Yes Virginia, I Really AM a Radical
[Note: I originally wrote this entry back in June 2005, when the original Supreme Court nomination debates were occurring. I was advocating for Janice Rogers Brown, who was considered a “radical extremist” by the left-wingers. I was reminded of this post reading Chris’ bio today, and thought I might cross-post it here. Enjoy.]
When I posted a few days ago about the new byline, Lucy Stern asked me whether I really wanted to call myself a “radical”. I had to think about it for a millisecond or so, look around at what our government has become, and determined that “radical” is a perfect term to describe me.
I was watching Fox News a few hours ago (Brit Hume’s show, I think), and they were talking about extremist appeals court nominee Janice Rogers Brown. I’ve picked up a few quotes on other blogs about Brown:
Of all the extremist positions judicial nominee Janice Rogers Brown has taken, her stated agenda to undo all progress on social justice since the New Deal may be the most striking. These are her own words:
“The New Deal, however, inoculated the federal Constitution with a kind of underground collectivist mentality. The Constitution itself was transmuted into a significantly different document…1937…marks the triumph of our own socialist revolution.”
Janice Rogers Brown’s extremist legal views are completely at odds with working families’ interests and values. Even ultra-conservative columnist George Will calls her “out of the mainstream.” She compares enactment of New Deal legislation such as the minimum wage and the 40-hour workweek with a “socialist revolution.” She compares “big government” with “slavery” and an “opiate.” She says the First Amendment protects racial harassment in the form of slurs in the workplace. She says leased employees shouldn’t expect to participate in employers’ pension plans because they are part of a “new labor paradigm” that is “simply a matter of personal choice and private agreement” in which courts should not interfere.
Wow. We need to keep her off the federal bench.
Janice Rogers Brown believes that the Constitution is the guiding law in our land. Specfically, she reads the Constitution literally, and believes that whatever is not in there shouldn’t be done by our federal government. And she’s an extremist. An extremist isn’t by definition wrong, or bad. It simply means that she is out of the mainstream.
There’s a good reason for this. The mainstream has been moving more and more left for the last 92 years (I use 1913, when the Sixteenth Amendment was passed for that calculation). Someone who views the New Deal as a socialist program and openly states so is not in the mainstream. Someone who believes that private property rights may include the right of discrimination is not in the mainstream (even though it is obvious she doesn’t approve of discrimination). Someone who has the view that coerced redistribution of income is a mild form of slavery is not in the mainstream. It is her view that this country is ruled by laws, as enshrined in the Constitution, and if the “mainstream” wants to change that law, it requires Constitutional amendments, not judicial activism.
So am I a “radical”? Am I an “extremist”? Yes. It is obvious that compared to the mainstream thought in this country, I am nowhere near the average Joe. The average Joe believes that the rule of the majority is just. The average Joe believes that government exists to promote his agenda, not protect individual rights. The average Joe views taxation and regulation as tools for social engineering. The Republican and Democratic parties are full of average Joes looking not to further American ideals with their votes, but to get “their guys” holding the reins of power.
So yes, I am a radical. I’m not afraid of that label, because the government I envision is radically different than the one we have. And yes, I am an extremist. Because I believe that we should be much closer to the extremes of personal liberty and personal responsibility than we currently are. I make no claims that the rest of the country thinks the same way I do. But the principles I believe in don’t require them to. They can live they way they want, and I’ll live the way I want. They don’t offer me the same courtesy. My beliefs put me well outside of the mainstream. But with such folks as Janice Rogers Brown out here with me, I can at least claim good company.