Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

This past week saw the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearing devolve into a monkey dung fight with better suits, but one concept that kept being introduced in between the handfuls of crap being flung was originalist. The Left came up with their own unique (i.e. utterly insane) interpretations of the idea, often pointing to the way women were treated when the Constitution was ratified. In short, the Left wanted ACB to get back in the kitchen, but it’s not sexist when they do it.

Yet with all of the talk on the Left about originalist thinking, few have actually nailed it down. And by few I mean it’s rarer than a Nosferatu burger that a Leftist got it right. So, consider this a teachable moment for the Left.

originalist

What the Left thinks it means – a backwards way of applying the Constitution to legal cases because of cultural changes and the passage of time

What it really means – applying the Constitution as written to legal cases

With the exception of a few Amendments, the Constitution is pretty straightforward as to what the government can and cannot do. As a result, Leftists try to muddy the waters so it’s not as simple as it looks, and since Leftists think they’re the smartest people in the room, they volunteer their expertise to interpret the Constitution (as they interpret it, of course). If someone were to come along and point out the simple concepts the Left tries to misconstrue, that person becomes a threat.

You know, like Amy Coney Barrett.

Whenever the Left sees a threat to their self-imposed intellectual supremacy, they calmly and maturely state their case as to why originalist thinking is dangerous. And if you believe that, I have swamp land in the Gobi Desert I’d like to sell you. I’ll even throw in a free Gobi Dessert with a purchase!

What the Left does with originalists is portray them as out-of-touch, uber-conservative types who don’t understand society changes, so our interpretation of the Constitution has to change. Remember, the Left believes the Constitution is ever-changing, always in flux, and means different things at different times. As much as our personal interpretations of the Constitution can change with time and social perspectives, that doesn’t change what is actually written.

Take one of my personal favorite Amendments, the First Amendment. When making decisions on everything from whether online speech should be regulated to whether a community can have Christmas decorations in public parks, people often overlook the key five words at the very beginning of the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law. Thanks to our friends on the Left and their allies in the ACLU, anything that gets government funding is subject to the limitation placed specifically on Congress, and if you disagree or resist, they will sue you. Call me crazy (and I’m sure some of you already do), but I’m curious how a Christmas decoration in a public park equates to an act of our legislative body. Although I’m curious how my mayor voted on Obamacare…

Now, imagine an originalist taking a look at all of the lawsuits and threats of lawsuits from the ACLU and dismissing them because Congress didn’t act. (So far, it hasn’t happened, but a boy can dream.) Not only would it make the ACLU look like idiots (which happens on any day that ends with “day”), but it would remove the power the Left has to suppress the free expression of religion through subversion of the First Amendment. (Oh, and by ignoring the whole “nor prohibit the free exercise thereof” part of the First.)

Even with something as vital and impactful as a Supreme Court decision, the Left is playing political games, mainly because they know they can’t win people’s hearts and minds and need the courts to enact the Left’s agenda via judicial fiat. Of course, the easiest way to win hearts and minds is to…oh, I don’t know…come up with ideas that don’t suck. The originalist nukes this tactic from orbit because he or she understands the limits of the judiciary and will most likely toss out the bad decisions for legislative bodies or, Heaven forbid, the people to decide.

Therein lies the key difference between Leftists and originalists. The Left uses the Constitution as a Swiss Army knife, a tool for every idea developed by and for tools. Originalists use the Constitution as a map to guide an outcome so no one gets screwed in the end. (Unless, of course, you’re into that kind of thing.) This has a lot to do with how well each side understands the Constitution and to what ends. The Leftists have a workable understanding of the letter of the law, but only enough to find or create loopholes. Originalists have a deeper understanding of the words in and concepts behind the Constitution so they can understand the spirit of the law, not just the letter. This knowledge of context makes it easier for the originalists to pick out the wheat from the chaff in the Left’s Constitutional arguments.

Which pisses off the Left to no end.

Although the Left’s opposition to Amy Coney Barrett appears to be based on abortion rights or dismantling the Affordable Care Act, underneath is a deep contempt for her originalist stance and a fear she won’t take any of their monkey dung masquerading as legal and Constitutional concepts. And given some of the questions/rants provided by the Senate Democrats, monkey dung might have been the most substantive things they had against her.

Sorry, We’re Open

To put it mildly, COVID-19 has put a strain on the world and its citizens. Whether it’s dealing with the virus itself, the stress of dealing with a new normal we hadn’t anticipated, having to spend more time inside than Boo Radley, or wondering how we will pay the bills with so many places shut down, we are all on edge. This tension has been heightened by recent actions and reactions from the government and the governed.

Let’s look at Michigan, for example. Governor Gretchen Whitmer has used COVID-19 as a way to shut down some businesses and keep others open under the auspices of what was considered essential. Once news started coming out about what was considered essential (selling lottery tickets) and what wasn’t (being able to buy car seats for children, which is a state requirement in Michigan), people started getting angry, leading to armed, but peaceful, protesters surrounding the state capitol building. Similar acts of civil disobedience also occurred from California to Florida.

The Left tells us the protesters are a public health threat and some have even called them terrorists (usually with the totally non-racist descriptor “white” in front of it). The Right tells us the government is overreaching in an attempt to use COVID-19 as a means to grab up more of our rights with no expectation of giving any of them back, not to mention cripple the economy to give Democrats a better chance of defeating President Donald Trump in November. So, who’s right?

They both are. They’re also both wrong.

This is an uncomfortable position for me as someone who not only sees COVID-19 as a legitimate medical threat, but also sees government overreach as a threat. Trying to reconcile the scientific facts and my libertarian leanings has been harder than Bill Clinton on a Viagra bender at the Moonlight Bunny Ranch after Hillary buys it (and I’m not talking cattle futures). Here’s where my head’s at.

COVID-19 isn’t a seasonal cold, nor a variation on that theme. It’s a virus we haven’t dealt with sufficiently yet, so we’re having to play catch-up. And we’re not doing a great job of it. I am someone in a high-risk category for various health reasons, so I take the warnings very seriously since I have a vested interest in avoiding contracting it. Beyond that, however, I feel a responsibility to my fellow citizens not to spread it if I can help it. It may be uncomfortable and keep me feeling hotter than a ghost pepper, but I wear a mask when I go into stores and other high-traffic areas if only to avoid having to deal with the guilt I’d feel if there was a chance I spread COVID-19 to someone else.

Yet, I cant sit by and agree that every government action is done with the best of intentions. Governor Whitmer alone has been an example of what Leftists do when they’re given limitless power. Other government officials from governors to local politicians have undercut the Constitution under the guise of protecting people. As much as these bureaucratic weasels want us to believe even being out in a public park while practicing social distancing will make COVID-19 spread like wildfire, the fact remains the survival rate is still in the high 90% range. Even if it’s asymptomatic, it’s not a definite death sentence and certainly not if you’re not in a high-risk group. Funny how the self-professed “Party of Science” ignores the actual science here.

Being a small-l libertarian, I have a general rule of thumb: leave me and my rights alone, and I’ll do the same for you. Even with COVID-19, I adhere to that. But with rights and power there are responsibilities, and both sides of the shutdown controversy have forgotten this. Yes, the Constitution says we have the right to peaceably assemble, but with what we don’t know about COVID-19, it’s important we assemble peaceably and safely. And, yes, we have to watch out for our fellow human beings, but enforcing the letter of the law to the point of absurdity isn’t helping anyone get or stay healthy.

The problem is we as a society don’t think on so grand a scale. We are stuck in the moment and what we want at any given time, regardless of who gets hurt in the process. Why else would there be a run on toilet paper when COVID-19 is a respiratory virus? Simple. People didn’t care about anyone but themselves. Although looking out for number one may seem good in the short term, it almost always backfires in the long run. Good luck with your 43 jumbo packs of toilet paper you can’t return. Hope you can find a use for all of it. One, maybe two trips to Chipotle?

So, maybe there is a middle ground to be had, but it’s going to take a lot of work on ourselves and society. You want to really help medical personnel right now? Don’t put yourself in harm’s way if at all possible. Exercise a bit of caution in public, and exercise your freedom of expression to let your elected officials know how you feel. Then, take care of yourselves and look out for others. A sense of community will go much further than armed protests and overbearing laws in ending the COVID-19 shutdowns.