I was going to title this blog entry "Scalia vs. liberty," but I suppose he sometimes - incidentally - comes out in favor of liberty. But the issue here is principle: is Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia a principled advocate of liberty?
No, he is not.
[EDIT: On second thought, the best headline for this entry might very well be "Scalia vs. rights." Let's each of us chew on that one.]
This item came to my attention today. Rush Limbaugh is on record for saying for saying, at least a couple times, that if he could switch out his brain with someone else's, it would be Scalia's. Given Limbaugh's gradual, sad descent into intellectual dementia, I can see why. One of the "best legal minds of our time" responded to a student's sensible question regarding his comparison between laws banning sodomy and laws banning bestiality and murder:
“If we cannot have moral feelings against or objections to homosexuality, can we have it against anything?” Scalia said in response to the question, according to The Daily Princetonian. “I don’t think it’s necessary, but I think it’s effective.”
Scalia told Princeton student Duncan Hosie that he is not equating sodomy with bestiality or murder, but drawing parallels between the bans.
Scalia added dryly, “I’m surprised you weren’t persuaded,” the student newspaper reported.
Oh, good lord. Does this even merit comment?
Where does this guy live, under a fucking rock?
This is the second decade of the 21st century, after all, where gay ivy-league college students aren't going to find persuasive some asinine comparison of sodomy laws to bestiality laws, and yet Scalia finds himself "surprised" by their not being so persuaded. He's got to have been living under a fucking rock.
But, more importantly, here's the article's description of Scalia's legal reasoning (sic) used in the landmark case, Lawrence v. Texas (2003), in which the Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws as unconstitutional:
Scalia had dissented in the case; in his dissent, he makes a couple of comparisons to laws against bestiality and declares, "nowhere does the Court’s opinion declare that homosexual sodomy is a 'fundamental right.'"
I'll go ahead and state it in plain, simple and blunt terms:
There is most definitely a natural right to engage in homosexual sodomy.
This comes from the reality-based observation that (a) people have the right to engage in private consensual activities with one another, and (b) private and consensual homosexual sodomy poses no credible threat to the security and well-being of society's members. (This is also why people have a natural right to use cannabis responsibly.) As to where one can find this right - implicitly - in the Constitution, Justice (sic) Scalia cannot fail to be unaware of the libertarian implications of the Ninth Amendment which refers to un-enumerated rights retained by the people, and of the illiberal implications of laws banning sodomy, pornography, birth control, victimless drug use, and so on.
(EDIT: Stupidity - Scalia's, for example - does in fact pose a credible threat to the security and well-being of society's members. Maybe stupidity, intellectual laziness, ignorance, or plain old kookery should be made illegal? I wonder why right-wing politicians, pundits and bloggers don't fanatically go after that real threat wherever it lurks (or, hell, is openly broadcast)? Where's Michele Bachmann when we need her to protect us from this manifestly obvious threat to American Values? Why the fuck is she spending her time focusing on a non-existent problem such as sharia law emerging in America? Just because it's the brand of illiberal batshit-crazy theocracy-ism that she doesn't like, doesn't mean that it's anywhere near the threat that someone like, say, Antonin Scalia or his doppelganger John Yoo poses to our liberties. Is down up in the right-wing mindset? Good lord! It's just so absurd, I don't know how people can endure such blatantly irrational idiocy with a straight face.... [Don't worry, proudly-ignorant left-wing socialism-embracers and Rand-haters, you're next up on my Shit List, beginning with the fact that I received not one single fucking answer in the affirmative to the question I posed here. Just you wait till I'm in full intellectual-rampage mode, 'cause you ain't seen nuttin' yet, you fucking amateurs.])
What Justice (sic) Scalia is, is a "conservative" statist of sorts who only happens sometimes to support freedom. What he is not, is someone whose occupancy of a Supreme Court seat should be considered a good thing for the country - especially not when he's so homophobic as to be unqualified to adjudicate the marriage-equality issue fairly or justly. And that issue is, at this point in history, a no-brainer! (I'll note that since the Prop 8 plaintiff's attorney Theodore Olson wrote his conservative case for gay marriage, no conservative group or publication has managed to produce anything remotely resembling a well-reasoned case against it. Indisputable fact. There's a reason why it is an indisputable fact: the overwhelming evidence, logic, and constitutional and natural principles of justice are on the side of marriage-equality. Duh.)
I will also mention that the "conservative" Scalia sided with the "liberal" majority in Gonzalez v. Raich which upheld the (natural-rights-violating) federal drug laws on the grounds of the ominously-ever-expansive (under twentieth-century, post-Holmes, post-Dewey jurisprudence) Commerce Clause. These laws (wrongly) empower the government to prohibit a citizen from growing pot in his own backyard. Meanwhile, Justice (sic) Scalia found some way to oppose the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), presumably on the grounds that it would involve an unacceptable expansion of federal power. What principle drives all of this is some idiosyncratic Scalian jurisprudence that I haven't gotten a grip on, but given how illiberal he is on issues like sodomy and weed, it is a corrupt jurisprudence, no question.
Since I first got interested in politics some decades back, my political sensibilities have always been more or less libertarian, with civil libertarianism on the so-called personal-freedom issues being one of the biggest no-brainers in political philosophy. Just some good ol' Aristotelian common sense on my part, I suppose. During this period of time one of the books that readily caught my attention given my areas of study/interest was Peter McWilliams's Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do: The Absurdity Of Consensual Crimes In A Free Society (1993). I have not actually read this book, because it preaches to this choir. (Given its unusually high rating by goodreads.com standards - 4.48 out of 5 stars with 285 ratings - perhaps it goes into the "must-read" category regardless.)
The story of McWilliam's own death - caused by corrupt jurisprudence (which stems ultimately from corrupt but influential philosophy) - is fucking insane. Franklin, Paine and Jefferson would be aghast.
Thanks a lot, Justice (sic!) Scalia.
UPDATE: Lysander Spooner, bitches.
"The Fourteenth Amendment does not enact Mr. Herbert Spencer's Social Statics." -some "progressive" asshole in a black robe
"The Ninth Amendment surely enacts Mr. Lysander Spooner's Natural Law." -The Ultimate Philosopher
(I've just been getting warmed up here these past months, mofos. BTW, did you happen to catch that one ignorantly-Rand-hating asshole who runs a leading "philosophy" blog, whining recently about hedge-fund managers making a lot more than university professors? It's like he's never heard of the concept of rarity of talents combined with the relative economic importance of skill sets. Sure, Derek Jeter could probably teach high school classes, but can any high school teachers play shortstop for the New York Yankees? Does a philosophy professor have the skill set to run a hedge fund or other demanding business venture? Arguably a hedge-fund manager could have entered the philosophy profession instead, and do a good job at it (which really isn't all that hard if you absorb Aristotelian sensibilities, as way too many philosophy professors have failed so crashingly to do - as evidenced by the quality of students Higher Ed lets loose on the world nowadays), but who would run the hedge funds, then? Such questions and answers occur as second nature to business-types but apparently never occur to a lot of university professors, especially those in the Humanities who are supposed to be expanding their cognitive horizons for fuck's sake. I guess Marx-inspired economic value theory never accustomed them to understanding these things? I'll just leave this here again. Nozick > bitter whining asshole left-wing "philosophy" prof. Say, why did Nozick go from leftist to libertarian? Something something conversation with Murray Rothbard and individualist anarchism, something something Rothbard and Rand's Atlas Shrugged and Mises's Human Action, something something individualist anarchism and Lysander Spooner, something something footnote three to "A Framework for Utopia," something something "On the Randian Argument," something something "Nozick on the Randian Argument," something something "How to Derive Libertarian Rights," something something eudaemonistic egoism, something something "Flourishing Egoism," something something Personal Destinies, something something Aristotle, something something Allan Gotthelf, something something epistemology workshop, something something noble soul, something something man as heroic being, something something role of the mind in human existence (Marxian value-theory and historical materialism, eh? Something reeks about all that. Class struggles? Like that going on between the darkly-comically entrenched Theory Class and ordinary human beings, for instance?), something something rationality as the fundamental virtue, something something Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics, something something Leonard Peikoff, something something Understanding Objectivism, something something Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical . . . wait a second, it's like there's some kind of dialectical progression/convergence/integration/ perfection going on here; anyone else notice that besides moi? If not, why the hell not? Also, to that whiny left-wing "philosophy"-prof blogger: Go fuck yourself, asshole. [cue Spaceballs-mog finger gesture and smooching noises] Cheers, UP :-p )