Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Dogma Lives Loudly Within Me

 

And, if I don’t much flatter myself, it doesn’t stop me from being a clearer thinker than your average Senate Democrat.

One thing my dogma tells me is that there are a lot of sins we humans do that are none of the government’s business to stop–gossip, lust, laziness, gluttony, not praying enough, not following the Golden Rule, and the list goes on.

It also tells me about some other sins that are in a different category. The government might actually have a role in preventing them–divorce for reasons other than infidelity, for example.

But my dogma also trains me to pay attention to the meaning of a text–especially its original meaning. How Psalm 121 makes me personally feel may be kind of interesting, but what the Bible actually means is much more important than what it may happen to mean to me. The original meaning of the Bible–the things its authors meant and wrote down in the text–is much more important.

Constitution of the United States, page 1.jpgIt’s not a religious dogma that tells me that I should read the Constitution in similar fashion (with some appropriate modifications). It’s common-sense that tells me that–and philosophy joins in. But my dogma trains me to attend to the original meaning–trains me much better than, for example, your average Senate Democrat.

If some law supported by my dogma would not be permitted by the Constitution, so be it.

In fact, the left’s problem with Amy Coney Barrett appears to be that she won’t rely on dogma to interpret the Constitution but will instead focus on its original meaning. The Court should have 9 Judges who agree on that. (However, I could go for 8 of them plus Richard Epstein with his alternative version of non-originalism.)

With 9 originalists on the Supreme Court, we would have a Court that does not interpret the Constitution according to dogma. They would only interpret it according to the meaning each part of the Constitution had when that part became law.

That would be great. In a country where we’re supposed to have neutral arbitration in courts, religious liberty, and a political system not based on any comprehensive view of Life, the Universe, and Everything, that is exactly what we should want.

This is one reason why the Left’s propaganda about the Court leaning “sharply to the right” is ridiculous, and why there is no need whatsoever for a balanced Court.

Of course, the news that the Court is all that conservative would come as a shock to any actual conservative who is half a centimeter to the right of John McCain. But, more importantly, the point of originalism is largely that the Judges of the Supreme Court do not have any business interpreting the Constitution according to their own political preferences.

Unless, of course, we’re talking about a political preference for a Constitutional order, for the American system of government–and not against the very idea of it. But if that is the case, then one’s political opponents have not the slightest right to a Court that would give their perspective the time of day. They are revolutionaries against the law of the land.

Nice revolutionaries, often enough–friendly enough people you’d like well enough if you met them socially. Your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, your cousins, your in-laws. They deserve your respect, love, prayers, and friendship. They should be treated according to the Golden Rule. They deserve olive branches along the lines of friendly words when their legal luminaries pass away.

They don’t deserve olive branches in the theater of conflict–not where their quiet, non-violent revolution against the sovereignty of the written law is taking place.

But if a leftist does respect the sovereignty of the written law, then an originalist judge is the olive branch. An originalist judge will, between the dogmas of that leftist and the dogmas of a Southern Baptist social conservative like me, arbitrate neutrally to see which ones may be put into law without violating the sovereign Constitution.

Let’s try putting this last bit in the form of a constructive dilemma argument:

1. A liberal/progressive/leftist/Democrat either respects the authority of the Constitution as written, or does not.
2. If he does, then an originalist Supreme Court will give him precisely the neutrality he deserves, and an originalist Supreme Court would be perfectly fair to him.
3. If he does not, then he is opposed to the sovereignty of the written Constitution.
4. If he is opposed to the sovereignty of the written Constitution, then his position does not deserve any representation on the Supreme Court, and an originalist Supreme Court would be perfectly fair to him.

So, either way: 5. An originalist Supreme Court would be perfectly fair to liberals/progressives/leftists/Democrats.

The dogma lives loudly within me. And that’s not a problem. But if you do have a problem with my dogma, as I perhaps might have with yours, then we should both want an originalist Supreme Court.

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  1. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Saint Augustine: It’s not a religious dogma that tells me that I should read the Constitution that way. It’s common-sense that tells me that–and philosophy joins in. But my dogma trains me to attend to the original meaning–trains me better than your average Senate Democrat at least.

    If you are going to set the bar that low, I can probably do it too.

    • #1
    • September 26, 2020, at 6:30 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  2. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Saint Augustine:

    Let’s try putting this last bit in the form of a constructive dilemma argument:

    1. A liberal/progressive/leftist/Democrat either respects the authority of the Constitution as written, or does not.
    2. If he does, then an originalist Supreme Court will give him precisely the neutrality he deserves, and an originalist Supreme Court would be perfectly fair to him.
    3. If he does not, then he is opposed to the sovereignty of the written Constitution.
    4. If he is opposed to the sovereignty of the written Constitution, then his position does not deserve any representation on the Supreme Court, and an originalist Supreme Court would be perfectly fair to him.

    So, either way: 5. An originalist Supreme Court would be perfectly fair to liberals/progressives/leftists/Democrats.

    • #2
    • September 26, 2020, at 6:35 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  3. Clavius Thatcher

    Yes, yes, yes.

    • #3
    • September 26, 2020, at 6:37 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  4. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine

    Saint Augustine: They would only interpret it according to the meaning each part of the Constitution had when that part became law.

    With the occasional weird exception. I believe the 27th Amendment would need to be interpreted according to the meaning it had over the course of centuries, since that’s how long it took the various states to endorse it.

    • #4
    • September 26, 2020, at 6:56 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. Arahant Member

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    I believe the 27th Amendment would need to be interpreted according to the meaning it had over the course of centuries, since that’s how long it took the various states to endorse it.

    There is not much to interpret there.

    • #5
    • September 26, 2020, at 7:54 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    I believe the 27th Amendment would need to be interpreted according to the meaning it had over the course of centuries, since that’s how long it took the various states to endorse it.

    There is not much to interpret there.

    Was Hillary allowed to be Secretary of State?

    Never mind. I must have been thinking of some other bit of law.

    Ah, yes. That’s it.

    • #6
    • September 26, 2020, at 7:56 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  7. Arahant Member

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    I believe the 27th Amendment would need to be interpreted according to the meaning it had over the course of centuries, since that’s how long it took the various states to endorse it.

    There is not much to interpret there.

    Was Hillary allowed to be Secretary of State?

    Are we talking about the same Amendment?

    No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

    • #7
    • September 26, 2020, at 8:11 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    I believe the 27th Amendment would need to be interpreted according to the meaning it had over the course of centuries, since that’s how long it took the various states to endorse it.

    There is not much to interpret there.

    Was Hillary allowed to be Secretary of State?

    Are we talking about the same Amendment?

    No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

    Apparently I was confused. See corrected comment above.

    • #8
    • September 26, 2020, at 8:16 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Richard Fulmer Member

    Saint Augustine: And, if I don’t much flatter myself, it doesn’t stop me from being a clearer thinker than your average Senate Democrat.

    Geez. Could you have possibly set a lower bar for yourself?

    • #9
    • September 27, 2020, at 7:57 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  10. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Saint Augustine: Unless, of course, we’re talking about a political preference for a Constitutional order, for the American system of government–and not against the very idea of it. But if that is the case, then one’s political opponents have not the slightest right to a Court that would give their perspective the time of day. They are revolutionaries against the law of the land.

    Is that preference in a sense a religious dogma?

    • #10
    • September 27, 2020, at 10:59 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. Full Size Tabby Member

    Saint Augustine: But my dogma also trains me to pay attention to the meaning of a text–especially its original meaning. How Psalm 121 makes me personally feel may be kind of interesting, but what the Bible actually means is much more important than what it may happen to mean to me. The original meaning of the Bible–the things its authors meant and wrote down in the text–is much more important.

    I have been surprised by the number of people I have encountered in churches who think that that what the Biblical text meant to the people at the time the text was written is completely irrelevant to what that text means now. 

    • #11
    • September 27, 2020, at 11:14 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  12. Richard Fulmer Member

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine: Unless, of course, we’re talking about a political preference for a Constitutional order, for the American system of government–and not against the very idea of it. But if that is the case, then one’s political opponents have not the slightest right to a Court that would give their perspective the time of day. They are revolutionaries against the law of the land.

    Is that preference in a sense a religious dogma?

    I don’t think so, though I’ll defer to Augustine. A good, reason-based case can be made in favor of the Constitutional order. A few thoughts, the Constitution:

    1. Protects individual liberty via separation of powers between the state and the federal governments 
    2. Protects liberty via separation of powers between three branches of the federal government
    3. Grants the power of legislation to Congress and not a single person (which Congress has delegated)
    4. Grants the power of declaring war to Congress and not a single person (ditto)
    5. Makes amending the Constitution difficult (made largely irrelevant by activist judges)
    6. Protects individual rights via the Bill of Rights (due process has been eliminated by Congress’ delegation of power to the executive branch, which now wields the power to legislate, enforce, and judge; the left is attacking the First and Second Amendments; and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments are ignored)
    • #12
    • September 27, 2020, at 11:21 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph StankoJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    I believe the 27th Amendment would need to be interpreted according to the meaning it had over the course of centuries, since that’s how long it took the various states to endorse it.

    There is not much to interpret there.

    You underestimate the creativity of the Living Constitution crowd. 

    • #13
    • September 27, 2020, at 12:02 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine: Unless, of course, we’re talking about a political preference for a Constitutional order, for the American system of government–and not against the very idea of it. But if that is the case, then one’s political opponents have not the slightest right to a Court that would give their perspective the time of day. They are revolutionaries against the law of the land.

    Is that preference in a sense a religious dogma?

    I don’t think so, though I’ll defer to Augustine. A good, reason-based case can be made in favor of the Constitutional order. . . .

    A reason-based case can be made for a religious dogma as well. So I wouldn’t distinguish them on those grounds. I would distinguish them on the grounds that this political belief isn’t a central part of any religious system.

    But if we go with suitably broad definitions of both “religion” and “dogma,” then a belief in a political system’s goodness might be a religious dogma.

    Or a belief that it needs to go.

    • #14
    • September 27, 2020, at 2:14 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    A reason-based case can be made for a religious dogma as well. So I wouldn’t distinguish them on those grounds. I would distinguish them on the grounds that this political belief isn’t a central part of any religious system.

    What about part of a national civic religion?

    • #15
    • September 27, 2020, at 3:00 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    A reason-based case can be made for a religious dogma as well. So I wouldn’t distinguish them on those grounds. I would distinguish them on the grounds that this political belief isn’t a central part of any religious system.

    What about part of a national civic religion?

    That can happen.

    • #16
    • September 27, 2020, at 3:21 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. Flicker Coolidge

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    A reason-based case can be made for a religious dogma as well. So I wouldn’t distinguish them on those grounds. I would distinguish them on the grounds that this political belief isn’t a central part of any religious system.

    What about part of a national civic religion?

    What’s a national civic religion? Do you mean a national secular religion? Would it have any supernatural component?

    • #17
    • September 27, 2020, at 3:53 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    It has. The Cult of Reason replaced and brutally suppressed the Catholic Church in France in 1793. In 1794, Robespierre’s Cult of the Supreme Being replaced the Cult of Reason as the official church, and Robespierre celebrated by having the leaders of the Cult of Reason guillotined, it being the fashion of the time. Then to much acclaim, Robespierre got the chop later that year. Napoleon put an end to both of them in 1802, and the Temples of Reason (including Notre Dame) were once again Catholic.

    • #18
    • September 27, 2020, at 3:54 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  19. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    A reason-based case can be made for a religious dogma as well. So I wouldn’t distinguish them on those grounds. I would distinguish them on the grounds that this political belief isn’t a central part of any religious system.

    What about part of a national civic religion?

    What’s a national civic religion? Do you mean a national secular religion? Would it have any supernatural component?

    The Cult of Reason was explicitly atheistic. The Cult of the Supreme Being was explicitly Deist. I don’t know that the latter had much chance to qualify its beliefs. It arose in May 1794 and was gone when Robespierre got his height reduced by 9-10′ in July.

    • #19
    • September 27, 2020, at 4:07 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  20. Flicker Coolidge

    Percival (View Comment):

    It has. The Cult of Reason replaced and brutally suppressed the Catholic Church in France in 1793. In 1794, Robespierre’s Cult of the Supreme Being replaced the Cult of Reason as the official church, and Robespierre celebrated by having the leaders of the Cult of Reason guillotined, it being the fashion of the time. Then to much acclaim, Robespierre got the chop later that year. Napoleon put an end to both of them in 1802, and the Temples of Reason (including Notre Dame) were once again Catholic.

    Sound like a fun and worthwhile church. Not very good at retaining congregants, though.

    • #20
    • September 27, 2020, at 4:22 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  21. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    Left wing activist judges assume your personal views represent your judicial philosphy.

     

    It is possible to personally support a policy but also reject it as unconstitutional.

     

    • #21
    • September 28, 2020, at 12:51 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  22. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    Would Feinstein have said to a Muslim, the dogma lives loudly within you?

     

    • #22
    • September 28, 2020, at 12:52 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  23. Larry3435 Member

    Saint Augustine: In fact, the left’s problem with Amy Coney Barrett appears to be that she won’t rely on dogma to interpret the Constitution but will instead focus on its original meaning.

    In fact, the left’s problem with Judge Barrett is that she is being appointed by Donald Trump. The appointee could be anything from a druid to a heretic, and still would not get a single Democratic vote for confirmation. Crediting the left’s bigoted, anti-Catholic rhetoric as being a good faith explanation for it’s position gives that rhetoric more regard than it is due (if such is even possible). This is power politics, plain and simple – made even more obnoxious by the fact that the lefties all know that their antics won’t do the least bit to change the outcome of the confirmation vote. It is a tantrum, being thrown for no reason other than to throw a tantrum.

    • #23
    • September 28, 2020, at 7:30 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  24. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine: In fact, the left’s problem with Amy Coney Barrett appears to be that she won’t rely on dogma to interpret the Constitution but will instead focus on its original meaning.

    In fact, the left’s problem with Judge Barrett is that she is being appointed by Donald Trump. The appointee could be anything from a druid to a heretic, and still would not get a single Democratic vote for confirmation. Crediting the left’s bigoted, anti-Catholic rhetoric as being a good faith explanation for it’s position gives that rhetoric more regard than it is due (if such is even possible). This is power politics, plain and simple – made even more obnoxious by the fact that the lefties all know that their antics won’t do the least bit to change the outcome of the confirmation vote. It is a tantrum, being thrown for no reason other than to throw a tantrum.

    Excellent.

    A druid. Trump should try that. That would be awesome.

    But who’s crediting the anti-Catholic rhetoric as a good-faith explanation? I’m not.

    • #24
    • September 28, 2020, at 2:09 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  25. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine: In fact, the left’s problem with Amy Coney Barrett appears to be that she won’t rely on dogma to interpret the Constitution but will instead focus on its original meaning.

    In fact, the left’s problem with Judge Barrett is that she is being appointed by Donald Trump. The appointee could be anything from a druid to a heretic, and still would not get a single Democratic vote for confirmation. Crediting the left’s bigoted, anti-Catholic rhetoric as being a good faith explanation for it’s position gives that rhetoric more regard than it is due (if such is even possible). This is power politics, plain and simple – made even more obnoxious by the fact that the lefties all know that their antics won’t do the least bit to change the outcome of the confirmation vote. It is a tantrum, being thrown for no reason other than to throw a tantrum.

    Excellent.

    A druid. Trump should try that. That would be awesome.

    But who’s crediting the anti-Catholic rhetoric as a good-faith explanation? I’m not.

    Right. If they hadn’t hit upon the “shadowy” organization People of Praise or her adoptions of Haitian girls, they’d be poring over her bingo night habits.

    • #25
    • September 28, 2020, at 2:50 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  26. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine

    Percival (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine: In fact, the left’s problem with Amy Coney Barrett appears to be that she won’t rely on dogma to interpret the Constitution but will instead focus on its original meaning.

    In fact, the left’s problem with Judge Barrett is that she is being appointed by Donald Trump. The appointee could be anything from a druid to a heretic, and still would not get a single Democratic vote for confirmation. Crediting the left’s bigoted, anti-Catholic rhetoric as being a good faith explanation for it’s position gives that rhetoric more regard than it is due (if such is even possible). This is power politics, plain and simple – made even more obnoxious by the fact that the lefties all know that their antics won’t do the least bit to change the outcome of the confirmation vote. It is a tantrum, being thrown for no reason other than to throw a tantrum.

    Excellent.

    A druid. Trump should try that. That would be awesome.

    But who’s crediting the anti-Catholic rhetoric as a good-faith explanation? I’m not.

    Right. If they hadn’t hit upon the “shadowy” organization People of Praise or her adoptions of Haitian girls, they’d be poring over her bingo night habits.

    Indeed.

    Not that I don’t think there is some bias on the Left against serious Catholics. But the real problems are that she gets in their way and that Trump nominated her.

    • #26
    • September 28, 2020, at 3:37 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  27. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine: In fact, the left’s problem with Amy Coney Barrett appears to be that she won’t rely on dogma to interpret the Constitution but will instead focus on its original meaning.

    In fact, the left’s problem with Judge Barrett is that she is being appointed by Donald Trump. The appointee could be anything from a druid to a heretic, and still would not get a single Democratic vote for confirmation. Crediting the left’s bigoted, anti-Catholic rhetoric as being a good faith explanation for it’s position gives that rhetoric more regard than it is due (if such is even possible). This is power politics, plain and simple – made even more obnoxious by the fact that the lefties all know that their antics won’t do the least bit to change the outcome of the confirmation vote. It is a tantrum, being thrown for no reason other than to throw a tantrum.

    Excellent.

    A druid. Trump should try that. That would be awesome.

    But who’s crediting the anti-Catholic rhetoric as a good-faith explanation? I’m not.

    Right. If they hadn’t hit upon the “shadowy” organization People of Praise or her adoptions of Haitian girls, they’d be poring over her bingo night habits.

    Indeed.

    Not that I don’t think there is some bias on the Left against serious Catholics. But the real problems are that she gets in their way and that Trump nominated her.

    The press certainly showed no reticence in going after priests who abuse children, and that is how it should be. I have been hearing stories about sordid situations in Hollywood, yet they don’t seem to be subject to the same scrutiny.

    It’s a tougher target, I imagine. 

    • #27
    • September 28, 2020, at 3:49 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  28. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine

    • #28
    • October 4, 2020, at 9:19 PM PDT
    • 2 likes