Liberals/skeptics are VERY selective about the Constitution.

I’ve seen this a lot in the past couple of months from
my fellow skeptics, mostly from the liberal side (the libertarian
skeptics don’t seem to have this problem). They make a big deal out of
the First Amendment, particularly the establishment clause, and rightly
so; but when it comes to other parts of the Constitution, it seems to
be okay to ignore it if it goes against what they want.

The
Tenth Amendment completely forbids Congress from doing anything not
mentioned in Article I Section 8, and that includes forcing schools to
teach evolution, setting a religious education policy for the schools
(as Dennett wants to do), as well as many provisions of the Civil
Rights Act (and just about everything else done by Congress, for that
matter). Sorry, guys, but that’s a state/local battle, not a Federal
one.

Article III Section 2 completely forbids the Supreme Court
from deciding matters internal to a state and its citizens. It lists
everywhere the Supreme Court and the lower Federal courts created by
Congress has both original and appellate jurisdiction, and that’s not
one of them. The only exception is if it’s a direct controversy under
the Constitution. Shooting down Intelligent Design in the Dover trial
is therefore 100% Constitutional; setting the abortion policy for the
states based on the stages of pregnancy as Roe v. Wade did is not.

The
Constitution only specifies three Federal crimes: treason, piracy, and
counterfeiting. You might be able to use the Necessary and Proper
Clause to add certain other crimes related to the powers in Article I
Section 8 such as tax evasion or stealing the mail, but not any kind of
fraud, even if it is committed by psychics. If murder is a state crime,
then so is fraud.

No matter how much you feel religious stuff
should be taxed, Article I Section 9 specifically prohibits the Federal
government from taxing goods and services that cross state lines
(Section 10 likewise prohibits the states, with some very specific
exceptions). That would include religious communication.

For
that matter, Sections 9 and 10 prohibit both the states and the
Congress from passing Bills of Attainder. This means you can’t pass any
laws that target any person or group of people. And that includes religious groups.

Just as the Constitution does not allow
Congress to ban gay marriage, neither does it allow Congress or any
other Federal entity to require citizens, companies, or groups to
recognize gay marriage. Deal with it.

There are lots of other
examples, but this should give you the idea. The Constitution either
means something, or it doesn’t. And if you agree with even one of the
above actions, or any action that is repugnant to the Constitution,
then you have no cause–either legally or morally–to speak out against
anyone else violating the First Amendment or anything else.

As I
always say: if you want to be free to do what you want, you have to set
others free to do what you don’t want. Otherwise, you just want a
tyranny that agrees with you.

2 thoughts on “Liberals/skeptics are VERY selective about the Constitution.

  1. As society adapts more and more to increasing technology and as my generation ages, I fear that rule will further and further centralize into larger and larger bodies. I don’t know whether this talk of an NAU is really planned per se, but I know that many people do sympathize with the idea or ideas like it, and people like the idea of all countries united yadda yadda and give no thought to our diminishing personal autonomy.

    You’re right as usual… but, I fear, that will not matter; I think the future is essentially set in stone and it’s not something we’re going to want to see.

    People want a superman to come and bring about all the right in the world–that is, what they personally feel is right. And of course that superman is the man with the biggest gun…

  2. Shane, don’t get too upset over the liberals. All this is mostly a backlash over the actions of the religious right wing, who has done most of the damage. The best they can do and are doing is undermining and damaging their efforts.

    I do not have a clear understanding of how things got here, maybe our over-dependence on foreign oil and its socio-cultural impact on our institutions has something to do with it.

    In any case none of these trends are sustainable, so I remain optimistic.

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