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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Abandoning Democracy

I won’t give Richard Cohen the pleasure of responding emotionally to his article. Whether he believes what he writes or not, his goal is to make a living. We all know that the more controversial he is, the more money he makes.

However, I do take issue with his argument for the very reasons he condemns the judge’s ruling: it’s uncompelling, illogical, and [I add] anti-American.

America has been uniquely successful in establishing a self-directing government. The argument of the New York court upholds the rights of the people to determine how their government acts instead of imposing the tyranny of the minority. Siding against democracy and the rule of law, Cohen would have preferred a monarchial decree.

There is a story that history has passed down to us of a dinner discussion between the founders John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson found himself in a state of disbelief upon hearing both Adams and Hamilton contend that, minus corruption, the British constitution was “the most perfect constitution ever devised by the wit of man.” Weren’t these men who “denounced the corruption” of a monarchy, and who threw off the bonds of subjection from king who bribed his parliament to pass law? Didn’t these men believe in the Declaration of Independence from the despotism that England offered; have they forgotten the dangers of a monarchy? Jefferson could not believe that Hamilton and Adams admired the British constitution.

It must be in the very nature of man that, 230 years later, men like Richard Cohen so quickly abandon American democracy for the monarchial rule of judges. Jefferson understood this part of the nature of man and later wrote, “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” The mischief of the minority, in this case those who believe that the gay marriage should be decreed by the courts, should never hold the majority captive.

Furthermore, Cohen wrongly says “the New York state high court missed a chance to further an education process.” In fact, they did just the opposite. Their ruling educates us that in the entire history of the world, there has never been a successful experiment in self-rule outside of America. Their ruling encourages, “we the people,” to act through our legislatures and the ballot boxes. Their ruling shows their confidence that America is strong enough to determine--through the democratic process—-what marriage will be in these United States.

Cohen thinks that majority rule is “idiotic.” Calling the majority of the court barbaric, Cohen doesn’t believe in the rights of the people to enact law through its legislature. Instead, he condemns the people to despotism and condemns the judges for ruling in favor of legislature action.

It’s true that Cohen ignores that study after study speaks clearly: children develop better with a mom and a dad. It’s true that he understates the popularity of traditional marriage in every state where it has been voted upon. Additionally, it is true that he grossly ignores the purpose for the government sanction of marriage.

From the government’s perspective, marriage licenses are not about the “pursuit of happiness,” as he states. Marriage licenses are about government encouraging America’s self-perpetuation by offering benefits, incentives, to those who marry and produce children. These benefits must be exclusive to those who marry or they mean nothing at all. Either the government sanctions marriage in a form that fulfills the intended function of that sanction (America’s self-perpetuation through the production of healthy children), or it should not sanction marriage at all. (To be sure, there are other unstated moral, practical, and religious reasons to keep marriage between a man and a woman.)

On days when our leaders submit to the will of the people and to the spirit of a democracy, I am proud to be an American. Today is one of those days. I join with our founders and ask God save America from men who prefer the rule of a king.

Thoughtful Readers Speak:
The recognition of a fundamental human right by a judge is not "rule of a king." Nor is it anti-American for courts to uphold individual rights. Nor is majoritarianism, rule by the majority, necessarily democracy.

The "majority" was not quite ready to recognize that black children should not be schooled in separate and unequal facilities. We should be thankful that our American system of democracy, in which judges uphold the rule of law and the recognition of individual rights, are willing to uphold such rights against a discriminatory majority.
Marriage licenses are not a fundamental human right. They are certificates issued by a government for the purpose of its own propagation through healthy children. They act as an incentive for couple to marry as the holder of one is entitled to benefits from the government.

The majority is not always correct, but it must always prevail. The majority is given a trust to govern rightly which must never be abused. The Constitution acts to temper the majority's potential abuse. Judges are to interpret the Constitution; to make a ruling regarding gay marriage is to step outside of the bounds of established law and issue legislation. Clearly, the Constitution does not mention gay marriage. To the contrary, the federal government has declared traditional marriage the law of the land, in addition to 43 states. What has occured is has been monarchial tyranny by unaccountable judged.

The minority is given recourse whne they feel the trust is being abused; voting to change the majority or rebellion-- a necessitated action in the Declaration of Independence. Constitutional Majoritarianism is the foundation upon which the nation is sustained; but even Jefferson acknowledge that rebellion is a good thing now and then. So either change minds, rebel, or change citizenships.
The will of the majority must surely not "always prevail" in a democratic republic.

The majority cannot vote to deny to any of its members their life, liberty, or property.

A majority vote by the people in my town cannot take away my home, or my job, or my bank account.

A majority vote from the people in my state cannot put me in prison, nor can it consign me to slavery.

A majority vote even in Congress cannot send me to the gallows.

It's time for you to go back to learn what the Constitution and Declaration of Independence actually _say_.
Well, I don't always agree with Thomas Jefferson either but at least he deserves a little bit of respect.

I think you, sir, would do well to add common sense to your rhetoric.
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