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To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Fake Constitutionalism

Via Progressive Review.

BOSTON GLOBE - Roberts is a member of the Federalist Society, a fraternity of legal conservatives whose members often espouse the view that the Constitution should be interpreted literally and oppose "activist" judicial decisions that find implicit but unwritten rights in the document -- including the unwritten right to privacy from which abortion rights are derived.

I've got no problem with strict constructionism, if it's sincerely and consistently applied. The problem is that Federalist Society types like Roberts are very selective in their "originalism." They're real sticklers for the Tenth Amendment when it comes to Congressional use of the Commerce Clause to justify economic regulation. But their construction isn't nearly as strict when it comes to things like Presidential "national security" powers and Executive Privilege. Or upholding the Fourth Amendment against Nazi shit like USA Patriot. And for some reason, their scruples against activist regulatory use of the Commerce Clause don't extend to federal drug laws, as Raich indicated (not to mention "tort reform"). When the Commerce Clause can be used to help big business, they support a reading broad enough to drive a truck through.

In other words, they're only against activist government when it might help poor people. The rest of the time, their attitude is "bend over and grease up."

The "Constitutionalism" of the neocons and New Right, like every other aspect of their ideology, is a fake substitute for the real thing: fake "red state" populism, fake federalism, fake "free market" libertarianism, and fake small government conservatism. They're a statist borg collective, concealing themselves like pod people behind a facade of traditional Main Street conservatism.

6 Comments:

Blogger Presto said...

Both parties are opportunists and are willing to say or do whatever will get them contributions from wealthy donors. The Republicans use fake conservative ideaologies to attract voters and donors. It's too bad the media doesn't call them on their deceptions, but they are owned by the same people who own the major parties. I'm most grateful for blogs like yours and alternative media that point out these things.

I believe that the two party duopoly is the root of the problems in this country (indeed, all large institutions are), and am glad for sites that promote thinking about alternatives to the present system such as Mutualism. Keep up the good work!

July 21, 2005 10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that Federalist Society membership is a sort of default position for any ambitious law student of *either* conservative or libertarian persuasion. So long as this stays true for careerist reasons, FedSoc membership alone does not reveal all that much about the person.

July 21, 2005 11:58 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Anon,

You're right. Membership is meaningless as an indication of genuine constitutionalist attitudes, because it's another form of right-wing lip service--sort of like Bob "Ethanol" Dole reading from his little 10th Amendment card in every friggin' speech.

Presto,

Thanks! And great blog, BTW.

July 21, 2005 12:35 PM  
Blogger Logan said...

Apparently he isn't a member of the Federalist Society, or that's what some of the recent news concerning him is saying.

July 23, 2005 8:17 AM  
Blogger Presto said...

This morning (7/26) on Democracy Now they said that Roberts was not only a member, according to a directory published by the Society, he was on the Steering Committee of the Federalist Society. Might be a little more of an indication of his views.

If this is true, what would be even more telling is that he would lie about it. He has recently said that he doesn't recall being a member. Kind of hard to forget that you were on the steering committee.

Here's a link to a Newsday article on the subject. Now it seems that they say that yes, he was on the steering committee, but they didn't do anything. Interesting.

July 26, 2005 7:24 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

In response to Logan's info, I was going to say (like Emily Latella) "Never mind."

But for the sake of saving my own face, I'm glad there may be something to it after all.

July 26, 2005 11:29 AM  

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