Tonight there was a “debate” of sorts between Delegate Bob Marshall, the author of HB 10, and Senator Donald McEachen, who amiably represents the exact polar opposite of the political spectrum. The topic of discussion was of course Obamacare. Not wanting to miss a match-up between such polar political extremes, especially when it was to happen so close to home, I couldn’t resist. I ended up not being disappointed, albeit for different reasons than I expected.
It wasn’t a demonstration of the fireworks so typical of these kinds of events, and it really wasn’t much of a debate but more of two die-hard partisans talking past each other for an hour or so. What it was ended up a pretty fascinating insight into two somewhat representative political mindsets by two elected officials who are personally very charming and amiable. You can’t help but personally like both of these folks to some degree, even if you’re bound to disagree pretty strongly with at least one of them. Absent the emotional outrage that tends to swell up at these things, you get a chance to try to understand them, and figure out what makes them tick, and perhaps, just maybe, get some insight into what makes them tick.
I, and many others in these parts know Delegate Bob Marshall pretty well. Given the contrast offered by Senator McEachen, it really becomes clear just how process and procedure-oriented Delegate Marshall is. He’s deeply concerned not only with the what, but the how, and whether both are consistent with state and constitutional law. It’s facts and figures, references to court cases to such a depth it will put an attorney to shame (Marshall even ended up helping McEachen, an attorney, out with a few citations this evening). Bob gives history lessons and primers in constitutional law, and if you’re interested in such arguments at all, he’s going to win you over.
Senator McEachen, for an attorney, is curiously uninterested in what the law actually is, and definitely more concerned about what it should be in his view, and the moral and social implications of legislative decisions. The references to social justice themes and calls to provide for the less fortunate are right out of the liberal’s playbook, along with the obligatory blaming of George Bush for various evils real or imagined, but with the opportunity to discuss the constitutionality of the Healthcare Freedom Act and Obamacare I had expected an attorney to dive into court precent and law. Not in this case. I don’t imagine McEachen felt he couldn’t participate in a legal debate here and avoided it, I just got the impression he thought such a debate was unimportant compared to the social and economic issues involved in providing health care to the poor.
How unusual. The attorney avoids discussion of the law, and the non-attorney gives a tremendous lecture on constitutional case law and precedent.
Do liberals simply not care what the law is? I really doubt it. They certainly like to discuss it when they’re screaming about something they disagree with. I get the impression they just see it as a marginal discussion when issues of what they view as moral imperative are concerned. Such would certainly explain how we end up with horrifically bad legal decisions penned by liberal Supreme Court justices as with Roe v. Wade. If legal thought should be subordinated to perceived moral imperative by legislators and judges, the outcome is tragic not because of ill intent by liberals by any means, but simply because the unavoidable result of such practices results in a tyranny imposed by whoever decides what the moral imperatives must be.
Fifty years ago the moral imperative would certainly not dictate that homosexuals should be serving in the armed forces. Now, that is at least an open question in our society. Changes like that don’t exactly demonstrate to liberals that they’re wrong, and as long as they observe social changes that reinforce their vision of a valid moral imperative worthy of superseding legal reasoning, precedent, and Constitutional limits on federal powers, they are not going to believe that such an outlook is wrong in any way. No, they’ll see themselves as preemptively moving towards a more enlightened future where such pesky things as laws aren’t even very necessary, since everyone’s moral imperatives will be properly adjusted to produce the proper societal results of social justice.
Yes, a frightening ‘Brave New World’, but not one brought closer to us out of a desire to deliver the actual horrors it would inevitably visit upon us. No, it’s just a case of genuinely good people with phenomenally bad ideas.
That’s what tonight showed us.
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