Bill Maher interviews New Democratic hireling Jonathan Haidt. Another ‘Comedy Central’ misfire. Old Socialist scoffs!

 

Mr. Haight is a New Democratic hireling :

In chapter 8 of The Righteous Mind, Haidt describes how he began to study political psychology in order to help the Democratic Party win more elections, but in chapter 12 of The Righteous Mind argues that each of the major political groups—conservatives, progressives, and libertarians—have valuable insights and that truth and good policy emerge from the contest of ideas. Since 2012, Haidt has referred to himself as a political centrist.[31] Haidt is involved with several efforts to help bridge the political divide and reduce political polarization in the United States. In 2007, he founded the website CivilPolitics.org, a clearinghouse for research on political civility. He serves on the advisory boards of Represent.Us., a non-partisan anticorruption organization, the Acumen Fund, which invests in companies, leaders, and ideas that are changing the way the world tackles poverty; and Better-Angels.org, a bipartisan group working to reduce political polarization. Three of his four TED talks are on the topic of understanding and reducing political divisions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Haidt

Greg Lukianoff the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE):

FIRE’s latest report of University Ratings is Spotlight on Speech Codes 2016: The State of Free Speech on Our Nation’s Campuses.[23] The foundation gathers together each university’s various harassment and hate speech policies, as well as any “Advertised Commitments to Freedom of Speech”. On the basis of these and media reports, FIRE then assigns each institution a color code: green (“no serious threats to free speech”), yellow (“some policies that could ban or excessively regulate protected speech”) or red (“at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech”).

As of 2016 the percentage of universities that FIRE deemed to “seriously infringe upon students’ rights to free speech” dipped to just below 50 percent.[23] That makes 2016 the fourth consecutive year that the percentage has dropped, according to FIRE.

In April 2007, Jon B. Gould, an author and George Mason University faculty member, criticized FIRE’s rating methods, claiming that FIRE had grossly exaggerated the prevalence of unconstitutional speech codes.[24]

As of January 2016, FIRE rated most of the eight universities in the Ivy League, “red”; one was rated “green” (University of Pennsylvania), five were rated “red” (Brown, Cornell, Harvard, Columbia and Princeton) and the final two (Dartmouth, and Yale) were rated “yellow”.[25]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foundation_for_Individual_Rights_in_Education

We’ve seen this duo, before, but not in such a sophisticated iteration of Anti-Student Hysterics. Recall Alan Bloom and ‘The Coddling of the American Mind’ that Haight and Lukianoff borrow from, to frame their iteration. ‘Tenured Radicals’ and ‘Illiberal Education’ rounded the last of this trio of  reactionary political polemics ,aimed at Students and Teachers!

Its a notorious ‘Conservative ‘  ploy to cast Students as ‘radicals’ of whatever variety ,from Berkeley and its Free Speech movement in 1964/65 and  charismatic leader Mario Savio, yet for all of Haight  & Lukianoff rhetoric  where are the charismatic leaders of this New Student Radicalism? The debates over  Codes of Conduct don’t quite meet the propaganda  needs of the self-declared Centrists for identifying Student Radicals . Isn’t debate about those ‘Codes’ the very center of a  Democratic process?

StephenKMackSD

 

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On the Augustinian Temperament episode MCLVII: Andy Divine ( @sullydish ) on the ‘loss of legitimacy’ & an almost defense of the teetering Mrs. May . A comment by Old Socialist

The reliably incurious Mr. Divine uses the descriptor ‘cold civil war’ as if it hasn’t been used in ‘quite a while‘ , here is  a link to the Claremont Review of Books from April 25,2017 by Angelo M. Codevilla titled ‘The Cold Civil War’:

https://www.claremont.org/crb/article/the-cold-civil-war/

Or a link to this portion of an address by Carl Bernstein titled ‘We are in a Cold Civil War’ published on YouTube on October 26, 2017 :

As usual Mr. Divine is intellectually lazy, or just unable to pay due credit, to those political contemporaries, that has provided him with an opening rhetorical frame for his latest polemic.

It’s been quite a while now that the phrase “cold civil war” has been bandied about. And it’s useful, so far as it goes. Polarization has now become tribalism, and tribe is now so powerful a force it is beginning to eclipse national loyalty. The two nations, to borrow Benjamin Disraeli’s description of 19th-century Britain, stand facing each other, without blinking, faces flush, equally matched, on trigger alert for offense or another set battle. What we don’t quite know is if this tenuous, balanced equilibrium is sustainable indefinitely, the system careening from one party’s bitterly contested rule to gridlock and back again, until our tribal tensions are somehow exhausted. Or whether the cold civil war could at some point get a little warmer, or even, shall we say, hot.
What we don’t know, in other words, is when the legitimacy of the entire political system could come into doubt, across the ideological spectrum, in a way that might sanction undemocratic responses. By legitimacy, I don’t mean having deep differences in policy with a president or his party; I don’t mean contempt for, or even mere opposition, to the powers that be; I mean denial of the core validity of the key institutions and players in our system. It’s one thing, after all, to disagree profoundly with an administration’s policies; and another thing entirely to believe an administration, or a congressional majority, or a Supreme Court majority, is fundamentally unjust, and its decisions therefore nonbinding.

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/11/andrew-sullivan-what-happens-if-no-one-trusts-the-system.html

Never fear with the bit between his teeth, Mr. Divine is at full gallop, or should I say rather at full hysterical screech.  My patience with Divine’s self-serving political free associations, is, to say the least, minimal. He does not know the meaning,nor the practice of brevity. Its a cast of political characters worthy of  Spelling’s television merde of the Reagan Years. Following in that perennial staple of television melodrama, political doom waits just off camera.

I usually confine myself to the first of his tripartite entries but his comment on the utterly incompetent, not to say the teetering, Mrs. May, demand even jut a sample of what this once Tory Hack can muster:

Who’s Rooting for Theresa May?

Nevertheless, she persisted.

I don’t know how else to describe Theresa May’s grueling slog toward the least worst Brexit possible. It was yet another tenderizing day for her yesterday as the Commons beat her up again and again and again on her proposed deal with the E.U., as yet more ministers resigned (including her second Brexit secretary!) and as a handful of ferocious Europhobes — led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, a parody of an upper-class twit — launched a formal bid to oust her from the leadership of the Tory Party. Good times.

The awkward prime minister is still standing upright, though maybe not for much longer. In this respect, I’m surprised more feminists haven’t come to May’s defense. May’s bourgeois Toryism, like Margaret Thatcher’s, doubtless disqualifies her from any respect from the left. But her tenacity in the midst of male obloquy is emblematic of many themes American feminists focus on.

May, after all, is taking responsibility while her male colleagues posture and preen and complain or resign; she gets almost no credit for negotiating one of the more complex international deals in British history for two demoralizing years; she works harder than anyone else in her government; and the deal she has struck is almost certainly the only one the E.U. will ever accept. A woman, in other words, got the toughest job in government in decades, did the best that could be done, has been pilloried for it, but still plowed on, and even now, won’t surrender. Her pragmatism and resilience — along with remarkably good cheer in public — are a wonder to behold. I guess May’s feminism, like Thatcher’s, requires no labeling.

This very notion of Thatcher’s and May’s ‘Feminism’ is on its face laughable! Mr. Divine is still that Thatcherite Hack to his core, in his expression of a duel apologetic for both these frauds!

Old Socialist

 

 

 

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janan.ganesh@ft.com on Trump vs Macron. American Writer comments

The Financial Times headline writers have done their best to imitate the pathetic, bloated yet almost resonant hot air, that David Brooks makes his specialty of the house, at his perch at the New York Times: its epic bloat!

Headline: An era of estrangement distracts America and Europe.

Sub-headline: Divergent interests and global roles rather than Trump will lead them to grow apart

Mr. Ganesh’s first paragraph compares the Know-Noting Trump to M. 37%, its almost adequate propaganda:

Conservatives know liberal panic about the 45th US president as “Trump derangement syndrome”. Less diagnosed, though presenting similar symptoms, is Macron vexation disorder. Something about the president of France — his youth, his Molière-quoting polish — makes populists around the world hope for his failure with a zeal that verges on backhanded compliment.

Its almost ‘as if’ that feuilleton writing  Tory Hipster, or is it New Labour Hipster?, is back in fine form? What is the difference between Tory and New Labour? The questions ramify the further one explores this pregnant first paragraph.

As one of those suffering from ‘M. 37% Heresy’ in the reality based world of anti-apologetic propaganda: the  ‘Populists’  fear Macron why? Because of the gaffs, or scandals that follow his appearances, his ‘Bodyguard‘ and ‘Pétain‘ are just two  examples of his maladroit, or just the expression of a dull-witted énarque?

Or the utterly laughable authoritarianism, with the moniker of ‘Jupertarian Politics’? The sine qua non of M. 37% : ‘Molière-quoting polish’ qualifies as part of his Upper-Class education and his Social Class! M. 37% is a natural ‘Leader’ in the highly stratified world that is the ‘Conservative Universe’ !

That M. 37% has become the ‘touchstone’ of political rationalism of American ‘Liberals’ and or ‘Progressives’ , that  demonstrates both their cultivated ignorance of Neo-Liberalism a la francaise’s Front Man, allied to their political desperation, in facing the fact that the New Democrats will never reform themselves. The fact that Mrs. Clinton will run again in 2020 is indicative of  the Party’s sclerosis!

Quoting Neo-Conservative Robert Kagan demonstrates Mr. Ganesh’s inability to come to terms with the fact that Mr. Kagan, is a fully vested member of the bellicose Nationalism that he  spends so may words inveighing against. 

The attitudinal gap between Europe and the US has hardly narrowed since Robert Kagan described it in Of Paradise and Power, 15 years ago.  

To shanghai Harold Bloom’s metaphor, Mr. Ganesh’s essays are always a map of self-serving political misreadings.

American Writer

https://www.ft.com/content/cce42e82-e7ee-11e8-8a85-04b8afea6ea3

 

 

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M. 37% ( @EmmanuelMacron ) is the New Leader of The Neo-Liberal Enlightenment? Old Socialist comments

M. 37% practices his own version of authoritarianism, maladroitly self-described as Jupertarian Politics built upon ‘Rule by Decree’ that now seems to to have devolved into a slow-motion disarray. But The Financial Times hireling Harriet Agnew quotes from Macron ,with a bit of propaganda embellishment, as part of  strategy at rescuing that retrograde  ‘Énarque Anti- Revolution’  :

During Sunday’s service, the French president issued a plea for international co-operation to fight new challenges such as climate change, poverty, famine and inequality, and against “withdrawal, violence and domination.” He urged action at a time when “old demons are resurfacing,” adding: “History sometimes threatens to take its tragic course again and compromise our hope of peace. Let us vow to prioritise peace over everything.”

Énarque Macron appears to be  not just tone deaf but a bungler like Reagan. Reagan got into trouble when he ‘went off script’. M. 37% is too lost in his hubris to consider such a strategy.

Headline:Storm over Macron’s remarks on homage to Nazi-collaborator Pétain

Sub-headline: French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday denounced a “pointless polemic” that has flared up after his defence of Nazi-collaborator Philippe Pétain’s record as a general in World War I. On Wednesday he declared that a homage to Pétain, who was imprisoned after World War II for heading a pro-Nazi government, would be “legitimate”.

http://en.rfi.fr/20181108-storm-over-macrons-remarks-homage-nazi-collaborator-petain/

What is not really puzzling is that a large segment of the ,what to call them, ‘Left’ ‘Progressives’ have adopted M. 37 % as the ‘voice of political reason’.  In their desperate search for a politician, that appears to be the polar opposite of the Know-Nothing Trump, and his congressional henchmen McConnell and Ryan. Such is the gullibility of my fellow Americans, who look to staunch Neo-Liberal Obama as a ‘standard ‘ of enlightened political leadership!

Old Socialist

https://www.ft.com/content/e9caeea2-e5bc-11e8-8a85-04b8afea6ea3

 

 

 

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janan.ganesh@ft.com in three (two) keys? Part I. Old Socialist comments

Mr. Ganesh’s essay of November 7, 2018 on the American Mid-Terms must be named as an exercise in the unimaginative political generic, with bit of statistical gloss.

Headline; US midterm elections: Democrats must not overplay their hand

Sub-headline: Activists want pressure on Trump, but new voters might quail at two years of process
…Beyond an oblique pledge to restore the “constitution’s checks and balances to the Trump administration”, Nancy Pelosi, who is poised to lead the House for the second time this decade, tellingly majored on substance in her victory speech.

https://www.ft.com/content/3b6d87b2-e1d3-11e8-8e70-5e22a430c1ad

I’m writing this on Saturday November 10, 2018 and its looks like putative Speaker Pelosi  will face opposition in her own Party :

Headline: After leading her party to House majority, Nancy Pelosi faces battle for speaker’s gavel…

About three dozen Democratic candidates in competitive races came out against Pelosi to varying degrees, according to surveys of news reports, but the vast majority of them are not expected to win their elections.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 11 had won. An additional six are in races that haven’t been called. There are also a handful of sitting members who have voiced opposition to Pelosi’s speakership, including Reps. Tim Ryan of Ohio, Kathleen Rice of New York and Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania.

Moves to topple Pelosi are nothing new but rose dramatically in recent years, and especially as Democrats’ opportunity to take the House emerged. Critics have long pushed for new leadership, but Pelosi’s effectiveness and fundraising prowess have typically allowed her to beat back challengers.

During the campaign, Pelosi insisted that Democratic candidates in competitive House districts were free to distance themselves from her if needed. Winning the seat, she said, was the top priority.

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-congress-pelosi-speaker-20181107-story.html

_____________________________________________

Headline: Why Nancy Pelosi Isn’t Guaranteed The Speakership

The Democrats have won the House, and Republicans will have to hand over the speaker’s gavel in January. But it’s not totally clear whom that gavel will go to.

The long-running drama over the fate of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is entering a new phase. It has been clear for months that Pelosi might not have enough Democrats behind her to become speaker. Some incumbent House Democrats oppose the California Democrat because they believe it’s time for a new figure to lead the party, which Pelosi has done since 2003. And dozens of Democratic candidates, facing a barrage of attacks from Republicans linking them to Pelosi, pledged during their campaigns not to support her in a speaker vote. Of course, many of Pelosi’s critics were running in very red districts — so they lost.

But Pelosi still has some work to do if she wants a second tenure as House speaker. With almost all the 435 House races decided, we did a whip count of the newly elected or re-elected Democrats. Here’s what we found: Pelosi does not appear to have 218 votes to become speaker, unless some Democrats backtrack from previous comments suggesting that they will not support her.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-nancy-pelosi-isnt-guaranteed-the-speakership/

Pelosi is about the Old Guard, in sum , the New Democrats led by the Clintons. In the Age of  Trump, this millionaire  represents an entrenched Oligarchy, and her allies like Debby Wasserman -Schultz. Pelosi will eventually be supplanted,  even with all her accumulated power, she is the New Democratic past!  The women elected in 2018 will bring into the open the ebbing power of this sclerotic New Democrat! Its the beginning of the end of Pelosi, to employ and apt cliche,

Mr. Ganesh  then explains the course the Democrats might pursue, the political  possibilities are laid out, except that the only thing considered, in this paragraph,  is  ‘RussiaGate’ and notorious New Democrat and New Cold War political hysteric Adam Schiff. Mr. Ganesh cautions the New Democrats:

It is not Tuesday’s results, but their consequences, that promise to be otherwise. With committee control and subpoena powers, Democrats can now investigate Mr Trump on several fronts: the Russian role in his 2016 win, his alleged elision of the presidential and the commercial. Adam Schiff, the probable new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, could not fail to be tougher on the president than Devin Nunes has been.

The question is how far to push it. The Democrats should take caution. It is hard to read into the midterm results a mandate for a March-to-the-Sea offensive.

https://www.ft.com/content/3b6d87b2-e1d3-11e8-8e70-5e22a430c1ad

On the question of ‘caution’ question look to this Politico essay:

Headline: Democrats Want to Investigate Trump. Here’s Why They Should Be Careful.

Sub-headline: The new House will have to proceed strategically in selecting both the topics and the tools of inquiry.

Some have even suggested that congressional investigations will suffice to address any legally questionable moves by the present administration. But such optimism should be tempered: The new House will have to proceed strategically in selecting both the topics and the tools of inquiry. Missteps will not only undermine proper oversight and generate partisan blowback. They might also sap the long-term prospects for maintaining an executive branch constrained by the rule of law—something both liberals and conservatives should fear.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/11/09/democrats-investigate-trump-222402

We are witnessing the evolving Party Line of respectable bourgeois Reportorial/Pundit class.

Mr. Ganesh ends his essay that features the notion of a ‘highly controlled midterm campaign’ .  That studiously ignores the fact that the victories in this mid-term were not, for the most part, old guard New Democrats, but represent the evolution of the New Deal Democrats in a contemporary iteration. Once identified by the New Democrats as ‘The Bernie Bros’, that served as a not so surreptitious propaganda tool , while it nurtured a vigorous Feminist cadre. The reader can ignore the last two sentences ,of this essay, as a kind of flaccid cosmic self-congratulation.

Democrats seemed to intuit as much in their highly controlled midterm campaign. The trick is to keep the discipline over the next two years, as candidates woo activists for the presidential nomination. An important race ended on Tuesday. A seismic one began.

Old Socialist

Added November 10,2018, 2:54 PM ST

Mr. Ganesh’s second essay was about Football, a subject in which I have no interest:

https://www.ft.com/content/a98044bc-e343-11e8-8e70-5e22a430c1ad?kbc=b1d025bc-56d5-4420-ae8c-49c0c02cc81

The third entry is a video in which various FT writers discuss the American Mid-Terms, Mr. Ganesh being the last.

https://www.ft.com/video/3adf26b4-0e7b-4ff7-a234-9e716fcdc59f

The point of propaganda is to repeat its message, as often as possible, so this  5:44 second video is to drive the points home by repetition. The Party Line on these elections is repeated, with the aid of a visual image of writers talking directly to the viewer. The video image repeats what viewers experience when watching television .

OS

 

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Macron’s fading ‘revolution’. Almost Marx comments

Headline: Emmanuel Macron’s fatigue gives his government the blues

Sub-headline : French president pays for overpromising as rumours of burnout afflict his brand

I’m  catching up, after a week focused on the mid-term elections in America. And can’t resist the fact that Macron’s four hours of sleep a night has caught up with the Neo-Liberal masquerading as a ‘Reformer’, with the help of The Financial Times Corporatist hirelings!

Note the framing of the headline and sub-headline ‘fatigue’ and ‘overpromising’  and the sine qua non of Free Market dreck ‘brand’!

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Bruce Fein’s brief endorsement of Scalia’s ‘Textualism’. Publius comments

When I first read this tweet from The American Conservative,  authored by Bruce Fein, I was startled that anyone would defend Scalia’s conception of ‘Textualism’, no matter the context.

As Justice Antonin Scalia endlessly lectured, what matters in constitutional interpretation is that the text that was ratified, not words bandied about during debate

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-constitution-is-crystal-clear-on-birthright-citizenship/

I recalled reading Robert Post’s essay ‘Justice for Scalia’ in the June 11, 1998 edition of the New York Review of Books. Which was a review of  A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law,by Antonin Scalia, edited by Amy Gutmann, with commentary by Gordon S. Wood, Laurence H. Tribe, Mary Ann Glendon and Ronald Dworkin.  After much kow-towing to the Great Man, Prof. Post finally begins his polemic against Scalia:

Most litigation in federal courts involves the interpretation of statutes. Yet, as two prominent law professors have put it, the “hard truth of the matter is that American courts have no intelligible, generally accepted, and consistently applied theory of statutory interpretation.”1 Uncertainty in the interpretation of legislation adversely affects not only lawyers and judges, but all those who seek to live by the laws. In A Matter of Interpretation Scalia is right to call for a vigorous reassessment of our practice of statutory interpretation. His book’s main contribution is to remind us that legal authority attaches to the text of a duly enacted statute, not to the unenacted intentions of legislators.

Questions of interpretation arise when the meaning of a statutory text is not clear. Scalia believes that the theory of textualism requires courts to determine statutory meaning by referring to ordinary language usage, to generally accepted rules of construing texts, and to other legislation that has been passed. The chief theoretical position that Scalia wants to defend in A Matter of Interpretation is that courts ought scrupulously to avoid referring to legislative history when they are attempting to understand an ambiguous statute. Legislative history consists of items such as committee reports, floor debates, and legislative drafts—all the available documents and statements that accumulated while a statute was being passed. Scalia writes: “I object to the use of legislative history on principle, since I reject intent of the legislature as the proper criterion of the law.” Scalia fears that if judges can rely on legislative history, courts will engage in “judicial lawmaking” by seizing on one piece of evidence or another to write their own preferences into law.

Scalia’s relentless campaign against the use of legislative history, and his refusal to join opinions interpreting statutes by referring to that history, have been astonishingly effective. One recent study estimates that the proportion of Supreme Court opinions in cases involving statutory construction that refer to legislative history has dropped from 100 percent in the 1981 term to 18 percent in the 1992 term.2 Scalia may justly claim a large share of the responsibility for this transformation.

For this reason it is all the more important to stress that Scalia’s opposition to the use of legislative history rests on exceedingly shaky theoretical foundations. Scalia readily acknowledges that if the meaning of a text is unclear, “the principal determinant of meaning is context.” In ordinary life the intentions of a speaker are central to the process by which we determine his meaning. If someone casually observes that “Casey has thrown a disc,” I would want to know something about the speaker’s intention in order to understand whether the comment refers to the state of Casey’s back or to the integrity of his CD collection.

Scalia does not dispute this, and he even concedes that there may be extreme cases where legislative history may be consulted in order to determine whether there has been a “‘scrivener’s error,’ where on the very face of the statute it is clear to the reader that a mistake of expression…has been made.” In his commentary, Ronald Dworkin cannily seizes upon this concession and brings out its implications.

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1998/06/11/justice-for-scalia/

In my search for the Story essay, I came across the August 23, 2012 essay by Richard A. Posner titled ‘The Incoherence of Antonin Scalia  Scalia’ at The New Republic. Which is a review of a book by Justice Antonin Scalia and the legal lexicographer Bryan Garner titled Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts, 2012.

Posner wastes no time kowtowing to Scalia, perhaps because he has an ego to match that of Scalia. This polemic is first of all well written, and scrupulously argued and focused on exposing the ‘Textualism’, that Scalia makes the center of his Legal Theorizing, is on close analysis, without merit backed by incompetent or just disingenuous arguments.

The passive view of the judicial role is aggressively defended in a new book by Justice Antonin Scalia and the legal lexicographer Bryan Garner (Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts, 2012). They advocate what is best described as textual originalism, because they want judges to “look for meaning in the governing text, ascribe to that text the meaning that it has borne from its inception, and reject judicial speculation about both the drafters’ extra-textually derived purposes and the desirability of the fair reading’s anticipated consequences.” This austere interpretive method leads to a heavy emphasis on dictionary meanings, in disregard of a wise warning issued by Judge Frank Easterbrook, who though himself a self-declared textualist advises that “the choice among meanings [of words in statutes] must have a footing more solid than a dictionary—which is a museum of words, an historical catalog rather than a means to decode the work of legislatures.”

Scalia and Garner reject (before they later accept) Easterbrook’s warning. Does an ordinance that says that “no person may bring a vehicle into the park” apply to an ambulance that enters the park to save a person’s life? For Scalia and Garner, the answer is yes. After all, an ambulance is a vehicle—any dictionary will tell you that. If the authors of the ordinance wanted to make an exception for ambulances, they should have said so. And perverse results are a small price to pay for the objectivity that textual originalism offers (new dictionaries for new texts, old dictionaries for old ones). But Scalia and Garner later retreat in the ambulance case, and their retreat is consistent with a pattern of equivocation exhibited throughout their book.

Scalia and Garner reject (before they later accept)  Easterbrook’s warning. Does an ordinance that says that “no person may bring a vehicle into the park” apply to an ambulance that enters the park to save a person’s life? For Scalia and Garner, the answer is yes. After all, an ambulance is a vehicle—any dictionary will tell you that. If the authors of the ordinance wanted to make an exception for ambulances, they should have said so. And perverse results are a small price to pay for the objectivity that textual originalism offers (new dictionaries for new texts, old dictionaries for old ones). But Scalia and Garner later retreat in the ambulance case, and their retreat is consistent with a pattern of equivocation exhibited throughout their book.

Scalia is a pertinacious critic of the use of legislative history to illuminate statutory meaning; and one reason for his criticism is that a legislature is a hydra-headed body whose members may not share a common view of the interpretive issues likely to be engendered by a statute that they are considering enacting. But when he looks for the original meaning of eighteenth-century constitutional provisions—as he did in his opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller, holding that an ordinance forbidding people to own handguns even for the defense of their homes violated the Second Amendment—Scalia is doing legislative history.

Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III has argued that because the historical analysis in Heller is (from the standpoint of advocates of a constitutional right to own handguns for personal self-defense) at best inconclusive, judicial self-restraint dictated that the District of Columbia’s ordinance not be invalidated. His argument derives new support from a surprising source: Judge Easterbrook’s foreword to Scalia and Garner’s book. The foreword lauds the book to the skies, but toward the end it strikes the following subversive note: “Words don’t have intrinsic meanings; the significance of an expression depends on how the interpretive community alive at the time of the text’s adoption under-stood those words. The older the text, the more distant that interpretive community from our own. At some point the difference becomes so great that the meaning is no longer recoverable reliably.” When that happens, Easterbrook continues, the courts should “declare that meaning has been lost, so that the living political community must choose.” The “living political community” in Heller consisted of the elected officials, and the electorate, of the District of Columbia.

https://newrepublic.com/article/106441/scalia-garner-reading-the-law-textual-originalism

‘Textualism’ appears to be just so much ideological window dressing for Scalia’s ‘Originalism‘ , yet even ‘legislative intent’ also plays a part in the thought of the later Scalia. These two essay deserve to be read in their entirety, such in their importance.  In dismantling the myth that Scalia was a formidable legal theorist. When he is, in fact, an American Political Romantic, in the guise of a pugnacious bully whose arguments are steeped in a self-serving intellectual dishonesty.

Publius

 

 

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