The Constitutional Non Sequitur
Author’s note: When using the term “liberal” or any derivative thereof, it is a reference to modern colloquialism, not to the traditional definition of “liberal,” which is in fact what we now call “conservative.”
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In law, they use Latin quite a bit. We recognize some of them easily: pro bono, en loco parentis, per se, and non sequitur among them. It is common to see these terms used on television and in news reports, frequently inappropriately. The last one, however, is most indicative of liberal thought: Non sequitur, meaning “it does not follow.”
In common everyday speech, a non sequitur is a statement that has nothing to do with the previous statement. If I were to comment that Mary’s blouse was blue, David stating that the NHL playoffs are too long would be a non sequitur.
It’s a little different in law. Essentially, a non sequitur is a thought process or statement is not supported by the facts presented or Constitutional provisions. This is particularly the case in issues of the First and Second Amendments, where liberals like to use disconnected and disjointed logic to support their viewpoints.
Let’s take a look at some liberal ideology and see the non sequiturs.
1) Speech codes – Liberals love free speech. At least, they claim they do. Defending art that depicts controversial issues of religion, society and culture, often attacking traditional values. This is important, because every form of free expression is protected by the First Amendment. Unless, of course, the viewpoint is not liberal.
Liberals hate non-liberal speech. They can’t stand it. In fact, they hate it so much that they have determined what speech is “politically correct” and what is not. This has culminated in “Speech Codes,” usually found at universities and other schools, where some types of free expression is stymied because it might offend a protected minority class. This includes public prayer, traditional religious/moral/ethical values, promoting capitalism, or basically opposing any liberal viewpoint.
Now, some conservatives have been guilty of the same thing, but usually this is done in the context of public support for controversial art, rather than private statements by an individual.
Beyond simplistic speech codes, Federal Regulations eliminating freedom of speech in broadcasting have been proposed, as well as government control of the internet.
Supposedly, the liberal viewpoint is that all speech should be protected. The non sequitur is the speech code, which protects liberal speech but makes conservative speech a violation of the rules.
2) Individual Rights – In every amendment to the Constittuion, wherever the term “the people” is used it is assumed to refer to the individual-except in the Second Amendment. Let’s look at the use of “of the people” in the amendments:
- “…the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” – First Amendment
- “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” – Second Amendment
- “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…” – Fourth Amendment
In addition, we can see where the rights of “person(s),” “the accused,” and other references to individuals are protected.
Why, then, does the Left choose to protect some individual rights, but not others? Clearly, few if any liberals would argue for unwarranted search and seizure. Nor would any of them argue for the elimination of Fifth Amendment protections.
Again, when it comes to traditional Conservative values, however, the Left takes an about-face and states that “the people” refers to the various States or to the body collective. While used to a limited extent in the “public airwaves” argument, it is most commonly found when dealing with gun rights. Suddenly the “of the people” phrase used by liberals to protect their (often violent) protests becomes a term referring to the various States.
The non-sequitur is that the “right of the people peaceably to assemble” refers to individuals, but that the “right of the people to keep and bear arms” refers to government. This is the excuse used by liberals to defend their attempts to eliminate the protections of the Second Amendment. Rather than being an individual right reserved to the people, liberals claim that the “militia” clause makes the right one belonging to the States giving them the ability to arm their state militia.
Interesting, since most liberals don’t believe states should have rights.
3) Technology – Liberals argue against the Second Amendment in another way: They claim that the Founding Fathers could not possibly have conceived of automatic weapons, assault rifles, multiple-shot handguns, and other new firearms types. They say that single-shot, flint-lock rifles were the only firearms available to the Founding Fathers, and because they could not have known about machine guns and automatic pistols, these weapons should not be protected.
This is absurd since several of the Founding Fathers were inventors and saw significant improvements in firearms within their lifetimes (the breech-loading Ferguson Rifle was nearly used to kill George Washington himself at the Battle of Brandywine Creek). Indeed, following this train of liberal logic, wiretaps should not require a warrant, as telephones did not exist when the Constitution was written. Similarly, free speech protections should not extend to the internet, as the hand-operated press was the only means of disseminating the printed word.
Again we can see where liberals choose the most convenient times for the rights of individuals and reverse when it is inconvenient to their viewpoint.
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These are just a few of the liberal non sequiturs. The principal problem with liberalism is its inconsistency: Everyone has a right to earn a living-unless they earn too much money. Freedom of association is critical-unless you don’t want to join the union. Freedom of speech protects us all-unless your viewpoint is not liberal. Individual rights are paramount-unless you want to own a gun. Property rights should be protected-unless your property is being used to fund jobs.
Liberalism is dangerous to our freedom. Certainly, liberal collectivism and socialism is dangerous and harms us all, but the truly dangerous aspect of liberalism is how it brushes aside what is inconvenient in favor of what is popular. The Founding Fathers knew that populism could be used to destroy the freedoms they enshrined in our Constitution. That is why they wrote these freedoms into it and built in the checks-and-balances system. Liberalism simply ignores those checks-and-balances, choosing which freedoms to protect while slowly eroding away our rights.