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Friday, July 03, 2015

Tillman on Values and Dignity

by Seth Barrett Tillman

Guest Blogger
"The corollary of that principle is that human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away."Justice Clarence Thomas in Obergefell v. Hodges, [2015] (dissenting)

"Mrs Thatcher came only twice [to the Conservative Philosophy Group], once as prime minister. That was the occasion for a notable non-meeting of minds. Edward Norman (then Dean of Peterhouse) had attempted to mount a Christian argument for nuclear weapons. The discussion moved on to ‘Western values’. Mrs Thatcher said (in effect) that Norman had shown that the Bomb was necessary for the defence of our values. 
Enoch Powell: No, we do not fight for values. I would fight for this country even if it had a communist government.’
Thatcher (it was just before the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands): ‘Nonsense, Enoch. If I send British troops abroad, it will be to defend our values.’
'No, Prime Minister, values exist in a transcendental realm, beyond space and time. They can neither be fought for, nor destroyed.'
Mrs Thatcher looked utterly baffled. She had just been presented with the difference between Toryism and American Republicanism. (Mr Blair would have been equally baffled.)"

[The Right Honourable Enoch Powell quoted in John Casey, The revival of Tory philosophyThe Spectator, March 17, 2007 (emphasis added).]

Twitter:  ( @SethBTillman )


Tim Kowal said...

Upon such subtleties does liberty rest. Think of the absurdity to modern ears: in the name of rights, rejecting the government which is their source. Yet to defend their rights as Englishmen, the revolutionaries rejected the English throne. It was perfectly natural that they would do so, understanding as they did that those rights were natural and inalienable, not derivative of the throne.

A libertarian friend advocates for a constitutional convention. There is no point is carrying on with the constitution we have when we cannot agree on either meaning or hermeneutics. The diagnosis is sound, but the treatment would be fatal. Too many Americans have lost the most basic understanding of liberty. Imagine: positing that humanity exists in a transcendental realm, beyond space and time! To a people eagerly nodding along with gender and racial "fluidity"! What truths does this bunch hold to be self-evident, now that truth is autobiographical?

Tom Van Dyke said...

That the Constitution is subjected to a hermeneutic it wasn't written or ratified under--that the word "liberty" [to do the right thing] can be hollowed out and restuffed with a libertarian understanding of "liberty" [to do whatever you want unless harm is empirically provable] is a betrayal of having a Constitution in the first place.

Besides setting up the branches of government, they just could have written "pursuit of happiness," whatever that means to you, is all there is. Follow your bliss, and the government will demolish anything that stands in your way, as long as the government agrees with your definition of "bliss," of course.

So shut up and bake me a cake.

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