Saturday, November 30, 2013


Responding to the Liberal Challenge

An old, smart, liberal friend told me that I would always be tarred by my association with the Republican party as long as the Republicans continued their assault on individual rights and freedoms. What, I instantly thought? But he backed up his allegation by asking me to Google the serial protests in North Carolina called Moral Mondays. I did and read the wikipedia entry on it as well as the HuffPo coverage. Let's go to the tape, as sportscasters used to say. Here are the supposed parade of Republican horrors (not one of which impinges on individual rights and freedoms, I might add):

1) The liberals protest Republican redistricting and the requirement of a photo ID (free ones available to the indigent) in order to vote. The liberals are also not happy about repealing laws that made voter fraud easier to accomplish.

Redistricting is a political spoil to the party in power just after the census. This is not about any individual right and both Democrats and Republicans try to redistrict to their political advantage. The courts are now deeply involved in the process, more's the pity. This is like complaining that when the sun is up it's sometimes more difficult to sleep.

Does anyone not know that the Supreme Court said that laws requiring photo IDs to vote were constitutionally OK? It was in all the papers. Read it here. It was Justice Stevens writing the opinion for Pete's sake. The law also requires that the DMV etc. provide indigents with photo IDs for free. I am completely missing the assault on individual rights and freedoms in this law. Is not the voter who's vote is cancelled by someone's second vote (or by a vote by one ineligible to vote) as completely disenfranchised as the eligible voter who is not allowed to vote? So there is a compelling state interest in preventing voter fraud. Is there a less onerous way to effect that interest than by requiring some proof of identity, residency and ability to vote, especially where the proof of identity is so easily obtained? I can't think of one. This cry that requiring photo IDs to vote is Republican racism or disenfranchisement of the poor or an assault on the right to vote, is baseless and, well, stupid. No such thing is happening. It's more a difference between just laws (Republicans) and cheating lawlessness (Democrats). Next.

2) The liberals are protesting cuts in social programs. The problem with social programs is that eventually the do-gooders run out of other people's money. Almost every state budgets must be balanced. Sometimes the soul stealing, not-that-helpful programs to transfer wealth from some citizens to others under pain of law are still funded but just not as generously as before (or, as I strongly suspect, have ever more funding but it did not increase as fast as the do-gooders wanted). In the L-shaped Obama "recovery,"  perhaps that's a sad but necessary thing. Since charity should not even be the government's role in society, much less a central role, social programs are in no way a right or freedom. On the contrary they are restrictions on the rights of property owners (assuming savings and investments are property). And I call this redistribution soul stealing mainly because of the well known effect on the recipients. In a larger sense, however, the love we have for our fellow man, charity, when made manifest by force, does about as much good for society as erotic love made manifest through force does. Next.

3) The liberals are protesting the Governor's decision to opt out of expanded Medicaid. This ability to opt out (might we refer to that as freedom? too much?) was only created by the slim majority of the Supreme Court only partially striking down the ACA. Most governors say that the ever increasing onus of Medicaid is the most difficult thing to pay for and does most of the damage to state budgets. I don't know North Carolina's long term prospect for increased tax revenue, perhaps the state government, and the Governor might know a little more about that. However, it could well be a rational decision to not undertake a permanent expansion in the medical ghetto called Medicaid when the feds will only pay partially for it for two to three years. Perhaps the Governor decided that having more money in the budget for normal state expenses (the most good for the most people?) was a better use for state tax revenue than spending it on even more Medicaid. In any event, not expanding Medicaid in no way involves an assault on rights or freedom, as my old friend and his ilk in North Carolina allege. Moving on.

4) The liberals are protesting the majority legislator's alleged "rollback" on abortion rights. It is not possible to roll back the individual woman's right to an early abortion as the Supreme Court said in Roe and in Casey that abortion in the first trimester was somehow a right established by the Constitution although the Constitution makes no mention of it (hint: It's in the umbras and penumbras). But just as liberals like to point out that it's OK to make reasonable restrictions on a right clearly laid out in the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, certainly one could just as easily point out restrictions on the made-up-out-of-whole-cloth right to abortion are just as proper. And what are those restrictions here? The new North Carolina law prohibits government funds being spent on abortions. No real right causes the government to fund the individual exercise of the right. I'll OK the right to have abortions funded by the government when the left OKs the government's buying me the gun of my choice. The law also prohibits abortions for sex selection. (Knowing that it's not boys being aborted for sex selection, tell me, old friend, that you are OK with sex selection abortions. Tell me your feminine, feminist household is OK with sex selection abortions). Finally, the law requires that abortion clinics have the same safety standards as other-than-abortion surgery sites. I believe that abortion is a moral outrage but legal, but the negligent homicide of a pregnant woman during abortion is a flat out crime. So equal safety regulation is an assault on rights and freedom? Yeah the freedom not to die in a filthy abortion clinic from sub-standard medical care. Now to the cause near and dear to your heart.

5) The liberals are protesting the majority legislator's laws concerning teachers. The law did not increase teacher's pay. Sad, I guess, but there is no right to have a salary increase, is there? The law also ended tenure (which I think is a good thing--since when was merely avoiding being fired in the past a good reason to make firing in the future impossible?) ended the salary bonus merely for having a higher degree (another good thing as a bonus for another degree is not merit pay--a second diploma does not mean the recipient is therefore a better teacher) and created a program remarkably like a voucher system (if vouchers increase students' ability to choose which school to attend, wouldn't that necessarily increase freedom?) The law also cut funding for teacher assistants. Where is the right here? Tenure? Teacher pay at a certain rate? Ability to go only to the school the government chooses for you? I'm not seeing any rights, nor am I seeing any assault on freedom. Just the opposite.

The aforementioned complaints of the liberals in North Carolina are certainly political differences regarding policy. A Republican assault on rights and freedom they are emphatically not.


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