Religion is a set of mystical principles about the supernatural origins, purposes and workings of the universe and what that means for human life. It does not belong in government. People who run their lives according to a religion and who put that religion first, in the forefront of their life have a conflict with a nation that follows, not religion, not faith, not a holy book but man-made law must not become part of the rulers of America. That’s because Religion as such is opposed to the basic requirements of human life. It is first against the means of life, Reason. It is against the place of life, ..this earth and it is against the purpose of life which is to be happy here and now.
But Brett Kavanaugh is a deeply religious Roman Catholic and he was proposed by President Trump as a Supreme Court Judge with that credential in mind. Amy Coney Barrett, who Trump might appoint the next time he has a chance, is a strident Roman Catholic who actually claims the Bible precedes the Constitution. Barrett is therefore a dangerous religious extremist because she believes her religious faith comes before the law when she claims the Bible precedes the U.S. Constitution. Barrett was confirmed for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit last year after a controversial and contentious Senate confirmation process.
In emerging democracies in the Middle East and Africa, Muslim majorities have favored Islam with a Shari’a that denies fundamental freedoms, thus creating a tyranny of the religious majority.
Kavanaugh is a loving family man but because of his welded views about the role of Christianity, specifically his Roman brand of Catholicism he’s potentially as dangerous as can be. He may become a more powerful Catholic than the Pope because Kavanaugh has two daughters so Kavanaugh has carnal knowledge which informs his worldview but not the Popes. Since knowledge is power, Kavanaugh may have more power.
Kavanaugh’s appointment is therefore troublesome and thereby a highly dubious exercise, since there is a good deal of subjectivity in deciding which speech is religious, which is allowed, which is right and which is wrong. And that’s just the First Amendment part.
A Catholic has a built in set of principles which he uses to interpret and decide. In the case of Brett Kavanaugh those principles are the problem. He cannot be fair if that means being impartial. He can mo more separate his religion from his psyche than he could separate his psyche from his mind.
Catholicism, like every religion is not impartial. It is dogmatic. Kavanaugh is an idealogue informed by a set of mystical principles. That’s more than a little bit dangerous.
Can he be fair? He cannot be non-Catholic.
Catherine MacKinnon states this view about the protection of free speech in its most strident and tendentious form: “Legally, what was, toward the beginning of the 20th century, a shield for radicals, artists and activists, socialists and pacifists, the excluded and the dispossessed, has become a sword for authoritarians, racists, misogynists, Nazi’s, Klansmen, pornographers and corporations buying elections.” In this view, there are only two types of free speech defendants: radical socialists and bigots. The first deserve legal protection as do the second.
But there is also something else going on. As the left gained more political power, it championed regulations that have spread out like a fine net into every part of human life. Margaret Thatcher also reminded us freedom is indivisible, and she did so to destroy the “myth” that “you can have political freedom and economic slavery.” The more the government seeks to dictate all of our decisions —what kind of cakes we have to bake, what medical advice we can offer, who gets to negotiate with our employer on our behalf —the more they necessarily impinge on freedom of speech. That is the left’s problem with First Amendment protections for people who they think should be regulated to keep them in line.
This is really what Elena Kagan was complaining about in her dissent in the Janus decision where she warned the Court’s conservative justices are “weaponizing the First Amendment, in a way that unleashes judges, now, – and in the future, to intervene in economic and regulatory policy.” What gives rise to these cases is the fact that the old “liberal” differentiation between economic freedom and intellectual freedom —the first of which could be violated without limit but the second of which had to be scrupulously respected, —was an artificial one. In her conclusion, Justice Kagan actually does a pretty good job of making Mrs. Thatcher’s point for her.
Speech is everywhere —a part of every human activity (employment, health care, securities trading, you name it). For that reason, almost all economic and regulatory policy affects or touches speech…. The First Amendment was meant for better things.
When Kagan writes, “The First Amendment was meant for better things,” I can’t help hearing, “The First Amendment was meant for better people” —for good Progressives and not for the likes of you and me. But what she specifically means is that the First Amendment should be ignored when it impinges on anything having to do with commerce or capitalism or social justice —despite her own admission that all such activity involves freedom of speech.
The left is turning against the First Amendment because absolute respect for freedom of speech is not consistent with tearing down capitalism. This brings us to Kavanaugh’s Jesuit run Georgetown University and their law professor Louis Michael Seidman, who laments, “What I have come to see is that it’s a mistake to think of free speech as an effective means to accomplish a more just society.” The New York Times piece is mostly just echoing the argument made by Seidman in a forthcoming law review article which asks, “Can Free Speech Be Progressive?” Seid answers “no,” and says, in effect, so much the worse for the First Amendment.
The most ominous part of Seidman’s article is not specifically about the First Amendment. It is his naked admission about the basic political priorities of Progressivism, which he sums up this way: “by ‘Progressivism,’ I mean the modern political stance favoring an activist government that strives to achieve the public good, including the correction of unjust distributions produced by the market and the dismantling of power hierarchies based on traits like race, nationality, gender, class, and sexual orientation.” Did you notice what is missing? Freedom is not included among the political values sought by the left. It is not one of the standards by which political outcomes are to be judged. No wonder they have given up the defense of freedom of speech and ceded it to the right.
Freedom was still nominally on the list of priorities for the old “liberals,” who still held to John Stuart Mill’s idea of the individual’s unquestioned sovereignty “over his own body and mind.” But as I have described elsewhere, this “liberal” paradise couldn’t last. The essence of Seidman’s article is his concern that the legal distinction between property rights and freedom of speech is breaking down, and breaking down in the direction of more freedom for both, rather than more government control of both. He is a little cagey about his own preferred outcome, but it is in the direction of more control, and he hints at some kind of Progressive paradise of centrally planned and optimized “redistribution of speech opportunities.” In other words, Progressives get to speak, and everybody else doesn’t.
It is inevitable, really, that the left would finally turn openly against freedom of speech, because the First Amendment is a weapon. It is a legal weapon that can be used by private citizens against government coercion. It is a weapon in the hands of the people against overbearing authority. But it is only a weapon because freedom is indivisible, and so long as the First Amendment exists, it is a threat to all other forms of domination and control.
With the publication of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ in 1957, Ayn Rand’s position in history — both as novelist and philosopher — was established. ‘Atlas Shrugged’ tells the story of what happens to the world when its most intelligent and productive members, the men of the mind, go on strike against the creed of self-immolation. This novel challenges at the root the altruist and philosophical ideas of the 2000-year-old Judeo-Christian tradition.”
Kavanaugh is running against that tide.