The privacy of our bodies and the privacy of families are both among the most important lines of defense against governments that naturally seek police state and totalitarian powers. Thus, the legality of abortion, and the presumption of innocence of parents accused of molestation, both should be upheld for the same reason.
If opponents of abortion want to make their moral case against it, to expose what they think is murder and to discourage women from recourse to it, as we see with the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform and its photographic exhibits of aborted fetuses, they are well within their rights to do so. However inappropriate it would be as law to outlaw abortion, the harsh facts of an abortion are what they are -- a being is killed and flesh is dismembered. This is, not surprisingly, disturbing. Some defenders of abortion appear to want to conceal this knowledge and even have the nerve to call the display of a picture of an aborted fetus "violence," when it is no more than the display of evidence of violence, i.e. violence against the fetus. Some defenders of abortion even feel justified in attacks on such displays, confusing the peaceful, if disturbing, display of evidence about abortion with terrorist acts of bombing and murder that a few opponents of abortion engage in. Responding to peaceful persuasion with violence, however, is itself terrorism. Defenders of abortion should realize that their argument cannot be about whether abortion is intrinsically good or harmless. It cannot be.
Essay on Abortion
The simple truth is that there is nothing wrong with pornography (meaning the sexual representation of consenting adults), although it is certainly not a profession for everyone. The complete abolition of "obscenity" laws in Denmark resulted in no increase in crime or in any other adverse consequences. If participating in the porn industry seems immoral or degrading to many people, then they should not participate and should exhort others not to participate. They do not have the right to arrest people who disagree or put them in jail, for either making or using pornography. If people do not want their children exposed to pornography, it is their responsibility as parents to exercise such supervision as would be necessary to prevent that exposure, whether it is through books, magazines, television, or on the Internet. If parents believe that "sex education" at school amounts to pornography, they have the right and should have the power to remove their children to such schools whose curricula meets their moral approval. What parents do not have is the right to sanitize all of society just on the chance that they or their children might run across something offensive.
A very fine recent movie, Boggie Nights (1997), is about the porn film industry. Burt Reynolds was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Julianne Moore for Best Supporting Actress for this movie. The story, with much in the way of fictionalized history, shows the often great personal cost of the porn business. The conservative Ben Stein even called the movie the "family values" film of the year. Nevertheless, the writer and director, P.T. Anderson, clearly has some affection (though sometimes mocking) for these people and does not advocate damaging (if that is what it is) their lives further by putting them in jail for their profession. But, as the porn star Nina Hartley, who has a small part in the movie, says, "I know that my pursuit of sex, both as a livelihood and a spiritual practice, has been well worth any grief that pursuit has caused" (Gauntlet, #14, 1997, p. 20). The movie also alludes many times to the association of the porn business with the San Fernando Valley, often shooting at sites (e.g. Reseda, Sherman Way Blvd., etc.) in the 40th Assembly District.
A more esoteric and sinister argument against pornography comes from anti-porn feminists. Their view, with no serious evidence whatsoever, is that porn contributes to violence against women ("porn is the theory, rape is the practice," they like to say) and/or children. What they really mean, however, is that women should not allowed to participate in the porn business. Such women suffer from a "false consciousness" that makes them cooperate in their own oppression. They are therefore like incompetent children who cannot make decisions for themselves. That is what this kind of feminism then amounts to: Women are like children and cannot be trusted to make choices in their own lives. How this is different from the old "patriarchy," were women were also not considered competent to make decisions for themselves, is a mystery.
Anti-porn fundamentalists and feminists also like to confuse the issue of adult pornography with the problem of child pornography. They are now constantly trying to pass laws and initiate prosecutions that equate simple photographs of naked children with real child pornography (where there would be sex acts or adult-like provocative poses). The national chain of bookstores, Barnes & Noble, has even been accused of carrying "child pornography" because it has some photography books with naked children. This is dishonest and despicable, though it probably seems reasonable enough to them. But if they succeed, parents soon could be arrested and imprisoned just for taking traditional "baby-on-bear-rug" pictures of their children.
People have been arrested, rarely, for playing poker in their own homes. This is ridiculous. Now that there are State lotteries, which can already "victimize" the poor and gambling addicts as much as they want to be victimized, it is absurd to continue prohibiting private gambling. At the same time, as long as California doesn't allow casino gambling, this helps make Las Vegas an exciting place. Since I think Las Vegas is rather magnificent, perhaps this isn't so bad.
Where legalized prostitution exists in Nevada, there has not been one reported case of AIDS. In California, State law says that any sexual act between consenting adults is legal -- with one little exception: Any acts done for money are illegal. When such a legal regime promotes disease, promotes violence and abuse of women involved in the trade, endangers with venereal disease (not to mention AIDS) the wives of straying men, and blights neighborhoods where illegal streetwalkers temporarily relocate, it should be clear that the high-minded, moralistic prohibition of prostitution is badly misconceived.
"Family law" does not belong in the legal code. Marriages are contractual relationships and should therefore be part of contract law. American law perpetuates Christian ideas of marriage as a sacramental relationship. That is fine for Christians, but it does not belong in secular law. Jewish and Islamic marriage is a contractual relationship, and Islamic law actually allows a man to have four wives. This would be illegal everywhere in America; but such laws thus violate the First Amendment prohibition of an Establishment of Religion.
Making same sex marriages legal for gay couples would offend orthodox Christians, Jews, and Moslems, since it would imply an endorsement by the State of acts that they consider immoral. However, it is none of their business and none of the State's business. But the State would not be saying anything about it, when marriage is part of contract law. Then the nature of marriage becomes a private matter, and State law need say nothing whatsoever about one kind of marriage or another. Thus, what Moslem, or gay, or "old believer" Mormon, couples (etc.) call their relationship is nobody else's business. The State simply enforces contracts -- as long as they don't involve slavery or other involuntary relations.
An attempt to redundantly reinforce the State's "definition of marriage" as only between a man and a woman, Proposition 22, was passed in June 2000. This was of interest in displaying the social conservativism of voters, despite the uniform oppositon of (visible) Hollywood and a trend of voting towards the Democrats. While conservatives want traditional marriage enforced, and Gay Rights activists want homosexual marriages endorsed by the State, few argue the proper approach, that the State should not be endorsing anything and that it should simply enforce legal contracts.
Nudists and Naturists pay the same taxes as everyone else, and it is absurd that there are no public facilities, especially public beaches, set aside for nude family recreation. Furthermore, tourism is one of California's most important sources of income; but European tourists, who have access to many fine, extensive sites, especially beaches, for nude and topless recreation in Europe, must make do with nothing in California. This is ridiculous. Is it not difficult to locates sites and beaches where people who are "offended" by nudity will not be confronted with it, and they should not be allowed to prohibit public nude recreation everywhere in the State of California.
Anti-porn fundamentalists and feminists also like to confuse the issue of mere nudity with the problem of child pornography. They are now constantly trying to pass laws that equate adult nudity in the presence of children, or simple photographs of naked children, with child molestation or child pornography. This is dishonest and despicable, though it probably seems reasonable enough to them. But if they succeed, parents soon could be arrested and imprisoned just for bathing with their children.
The truth is that Social Security is a swindle headed for bankruptcy.
It has always been a swindle, since there has simply never has been a "Social Security Trust Fund." Tax revenues have always been spent directly on benefits. In the 1980's, however, Congress realized that when the Baby Boomers retired, tax revenues would not cover the benefits. So they raised taxes to create the "trust fund," which has always meant that they still just spend the money anyway and that the Social Security Administration gets United States Bonds in place of the money it "lends" to the government. About 2012, it will be time to start cashing in the bonds, which means that the government is no longer going to have Social Security taxes to spend and is also going to have to get extra money to redeem the bonds. That will mean either increased taxes (up to 80% of income) or drastically reduced benefits. Either way, somebody, either working taxpayers or "beneficiaries," is going to be really mad.
Even apart from the lies and incompetence involved in the Social Security system, the whole business is Unconstitutional. The federal government does not have the authority, under the Constitution, to tax people in order to perpetrate a "retirement" plan, let alone a Pyramid or Ponzi-scheme confidence-game swindle. Indeed, there are all kinds of laws prohibiting swindles operating just like Social Security. Private individuals lying and deceiving, like Congress does, would get arrested. But Congress still gets away with it.
The worse thing about the results of each advance of socialism is that, when people think they are getting something for nothing, they don't notice or mind so much that the quantity and quality of services actually do decline. Most British and Canadians like their "free" medical system. So this continues as a great scam for politicians: Tax people to within an inch of their lives, then give them something "free," however miserable, and they are eternally grateful!
Recently, the fascists and communists (i.e. Republicans and Democrats) in Congress decided to force retired people into using Medicare, whether they want to or not. They did this with "Section 4507," which said that if physicans treat any patients for Medicare, they cannot privately treat any other patients who qualify for Medicare -- under threat of felony prosecution for Medicare "fraud"! Since Bill Clinton wants people as young as 45 to qualify for Medicare, we can see where this is headed.
After a great outcry, I believe that Section 4507 has now be repealed, but we still can see how these people have been thinking.
Forbidding physicians to accept private, fee-for-service patients is characteristic of the Canadian socialist medical system. However, most Canadians live within 30 miles of the United States, so they can always just drive across the border to go to a private physician. In Britain, where the bloated socialist National Health Service is the largest employer in Europe, and where, it is said, "useless work replaces useful work," physicians nevertheless can practice privately if they wish, and there are very fine private hospitals available.
Despite the well-documented shortcomings of Canadian medicine, all we have seen lately about it are stories about busloads of American seniors headed for Canada to buy drugs cheaper than in the States. Since Canada has ways of fixing drug prices, their prices are artificially lower, somewhat, on some items. At the same time, the Canadian government knows that this is another drain on the failing resources of Canadian medicine, so it turns out that it is actually illegal for Canadian pharmacies to sell drugs to Americans without a Canadian prescription. They do so anyway, out of "compassion," but this increases the long term pressure on the Canadian system, which takes advantage of medicines financed by American sales, not Canadian ones.
We see the stories about American seniors headed to Canada, but not about Canadians headed to American doctors and hospitals, only because there is a concerted political campaign under way now, implemented from the Democratic National Committee to Sixty Minutes, to add coverage for prescription medicine to Medicare. Since the economy has been booming and budget surpluses have pushed back the bankruptcy date for Medicare, the temptation therefore is to buy some more votes by handing out more free stuff. This is, I would say, good, since such irresponsibility will negate the increase in revenues and hurry the bankruptcy of the system.
The tyrants of statism and socialism in the United States, like Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton, work tirelessly to be sure that we are all properly enslaved and dependent. Since Bill and Hillary Clinton could not get communism all at once back in 1993, they are now getting it a bit at a time, with the help of Republicans, like the departed Newt Gingrich, and the deception that somehow the Republicans are actually different from the Democrats.
The Trojan Horse therefore rolls on.
People who conducted their lives on the understanding that they didn't have to work and that they could have as many children as they wanted at public expense, should be given a few years to get their acts together. But all new applicants, and then the old beneficiaries, should be put out on their own. Genuine need should be handled, as it was through much of American history, by private charities and, at most, government at the most local level -- cities or counties without the financial backing of State of Federal governments will be able to indulge themselves in few big ticket welfare programs.
In a business cycle, unemployment in the United States used to bottom out at below 2% (as it actually is in some places, like Iowa). American unemployment in the last several decades, however, has had trouble getting below even 5%. On the other hand, in "progressive" Euro-socialist countries like France, Germany, and Sweden, where workers are "protected" by a vast system of labor rights, employment has been stuck at more than 10% for the better part of a decade.
Of course, taking care of all the unemployed then requires higher taxes, which means that more of the "living wage" gets taken away from taxpayers, which means that there must then be another round of increases in the minimum wage!
In 1998, Democrat candidates for Governor, like Gray Davis and Al Checchi, were competing with each other for how high the minimum wage should be raised. Their criterion was just what a "living wage" really is. But why stop at $7 or even $10 an hour! $10 an hour is only $20,800 a year. That's peanuts. Let's go right to $100 an hour: $208,000 a year! That will put everyone up there with .... Gray Davis and Al Checchi! Why should they have more money than I do? All they are good for is hot air!
All this foolishness results from a basic misconceptions or ignorance of economics, especially Say's Law. Nevertheless, Republicans have simply given up trying to articulate the truth and have fallen in line with their own, slightly more modest, minimum wage proposals. Newt Gingrich himself said that if 80% of Americans (in polls) like the idea of minimum wage increases, then he is not going to oppose it. His spirit had already been broken by then, and he never even tried to say that, although helping a few, this kind of thing hurts more than it helps.
But the true mechanism of wage growth, through Say's Law, has in effect been evident enough to Americans that membership in labor unions has shrunk from 35% of the labor force in the 30's to only about 16% today. A large part of that present membership, furthermore, is in public employee unions, which have been organized to soak the taxpayers, not the capitalists. Since politicians can pay out money that isn't theirs to public employees, they have no incentive to contain the cost of wages. Public employees, consequently, end up being much better paid than private sector employees -- yet they also manage to complain more about how poorly paid they are.
As the backbone of the labor union movement has become people at the public trough, public employee unions have also become the backbone of the party of big government and high taxes, which is, preeminently, the Democratic Party -- though the Republicans, wanting to be all things to all people, would probably be just as happy to get into their good graces too. The Democrats thus can pay out public money to the unions but then get back more of it in the political spending of the unions. There have been court decisions against unions using dues for political purposes without the permission of union members (who often voted for Ronald Reagan while the union leadership gave money to Democrats), but the unions and the Clinton Administration have done everything to avoid enforcing these rulings.
Proposition 226, to require unions to get their members' permission for political spending, although doing no more that reaffirming existing law, was defeated by a desperate and dishonest campaign in 1998. This is revealing. If the law, like the Beck decision, were really being enforced, then Proposition 226 would not have been necessary and the Unions would not have worried about it. But they were terrified.
National Right to Work Legel Defense Foundation
Thus, if we actually had capitalism, constitutional government, or honesty, most federal regulation would disappear without loss.
Instead, one discovers that the institution of such laws was bitterly resented and resisted by businesses. And it is kind of hard to condemn capitalism in one breath for its racism and then turn around and condemn it also for an opportunism that would use every opportunity to make a buck. It can't be both.
As it happens, the color of money has always been much more significant than the color of skin. And as Thomas Sowell, in turn, has pointed out: People love their prejudices, but they love themselves better. If the law in the South had protected the lives and property of black people equally with white people, and enforced laws and contracts equally, as was required by the 14th Amendment, then everything else could have taken care of itself; and the federal government would certainly never have needed to violate the 5th and 13th Amendments by imposing anti-discrimination laws on private businesses.
Conservatives would just as soon forget the Ninth Amendment.
The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Here it is obvious that just because a right is not listed in the Constitution, that does not mean that it does not exist. Indeed, it cannot even be argued that rights listed in the Constitution are more important than the ones not listed, for this would be to "disparage" the others.
Nothing could be worse for Conservatives, who blanch at the idea of the Courts "discovering" new rights that had not be recognized before. Thus, a properly conservative jurist like Robert Bork ("Judge Dread") said that the Ninth Amendment was "blot of ink," i.e. meaningless.
Even the Supreme Court, however, has been reluctant of invoke the Ninth. When contraception laws were struck down in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), the majority opinion found the right to privacy in the "penumbra" of the other rights in the Constitution. This notion has, very properly, been an object of derision ever since. It shows that both the Warren Court and its conservative critics hesitated to invoke the theory of Natural Rights upon which the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Ninth Amendment were all founded. As such, clearly none of them have any business having anything to do with interpreting the Constitution.
The danger of using the Ninth Amendment, however, is that people have become very confused about what rights are supposed to be. After a century of socialist and communist propaganda, many people think that they have a right to a job, a right to a minimum income, a right to housing, a right to medical care, a right not to be insulted, a right not to feel bad, a right to live in the style to which they have become accustomed, etc. Such "rights," which only serve to enslave or steal from others, are today mostly what people scream about when they demand their "rights." These issues are discussed in "Rights, Responsibilities, and Communitarianism" and "The Corruption of Civil Rights and Civil Law". There is also a popular "Bill of No Rights." Clearly, the Ninth Amendment cannot be truly rehabilitated until it cannot be used to expand tyranny through the fiction of socialist "welfare" rights.
Liberal-leftists despise the Tenth Amendment.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively,
or to the people.
This was regarded by everyone involved in the writing of the Constitution as the capstone of the whole project, affirming that the federal government had only limited and enumerated powers. It was the ultimate principle preventing the United States government from acquiring absolute and unlimited powers. It is thus the ultimate nightmare to the partisans of tyranny, of statism, of absolute power, of a police state, of socialism and communism, of social engineering (whether secular or religious), or of those who simply want to be able to do anything to buy their way into power and pay off their friends.
When the Tenth Amendment was commonly invoked by Segregationists to try and prevent the enforcement of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, the advocates of absolutism were handed the Smear of the Century: Ah! The Tenth Amendment was Aid and Comfort to Segregationists! So much for that!
By dishonestly defending their own petty tyranny, Segregationists thus managed to discredit one of the most fundamental principles of Constitutional government and to deliver everyone into an absolute and general tyranny, which the Constitution had been carefully and wisely crafted to prevent.
This could not have happened, of course, if people had retained a proper sense of what Constitutional Government was supposed to be and what the function of the Tenth Amendment was. That most people had forgotten those things was not the fault of the Civil Rights Movement, it was the fault of the New Deal (including, ironically, Southern Populist, Segregationist New Dealers), under which the Tenth Amendment had already been effectively repealed. In the 30's, Supreme Court decisions already had certified almost unlimited power for the federal government, by allowing taxes to be used for anything, by allowing almost anything to be considered "interstate commerce," etc.; but finally United States v. Darby (1941) held that the Tenth Amendment was merely a "truism," i.e. could be entirely ignored. It has been ever since.
Two Logical Errors in Constitutional Jurisprudence
The Fiction and Tyranny of "Administrative Law"
"How tall am I? Honey, with hair, heels and attitude I'm through this damn roof," RuPaul.
If the feminists are right that women's clothing is designed by misogynists to oppress women, to burden and hobble them with a bunch of unnecessary and restrictive garments, makeup, shoes, etc., what does an outrageous Drag Queen like RuPaul think he(/she) is doing? If what you have done is put chains on someone else, it doesn't make any sense to want to wear them yourself.
So what we see instead is that someone like RuPaul isn't going to let something as trivial as being born the wrong sex stop him from enjoying the style and the aesthetic of the feminine. The celebration of female fashion by people like RuPaul puts the lie to the feminist anaesthesia that cannot comprehend the role of beauty in human life, let alone female beauty. As Oscar Wilde said, "Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things [like the feminists] are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault" [Preface, The Picture of Dorian Gray].
Jesse Jackson tragically represents everything that went wrong with the Civil Rights Movement. Starting out as a noble quest for freedom and equality before the law, fulfilling the promise of the Bill of Rights, the Civil Rights Movement, after substantially achieving those goals, went on to basically become a quest for money. Not freedom, but dependency became its goal; not equality before the law, but special preferences to distribute income and professions according to racial quotas; not self-reliance, but a permanent political patronage system that keeps politicans and "leaders" in power and makes everyone else beholden to them.
The only way this change in goals could be effected with any kind of rationality was by adopting a universe of exploded leftist shibboleths about economics and politics. Even as communism and socialism crumbled or stagnated in Europe, the Civil Rights Movement joined the chorus of aging Sixties radicals, in the press, academia, and the Democratic Party, still pushing socialism in the United States, even still paying homage, as Jesse Jackson personally has, to a murderous and discredited dictator like Fidel Castro.
The deceitful Presidency of Bill Clinton has given an unnatural extension of life to all this, while Jesse Jackson personally orchestrated Clinton's recent trip to Africa, with its farcical apologies for not having thrown away even more money in foreign aid to socialist dictators and for the slave trade -- delivered in Uganda, where the only slave trade that had ever existed was conducted by the Arabs, and where the President of Uganda called Clinton's whole mea culpa for slavery "rubbish," because it had been the Africans themselves who sold their brethren into slavery. Since an Arab slave trade still continues right across the border from Uganda, in the southern Sudan, it is a little odd that this was actually ignored in Clinton's comments. But we see why when we discover that Jesse Jackson always ignores the atrocities against blacks (many of them Christians) in the Sudan, just so he can maintain his lefist "Third World" credentials with "progressive" Arabs. Strange how slavery, practiced by the right people, is now part of "progressive" politics.
No purer view of civil rights can still be found than in the great Frederick Douglass, who expressed his view of what government could do for freed slaves in "What the Black Man Wants":
Everybody has asked the question. . ."What shall we do with the Negro?" I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature's plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!
Now the "civil rights" argument seems to be that it is the business of the federal government to go around doing that tying and fastening, and that the "legacy of slavery" and discrimination is that the black man cannot stand on his own legs.