The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Another unreasonable Gregory Kane column

Gregory Kane, the columnist at the Washington Examiner, who has been the cause of some previous posts on this blog, did it again today. He wrote a column excoriating fellow conservative Ann Coulter because of some favorable remarks she wrote about the late Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall, in her new book, "Demonic: How The Liberal Mob Is Endangering America." Now, it is fair game for conservative Kane to say, as he does, that current Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas is closer to his ideas of what a Justice should be. But Coulter makes some valid points in comparing Marshall to Martin Luther King.

My bone to pick with Kane is where he says:
Coulter's thesis is that mob action is inimical, even dangerous, to a republic and that throughout history it's primarily the Democratic Party that has supported, encouraged or even benefitted from what Coulter derisively calls "the mob."

In Coulter's eyes, the street demonstrations that Martin Luther King Jr. led to end segregation were mob actions. Marshall, a lawyer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People during the civil rights era, was anti-mob. Here are some passages where Coulter talks about Marshall, King or both.

"[John] Locke was concerned with property rights. His idea was that the government should allow men to protect their property in courts of law — as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall realized — rather than have each man be his own judge.

"One man who didn't like mob action even on behalf of civil rights was Thurgood Marshall. A skilled lawyer, he was redeeming civil rights for blacks the American way — by bringing lawsuits, making arguments, and winning in court.

"Thurgood Marshall had always disdained King's methods, calling him an 'opportunist' and 'first-rate rabble-rouser.' Indeed, when asked about King's suggestion that street protests could help advance desegregation, Marshall replied that school desegregation was men's work and should not be entrusted to children. King, he said, was 'a boy on a man's errand.'

"Redeeming blacks' civil rights could have been accomplished without riots, marches, church burnings, police dogs, and murders. Except the problem was, Democrats were in the White House from January 1961 to January 1969 and only Republican presidents would aggressively enforce the law.

"If Nixon had been elected in 1960, instead of Kennedy, we could have skipped the bloodshed of the civil rights marches and today we'd be celebrating Thurgood Marshall Day, rather than Martin Luther King Day."

My dear Ms. Coulter, I'd much rather celebrate Martin Luther King Day. Even if I agreed with your assessment of the relative worth of King and Marshall, the fact remains that, as Supreme Court justice, Marshall damaged the nation in ways King and his "mobs" never did.

It's as if Coulter never heard of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. Marshall was one of the seven justices who voted to overturn every state anti-abortion law in the nation. And he was one of the seven who presumed to tell a nation of then nearly 200 million people exactly when life does or does not begin.

It definitely does not begin in the first trimester of a woman's pregnancy, this less-than-magnificent seven concluded, kind of does in the second and definitely does in the third. I have grandkids that can cobble together a better definition of when life begins than that.

And Marshall was one of the justices who voted to overturn, temporarily, every death penalty statute in the land. One result of the noble intentions of Marshall and his cohorts was that a man named Kenneth McDuff, then on death row in Texas for multiple murders, was eventually paroled. McDuff went on yet another killing spree before he was convicted a second time and eventually executed.

A Thurgood Marshall Day? I'm sure the murderers of the country would love that one.

Of course, his first objection to Marshall is his support for Roe v. Wade which he, like many conservatives, thinks is a terrible decision; I think it a good one, because in "overturn[ing] every state anti-abortion law in the nation," he made it possible to save some real human lives. Kane, of course, agrees with the Roman Catholic Church in defining human life as beginning at conception; I've posted a few reasons why I think that is ridiculous.

But even someone who agrees with Kane on the Roe and McDuff decisions can hardly believe that King would have taken the opposite side. And we're not talking about comparing Marshall with Clarence Thomas here; we're talking about Marshall compared with Martin Luther King.

I think Ann Coulter is right on target in the comparison she makes. And let us remember King's near-treasonous stand on the War in Vietnam.

No, I've always considered Marshall a better representative of African Americans than King, and I applaud Coulter's comments which so appall Kane.

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