Monday, September 28, 2009

You like me! You really like me! Plus some stuff on the Magna Carta.

Well maybe it is too early for me to have my Sally Field Moment. But some people are actually coming by. including DDay of Digby who picked up my post on Sec 116 with Keeping Them Honest. Plus one of my favorite commenters of all time came by and had a nice word.

So I guess I will have to keep stuff coming. My next post is tentatively set to explore the foundations of conservatism and particularly how that relates to property rights, whereas liberalism more typically starts from human rights. If this is even remotely right it casts the Constitution as a compromise.

I know this will not come as some blinding insight but it does go somewhat towards explaining why conservatives tend to approach the Constitution cafeteria style. For example they advocate taking a very narrow reading of the 'general welfare' clause, which appears both in the Preamble and Article I Sec 8 (Powers of Congress), yet find that Article 2 Sec 2 (President as Commander in Chief) trumps the clear language of the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments, while denying that there are any possible restrictions on the Second Amendment and of course denying any knowledge of the Sixteenth Amendment (Income Tax).

Conservatives consciously or not are appealing to an older legal tradition stemming from the Magna Carta, which though not actually incorporated in the Constitution as we have it, is still considered binding. Or something. I'll be thinking about this through the day and will have a more filled out version hopefully tomorrow.

I do get notified of comments by e-mail, any suggestions or links about this topic would be welcome. As would any guest submissions.

UPDATE: On my way out the door. It turns out that I will have to start before the Magna Carta with the Ancient Constitution. Plus some discussions of the Laws of Ine and of Alfred the Great, that is periods from 5 to 7 centuries prior to King John's issuance of the Great Charter in 1215. Conservatism is OLD, in fact it is quite literally pre-historic, existing prior to the introduction of writing into Northern Europe.

1 comment:

coberly said...


no doubt you are right. but a simpler explanation is that people feel their rights where they most feel threatened. people with property are usually in a fairly good position to defend their "human" rights (though not always), while people without property more often have to worry about their persons and their physical survival more often vis a vis the local property owner than the government, which has evolved as something of the protector of the people.