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Acceptance of mainstream radicalism weakening

I had sensed something like this, so it’s interesting to see such decisive confirmation: New Survey Shows Religious Americans More Inclined to Stand Their Ground. It seems that people today are more likely to say politicians should stand by their principles on “cultural” issues. The change among church-goers since 2000 has been quite substantial, 15-20 percentage points on some issues.

It appears that between the increasing aggressiveness of the radical-secularist cultural Left, and the final collapse of the background Protestantism that once defined American public life and made it seem automatically virtuous to many people, going along with whatever comes down has come to seem less appealing. The pollsters angle the results as a rather worrisome reduction in willingness to compromise on the part of the religious. I’m not sure that makes sense. Where was the willingness to compromise in Roe v. Wade or the Massachusetts “gay marriage” decision? It’s also not clear to me why this stuff is specifically religious, since to my mind it all has to do with a rational understanding of what human beings are and how they can best live together. That’s another discussion, though.

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Regarding outrages like the Massachusetts decision imposing homosexual “marriage” from the bench, here’s an article by a young law student calling for removal of “rock-star judges” hungry for the limelight, lest other judges be tempted to imitate them just for the publicity (which I suspect may have been part of the motivation of those two heartbreaking Republican disappointments, David Souter and Anthony Kennedy):

“When a mere trial court judge can make national news by attacking the Boy Scouts or declaring the Partial Birth Abortion Act of 2003 unconstitutional, even moderate jurists will be tempted to get creative. Not to be outdone by the federal bench, state Supreme Courts have taken to the spotlight. The unforgettable decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Court to force their state Legislature to rewrite the law and legalize gay marriage is exhibit number one. Am I the only one left who still believes in three co-equal branches of government and the separation of powers? Judges ordering legislators to pass laws is as blatantly unconstitutional as congress writing court opinions. […] Supreme Court Justices can be removed from office through ‘impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.’ If willfully usurping the power of another branch of government fails to meet the threshold for treason, then it certainly falls under the term of ‘high Crime,’ or ‘Misdemeanor.’ Should congress continue to allow unelected judges to rewrite our laws on whim, even moderate and conservative jurists will fall to the twin allures of power and fame. One controversial decision can earn a lifetime of notoriety. From the judge’s perspective, there is so much to gain and nothing to lose. As Americans, we have a choice. We can accept the current model of the rock star, activist judge and trade our Constitution for tickets to see the Supreme Court. Or, we can demand that congress impeach the law breakers.”
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Long live Flanders!

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You neglected to mention O’Connor.

I saw an interview with O’Connor on C-span. She was asked: “After 30 years, and after much controversy, a consensus of support had formed in America that Brown v Board was the correct decision. Why, after 30 years, hasn’t the same consensus formed in support of Roe v Wade?”

Her answer?

“I don’t know.”

I nearly fell out of my chair.

As for the “rock star” diagnosis, I disagree. I think it’s more of a messianic complex. Judges have imbibed the liberal tonic that the state, and by extension the laws of the state, are engines of salvation from the satanic curses of discrimination, inequality, and oppression, and thereafter use their positions to “do good,” that is, impose as a matter of forced benevolence their vision (the liberal vision) of a “just society.” Because they are on a mission to “do good,” nothing is permitted to stand in their way and any judicial outrage is justifiable.

Without any effective accountability, they can run riot in their project; then they can gather at conferences and pay homage to their individual and collective goodness.

I think judges like the very rich don’t much like notoriety. They prefer the respect and admiration of the legal elite and intellectually well-placed people generally. So their decisions and opinions are going to be heavily influenced by the consensus of top academics and commentators as to the direction the law ought to take.

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

Speaking of “the final collapse of the background Protestantism that once defined American public life and made it seem automatically virtuous to many people” (from the log entry), the maddeningly passive-aggressive Rowan Williams is essentially telling those unhappy with the Robinson affair that he’s not backing down:

“In his despairing assessment of the rift, Williams said last week it had ‘weakened, if not destroyed, the sense that we are actually talking the same language within the Anglican Communion. Not having a common language, a common frame of reference, has been one of the casualties of recent events and there is every indication that that is not going to get better in a hurry,’ Williams said.”

In other words, “Deal with it. Get used to it. Learn to love it. Because it’s not going to change back to the way it was. It’s here to stay.”

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Long live Flanders!

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I think Williams is basically right in his comments about a common language or frame of reference. The Southern Hemisphere of the Anglican Church speaks the language of Christianity, whereas at least some parts of the Episcopal Church (including its elites) speak the language of liberalism (which they construe as either equivalent to or superseding Christianity; no decent Christian, in their eyes, can refuse to subscribe to liberalism).

Christianity and liberalism are basically two different religions, and cannot co-exist under the same roof. Liberalism cannot co-exist peacefully with any competing world view, given its exclusiveness and universal claims.