Pick Wayne's Brain

February 23, 2015

How The Right Gets The Rule Of Law Wrong

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 12:16 AM

Steve Deace is (by his own admission) a man of limited talents and abilities. But he does manage to put out a podcast, which is something a smug, arrogant little snark like me hasn’t done. Yet. But if I did have a podcast, I wouldn’t advertise the fact (as Steve does) that I believed the Holy Bible was literally true, or that the Constitution was not a living document. (Steve says he doesn’t believe it’s a “living breathing document,” but none of us said it was “breathing.” Probably just another conservative straw man argument.) It’s hard to accept that people can believe the Bible is literally true, when even its authors did not want people to believe that. Besides, it’s impossible for it to be literally true, as there are parts of it that contradict other parts. In Logic, when you suppose something is true, then show how that leads to a contradiction, you have proven that the something you supposed was true can’t possibly be. And you can’t start with the supposition that something is “perfect” and then say that everything that contradicts that supposition can’t be correct because it would mean the something is not perfect. That directly opposes the point of Logic. And as for the U.S. Constitution not being a living document, that can also be proven wrong. There are many quotes from the Founding Fathers (the men who wrote the document) saying it was to be interpreted with the times, and was not meant to be a means for people to keep living in the 18th Century. If you’re going to use the argument that the Founders knew nothing about wireless broadcasting of invisible signals, so they could not have intended you to have rights to privacy when you use such devices, then you might as well decide right now that the Constitution is obsolete, because they couldn’t have conceived of most of how the world works today (though a few probably could.) Besides, they were quite clear in the Bill of Rights that if they didn’t name a particular right, it didn’t mean you didn’t have it. But Conservatives have never been about expanding individual rights despite all their talk about freedom. And they’re still not fans of the idea that the whole “States’ Rights” approach was tried and found wanting. Nor are they fans of the idea that the Civil War was fought, among other reasons, over whether or not states could nullify federal law. That side lost. All States are subordinate to the Federal Government and the Federal Constitution. It’s one of the requirements to being a State in our Union. But try telling that to Richard Mack and Matt Barber.

Richard Mack thinks that county sheriffs are not accountable to federal authority. He heads an organization called Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, and like many Conservatives they believe the Federal Government has gone too far, especially on guns. (Reality Check: No, they haven’t.) Mack told Deace, “And I will tell you this, if we do not, if the counties and cities and states do not exercise their proper constitutional authority, known as state sovereignty and the 10th Amendment, if they do not enforce their own state sovereignty and secure their state sovereignty, then America will die,” he said. “If we do not exercise the 10th Amendment and state sovereignty, we will lose liberty in America, and we will not get it back unless there’s bloodshed.” He also said the national parks employees who closed the parks during the government shutdown were like the Nazis, in that they were “just following orders.” He added, “It is so scary how many similarities there are between Nazi Germany and the Obama administration.” Mack then told the host he agreed that Obama is a communist, saying, “You’d have be stupid not to know that he’s a Marxist.” Actually, you’d have to be stupid to think he is a Marxist. Or at least ignorant about what a Marxist is. He then dropped this bombshell: “We fought two world wars to stop communism in this country.” Actually, Communism had nothing to do with either World War, and we fought on the side of the Russian in the second one, so I really don’t know what he’s talking about there. And neither does he. And neither does Matt Barber. Barber thinks that states are constitutionally permitted to ignore any federal law or court ruling they think violates their own state’s constitution. He even thinks Alabama Chief Justice is on “solid legal ground” to defy the Supreme Court. He also thinks Texas should just ignore Roe v. Wade and start jailing people who have and perform abortions.

This is the Right Wing in America. Ignore the part of the Constitution that declares that the Constitution, and all laws and rulings made in support of it, are the “supreme law of the land.” That means all county sheriffs, who must take an oath to support and defend the Constitution, must also obey it. That means if the Alabama State Constitution contradicts the federal constitution, the federal constitution wins. But they don’t believe that, because they believe “states’ rights” means they don’t have to be subordinate to any higher form of government. We fought a civil war over that belief, and that belief lost. It’s time Conservatives learned that, and just accept that the way they think things ought to be is not the way the Constitution says they should be.

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