you a fecking idiot? What did I just write concerning Catholics? Why on earth would you think just switching the hypothetical to some other religion changes anything?"

Because I am trying to point out how impractical and unworkable a system you propose would be. If rule of law means anything, it means that government officials do not get to decide which laws they will carry out and which they will defy as a matter of personal conscious.

Consider another example. If you're a local business that sells alcohol, you have a liquor license from the state. And on that license will be the signature of some technocratic official. If the person who occupies that position happens to be a teetotaler as a matter of religious conscience, are they then free to refuse to issue liquor licenses, even though the applicants have a right to those licensed in accordance with state law?

The notion that public officials should not have to obey laws they personally object to is a foolish standard to advocate.

MikeDC said...

Then I'll ask again. If this is your genuine position, how did he not win you over in the last debate with his answer on the gay marriage question? He explicitly said that his belief in federalism would take precedence over his social conservative beliefs in several areas, including gay marriage and adoption. I ask as someone who shares your opinion on many social issues and supports Cruz.

If you identify something as, fundamentally, a freedom to do what you want with your life so long as it doesn't harm others, then transferring the right to limit my freedom from the federal to the state level isn't very helpful.

Jason said...

Get back to me after you apply RFRA, dolt. It's easy.

J. Farmer said...

@Jason:

"Get back to me after you apply RFRA, dolt. It's easy."

No, actually, it has nothing to do with anything I said, dick.

And here is the most concise reply to the supposed role of Kim Davis' religious liberties:

"Kim Davis has all sorts of religious liberty rights secured under the First Amendment and under other laws. But they are not at stake in this case. All she's asked to do with couples that come before her is certify that they've met the state requirements for marriage. So her religious opposition to same-sex marriage is absolutely irrelevant in this context." -Katherine Franke, Columbia Law School.

There are obviously numerous other similar statements made by others in the legal profession. And no doubt that there are counter arguments as well. There always are. If I recall correctly, I remember Eugne Volokh being relatively friendly to the arguments on Davis' side. Removing the name from a form may be a perfectly pragmatic resolution to a political problem. All fine.

Be said...

Brava.

Basil said...

Ted Cruz has he same positions on these issues that Bill Clinton had when you voted for him twice.

Please, stop insulting our intelligence.

Jason said...

Farmer: Removing the name from a form may be a perfectly pragmatic resolution to a political problem. All fine.

Wow. You're a fucking genius, dude.

befinne said...

When you imagine a Cruz who argues against what the real Cruz believes, that demonstrates what about Cruz, exactly?

J. Farmer said...

@Jason:

"Wow. You're a fucking genius, dude."

I was trying to talk about something a little bigger than this single case, fuckface.

Jason said...

You mean, like religious liberties?